Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2020

Iwanaga Breaks 60+ Masters 10000 m World Record

At Saturday's Saga Long Distance Time Trials at Saga Sunrise Park Field, Aritacho resident Yoshitsugu Iwanaga , 60, ran 33:39.52 to break the 10000 m world record for the men's 60-64 age group. Running alongside athletes bound for the National High School Ekiden and New Year Ekiden his pace was fast from the start. Sustaining a pace around 3:20 per 1000 m, with a last surge he took over 18 seconds off the previous 60+ record of 33:57.6 set in 2013 by a British runner. "I haven't run that fast before so it was challenging, but I'm glad I was able to get the world record," Iwanaga said afterward. At age 50 when he broke the Japanese men's 50+ national record for 10000 m Iwanaga set out on an enthusiastic pursuit of a world record. In September he broke the 60+ world record for 3000 m and earlier this month did the same for the 5000 m world record, making this his third world record once the certification process is completed. Asked about his future goals I

Canceled 3 Years in a Row, Iwaki Sunshine Marathon Asks Fans Not to Forget It

Usually held every February, the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon has launched a new promotional video campaign featuring Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi and sumo wrestling comedian Akatsu . The campaign is promoting a new "alternate reality" event in place of the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon. By scanning QR codes installed along the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon course, participants can take pictures of themselves altered to look as though they are running in the race at that point on the course. Following a cancelation due to bad weather in 2019 and coronavirus cancelations of the 2020 and 2021 races, the goal of the campaign is ask the event's fans not to forget it. Kota Furuhashi of the event organizing committee explained, "All of us on the organizing committee hope that this will inspire people to take part in the real Sunshine Marathon the next time it's held." Noguchi commented, "Doing work on this project has been so much fun that I can

23-Year-Old Amateur Runner Kaito Iwasa Hoping for Breakthrough at Fukuoka International Marathon

A Chuo University team video from Iwasa's senior season last year. He turns up in the Ageo City Half Marathon clip starting at 1:42. Local Hiratsuka resident Kaito Iwasa , 23, will run the 74th Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec 6. With the number of entrants limited to a select few due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Iwasa earned the right to stand on the starting line by meeting the strict qualifying standards. "Fast times will come later," he said. "Before anything else I just want to enjoy this one." Iwasa graduated from Kasugano J.H.S. and Oiso H.S. He attended Chuo University. where he was part of the ekiden team. After graduating from Chuo this year he started working at a local company in April, training all the while for next spring's Tokyo Marathon. When Tokyo was postponed until next October due to the coronavirus crisis, he started looking for another race he could run and heard that Fukuoka would be happening.  In March this year Iwasa ra

National Championships Long Distance Entry Lists (updated)

The JAAF has announced the entry lists for the long distance events for this year's rescheduled National Track and Field Championships , to be held Dec. 4 at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. The program features men's and women's 5000 m, 10000 m and 3000 m steeplechase, with two heats of men's 10000 m due to the large number of entries. The defending national champs in five events, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu, 5000 m), Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko, 10000 m), Ryohei Sakaguchi (SGH Group, 3000 mSC), Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post, 10000 m), and Reimi Yoshimura (Daito Bunka Univ., 3000mSC), are all entered. After initially announcing her entry, women's 5000 m national champion  Tomoka Kimura  (Shiseido) is an early scratch following disastrous runs at both major fall ekidens. Due to the one-day schedule doubling would be very unlikely, but that hasn't stopped men's 5000 m and marathon national record holder  Suguru Osako  (Nike) from entering both the 5000 m an

Wanjiku and Yegon Go Sub-27:40 - Long Weekend Track Roundup

As everyone tunes up for the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden, New Yeark Ekiden and Hakone Ekiden, Saturday's Hachioji Long Distance meet was the main event. But it wasn't the biggest meet of the long weekend, and it didn't produce the fastest men's 10000 m time. Both of those claims went to Monday's Kanto Region University Time Trials meet at Sagamihara Gion Stadium in rural Kanagawa. With ten heats of men's 10000 m and one women's 10000 m on the program, the seventh heat saw Musashino University first-year Charles Kamau Wanjiku improbably solo the second-fastest time ever by a student at a Japanese university, 27:30.09. Wanjiku's time put him 5 seconds ahead of Hachioji fast heat winner Justus Soget (Honda) and almost two laps ahead of runner-up Yuichiro Ono (Teikyo Univ.). Heat 9 was supposed to have been the main event at the Kanto meet, and although it lost a bit of flair to Wanjiku's incredible run, fourth-year Gaku Hoshi (Teikyo Univ.) ran a

Japan Post Breaks Queens Ekiden Course Record to Win Second-Straight National Title

The 2020 Queens Ekiden , the season-ending national championships race for Japan's corporate women, was about as good an example as you could ask for of why it takes an entire team to win a top-level ekiden, not just a couple of star runners. Princess Ekiden qualifying race winner Sekisui Kagaku hoped that the addition of middle distance national champion Ran Urabe and half marathon national record holder Hitomi Niiya to its roster would be enough to knock out defending champ Japan Post and take its first-ever national title. Over the first half of the six-stage, 42.195 km race things went according to plan, leading runner Sayaka Sato putting Sekisui Kagaku in 3rd, Urabe moving them up to 2nd, and Niiya delivering a 33:20 course record for the 10.9 km Third Stage, splitting 30:31 for 10 km en route, taking 1:10 off the CR and putting Sekisui 55 seconds out front. Japan Post stayed steady after losing the leading position that its first runner Ririka Hironaka had given it, st

Justus Soget 27:35.57 to Lead 2020 Hachioji Long Distance

In what looked to have been his official 10000 m debut, Justus Soget (Honda) survived constant turnover to take the top spot in the fastest heat at this year's Hachioji Long Distance meet, winning it in 27:35.57. With everyone focused on getting ready for January's New Year Ekiden and Hakone Ekiden, 15 other men followed him under 28 minutes in the same heat. Among them, Shinobu Kubota (Toyota) following up his comeback run at last week's Chubu Region Corporate Ekiden with a 27:55.07 for 14th, his first time under 28 in six years..  Justus Soget being interviewed by JRN's Mika Tokairin post-race. Two other men went sub-28 in the previous heat, Silas Kingori (Hiramatsu Byoin) leading the way in 27:49.38. Kubota was the only Japanese man to go under 28, but nine others were under 28:15 including collegians Shunya Kikuchi (Josai Univ.), 5th behind Kingori in 28:08.25, and Shoya Kawase (Kogakkan Univ.), 21st in the fast heat in 28:10.41. Along with the 18 men to brea

Takaku Withdraws from Fukuoka International Marathon

On Nov. 20 the organizers of the Dec. 6 Fukuoka International Marathon announced that invited athlete Ryu Takaku (Yakult), the fastest man in the field with a PB of 2:06:45 from this year's Tokyo Marathon, has withdrawn. The statement said Takaku is suffering fasciitis of the adductor longus muscle in his right thigh. source articles: translated and edited by Brett Larner

38 Heats of 10000 m, Hachioji, Queens and More - Long Weekend Preview

It's another big weekend on the track and roads. Two weeks out from the National Track and Field Championships long distance segment, the top tier of men not racing there will be at the Hachioji Long Distance Meet in Tokyo's western suburbs for nine heats of men's 10000 m. The whole meet is being livestreamed for the first time starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday Japan time, with JRN's Mika Tokairin MCing a commentary crew that includes track and ekiden great Tsuyoshi Ugachi . The B-heat is the main event, with 22 of the top Japan-based Kenyans on the list including Richard Kimunyan Yator (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Andrew Lorot (Subaru). With only one stage at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships open to non-citizens, many of the Kenyans will be squaring off against their corporate sponsor teammates so coaches can make an informed decision about who gets to run come Jan. 1. Interesting Japanese entrants include #1 collegiate half marathoner Shoya Kawase (Koga

'Winners of This Year’s Sofia Marathon Suspended from All Racing for Doping' In the women's race , Japan's Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) finished 4th behind provisionally suspended winner Viktoriia Khapilina of Ukraine. Pending Khapilina's conviction Yamaguchi stands to be moved up to 3rd. photos © 2020 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved

Top Hakone Schools Hold Joint 20 km Time Trial in Place of Ageo City Half

2020 Hakone Ekiden 3rd-placer Koku Gakuin University , 4th-place Teikyo University and 15th-place Hosei University held a joint 20 km time trial in Chiba on Nov. 14. Toyo University star fourth-year Kazuya Nishiyama also took part, winning in 58:53. Teikyo fourth-year Sora Masuda was next in 59:35, with Hosei second-year Yuki Kawakami 3rd in 59:37. Before and after the time trial each team operated independently as a team, taking appropriate measures against coronavirus infection. The time trial itself let runners from each school push each other and gave a real sense of actual competition. Afterward Teikyo head coach Takayuki Nakano , 57, commented, "Just because you've done the training it doesn't mean there will be a race. We have to remember to be grateful for the opportunities we have. And that we're all friends." Saitama's Ageo City Half Marathon, one of the most important races in the buildup to the Hakone Ekiden, was originally scheduled for No

Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Canceled

With regard to the possibility of the 59th Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon being held as scheduled on Feb. 14, 2021, the organizing committee has considered the issue carefully while listening to the voices of all those involved. Despite popular support for the event to go ahead, after consulting with infectious disease experts and medical personnel concerning the coronavirus and hearing their opinion that the situation with regard to infections is expected to become worse, we have come to the conclusion that it would be difficult to put on the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon while preserving the safety of the runners, medical personnel and volunteers. As such we have unfortunately made the decision to cancel next year's race. We are sorry for the disappointment this will cause to everyone who had been looking forward to the race but ask for your understanding. We hope that the situation improves and that we can once again put on our event in the years to come. Thank you for your sup

Yoshii and Ito Run Stellar Junior Marks at Nittai Time Trials

The 281st Nittai University Time Trial s in suburban Yokohama were the biggest track action of the weekend. In Saturday's men's 10000 m A-heat, Hitachi Butsuryu teammates Richard Kimunyan Yator and Jonathan Ndiku went head to head in hopes of showing their coach who's in better shape to run the international stage at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden. With the thousands of dollars in income that can mean to whoever gets picked on the line, Kimunyan, who set a PB and MR of 27:01.42 in winning September's National Corporate Championships, and Ndiku, who ran a PB 27:07.29 to win September's Tokai University Time Trials, went right to the end. Kimunyan got there first in 27:01.74, Ndiku less than a step behind in a PB 27:01.95. Good luck to their coach in picking who to go with for January's main event. A lap back, 18-year-old Chuo University first-year Yamato Yoshii added to this season's U20 Japanese national record 13:28.31 for 5000 m and Asian U20 half marat

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

This weekend saw four major ekidens across the country, with Kansai region university men wrapping their seasons in Kyoto and New Year Ekiden qualification coming to a close for corporate men. At Saturday's Tango University Ekiden , the Kansai region university championships, two-time defending champ Ritsumeikan University got off to a slow start, only 3rd on the lead stage but getting back on track thanks to a 24:29 CR on the 7.7 km Second Stage by Kohei Okada to take the top spot. Ritsumeikan never looked back from there, taking four of the remaining five stages to make it three in a row in 3:34:32. Kwansei Gakuin University , Biwako University , Kyoto University and Kyoto Sangyo University battled it out for 2nd, Kwansei Gakuin ultimately coming out on top in 3:38:14 and Biwako Gakuin, which made its National University Ekiden debut earlier this month, 3rd in 3:40:25. Sunday saw the last four corporate regions run their New Year Ekiden national championship qualifiers, t

Rescheduled Shonan International Marathon Cut Back to 25 km Over Coronavirus Fears

For the half year to go until we attempt to hold the 15th Shonan International Marathon in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we have set two unique factors, the "possibility of staging" and "event distance," to help in determining the likelihood that the event will be able to go forward. Initially we had planned to announce the "event distance" on Dec. 10, the deadline for our final decision with regard to the "possibility of staging." However, the demands of the era necessitate more time than originally anticipated in order to make preparations for the race to go ahead. As a result, we would like to make an early announcement about the "event distance." With no vaccine or specific treatment yet available, the number of people infected with the coronavirus is on the climb. Faced by the difficulty of assessing the current situation's development, the overwhelming majority of marathons across the country chose to cancel their ev

Sapporo Unveils 2021 Hakone Ekiden Black Label Beer Can

Sapporo Beer, a division of Sapporo Holdings, Ltd., will begin selling its limited edition Sapporo Black Label Beer 2021 Hakone Ekiden commemorative can on Dec. 1 at stores nationwide and in its online shop. The can's design features the 21 tasuki of all 20 university teams scheduled to compete and the Kanto Student Alliance select team. The Hakone Ekiden began in the Taisho era, and in its 96 runnings to date it has grown to become a Japanese New Year tradition nationwide. For two days serious ekiden fans and casual viewers alike are captivated by the wholehearted running of 210 young men competing for the honor of their school colors and passing on the tasuki that embodies each of them's hard work, hopes and dreams. In honor of the Hakone Ekiden's 97th running, Sapporo will also present 97 people chosen by lottery with a special Sapporo Beer Commemorative Set. A proud sponsor of the Hakone Ekiden since 1987, in releasing this product alongside the race Sapporo hopes to c

Osaka International Women's Marathon to Be Held Jan 31 With Limited Field

On Nov. 11 the organizers of the Osaka International Women's Marathon announced that the race's 40th anniversary running will take place on Jan. 31, 2021. Along with strict anti-coronavirus health check requirements for all participants, the field size will be limited by tightening Osaka's usual sub-3:10 qualifying standard to sub-2:50. Fans, supporters and locals will also be asked to watch the race on TV instead of turning out to cheer courseside.  A spokesperson for the organizing committee commented, "We expect the sub-2:50 qualifying time to reduce the field size from about 500 to around 100. We had originally planned to have more runners for the race, but we hope that people can understand the necessity of these restrictions. We hope that the race will show greater than ever unity in women's marathoning and its willingness to take on the challenges leading to the Olympics." The domestic invited elite athlete field is scheduled to be announced in late

JAAF Study of 787 Races Held Since July Finds One Case of Someone Contracting COVID-19

On Nov. 9 on its website the JAAF published the results of a research report looking at 787 races and track meets nationwide held during the period from July 1, when competitions resumed following months of cancelations and postponements in the early days of the coronavirus crisis, through Oct. 4. The report documented only one case of someone who was involved in one of the races contracting COVID-19 in the two weeks following the event they attended. The study surveyed 53 organizations including the JAAF and corporate and collegiate league governing bodies. As of Nov. 6, 47 of the groups had returned responses. A total of 571,401 athletes and 98,035 officials and staff took part in the 787 races covered by the survey. 529 of those events were held without spectators, and JAAF guidelines specify safety measures such as simplified opening ceremonies and race staff wearing masks and goggles when assisting struggling athletes. source article:

Kamimura Gakuen Girls Break Own CR by 28 Seconds - National High School Ekiden Qualification Weekend Roundup

With the National High School Ekiden Championships looking like a go for Dec. 20 at this point, the main action across Japan this weekend came in prefectural high school ekiden championships. In each of Japan's 47 prefectures boys typically raced 42.195 km in seven stages and girls 21.0975 km in five stages, with the top-placing boys' team and top girls' team in the prefectural race set to go on to represent their prefecture at Nationals. Not every prefecture held its qualifying race this weekend or just before, but among those that did here's a quick rundown on the winners. In Hiroshima , the video above, due to the coronavirus crisis the race was held on a 400 m track instead of its regular road course. The Sera H.S. boys and girls both won, the boys winning the prefectural title for the 17th year in a row and the girls for the 15th. Both teams last won the national title in 2015, when the boys set the still-standing Nationals course record of 2:01:18, but at last

Runner Hit By Car During Nagasaki Prefecture High School Ekiden

On Nov. 6 during the Nagasaki Prefecture High School Ekiden, a senior at Keiho H.S.  competing in the boys' race was struck by a car. The athlete was taken to a local hospital but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. According to race organizers, the car was a private vehicle that struck the boy from behind after entering the course.   source article: translated by Brett Larner

2021 Nagano Marathon to Happen April 18th With Field of 8,000 But No International Entries

The 23rd Nagano Marathon will go ahead as scheduled on Apr. 18, 2021, employing trial coronavirus countermeasures. To comply with government directives on crowd density the field will be limited to 8,000 participants. On a first-come first-served basis priority will be given to runners who entered the canceled 22nd edition of the race.  All entrants are asked to monitor their health closely and to stay home if they feel unwell in the time leading up to the race. This event cannot be held without the help and cooperation of every participant in the field in making sure it goes off smoothly. Thank you for your understanding.  We are sorry to inform you that the Nagano Marathon Organizing Committee will not accept foreign entries for the 23rd Nagano Marathon, considering that the future for the relaxation of immigration restrictions is uncertain due to COVID-19. We sincerely apologize to those who were looking forward to the race. Priority entry for foreign runners entered in the 22nd Na

2021 Hakone Ekiden to Officially Go Ahead

To everyone concerned, we wish you all the best in the midst of this fine late autumnal weather. We also extend our deepest gratitude for your continued support of the work of the Inter-University Athletics Union of Kanto (KGRR). After careful discussion, the KGRR is pleased to announce that the 97th Hakone Ekiden will be held as scheduled on Jan. 2 and 3, 2021 under the provisions of the JAAF's coronavirus era road racing guidelines. Since its first running in 1920 the Hakone Ekiden has earned the dedicated support of fans and local residents, and despite the interruption of the Pacific War its tasuki has been handed on through 96 editions to date. In its 97th running the Hakone Ekiden will face the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus crisis. We will take every step possible to hold the race safely, in accordance with JAAF guidelines and with the consultation and advice of top scientific experts in infections disease control. Your passionate support for the athletes wil

April's Yaizu Minato Half Marathon Canceled

Scheduled for next April, the Yaizu Minato Half Marathon , one of the major spring university half marathons, has been canceled. The event's organizing committee had studied approaches that would enable them to hold the race as planned on April 11, 2021, but with goal of preventing the spread of the coronavirus in mind, it was determined that it would be a challenge to ensure the safety and security of runners, race officials, and local residents cheering along the course. It is the second year in a row that the event has been canceled.   source article: translated by Brett Larner

Asahi Kasei and Fujitsu Win Regional Qualifiers for New Year Ekiden

Regional qualifying for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships got started on the Nov. 3 holiday with the Kyushu Corporate Men's Ekiden in Kitakyushu and the East Japan Corporate Men's Ekiden in Kumagaya. Starting last year Kyushu had already switched to a loop course, but as a measure against the coronavirus crisis East Japan was also held on a loop courses at a park instead of its usual road course. In Kyushu, four-time national champion Asahi Kasei led almost start to finish after a good 36:55 run on the 12.9 km opening leg by Keijiro Mogi . The only flaw came on the 7.0 km Second Stage, where Asahi Kasei fell to 5th as Kenyan Robert Kipchirchir Mwei ran only 19:39, over a minute slower than stage winner Benard Kibet Koech 's smoking 18:28 stage record. Koech was 29 seconds up on both the old record and 2nd-place on the stage to put the  Kyudenko  team into 1st. But a stage record-breaking debut from Akira Aizawa on the Third Stage p