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Showing posts from April, 2022

Miura and Mukari Top Windy Oda Memorial 5000 m

Tough conditions at the Oda Memorial Meet Friday, heavy rain in the first half of the meet and strong winds in the second, held back the times, but most of the favorites still rose to the top. 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) ran as the top Japanese man throughout the 5000 m A-heat, shrugging off brief challenges from Tokyo Olympian Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) and Takuma Sunaoka (Konica Minolta) in the last 1000 m to kick past Cosmas Mwangi (Chugoku Denryoku) for the win in 13:32.42. The other Tokyo Olympian in the race, Yuta Bando (Fujitsu) was a distant 10th in 13:47.35. Nganga Waweru (Chugoku Denryoku) won the B-heat in 13:57.60 over teammate Taira Omori , 2nd in 13:59.19. Agnes Mukari (Kyocera) took the win in the women's 5000 m A-heat, easily dropping Tabitha Njeri (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and Nozomi Tanaka (Toyota Jidoshokki) over the last lap to win in 15:22.90 after being part of a Kenyan lead trio the entire way. Mukari, Njeri and eventual 4th-placer N

Oda Memorial Meet Streaming

One of Japan's major spring meets, Hiroshima's Oda Memorial Meet kicks off Friday at 9:00 a.m. A dozen members of the Tokyo Olympic team and international competition from Australia and Kenya are spread across 13 events, with some of the main races happening as follows, local time: 14:15 - Men's 110 mH final 14:30 - Women's 100 mH final 14:45 - Men's Triple Jump final 14:50 - Men's 100 m final 15:25 - Women's 3000 mSC final 15:40 - Men's 3000 mSC final 18:20 - Women's 5000 m final 18:40 - Men's 5000 m final If you catch one thing in the meet make it the men's 5000 m. Already qualified for this summer's Oregon World Championships 3000 mSC, NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) is mostly giving the steeple a miss this season to work on his speed. A few weeks back he missed the 1500 m NR by a tiny margin in his first serious attempt at it, and here he'll be giving the 5000 m a go. His fastest competition is another Juntendo-bred steep

Togami Denki and Hiramatsu Byoin Teams Pick Up New Talent On Road to New Year

Two corporate men's teams based in Saga have gotten fresh reinforcements for their quests to make it to the New Year Ekiden national championships in Gunma on New Year's Day. Togami Denki has recruited two new members, while Hiramatsu Byoin has brought in four. Both teams will be spending the year building themselves up in hopes of scoring a hard-to-come-by ticket north come the new year. New to Togami Denki, which has qualified for the last three years, are Kokushikan University graduate Kazuya Mishiro , 22, and Saga native Taiki Ueda , 19, a grad of Tosu Kogyo H.S. Mishiro, who has Hakone Ekiden experience to his name, has a reputation for pushing through when things get hard, is enthusiastic about his new team. "I want to be part of the action right from my first year," he says. Always stable in his races, Ueda said, "To start off I want to improve on the track and roads and get closer to some of the senior guys on the team in ability." Hiramatsu Byo

UTMF Returns

Spanning three days beginning Friday, Apr. 22, the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji returned this weekend after cancelations the last two years during the pandemic, with great weather across the course around the foot of Mt. Fuji through Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. 1,808 people ran the UTMF 165 km long course, with another 489 in the KAI 69 km short course, all of them enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Fuji as they ran its trails. Among them were some of the country's best trail athletes, making for the first elite-level trail race in Japan in a long time. Covering 157.9 km with 6388 km total elevation gain, the UTMF 165 km division race started at Fujisan Kodomonokuni park in Fuji, Shizuoka and finished at the Fujikyu Highlands amusement park in Yamanashi in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi. With a course change announced on Apr. 20 that cut out some of the hilliest sections and kept runners on shorter and flatter forest roads, 2019 4th-placer Masatoshi Obara took the lead in the early stages

Kusu Breaks 2000 mSC NR - Weekend Track Roundup

Saturday's Spring Nobeoka Time Trials meet was a tuneup for Kyushu-area men's teams for next month's Golden Games in Nobeoka, notable mostly for 2:06~2:08 marathoners Toshiki Sadakata (Mitsubishi Juko), Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei), Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi Juko) and Ichitaka Yamashita (Mitsubishi Juko) returning to action after marathons in February and March. Emmanuel Kiplagat (Mitsubishi Juko) took the top spot in the men's 5000 m in 13:30.54, with Daiki Ando (Asahi Kasei) the fastest Japanese man at 6th in 13:41.76. At the Nittai University Time Trials meet, Saturday's main action was the women's 3000 m, where Esther Muthoni (Nitori) beat Cynthia Mbaire (Hitachi) 8:59.74 to 9:01.66. Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) ran a PB 9:14.99 for 3rd, heading straight from there to Gifu for a sub-70 half marathon PB the next morning. 24 men ran sub-29 for 10000 m, led by Ayumu Kobayashi in 28:18.87. On Sunday, 22 heats of men's 5000 m, a total of 44 men wen

Favorites Mutiso and Omare Win Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Diver Comes Up With W45 WR

The two heavy favorites in the return of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon , all-time #4 man Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) and 2022 National Corporate Half Marathon women's champ Dolphine Omare (U.S.E.) took the top spots, but their races couldn't have been more different. In what had to have been the best weather in Gifu's 11-year history, mid-teens, a tailwind on the return trip of the hilly out-and-back course, and a light misty rain that began minutes before the start and gradually picked up over the morning, the men's race went out close to CR pace, Mutiso leading the way at 5 km in 14:15 and at least 16 others in tow. The pace stayed there over the next 10 km until only 5 were left up front, and with a 13:59 split from there to 20 km cut it down to just Mutiso, Benard Koech (Kyudenko) and Emmanuel Maru (Toyota Boshoku). All three went under the old CR of 1:00:02 set by the great Bedan Karoki back in 2014, but Mutiso had the kick to score the win in 59:56. Koech

Tokyo Marathon Launches New Elite and Mass Participation Half Marathon on Oct. 16

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced today that it's launching a new elite and mass-participation half marathon on Oct. 16, The Tokyo Legacy Half , with a field of 15,000 and a price tag to match, 20,700 yen for the privilege of starting and finishing in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. The course follows a scaled-back version of the MGC and Paralympic marathon courses, downhill at the start, turning around at Nihonbashi and the Imperial Palace, then back up the hill to the stadium. Entries for the first year will be restricted to Japan-only, at least for the mass-participation field, with the note that they might open it up to international tour groups later. More info including course map and elevation here .

UTMF, Gifu Half, Hyogo Relay Carnival and More - Weekend Preview

It's a busy weekend ahead, with a major trail race, a half marathon, and at least three high-level track meets going on across the country. The Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji is already underway, 100 miles around the foothills of Japan's most recognizable landmark in the long course race. It doesn't factor into national team selection for next year's World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, but UTMF is still the most prestigious trail race in the country. Catch streaming here and on the UTMF Youtube channel .  Leaderboard and athlete tracking here . Sunday is the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon , in normal years Japan's only WA gold label half marathon and still one of its most competitive in this still not normal year. 2022 National Corporate Half Marathon champ Dolphine Nyaboke Omare (U.S.E.) leads the women's field with her 1:07:56 CR at that race, her main competition on paper coming from Aussie veteran Sinead Diver , 1:08:50 at Marugame two years ago but a DNF

Dreams Come True - Mariko Yugeta in Boston

Women's 60+ marathon WR holder Mariko Yugeta made her Boston Marathon debut at age 63 this week, running 3:06:27 on net time. She also achieved her dream of meeting her lifelong inspiration Joan Benoit Samuelson the day before the race at an event specially organized by the Boston Athletic Association. International media coverage of Yugeta's appearance and the two women's meeting: A 63-Year-Old Runner Changed the Way I Think About Regret - New York Times, Apr. 24 - A different angle exploring the psychological and spiritual lessons to be learned from Yugeta's story, by Lindsay Crouse . She Set Marathon Records in Her Sixties. Then Came the Fans. - New York Times, Apr. 19 - Pre- and post-race interviews with Yugeta and photos of her around Boston, by Talya Minsberg . Includes a picture of me taking the picture above. For Marathon Record Holder, Meeting Joan Benoit Samuelson Was a Dream Come True - Runner's World, Apr. 18 - Exclusive video and text of Yugeta an

Nagano and Kasumigaura Marathons Return

Japan's two major April marathons returned Sunday for the first time since pre-pandemic, both smaller than usual but a welcome step forward even as other races this summer and beyond continue to cancel. The Nagano Marathon saw an exciting men's race with local amateur Junichi Ushiyama surging hard with 5 km to go to break Akihiro Kaneko and Yuya Yamashita and win in a PB 2:14:42. Kaneko and Yamashita, who run for rival northern Tokyo supermarket chains Comodi Iida and Sunbelx , were head-to-head almost to the end before Kaneko broke free, taking 2nd in 2:15:22 to Yamashita's 2:15:26. The top nine men all went sub-2:20. Yamashita's teammate Akane Sekino led solo in the women's race , running 2:41:20 to win by almost three minutes over corporate leaguer Kasumi Yoshida of the Aichi Denki team, 2nd in 2:44:19. Tokyo-based club runner Asami Morino was 3rd in 2:44:35 with the top five women all sub-2:50. At the Kasumigaura Marathon , Kotaro Motonaga , a 4th-year

Three More Meet Records, Fuwa Last - National University Individual Track and Field Championships Day Three

The National University Individual Track and Field Championships wrapped its third day with three new meet records. First up, Atsushi Shobu (Waseda Univ.) led the top 5 under the old record in the men's 3000 m steeplechase , winning in 8:40.57. The next 4, Soma Hattori (Juntendo Univ.), Shohei Yamaguchi (Teikyo Univ.), Ryotaro Onuma (Josai Univ.) and Kento Uchida (Rikkyo Univ.) were all under 8:50, and with all 5 coming from different universities it showed the impact Olympian collegian Ryuji Miura of Juntendo University is having on making the steeple a focus event in Japan. Women's steeple collegiate record holder Reimi Yoshimura (Daito Bunka University), now a 4th-year, also broke the meet record, taking over 4 seconds off 2016 Olympian Anju Takamizawa 's old record to win in 9:53.64. Manami Nishiyama was next across the line in 10:01.67 but didn't count in standings due to being a corporate leaguer, leaving official 2nd-placer Nanase Tanimoto (Meijo Univ

Atuobeng Sets Shot Put Meet Record - National University Individual Track and Field Championships Day Two

Following a record-breaking Day 1 , the National University Individual Track and Field Championships continued Saturday at Kanagawa's Lemon Gas Stadium. 2nd-year Jason Atuobeng (Fukuoka Univ.) turned in the performance of the day, throwing a 20 cm PB on his final attempt to break the men's shot put meet record with a winning throw of 18.42 m. The 20-year-old Atuobeng, who broke 18 m for the first time last month, came in at all-time Japanese #7, and with just 24 cm to go to the collegiate record and 41 cm to the national record he's due to be one of the highest-potential Japanese men on the field over the next few years. 2nd-year Hanae Aoyama (Konan Univ.), 19, had the women's performance of the day, missing the women's 100 m meet record by just 0.02 as she won the final in a PB 11.50 (+1.0). That was enough to move her up to #6 on the Japanese all-time collegiate list. Nagisa Takahashi , one of the just-graduated athletes still allowed to compete in the meet,

Iizawa and Nakagawa Break Meet Records - National University Individual Track and Field Championships Day One Results

Usually a 2nd-tier meet held in June every year in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, this year the National University Individual Track and Field Championships have been moved up to this weekend with a full schedule of events and top-level collegiate talent. Friday's opening day kicked off with a meet record in the men's 1500 m from Kazuto Iizawa (Tokai Univ.). Iizawa took almost 2 seconds off the old record to win in 3:44.54, with teammate Jin Mizoguchi also under the old record in 3:46.49 for 2nd. The top 9 in the final were all under 3:50, pretty good for a Japanese collegiate meet. Sheila Cherotich (Meiji Kokusai Iryo Univ.) was a second off the women's 1500 m meet record, winning in 4:21.75 over Saki Katagihara (Tsukuba Univ.). The meet record also went in the men's hammer throw , with winner Tatsuto Nakagawa (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) throwing 70.85 m and 2nd-place Shota Fujita (Nihon Univ.) also over the old record at 70.56 m. Remi Katsuya took the women's hammer

High School Coach Suspended Two Months For Entering Two Incoming Students in Race Before Start of School Year

On Apr. 13 it was learned that the Nagasaki Track and Field Association has suspended a male coach in his 40s at a high school in Nagasaki for entering two incoming junior high school student runners as high school first-years at a track meet in late March. Calling the coach's actions inappropriate, the NTFA suspended him for two months. According to the NTFA and other sources, the time trial meet took place in Omuta, Fukuoka on Mar. 26 and 27 this year. The two third-year junior high school student runners, who were set to join the high school team at the start of the new school year on Apr. 1, ran in the 1500 m. "I thought it would be OK to enter them as new students," the coach said. "My mistake." On Apr. 6 the JAAF received complaints that the rules had been broken, leading to the NTFA investigating what had happened. A spokesperson for the NTFA commented, "The athletes were negatively impacted by the coach's lack of awareness. Because he showed in

Apr. 24 Tohoku Fudo Marathon Canceled Due to Damage From Mar. 16 Earthquake

The organizers of the 2022 Tohoku Fudo Marathon , scheduled for Apr. 24, have announced that it has been canceled due to extensive damage in the host town of Tome, Miyagi from the earthquake that struck the region on Mar. 16. In its place, organizers will hold a virtual race. According to city government officials, roads and other public facilities in the area sustained over 765 million yen [$6.1 million USD] damage in the earthquake. "The famous Dutch windmill in Naganuma Foodopia Park, the main staging ground for the race, was damaged, and damage to the roads used in the marathon has been found in more than ten locations," said a spokesperson. Given the race's original purpose and the safety risk to runners the decision was made to cancel. The virtual race will take place from Apr. 24 to May 21 using the ASICS Runkeeper fitness tracking app, and will include three distances, 5 km, half marathon and full marathon. Each division costs 1500 yen and is limited to 2000 run

Toyo University Wins Yaizu Minato Half Marathon Overall and Team Titles

Runners returned to the city of Yaizu on Sunday for the 37th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon , its first running since 2019 after two years in a row of pandemic cancelations. In addition to the event's Pair Marathon university team competition, 5389 people were entered in the mass-participation race, which was limited to residents of Shizuoka Prefecture. The first hot day of the year saw them traversing Yaizu's roads, with Toyo University  4th-year Daichi Kimoto leading them home in a course record-tying 1:03:42. The Pair Marathon scored each of the 19 competing universities on the combined times of its top two registered finishers. Along with 2nd-year teammate Shu Yoshida , 4th in 1:04:29, Kimoto also helped Toyo win the team scoring competition in 2:08:11, a course record and Toyo's first win in 16 years. Post-race Kimoto smiled as he said, "We came here to get the overall and team wins." At January's Hakone Ekiden Kimoto was only 19th out of 21 teams on the 4th

Miura Just Misses 1500 m NR at Kanakuri Memorial

Japan's outdoor track season got moving with Saturday's Kanakuri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto. Mostly geared toward setting up chances for people to hit qualifying marks for this season's National Championships, the day's biggest race was the men's 1500 m . NR holder Kazuki Kawamura (Toenec) was a late scratch, but on the starting line were all-time JPN #2 Nanami Arai (Honda), U20, U18 and HS NR holder Keita Sato in his debut wearing the Komazawa University uniform, 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.), indoor 5000 m NR holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) and more of Japan's best. Sato spent most of the race up front, going through the first three laps in 56-1:55-2:55, while Endo hung back until the bell. Going right past the lead group, Endo had a lead of almost 2 seconds over Arai with 200 m to go. But in the home straight Miura launched an incredible kick that just got Endo at the line. Miura clocked 3:36.59, good for all-time JPN #2 at 1.17 sec

1301 People Scratch From Kaga Onsenkyo Marathon After PCR Testing Requirement Added

More than 1300 entrants have withdrawn from the Apr. 17 Kaga Onsenkyo Marathon  in Ishikawa since organizers announced that a negative PCR test would be required from all participants as part of the event's measures against the coronavirus pandemic. People who had planned to run the race have complained about the new policy, which was enacted by the local city government. At the city council's Education and Civil Welfare Committee meeting on Apr. 8, the city reported on the event's status with regard to cancelations as of that morning. Out of 3,178 entrants in the full marathon division, almost a quarter, 810 people, had canceled. In the 10 km, nearly a third, 491 out of 1415 people, had withdrawn. The Kaga city government, which organizes the race, changed the policy to require PCR tests following the cancelation of a partial state of emergency and the resulting countermeasures in Ishikawa prefecture on Mar. 21. The race's guidelines had already required that participa

Selection Races for 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships Announced

The Japan Trail Running Association has announced a circuit of eight domestic races that will be used to select the national teams in four categories for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. The schedule of qualifying races runs from May through December this year, with details on the selection process due to be announced by the JAAF. In broad strokes, the selection committee will choose from among the top-performing athletes in the designated races, judging their performances according to set criteria. In order to be considered, athletes must be registered members of the JTRA for the 2022 year at the time of their race. A total of seven men and three women are scheduled to represent Japan at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiangmai, Thailand this November. Hopes are high that they and the 2023 national team will play an active role in their races. The exact date and location of the 2023 World Championships have yet to be announced, but

2-Time World Championships Medalist Masako Chiba Joins Route Inn Coaching Staff

The Route Inn Hotels women's ekiden team has announced that 1996 Atlanta Olympian Masako Chiba has joined its coaching staff as of Apr. 1. Chiba graduated from Kyoto's Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. before joining the Asahi Kasei corporate team. At the Atlanta Olympics she was 5th in the 10000 m, following up a year later at the Athens World Championships with a bronze medal in the 10000 m. After changing focus to the marathon, she won the bronze medal at the 2003 Paris World Championships to become the first woman in history to medal on both the track and road. Since her retirement Chiba has been active as a race commentator and guest runner at races, as well as helping guide amateur running clubs. "I was an athlete for 15 years and a race commentator for 15 years, and now I've found a new dream to pursue! The opportunity to take on coaching is the culmination of a life in athletics, and it feels like an exciting adventure to be heading into my third career like this,&quo

Dolphine Omare and Alexander Mutiso Lead Gifu Seiryu Half Elite Field

The Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon returns Apr. 24 with a mostly Japan-based field that at least on the men's side is still just about the best in its 11-year history.  On the women's side, 2022 National Corporate Half Marathon winner Dolphine Nyaboke Omare is the heavy favorite after running 1:07:56 to win the corporate title. Australian Sinead Diver , a DNF at last month's Nagoya Women's Marathon, is the only other woman in the field to have broken 70 minutes in the last 3 years with a 1:08:50 in Marugame 2 years ago. Along with Eloise Wellings and Natalie Rule Diver is part of an Australian trio that is the only segment of the race coming from outside Japan. Yuma Adachi (Kyocera) and Anna Matsuda (Denso) are the top Japanese women, Adachi with a 1:10:21 in Osaka in January and Matsuda a 1:10:29 behind Omare in February. Nobody is coming from overseas to run in the men's race, but the Japan-based Kenyan field is just about as good as Gifu could hope for any year.

'19 Fukuoka Winner Fujimoto Gave It His Best as a Single Father

2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Taku Fujimoto , 32, retired from the Toyota corporate team after running the Mar. 6 Tokyo Marathon. As a participant in the 2019 Marathon Grand Championship Olympic trials Fujimoto was one of the country's best, but there's another side to him that most people don't know. In just his second marathon, Fujimoto ran an excellent 2:07:57 breakthrough for 8th at the 2018 Chicago Marathon. At the MGC he was only 9th, but he quickly rebounded to finish as the top Japanese placer at Fukuoka the same season. Fujimoto was 2nd across the finish line in that race, but the Moroccan who got there first was later disqualified for doping violations, elevating Fujimoto to the winner's position. After that Fujimoto had problems with injuries, but while he struggled to perform in marathons he was as good as ever in the ekiden. Even so, a year and a half ago he made the decision to retire at the end of the 2021-22 season. "I feel like I'

Alternates Named for World Championships and Asian Games Marathon Teams

The JAAF has announced the alternates for the women's and men's marathon teams that it announced last week for July's Oregon World Championships and September's Hangzhou Asian Games. On the women's side , Yuka Ando (Wacoal), already named to the Hangzhou team, has been listed as alternate for the Oregon team. Ando was the top Japanese woman in last month's Nagoya Women's Marathon, 3rd overall in 2:22:22. Listed as alternate for Hangzhou is Natsumi Matsushita (Tenmaya), 3rd in January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:23:05. On the men's side , Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nihon), 2nd Japanese man at February's Tokyo Marathon in a PB of 2:07:23, was named alternate to both the World Championships and Asian Games team. Going down the list of candidates these were without a doubt the top people in line, but having someone already named to one national team as alternate for another, and having one person listed as alternate for