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Showing posts from March, 2022

Kobe Marathon Plans to Return This November Without International Entries

Canceled for the last two years amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the organizing committee of the Kobe Marathon announced on Mar. 30 that the race will return for its tenth running on Nov. 20 with a field of 20,000 entrants. Entries open in mid-June, with 1500 spots reserved for people who failed to get into the entry lottery for the last five consecutive editions. The race will be run on its traditional course starting in front of Kobe City Hall, turning around on the west side of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and finishing at Port Island. As measures to reduce crowding, starting corrals will be increased from 13 to 20 and more drink stations will be added. As per JAAF guidelines, spectators will be discouraged from cheering for the runners along the course, but viewing stations will be set up in parks located on the course. Michiaki Yoshii , chair of the organizing committee and head of the Hyogo Prefecture Athletics Association, said, "We hope that this will be the first step in b

Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2022 Staged Safely During Omicron Surge

a press release by the Nagoya Women's Marathon organizers The largest women’s marathon in the world and the only all-women World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2022 was held on Sunday, March 13. Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya won the race in a new event record of 2:17:18.  Nagoya has been hosting the marathon every year during the COVID-19 pandemic while placing top priority on safety and security, with 110 elite participants in 2020 and 4,704 domestic elite and mass-participation runners in 2021 . This year, a total of 8,698 elite and amateur runners ran the race and filled the streets of Nagoya with colorful running outfits.  The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2022 became the highest-paying road race in the world with its increased first prize of $250,000 USD. The fact that the largest prize in marathon running would be given to women rather than men gathered global attention. The proud winner was Chepngetich, who dominated the competition in the six

JAAF Names Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Teams for Oregon World Championships and Hangzhou Asian Games

The JAAF held a press conference today to announce the Japanese men's and women's marathon teams for this year's Oregon World Championships and Hangzhou Asian Games. As usual there were a few surprises in the choices, but overall the lineups were free of controversial decisions. National record holder and JMC Series I champ Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) leads the men's team for Oregon, with 2022 Osaka Marathon winner Gaku Hoshi (Konica Minolta) and 2022 Beppu-Oita Marathon winner Yusuke Nishiyama (Toyota) named to the other two spots. Both Hoshi and Nishiyama won in their debuts, Hoshi in a debut NR of 2:07:31 and Nishiyama in 2:07:47, making for an unusually inexperienced team. But with Paris 2024 just around the corner this is their chance to get that experience. In a double surprise, JMC #2-ranked Japanese man Kyohei Hosoya (Kurosaki Harima), 2:06:35 for 3rd at Lake Biwa and 2nd in Fukuoka last year, was picked for the Asian Games team, and Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nih

Lake Saroma 100 km Canceled Due to Pandemic

At the current time the number of coronavirus cases is on the decline across Japan, and bright signs have begun to appear on the road toward a resumption of normal activity. But in Hokkaido infections remain a serious issue, and with a resumption of activity a resurgence in numbers due to the increased movement and interaction of people can be expected. As such, it is almost impossible to foresee an end to the pandemic. The Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon is an event that brings together thousands of runners from across the country as well as over 2,000 local junior high, high school and university students, volunteers and race staff. With new variants of the virus remaining an ongoing concern, the organizing committee has determined that it would not be possible to stage the race this year in a way that would be safe for both runners and the locals who put it on.  We are very disappointed that again this year we will not be able to welcome you all to the shores of Lake Saroma, but a

Ichiyama and Coach Nagayama to Quit Wacoal Team for Shiseido

On Mar. 28 the Wacoal women's corporate team announced that women-only marathon national record holder and Tokyo Olympics marathon 8th-placer Mao Ichiyama , 24, and head coach Tadayuki Nagayama , 62, will quit the team at the end of this month. At the same time, 2021 National Corporate Women's Ekiden runner-up Shiseido  announced that both Ichiyama and Nagayama will join its lineup beginning in April. Born in Izumi, Kagoshima, Ichiyama joined Wacoal in 2016 after graduating from high school. Following the Tokyo Olympics, in December last year Ichiyama announced that she had gotten married with men's marathon national record holder Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu). Translator's note: The relocation to the Shiseido team puts Ichiyama close enough to the Fujitsu team's base in Chiba that she and Suzuki would be able to live together. With Wacoal she has been based in Kyoto, a roughly four-hour trip each way. As the women's and men's winners of the first Japan Marathon

Weekend Track Roundup

The last weekend of the 2021-22 fiscal and academic year had some good early-season outdoor track action at multiple meets across the greater Tokyo area. In Chiba, 2016 Rio Olympics steepler Kazuya Shiojiri (Fujitsu) met up with 2021 Tokyo Olympics steepler Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) over 3000 m at the Juntendo University Time Trials on Saturday. Last year at another edition of the Juntendo series Miura bettered Shiojiri 7:48.07 to 7:53.68. Shiojiri ran almost the same time, 7:53.44, but this time he took the top spot as Miura ran 7:55.43 for 2nd. Five other runners from the Fujitsu and Juntendo teams were under 8:05, led by Fujitsu's Yuhei Urano in 8:01.78 in his first race since running 2:07:52 for 3rd at the Feb. 28 Osaka Marathon . 1st-year Kenshin Ebisawa (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) took the men's 10000 m in 29:31.42. どちらも素晴らしいランニングフォームと接地だが、上肢の使い方(筋力含む)が股関節の動きの違いに繋がってる。 — 林田章紀/Akinori Hayashida (@RindaEX) March 26, 2022 Sub-8 times for 3000 m u

Sendai's Main Track Stadium Heavily Damaged in Mar. 16 Earthquake

Miyagi Stadium and Miyagi Sports Park Pool in the Sendai suburb of Rifu both sustained heavy damage in the Mar. 16 earthquake which struck the region. With no timeline for repairs, upcoming races at both facilities are set to be canceled. At Miyagi Stadium, the force of the earthquake bent the upper tier of spectator seating near its middle section. A 30 m section of the reinforced concrete base supporting the seating was bent, with part of it collapsing. Due to continuing aftershocks the stadium's safety and structural integrity cannot be assessed, and as a result the 2022 National Sports Festival prefectural track and field qualifying meet scheduled to be held there next month will be moved elsewhere. At the pool, a 20 m section of the ceiling collapsed during the earthquake, with debris scattered across the pool's diving platforms and spectator seating. The rest of the ceiling has been deemed unstable, leading to the cancelation of a time trial meet and diving competition s

JAAF Changes Rules to Make it Possible to Hold World Championships at Olympic Stadium Without Warmup Track

It has been learned that the JAAF, which hopes to host the 2025 World Championships in Tokyo, has changed its rules regarding competition facilities in order to make it possible to hold international competitions like the World Championships at the National Stadium, the main stadium for last year's Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Under JAAF rules up to now, the National Stadium could not be recognized as a Class 1 Certified Athletics Facility eligible to host international competitions due to its lack of a warm-up track. Despite World Athletics head Sebastian Coe having said publicly that he had received assurances from Japanese officials that the warm-up track built for the Olympics and Paralympics would remain after the Games, within just a few weeks of the end of the Paralympics it was destroyed. The new rule change states, "Facilities that have been used to host the Olympic Games can be recognized as a Class 1 Certified Athletics Facility even without a warm-up track

USATF Junior Hammer Throw Champ Joy McArthur Takes Japanese Citizenship

World Athletics has approved the nationality change of hammer thrower Joy McArthur from U.S.A. to Japan, effective Feb. 23 this year. McArthur, 22, is currently in graduate school at the University of Southern California. While at California's Dana Hills H.S. she won the 2016 USATF Junior hammer title with a throw of 62.07 m, going on to finish 9th at the U20 World Championships the same year. In university she had problems with injury, but last April she threw a PB of 65.43 m, just over 2 m short of the Japanese national record. At the USATF National Championships she threw 63.94 m for 20th. According to an involved source, McArthur has already registered with the JAAF and will be targeting making the Japanese national team for future international competitions. McArthur's father Eric McArthur is a well-known basketball player who was named Japan Basketball League MVP and who represented Japan at the Asian Games after taking Japanese citizenship. Her mother Akiko is Japanes

Where Japanese Marathoning is At So Far in 2022

Japan's 2022 first half domestic marathon season is done, and with Sunday's Wan Jin Shi Marathon having been the last chance for people to get onto the board for the Japan Marathon Championship Series I it's clear where things stand for the new JMC national title, for Oregon World Championships team qualification, and for qualification for the 2023 Marathon Grand Championship , volume 2 of Japan's more-or-less one-shot Olympic marathon trials. In terms of pure numbers, the 10 fastest men so far in 2022 average 2:07:30 and the 10 fastest women 2:22:45, putting the men #3 in the world behind Ethiopia and Kenya and the women 2nd only to Ethiopia. For men that's the 3rd-fastest annual average ever, following 2021 and 2020. For women it's the fastest-ever. Kengo Suzuki leads the men at 2:05:28, with another 9 men having run 2:07. Mizuki Matsuda is the fastest women at 2:20:52, with 9 other women under 2:25. It's not that meaningful to compare modern times to

United Airlines NYC Half - Japanese Results

Two and a half years after scoring invitations to the United Airlines NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate places at the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon , Akira Akasaki and Haruka Onodera finally got the chance to run. Going with the hot early pace set by heavy favorite Rhonex Kipruto of Kenya, neither was able to stay with past 5 km. Onodera dropped off first, with Akasaki lasting longer but not able to handle sub-61 pace on the tough, hilly course either. Akasaki ended up 17th in 1:03:31 and Onodera 23rd in 1:05:00. Post-race, Akasaki, now with the Kyudenko corporate team, said, "I was really happy to get the chance to run this race after two years. Along the way there were a lot of hard times with the corona pandemic, but I'm really glad to come out on the other side of that and be able to run a hard race." Onodera, now running for the Toyota Boshoku team, said, "This was my first international race, and even though my time was terrible I really en

Olympian Yamaguchi Wins Melbourne Track Classic Steeplechase

At the Mar. 19 Melbourne Track Classic in Australia, Tokyo Olympics Japanese national team member Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) ran 8:27.74 to win the men's 3000 m steeplechase. His first steeple race since the Olympics, Yamaguchi was just over 5 seconds off the 8:22.00 qualifying standard for July's Oregon World Championships despite 34˚C temperatures and windy conditions. Yamaguchi was 2nd in last year's National Championships steeplechase in 8:19.96, the 3rd-fastest ever by a Japanese man and enough to qualify him for the Olympic team. At last week's Sydney Track Classic he ran a 3000 m PB of 7:56.16 for 10th. Also in Melbourne, sprinter Jun Yamashita (ANA) was 5th in the men's 200 m in 21.18 +2.2 m/s. Akiko Ito (Cerespo) was also 5th in the women's 400 m hurdles in 59.18, improving on her time in Sydney. Mikuto Kaneko (Chuo Univ.) ran 1:49.33 for 7th in the men's 800 m, almost 4 seconds off his all-time JPN #3 best of 1:45.85. Ryoji Tatezawa (DeN

Long Time Coming - Akira Akasaki and Haruka Onodera's Road to the 2022 United Airlines NYC Half

Back in pre-pandemic days Akira Akasaki and Haruka Onodera  were still in college, Akasaki at Takushoku University and Onodera at Teikyo University . At the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon they frontran most of the race together, dead set on finishing in the top two Japanese collegiate spots to win invitations to the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half. For Akasaki it had already been a year and a half wait. Inspired by Kenta Murayama 's 1:00:57 5th place in finish in New York in 2017 and Kei Katanishi 's 7th-place in 2018, Akasaki went for it his junior year in his debut at the 2018 Ageo Half . "Coming up to 10 km I was in the lead pack and feeling good, so I knew I had a shot at going to New York and got pretty excited," he said. But right after the 10 km turnaround point he tripped and fell, and by the time he was back up the lead group was out of range. He finished 20th in 1:03:07, over a minute and a half behind top Japanese university man Ken Nakayama . "I was f

Fukuoka to Return

On Mar. 14 the JAAF, Fukuoka Athletics Association and Fukuoka Prefectural Government announced that the Fukuoka International Marathon, discontinued after its 75th running last year , will return in a revamped form this year on Dec. 4 under the tentative name "Fukuoka International Marathon 2022." The new version of the race will inherit the history and tradition on which the curtain came down so shockingly last December. The Fukuoka International Marathon began in Kumamoto in 1947 as the "Kanakuri Prize Asahi Marathon" in honor of the father of Japanese distance running, Shizo Kanakuri . In its early years it was held in different cities across the country, first coming to Fukuoka in 1951 and settling there for good in 1964. It took the name Fukuoka International Marathon at its 28th running in 1974, and with numerous course changes over the years continued to be held under that name. Most of the world's best runners competed there, and in the 1970s and 1980s

1st-Year Kiyoto Hirabayashi Wins National University Half Marathon - Going for 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials

The 25th National University Half Marathon took place Sunday in western Tokyo alongside the Tachikawa City Half Marathon . The race that decides the #1 collegiate half marathoner in the country was won by 19-year-old Koku Gakuin University 1st-year Kiyoto Hirabayashi , who pulled away from the field after 14 km to win in 1:01:50. Consistently strong throughout his rookie season, Hirabayashi made KGU's starting team for all the Big Three University Ekidens and took 2nd on the Hakone Ekiden's competitive Ninth Stage. Taiga Nakanishi , KGU's captain for the upcoming 2022-23 year, was 2nd in 1:02:02, just beating Toyo University 2nd-year Kazuki Matsuyama at the line to make it a KGU 1-2. All three qualified for the Japanese team for June's Chengdu World University Games. On one of the first days of true spring warmth, Hirabayashi shouted in joy as he crossed the finish line. When Nakanishi came in seconds later Hirabayashi hugged him, laughing. "This was my first

Ruth Chepngetich 2:17:18 to Win Nagoya Women's Marathon and $250,000, 63-Year-Old Yugeta Goes Sub-3 Again

2019 world champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya ran solo almost the entire way to win the biggest women-only marathon in the world and biggest 1st-place prize money in the sport at Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon , her 2:17:18 winning time a new course record, the 2nd-fastest ever in a women-only marathon, 2nd-fastest ever in Japan, and 2nd-fastest of her career. The lead group's pace was set at 3:20/km, 2:20:39, ideal for Japanese debut marathon NR holder Yuka Ando (Suzuki) but not to Chepngetich's taste. After a 16:34 opening 5 km she went ahead of the pacer into the lead alone, staying there until 30 km. In a chase trio with the pacer were Ando, 2:17 runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel, and ambitious 2:26 runner Ai Hosoda (Edion). The pacer was first to drop from the chase group, with Hosoda losing touch before 20 km. At that point Chepngetich's lead was up to 49 seconds, but in the second half Salpeter began to run her down. Ando couldn't stay with S

Olympian Yamaguchi Runs 3000 m PB at Sydney Track Classic

The Sydney Track Classic , a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze Label meet, took place Mar. 12 in Sydney, Australia. In the men's 3000 m, Tokyo Olympics 3000 m steeplechase national team member Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) ran a PB of 7:56.19. Yamaguchi split roughly 2:40 and 5:20 en route before picking up the pace over the last 1000 m to go under 8 minutes for the first time. Yamaguchi ran as a tune-up for the steeple at next weekend's Melbourne Track Classic. Among other Japanese athletes, in the men's 800 m, Mikuto Kaneko (Chuo Univ.) ran 1:47.29 for 3rd in the A-heat, the third-best time of his career. Former national champion Ryoji Tatezawa (DeNA) was last in the B-heat in 1:52.49. Akiko Ito (Cerespo) was 3rd in the women's 400 m hurdles in 59.36, and Ryo Sato (Takatomi Club) took 4th in the men's high jump, clearing 2.11 m. source article: translated and edited by Brett Larner

250,000 Reasons to Run Nagoya, the National University Men's Half Marathon, and More - Weekend Preview

It's the last big weekend of road racing on the Japanese calendar this season. But even before it kicks off, there's a bit of track action Saturday. Tokyo Olympics steepler Kosei Yamaguchi  and a few other Japanese athletes are taking advantage of Australia's borders opening up two weeks ago to run the Sydney Track Classic . Yamaguchi is running in the men's 3000 m national championships, a tuneup for the 3000 mSC at next week's Melbourne Track Classic, both with support from JRN. Streaming and live results here . Back at home on Sunday, the Nagoya Women's Marathon wraps up three straight weekends of big city marathon action in Japan. Kenyan-born Israeli Lonah Chemtai Salpeter  wisely avoided defending her 2:17:45 CR at the Tokyo Marathon last weekend , where world record holder Brigid Kosgei  won in 2:16:02, opting instead to go after the biggest winning payout in the sport, Nagoya's $250,000 USD. It's great to see the biggest women-only marathon in t

World University Games Half Marathon Gold Medalist Yuka Suzuki Going for Collegiate Record in Debut at Nagoya Women's Marathon

Part of the qualification process for this summer's Oregon World Championships and the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon trials, the Nagoya Women's Marathon takes place this Sunday, Mar. 13. One of the women who will be lining up is star 22-year-old collegiate distance runner Yuka Suzuki . A 4th-year at Daito Bunka University  with a best of 31:37.88 for 10000 m, Suzuki won the gold medal in the World University Games half marathon her 2nd year of college. Ever since then, the Olympics have been a clear target. "I want to go for the Paris Olympics, and even higher goals," she says. "That's why I want to run my first marathon before I graduate."  Suzuki also has an artistic side. Holding up a picture she drew she says, "This is the scene of entering Nagoya Dome right before the finish. When I was young I wanted to be a manga or anime artist." She has painted since she was a child, and sometimes she gives teammates drawings or paintings for their bir