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Showing posts from September, 2021

'This 66-Year-Old Paralympian, Who Broke 3:30 in the Marathon in Tokyo, Is Ready for New Goals' A story by JRN's Brett Larner  for Runner's World about Tokyo Paralympics marathoner Mihoko Nishijima , with quotes from guide runner  Haruka Yamaguchi  and coach Kyohei Yasuda . photo © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Nov. 7 Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon to Go Ahead

On Sept. 28 the city government of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi made a final decision to go ahead with this year's Shimoseki Kaikyo Marathon on Nov. 7 after canceling the race last year. The city had been debating whether to hold the race as the coronavirus pandemic continues, but as infection cases decline and vaccination has seen widespread acceptance across the country, the race's organizing committee made the determination that circumstances now allow them to stage the event.  Participants will receive an antigen testing kit and are to perform a test within 24 hours prior to the race. They will also be required to take commonsense precautions like wearing masks in the start and finish areas. Tokyo Paralympics women's blind division marathon gold medalist Misato Michishita  will appear as a special guest. A spokesperson for the organizing committee commented, "We want to put on a truly safe and secure marathon where, more than just a finish time, people will have an u

Weekend(s) Track Roundup

Track time trial meets are a fact of life in the Japanese system, running all the way through the fall up to championship ekiden season in December. And with the conservative response to the pandemic in Japan in terms of road race cancelation, that's gone even longer, pretty much through the end of the academic and fiscal year in March. But this weekend did have the last major full track meet of the season, the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. But before we get to that, last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama produced one major result that has to be mentioned. With Saturday's usual program of everything except men's 5000 m moving to the public holiday on Monday, Joseph Lemeteki Razini  (Takushoku Univ.) took two seconds off the Japanese 10000 m collegiate record, winning in 27:25.65 over Jonathan Ndiku  (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Ledama Kisaisa  (Kanebo). The previous record of 27:27.64 was set by

Berlin Marathon Japanese Results

Hidekazu Hijikata  (Honda), 2nd at February's Lake Biwa Marathon in 2:06:26, went out in the 2nd pack that included eventual runner-up Bethwel Yegon  (Yegon). Hitting halfway on national record pace just 15 seconds off his half marathon PB in 1:02:17, by 25 km Hijikata was in free-fall. his 5 km splits going from the 14-min range to 15, to 16, and finally to 17:11. He ultimately finished 9th in 2:11:47. Kazuki Muramoto  (Sumitomo Denko) and Taku Fujimoto  (Toyota) were initially in the same group with Yegon and Hijikata but only lasted 10 km before backing off together. Muramoto, 11th in Lake Biwa in 2:07:36, dropped further back, but after getting caught by top German Philipp Pflieger  he tacked on and regained ground. With 3 km to go he passed Fujimoto, the 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner, finishing 14th in 2:14:11. Fujimoto was 15th in 2:14:18, 43 seconds up on Pflieger. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

National Corporate Track and Field Championships Entry Lists and Streaming

Japan's never-ending outdoor track season rolls on this weekend with its last major meet, the 69th edition of the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Nagai Stadium. Running Friday through Sunday, the entry lists are heavy on members of the Tokyo Olympic team including men's 20 km race walk silver medalist Koki Ikeda  and bronze medalist Toshikazu Yamanishi , and three of the four members of Japan's 4x100 m relay team, national record holder Ryota Yamagata , Shuhei Tada , and Yuki Koike . The meet will be streamed live on the organizers' Youtube channel , with streaming scheduled for 17:00~19:00 local time Friday, 13:20~19:00 Saturday, and 13:10~18:00 Sunday. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Yoshimura and Ito Set New Collegiate Records on Last Day of National University Track and Field Championships

The 90th National University Track and Field Championships wrapped up Sunday under sunny skies and late-summer temps in Kumagaya, Saitama. Already the U20 and meet record holder in the women's 3000 m steeplechase, Reimi Yoshimura  (Daito Bunka Univ.) broke both the meet and collegiate national records with a solo 9:41.43 for the win. Yoshimura just edged Yuno Yamanaka  (Ehime Ginko), who ran 9:41.84 in June, out of the 2nd-fastest Japanese ever position, and with two women now within 8 seconds of Minori Hayakari 's 9:33.93 it feels like there's a legit shot at a new national record on the horizon. The men's 3000 mSC was uneventful, with national record holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) turning in a perfunctory 8:32.47 for the win, 4 seconds off the meet record he set last year during his first collegiate season. Another collegiate record came in the men's triple jump courtesy of another U20 national record holder. Riku Ito  (Kinki Univ.) jumped 17.00 m (+1.3) on

Fukuoka Women Break 4x100 m Collegiate Record on Second Day of National University Track and Field Championships

On-and-off rain and wind from the typhoon passing to the south meant unstable conditions on the second day of the 90th National University Track and Field Championships in Kumagaya, Saitama, some people lucking out and others out of luck.  With Tokyo Olympian  Mei Kodama  running 2nd, the  Fukuoka University women broke the 4x100 m relay meet record of 44.59 set three years ago by  Nittai University . Fukuoka ran 44.51 for the win, not only clearing the old meet record but also going under the collegiate record of 44.56. Runner-up Ritsumeikan University  was almost a second behind in 45.49. Kodama also won the 100 m final in 11.51 (+0.5), 0.16 off the individual meet record she set last year. In his first-round heat NR holder and Olympic team member  Shunsuke Izumiya (Juntendo Univ.) crushed the 110 m hurdles meet record of 13.67 that had stood since 2001, clocking 13.44 (+0.1). His teammate and Olympic alternate Rachid Muratake  (Juntendo Univ.) did the same in his heat, going unde

Suzuki Breaks 10000 m Meet Record at National University Track and Field Championships

The 90th National University Track and Field Championships kicked off Friday at Saitama's Kumagaya Sports Park Field. The biggest result came in the women's 10000 m ,, where favorite Yuka Suzuki  (Daito Bunka Univ.) soloed a 32:04.58 meet record for the win, taking 19 seconds off the previous record set in 2003 by Emi Ikeda . 2nd-placer Rinka Hida  (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was the only other runner under 33 minutes at 32:56.71,  Yui Komatsu  (Matsuyama Univ.) 3rd in 33:01.16. Kenyans swept the top four spots in the men's 10000 m . Pre-race favorite Charles Kamau Wanjiku  (Musashino Univ.) faded mid-race to leave it to come down to a sprint finish between James Bunuka  (Surugadai Univ.) and Philip Muluwa  (Soka Univ.). Bunuka took the win in 27:58.60, less than 6 seconds off the meet record, Muluwa 2nd in 28:00.36 and Wanjiku 3rd in 28:29.48. Sota Ueda (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) unexpectedly took the top Japanese spot at 5th in 28:52.63, beating all his Kanto-region rivals. Haruko

National University Track and Field Championships Preview

September's always a bit of an odd part of the season on the never-ending Japanese race calendar, with the collegiate and corporate leagues squeezing in their national track and field championships between summer base mileage in Hokkaido and the start of ekiden season. This weekend it's the National University Track and Field Championships in its 90th edition, running Friday through Sunday at Kumagaya Sports Park Field in Saitama. Streaming will be available throughout the weekend at the Youtube link above, with meet schedule and live results available here . Coming just over a month after the end of the Tokyo Olympics, the entry list features eight athletes who competed for Japan at its home soil Games and another three who were alternates. On the women's side, 4x100 m relay team members Mei Kodama (Fukuoka Univ.), Yu Ishikawa (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.), Hanae Aoyama (Konan Univ.), Ami Saito (Osaka Seikei Univ.) and alternate Aiko Iki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) are all entered b

Hattori Reflects on Tokyo 2020

A native of Tokamachi, Niigata, Tokyo Olympics men's marathon team member Yuma Hattori  sat for an interview on Sept. 13 about his thoughts on  his Olympic race and the future. "After every race up to this point, no matter what, I always felt that I'd lost to myself, that I hadn't been able to beat myself when I looked back at it afterward," he said. "At the Olympics this time my results where what they were, but I think this is the only race I've run where I can say that I defeated myself."  At the Olympics, Hattori ran in the lead group until mid-race. Then, announcers made the call: "Hattori is losing touch." Right around halfway he started to fall back from the leaders. "At around 22 or 23 km it felt like my footstrikes were getting heavier," he recalled. "Normally I'd try to stay with someone who was passing me and to match their rhythm, but I couldn't even do that, so I knew something was wrong." The tempe

Tokyo-Area Qualifier for National University Women's Ekiden Canceled

a press release from the event organizers, the KGRR As the weather shifts to the pleasantness of early autumn we send you our warmest greetings, and we thank you all for your continued support of the KGRR's activities. After careful discussion with the host city of Inzai, Chiba, we have made the decision to cancel the 27th Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden.  As this race serves to select the greater Tokyo area's representative teams at October's 39th National University Women's Ekiden, we will instead hold a selection event as per the details below, without spectators and following all the COVID-19 protocols outlined in the JAAF's "Guidance for Resuming Athletics Competition." Please be aware that depending on the status of the pandemic this event may also be canceled. We ask for your understanding and cooperation with this decision. Kanto Region Selection Event for 39th National University Women's Ekiden Date:  Saturday, Sept. 29, 2021 Locat

Kikutani 4th in Vienna

Kento Kikutani  (Toyota Boshoku) added a bit of drama to the Vienna City Marathon even before the disqualification of its original winner. 9th at February's record-breaking Lake Biwa Marathon in a PB of 2:07:26, Kikutani was the only one of the four Japanese men in Vienna to go with the lead pack. He stayed with them well into the second half before dropping off, but as the lead quartet slowed to set up for the last kick he came back, just making contact with the back of the group before the move came. Kikutani went into fourth, but with less than 2 km to go he suddenly stopped, walked, and then appeared to stretch out a cramp of other issue.  He dropped back to 5th by the time he made it across the line in 2:10:37, still good enough for the fastest time by a Japanese man overseas since Kenta Murayama 's 2:08:56 at the 2019 Berlin Marathon. It was a promising start to the post-Tokyo 2020 continuum. When initial winner Derara Hurisa  (Ethiopia) was disqualified for wearing non

Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Favorable Toward Survival of Track at Olympic Stadium

Speaking on Sept. 7 regarding the future uses of the New National Stadium built for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Koichi Hagiuda  indicated he is favorable toward the survival of the stadium's athletics track. In comments following a Cabinet meeting, Hagiuda said, "I think maintaining and using it in its current form as part of the Games' legacy would gain the most approval from the general public. We need to immediately discuss the question of whether a massive amount of money should be spent to convert the stadium to be used exclusively for ball sports." In 2017 the government had made the decision to remove the track following the Olympics and Paralympics and to dedicate the stadium to ball sports, but it now appears more likely that the stadium will continue to have dual use for both athletics and ball sports. Hagiuda had previously expressed support for the idea, saying last October, "O

Oct. 17 Tokyo Marathon Set to Cancel Due to Extension of State of Emergency

With the government set to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of the country, as of Sept. 6 it is all but certain that the Oct. 17 Tokyo Marathon will be canceled.  The published guidelines for the 2021 race state, "In the event that a state of emergency has been issued one month prior to the event as part of the government's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, or if the local government has issued a request not to hold the race, the Tokyo Marathon will be canceled." The current state of emergency in Tokyo runs through Sept. 12, but as it is expected to be extended 2~3 weeks it will still be in force on the 17th. This makes the chances that the Tokyo Marathon will go ahead virtually non-existent. The event's organizers, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, plan to hold a board meeting in mid-September to make a final decision. The 2021 Tokyo Marathon was originally scheduled for Mar. 7, but in October last year in light of pandemic conditions the

Japan Wins Three Marathon Medals to Cap Tokyo Paralympics

After coming up empty-handed last month in the Sapporo Olympic marathons, Japan scored three marathon medals on the streets of Tokyo proper at today's final day of the Tokyo Paralympic Games . The T54 men's wheelchair marathon was the first race off the line, followed ten minutes later by the T54 women's wheelchair marathon and another ten minutes later by the men's and women's T12/T46 marathons. As cold rain started to pour down just as the race began, Swiss favorite Marcel Hug  went head-to-heat with surprise challenger Yong Zhang  of China in the T54 men's race. The pair steadily built a lead over the rest of the field until Hug, showing frustration at Zhang's refusal to lead, broke away on the series of hills just after 40 km to take gold in 1:24:02 to Zhang's 1:24:22. American Daniel Romanchuk  took the top spot in the chase pack, beating Canada's Brent Lakatos , who had trouble on a corner and lost ground early in the race, by 13 seconds for br

Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Nine Japanese Results

Day nine of Tokyo Paralympics athletics action brought the Games' final sessions on the track and the field in Tokyo's National Stadium. In the T20 men's long jump,   Kanta Kokubo  opened with a solid 7.01 m (+0.6) that immediately put him into 3rd place. But in the second round Australian Nicholas Hum  jumped  7.09 m (+0.6) to bump Kokubo down to 4th. Unable to improve on his opening attempt, Kokubo found himself still in 4th at the end of the competition.   World record holder and defending gold medalist Abdul Latif Romly  of Malaysia won gold with a second-round jump of 7.45 m (+0.6) before an injury on his fifth attempt forced him to withdraw. Greece's Athanasios Prodromou took silver with a jump of 7.17 m (+0.7), Hum improving to 7.12 m (+0.4) but staying in the bronze position. A member of Japan's bronze medal-winning universal relay team yesterday, Kengo Oshima  doubled back today in the T64 men's 200 m final.  Oshima ran 23.62, 8th of eight in the fin

Oya Silver, Universal Relay Bronze - Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Eight Japanese Results

After a few days without hardware, Japan picked up two medals on the eighth day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympic Games . In the T52 men's 100 m final, Yuki Oya  ran 17.18 to take silver, 0.19 behind gold medalist Raymond Martin  of the U.S.A. and beating bronze medalist Leonardo de Jesus Perez Juarez  by 0.26.  Another medal came in the first edition of the 4x100 m universal relay. Initially finishing 4th of four teams in the final, the Japanese team was elevated to bronze when original runners-up China  were disqualified. The United States set a world record 45.52 for gold, with Great Britain  moving up to silver in 47.50 following China's DQ. Japan clocked 47.98 to pick up the bronze. In the T20 women's 1500 m all three Japanese athletes made the final, Anju Furuya  4th in 4:38.58, Sayaka Makita  6th in 4:54.60 and Moeko Yamamoto 7th in 4:55.03. Barbara Bieganowska-Zając of Poland won gold in 4:27.84, Furuya finishing just over 3 seconds behind br

Tokyo Paralympics Expands Efforts to Discourage People From Going to Watch Sunday's Marathon

Meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 3, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee called for people not to come watch the Paralympic marathons set to be run on the major streets of central Tokyo on Sept. 5, the final day of the Tokyo Paralympics. With the continued spread of the coronavirus, the organizing committee said that it will employ a force of 4500 staff members to ensure the marathons are conducted safely. Starting and finishing at the Olympic Stadium, the marathon course is a tour of central Tokyo's main attractions, including the Imperial Palace and Kaminarimon in Asakusa. Organizers are concerned about the potential for dense crowds along the course and as part of their measures will employ 100 staff members with signs who will actively patrol and ask people to go home. Another 1600 staff members wearing signs saying "Please do not watch the race" will be positioned in stationary locations.  Main operations chief Hidemasa Nakamura  said that the organi

Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Seven Japanese Results

Rain throughout the day made for cool but slick conditions on the seventh day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympics . In the women's T63 long jump, national record holder Tomomi Tozawa  had trouble hitting her takeoff, delivering four big umps over 5 m but narrowly fouling each time. Only safety jumps on her 3rd and 6th attempts got her on the board, her closing jump of 4.39 m (-0.3) enough for 4th overall but leaving her crying afterward at not having been able to deliver on her potential when it most counted.  Kaede Maegawa  was 5th with a jump of 4.23 m (+1.0) on her 4th attempt. All three medalists cleared 5 m, with Australian winner Vanessa Low  dropping a world record 5.28 m (+0.2) on her final attempt for the win. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

2022 Nagoya Women’s Marathon to be Held With Full Field of 22,000

a press release from the Nagoya Women's Marathon organizers The Nagoya Women’s Marathon is pleased to announce its plan to hold the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2022 with 22,000 participants, on the same scale as before the COVID-19 pandemic started, in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday, March 13, 2022. Launched in 2012, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon is the world’s largest women’s marathon and the only women’s race granted a World Athletics Platinum Label.   The event hosted 21,436 runners in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it only staged an elite race with 110 athletes in 2020. The 2021 race was held as the first mass participation road race in Japan since the COVID-19 pandemic started and welcomed 4,704 domestic runners. A post-event investigation found no cases of infection among event participants within two weeks after race day.  The 2021 race was recognized for setting an example of ‘new-normal’ distance racing with all suitable measures against infection delivered and the advice of

Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Six Japanese Results

Momoka Muraoka  was the only Japanese athlete in action in the finals on the sixth day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympics . A quintuple medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics including a gold in the women's sitting giant slalom, Muraoka made her summer Paralympic debut in the T54 100 m partly out of sense of staleness and frustration with para-skiing. Making it to the final, she placed 6th out of eight in 16.71, 0.38 behind bronze medalist Cheri Madsen  of the U.S.A. Muraoka will have a quick turnaround to the 2022 Beijing Paralympics just over six months away. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Wada Wins T11 1500 m Silver - Tokyo Paralympics Athletics Day Five Japanese Results

Rain ahead of an approaching cold front brought a different dynamic to the fifth day of track and field competition at the Tokyo Paralympic Games .  In the T11 men's 1500 m final, Brazil's Yeltsin Jacques  set a world record 3:57.60 to add the gold to his 5000 m win. Japan's Shinya Wada  moved up from the bronze medal position in the 5000 m to take silver in 4:05.27, with 5000 m silver medalist Kenya Karasawa  bumped down to 4th by Russian Fyodor Rudakov , 4:05.55 to 4:08.84. In the T36 men's 400 m final, Takeru Matsumoto  was 7th in 59.15. Aimi Toyama  was also 7th in the T20 women's 400 m, building on her qualifying round performance with a time of 59.90.  Tomoki Suzuki  was 9th in the T54 men's 1500 m in 2:53.60, less than 3 seconds out of the medals in a tight pack race.  © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved