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Showing posts from September, 2020

Shinno and Hashioka Lead 104th National Track and Field Championships - Preview

Postponed from early summer, this year's 104th National Track and Field Championships have been sliced and diced into different segments held over the course of four months this summer in an effort to minimize the number of people in one place and one time and, in the case of long distance, to wait until World Athletics' window for turning out Olympic qualifying marks opens up in December. Sprints, middle distance, hurdles, jumps and throws happen this week Thursday through Saturday at Niigata's enormous Denka Big Swan Stadium. 24 events are set to have their defending champs back, with Tomohiro Shinno (Kyudenko), #2 worldwide in the men's high jump this year, Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) #3 worldwide in the men's long jump, leading the way. The men's 100 m looking especially good despite the absence of U.S.-based national record older Abdul Hakim Sani Brown . Aska Cambridge (Nike) has been in his best shape ever so far this fall with a 10.03 PB last mo

Study Estimates Over $6.7 Billion Loss From Cancelation of Japanese Marathons

A study released Sept. 27 by Katsuhiro Miyamoto , professor emeritus of theoretical economics at Kansai University, estimated that the cancelation or postponement of 460 marathons and road races in Japan from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis would result in an estimated economic loss of 710 billion yen [ $6.74 billion USD ]. For races with more than 2000 participants, apart from direct losses such as entry fees and accommodation costs, the study's calculation included linked losses such as reduced purchases of supplies and materials, and secondary losses such as reduced spending by vendors due to decreased income. After performing the calculation for a number of representative races, numbers for other races were estimated based on their field sizes. The loss due to the cancelation of November's Osaka Marathon was estimated at 18 billion yen [ $171 million USD ]. Its 2019 race attracted 33,000 participants from across the co

Ishida Breaks Own 5000 m High School National Record - Weekend Track Review

This was probably the busiest track weekend of the year so far, with almost too much action across the country to keep track of. The biggest news came last, with 5000 m high school national record holder Kosuke Ishida (Tokyo Nogyo Daini H.S.) going step for step with national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) and all-time #2 Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) in the final race of the day at Sunday's Tokai University Time Trials. Yoroizaka got the win in 13:33.53 with Osako next in 13:33.83. Ishida was right there behind them in 13:34.74 for 3rd, taking 2 seconds off the record set this past summer, and doing it in legal shoes. With the Japanese academic year running April through March Ishida still has other chances to take the record even further. Ishida wasn't the only high schooler under 14 minutes. In the heat before him , Haruta Koshi (Saku Chosei H.S.) won in a PB 13:53.77. Up north at t he Ichinoseki Time Trials , Sendai Ikuei H.S. teammates Boniface Mutechi and Y

Backlash Over Harsh COVID-19 Policy for Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

On Sept. 24 the Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR) published a set of anti-coronavirus policies and guidelines for universities planning to compete in the Oct. 17 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon, the qualifying race for January's Hakone Ekiden. The guidelines have sparked an outcry of protest over their harshness. The document states that if anyone involved with a team on a day-to-day basis, whether an athlete, head coach, assistant coach or anyone else, tests positive for the coronavirus in a PCR test taken on or after Sept. 26 during the three weeks prior to the race, the entire team will not be allowed to compete under any circumstances. If anyone in a team's larger circle of regular contacts test positive on or after Oct. 3, the team will likewise be barred from competing. On his personal Twitter feed, Juntendo University head coach and JAAF development committee director Kazuhiko Yamazaki  wrote about the problems with the policy, saying, "The

2021 Beppu-Oita Marathon Canceled

With no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight, the organizing committee of the Beppu-Oita Manichi Marathon has made the decision to postpone the race's 70th running from its planned date of Feb. 7, 2021 to Feb. 6, 2022 in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus among athletes and others involved in the event. We look forward to holding a spectacular 70th edition that will bring together both elites and mass-participation runners to compete and celebrate together in the cities of Beppu and Oita. Thank you for your support and understanding. In lieu of the 2021 race we will be organizing a virtual marathon. Between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14, 2021, runners can complete a run of 42.195 km. Within the competition window, no matter where or when they run, as long as they complete 42.195 km they will be considered to have finished the race. It can be run it all at once, in two parts on the weekend, or even over the course of a week after work. Even those who don't meet Beppu-O

Elderly Pedestrian Seriously Injured After Collision With Runner During Marathon

At around 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 during the Sapporo Toyohiragawa Trial Marathon on a cycling course in Sapporo's Minami Ward, 32-year-old amateur runner Saeki Makino , 32, of Warabi, Saitama collided with a pedestrian, local resident Toshiko Ishiyama , 82, who was walking on the course. Ishiyama was knocked down, sustaining serious injuries including a broken left wrist. With an absence of course markings leaving the course freely open for pedestrians to enter it, Minami Ward police are examinig the organizers' operations. According to the police, Makino claimed that at the time of the accident there were other runners around him, saying, "She was right in front of me before I noticed her and I couldn't avoid the collision." source article: translated by Brett Larner Makino photo © 2013 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved

East Japan's New Year Ekiden Qualifier to be Held Inside Park

On Sept. 21 it was learned that November's East Japan Corporate Ekiden, the men's regional qualifier for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships, will be held inside Kumagaya Sports Park in Kumagaya, Saitama in order to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus. In normal years, the East Japan Corporate Ekiden covers 76.9 km in seven stages on the roads between the Saitama Prefectural Government offices and Kumagaya Sports Park Field. This year it will be run on short loops such as the 4.4 km and 2.5 km running courses inside the park instead of using public roads. Stage lengths are planned to be the usual lengths of 11.6 km, 8.0 km, 16.5 km, 9.5 km, 7.8 km, 10.6 km and 12.9 km. According to an official, "By holding it inside the park we can significantly reduce the number of staff required relative to holding it on the roads." Organizers are considering whether the park will be closed to the public during the race in order to prevent crowds a

Organizers Ask Public Not to Come Watch Hakone Ekiden in Person

On Sept. 20 the Inter-University Athletics Union of Kanto (KGRR), organizers of January's Hakone Ekiden, announced that all of its remaining competitions this academic year will be held without spectators in order to help minimize the spread of coronavirus infection. The KGRR asked for the public's cooperation in not turning out to cheer. A statement released by the KGRR said, "Our major events will be live streamed and broadcast live or recorded by NTV. Please do not come to the race venues or the areas around them. Even if we go ahead with the ekiden, it cannot be put on without the agreement and cooperation of the local residents who live along the course. Courseside crowd support has always been one of the things that has helped our ekiden thrive. We want to ensure that it continues to have a long future as a beloved event and ask for your understanding and cooperation this time." The extremely popular Hakone Ekiden is run every Jan. 2 and 3, attracting ove

Njeri, Niiya and Hironaka Go Sub-15 - National Corporate Championships Day Three Results

With the first two days of the 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships bringing national records, world-leading marks and meet records, the last day saw one of the best races of the weekend. Fresh off her meet record win in the junior women's 3000 m, 19-year-old Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) took the women's 5000 m A-heat out hard in search of Japan's second sub-15 clocking ever. Right with her were Kenyans Rebecca Njeri (Daiso) and Joanne Kipkemoi (Kyudenko), and half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya (Sekisui Kagaku). Together they went through splits of 3:02, 2:58, 3:01 and 2:59 to hit 4000 m in exactly 12:00, Niiya and Njeri taking their turns up front and Kipkemoi sliding off the back. Njeri pushed hard over the last 1000 m to open a gap, but while Hironaka couldn't stay with her Niiya kicked over the last 200 m to almost close it up, just about a first in her career and showing the effects of the work she put into the 1500 m over t

Yamanishi Breaks 5000 m Race Walk National Record - National Corporate Championships Day Two Results

The National Corporate Championships men's 10000 m A-heat lived up to expectations as one of the best races of the year, the kind of race that shows how good a track 10000 m can be, tense and full of turnover between world top two Benard Kibet (Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (Toyota), and Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu). The trio wore down the rest of the competition, Koech and Karoki doing most of the hammering and Kimunyan only going to the front twice. On the last curve he made his final move, pulling away from Koech for the win in 27:01.42, Koech next in 27:02.39 and Karoki 3rd in 27:02.80. Kimunyan's time was briefly the world-leading mark before being overtaken at a race in Europe just hours later. Further back, the top two Japanese men over 10,000 m this year, Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu), worked together to move up through the field to take 7th and 8th in new PBs of 27:47.55 and 27:49.16. Both had broken 28 minutes for the first time in Jul

19-Year-Old Hironaka Wins Jr. Women's 3000 m in 8:52.80 - National Corporate Championships Day One Results

The 2020 National Corporate Track and Field Championships kicked off Friday in Kumagaya, Saitama on what will probably end up being the last hot day of the year. Defending junior women's 3000 m champ Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) had the performance of the day, exactly tying Kayoko Fukushi 's U20 national record with a negative split 8:52.80 to pick up a second title and move up to all-time Japanese #5 for the distance. Because she turns 20 in November Hironaka's mark won't make her the co-record holder, but as an 8-second improvement over her winning time last year it puts her in position to follow Fukushi as just the second woman under 15 minutes for 5000 m if she gets into the right race. Her first chance comes Sunday where she faces most of the contenders for the Tokyo Olympic team. A few of them turned up in the 10000 m A-heat where women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the race out around 31:30 pace, dueling with 30 km NR holder Honami Mae

Mt. Fuji University Women's Ekiden Confirmed, Will Be Held Without Spectators

Running in the foothills of Mount Fuji to lay claim to the title of best university women's team in the country, the organizing committee of the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden  invitational national championships announced that they intend for this year's race to go ahead as scheduled on Dec. 30 with carefully prepared coronavirus countermeasures in place. Covering 43.4 km in seven hilly stages starting at Fujisan Hongu Sengen shrine and ending at Fuji Sports Park Field, the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden brings together 24 of the best university womens teams and select teams from across the country every year. As conditions for the race to take place, there must not be a government-declared state of emergency, and the municipal governments of host cities Fujinomiya and Fuji must both give their consent. Neither any team that has had an athlete or staff member test positive for COVID-19 within a week before the race nor any team with a suspected infection on the day of the

Thirteen National Record Holders Lead National Corporate Track and Field Championships

Another week, another national championships on the track. This weekend it's the 68th National Corporate Track and Field Championships Friday through Sunday in Kumagaya, Saitama, bringing together the corporate leagues across events on its usual date but just ahead of a series of meets relocated from the spring and early summer including the National Track and Field Championships. Given everything that's happened to the calendar the field is higher-level than usual with seven national record holders, none of them the defending champion in their event. Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) leads the men's long jump with a 8.40 m NR, Haruka Kitaguchi (JAL) the women's javelin throw at 66.00 m, Kumiko Okada (Bic Camera) the women's 5000 m race walk in 20:42.24, Yusuke Suzuki (Fujitsu) the men's 5000 m race walk in 18:37.22, Asuka Terada (Pasona Group) the women's 100 m hurdles in 12.97, Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) the men's 100 m hurdles in 13.25, and Naoto T

Feb. 28 Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Canceled

With regard to the 12th running of the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon on Feb. 28, 2021, although we have pursued preparations to hold the race, in the interests of the health and safety of the runners and everyone else involved in the event, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis we have made the decision to cancel the race. As the race's organizing committee it is a great disappointment to have to cancel it for the third year in a row, but all we can do is hope for a resolution to the crisis soon so that we can return to putting on the best race possible. We will do everything in our power to make that happen and ask for your continuing support. Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Organizing Committee Translator's note: Iwaki is the twelfth Japanese marathon in the first three months of 2021 with over 5,000 finishers in its last edition to cancel so far. A breakdown of the current situation among Japan's 29 main marathons from October through December and 2021 marathon announcements

Government Proposal Calls for Non-Japanese Athletes to Go Through At Least Five COVID-19 Tests to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

On Sept. 15 the Japanese government announced its proposal for anti-coronavirus measures that would allow non-Japanese athletes wishing to compete at next summer's postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to enter the country. Along with at least five tests for COVID-19 prior to competition, foreign athletes must submit a detailed itinerary of their planned movements within the country and a written oath to abide by the submitted plan. Rules and consequences for dealing with violations are still under discussion. The complete proposal is expected to be presented at a government planning meeting next week. Under the proposal, the first test must be carried out less than 72 hours prior to departure and must return a negative result. Another test must be done at the airport upon arrival in Japan, another when entering the team's pre-Olympic base or host town, another when entering the Athletes' Village, and another before competing. Beyond these five tests, athletes wi

Revisiting the MGC Race

It's been a year since the Marathon Grand Championship race , Japan's trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games men's and women's teams. It's hard to believe it's only been a year. It seems like a different world now. The great racing, especially the men's race, the huge crowds along the course, the energy, the excitement, the anticipation of seeing Japan's best line up as legitimate contenders for medals on the streets of central Tokyo less than eleven months later. Everything may be different now, but it's worth revisiting that day now with a year's hindsight and seeing again what seemed at the time a sure sign of so many great things to come. © 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved