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Showing posts from October, 2022

'Tokyo's Train Network - A Vital Part of the Urban Running Infrastructure' A piece I wrote for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Tokyo Updates site about the role trains and train lines play in the lives of the city's urban runners. photo © 2015 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Japan's Biggest Marathon Weekend Since Pre-Pandemic

This was Japan's biggest marathon weekend since pre-pandemic, with at least four major races going off as scheduled. With 11,597 finishers the Kanazawa Marathon was the fastest of them. Last year's women's winner Mai Fujisawa , 48, ran her fastest time of her six certified marathons so far this year, winning again in 2:38:29. Erika Omi led 8 other women under 2:50, 2nd to Fujisawa in 2:42:55. The men's race was closer, with Kenta Fukumura edging last year's winner Junichi Ushiyama by 17 seconds to win in 2:16:20. 3rd-placer Hayato Sugimoto was the only other runner under 2:20, running 2:19:27. The Mito Komon Manyu Marathon in Ibaraki also saw a close men's race. Former Nihon University star and longtime Japan resident Benjamin Ngandu returned from a 4-year drug suspension to win in a course record 2:18:02, outkicking this year's 100 km World Championships silver medalist Jumpei Yamaguchi by 12 seconds. Shinobu Ayabe won the women's race in 2:4

Meijo Wins Record-Breaking 6th-Straight National University Women's Ekiden Title, Fuwa Takes Another Step Forward

There was never really any doubt that five-time defending champion Meijo University was going to become the first team in National University Women's Ekiden history to win a sixth-straight title. Star 1st-year Nanaka Yonezawa took the lead in the first 200 m and from there Meijo never looked back. Its first four runners Yonezawa, Asuka Ishimatsu , Yuma Yamamoto and Nanase Tanimoto all won their stages, Yamamoto tying the 21:37 CR held by teammate Narumi Kobayashi on the 6.9 km Third Stage and Tanimoto turning in the most impressive run of the day with a 15:14 CR on the 4.8 km Fourth Stage, 23 seconds under the CR she set last year and 50 seconds faster than the next-best runner on the stage. Captain Kobayashi was the only weak link in the lineup, 30:48 for 6th on the 9.2 km Fifth Stage, but anchor Yuka Masubuchi still had a 1:55 lead to work with on the 6.7 km Sixth Stage. Like Tanimoto, Masubuchi broke her own CR with a 22:04 that put Meijo's final lead up to 2:31. Wit

National University Women's Ekiden Preview

Sunday is the 40th edition of Sendai's Morinomiyako Ekiden , the National University Women's Ekiden Championships . NTV will be broadcasting the race live starting at noon local time, with coverage also on @JRNLive . 26 teams are racing for the national title, the complete course covering 38.1 km in 6 legs. Last year Meijo University led start-to-finish en route to a fifth-straight win, taking 5 of the 6 individual stage titles with 3 of them in course record time. 2 of the stage winners have graduated, but in their place Meijo has a very strong class of first-years led by Nanaka Yonezawa , 8:59.57 for 3000 m and 15:31.33 for 5000 m. 4 others are under 9:15 for 3000 m or under 15:50 for 5000 m, making solid support for the 4 returning members from last year. A lot depends on 4th-year Narumi Kobayashi , who ran a 10000 m  collegiate record 31:22.34 last year but hasn't run well most of her senior year so far. 4th-year Yuma Yamamoto on the other hand is fresh off a 15:16.

Selly Kaptich Says Japanese Links Strengthened Her as Athlete and Person

a press release from the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon Selly Kaptich of Kenya will stand on the start line for the 39th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon as the fastest woman in the field. Her best of 2:21:09 could well be under threat on Sunday morning, given the reputation for Frankfurt’s fast course. Impressive though a reading of her career highlights is, including an early sign of talent with a gold medal for 3,000m at the World Junior Championships 21 years ago, what catches the eye is her ability to adapt to a different running and life culture in general, marked by her becoming a member of a Japanese corporate running club almost 20 years ago.  The 36-year-old has run eight marathons in her career so far with the personal best achieved in finishing third in Berlin three years ago. The year of 2019 was indeed a watershed for Kaptich as she firstly ran 2:23:53 to finish fourth in Paris, one of the prime spring marathons on the calendar, before running her best time to-date

Sendai Half Marathon To Be Postponed Due to G7 Meeting in Sendai Next May

Following the announcement of the G7 Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in Sendai May 12-14, 2023, mayor Kazuko Kori indicated that the annual Sendai Aoba Festival will be moved to an alternate date. "I think it would be difficult for festivals and other major events in the city center to overlap, so we will have to make alternate arrangement," she said. Mayor Kori made the announcement of the G7 meeting. As a result of the meeting being scheduled for those dates, both the festival and the Sendai International Half Marathon , both traditionally held every May, will have to be rescheduled. The half marathon is currently scheduled for May 8. The mayor said that plans for the events' rescheduling will be made at a later date. source article: translated by Brett Larner

Kyocera Issues Statement on Anchor Shirai's Fracture at Princess Ekiden

On Oct. 25 the Kyocera women's corporate team issued a statement on its website about anchor Mei Shirai 's injury at the Oct. 23 Princess Ekiden national championships qualifier. With just 1 km to go Shirai fractured her left femur and was unable to finish the race. At the time she was running 15th, inside the top 16 and in position for Kyocera to qualify for Nationals, but when she suffered the fracture and fell Kyocera was eliminated from the team standings. "Shirai had no particular problems before the race and went to the starting line without worries," the statement read. "This incident came out of nowhere, but it shows that the team management's monitoring of the fine details of her condition was inadequate. We apologize for having worried race officials and fans. As a team we will give Shirai our complete support in making a comeback, and we will work and move together toward new goals. We ask all of you for your continued support." source artic

Panasonic Pulls Off Last-Second Win at Princess Ekiden

The Princess Ekiden , the official qualifying race for the Nov. 27 National Corporate Women's Ekiden, happened Sunday in Munakata, Fukuoka, 31 teams racing 42.195 km in 6 stages to pick up one of the 16 places available at Nationals. It was an unusually dynamic ekiden; except for Fourth Stage winner Teresiah Muthoni (Daiso), every woman who ran the fastest time on her stage did it while taking the overall lead, and 4 of those 5 were from different teams. Up front, Panasonic anchor Sora Shinozakura pulled off a brilliant last-second come-from-behind win to take 1st in 2:18:06. Panasonic was never out of the top 4, 2nd runner Nanami Watanabe taking the lead before the team dropped back again. Shinozakura started the 6.695 km anchor leg in 3rd, 24 seconds behind leader Momoka Hanafusa of the Kyudenko team, and steadily cut down the distance to 1st. It looked like she might run out of road before she got there, but with a hard surge from 400 m out she flew past Hanafusa to take t

Princess Ekiden Preview and Streaming

Sunday is the first big women's ekiden of the season, the Princess Ekiden in Sendai, the qualifying race for November's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships. The top 8 teams from last year's Nationals are already qualified, and at the Princess Ekiden another 16 will join them. 31 teams will be competing over 42.195 km in 6 stages, with the race broadcast live by TBS starting at 11:50 local time. Streaming will happen on Youtube, live results will be here , and JRN will be covering it live @JRNLive . Up near the front third of the field , the teams that made Nationals last year, the top 12 or so teams look pretty secure for qualifying. 11th at Nationals last year, Edion is looking especially strong with track Olympian Kaede Hagitani , 2:21:42 marathoner Ai Hosoda and new transfer from the Denso team Mikuni Yada , a 15:19.67/31:34.39 runner, on its entry list. Daiichi Seimei also has two solid new recruits from Daito Bunka University , Yuka Suzuki and Na

Amsterdam Marathon Japanese Results

Three Japanese men ran Sunday's Amsterdam Marathon, Yuki Sato (SG Holdings) in pursuit of a faster time than his 2:08:17 best, and Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) and Akira Tomiyasu (Aisan Kogyo) looking for times that would get them inside the cut for next year's 2024 Olympic marathon trials. Sato went out with the lead group on 2:04 pace through 15 km before falling off, hitting halfway in 1:03:10 and 30 km in 1:33:33. Just past 40 km he dropped out after hitting it in 2:14:19. Dairokuno, who needed to run 2:09:49 to score trials qualification, went through halfway in 1:04:33 before overtaking Sato and clocking 1:31:49 at 30 km. Unable to sustain that, he finished 21st in 2:12:38. Tomiyasu had the most modest goal, only needing to run 2:11:05 to clear the trials standards. 1:04:56 at halfway and 1:31:59 at 30 km, he briefly caught up to Dairokuno before struggling after the lefthand turn into the strong headwind at 35 km. He ultimately finished 24th in 2:15:21, over a minute

Kipkemoi and Nyaga Win Inaugural Tokyo Legacy Half Marathon

Tokyo's newest elite-level road race happened Sunday on the course used for Japan's 2020 Olympic marathon trials and the 2020 Paralympic Games marathon, with the first edition of the Tokyo Legacy Half Marathon bringing 15,000 to the streets. Kenyan Vincent Kipkemoi outran Japan-based world all-time #4 Alexander Mutiso for the win 1:00:10 to 1:00:29, with 3rd and 4th-placers Benard Kimeli and Vincent Raimoi also getting under 61 minutes despite the tough uphill finish. With prize money running 8 deep Kenyans took the top 8 spots. Winning a three-way sprint finish on the track for 9th and top Japanese honors was Kenta Murayama , outkicking marathoners Daisuke Uekado and Yusuke Nishiyama by 1 second in 1:02:14. In the women's race, unknown Caroline Nyaga outran 2022 National Corporate Half Marathon champ Dolphine Omare Nyaboke for the win, breaking her PB by over a minute and a half in 1:08:23. Nyaboke was 2nd in 1:09:46. On the climb back up to the stadium 2022 Hokka

Daito Bunka University Wins Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Half Marathon, Wanjiku Takes 2nd-Straight Individual Title

#3-ranked Daito Bunka University outran favorites Meiji University and Tokai University to take the top spot Saturday at the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai , the half marathon that acts as the official qualifying race for the 11th-20th ranked teams at January's Hakone Ekiden. Led by 2nd-year Peter Wanjiru 's 1:02:16 for 5th, DBU had five men inside the top 50 and the fastest combined time in the field for its first ten finishers, 10:40:39, to take the overall win and secure a return trip to Hakone. Meiji was next in 10:41:41, 4th-year Shumpei Tomita 10th in 1:02:39 and 3rd-year Masaki Kodama 11th in 1:02:43. Coached by former college teammates Seiji Kushibe and Katsuhiko Hanada , Josai University and Waseda University both performed well above expectations, 3rd and 4th in 10:42:09 and 10:42:29. 5th and 6th placers Nittai University and Rikkyo University came in right around pre-race rankings, Rikkyo qualifying for Hakone for the first time in 55 years in only head coach Yuic

O'Keeffe, Hattori, Nakamura and Others DNS for Sunday's Tokyo Legacy Half

At a pre-race press conference at Tokyo's New National Stadium on Oct. 14, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced the list of withdrawals from Sunday's inaugural Tokyo Legacy Half Marathon . On the women's side, #1-ranked Fiona O'Keeffe (U.S.A.) and collegiate marathon NR holder Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu) were the two biggest names to pull out, O'Keeffe listed as sick and Maeda with injury. On the men's side, Tokyo Olympic marathoners Yuma Hattori (Toyota) and Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) were the biggest losses given the event's intent of commemorating the Olympic and Paralympic races, both athletes listed as injured. Other prominent withdrawals include former NR holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), 2022 National Corporate 10000 m champion Emmanuel Maru (Toyota Boshoku), 2021 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Michael Githae (Suzuki), 2022 Twin Cities Marathon winner Yuya Yoshida (GMO) and Mongolian NR holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Shin Nihon Jusetsu). Para athlet

Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Preview

Saturday is the official qualifying event for the 99th running of the world's greatest road race. Back on its regular course after two years as loop around a runway, the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon has the 11th through 53rd-ranked men's university teams in the greater Tokyo area racing it out to be in the top 10 and score a place in Hakone in January. All 43 teams field from 10 to 12 runners with their first 10 finishers scoring and teams ranked on their scoring runners' total combined times. It's tense, dramatic, and every second from every runner really does count. Sometimes the difference between 10th and 11th in the team scoring comes down to a fraction of that per runner. NTV will be broadcasting it live starting at 9:25 a.m. local time Saturday. It doesn't need to be said that proven half marathon ability is the best predictor of half marathon success, but given that teams can qualify runners via 10000 m best that's what organizers KGRR list in

Mashiko 8:11.12 JHS 3000 m NR - Long Weekend Track Highlights

Ekiden season got up to full speed this weekend, but there was still a healthy chunk of track action across the country. The main event was the National Sports Festival Thursday through Monday in Tochigi. In the junior men's 3000 m Rui Suzuki (Yachiyo Shoin H.S.) ran 8:01.26 for the win, the 3rd-fastest time ever by a Japanese high schooler. Yamato Hamaguchi (Saku Chosei H.S.) was 2nd in 8:07.66, but the biggest news was 3rd-placer Yota Mashiko , a 9th-grader at Fukushima's Kagamiishii J.H.S. Already the junior high school 3000 m NR holder after running 8:15.04 in August, Mashiko chopped 4 seconds off that mark with a new 8:11.12 NR. The junior men's 5000 m was also fast, with the top 8 all breaking 14 minutes and the top 14 under 14:10, all high schoolers. Hiroto Yoshioka (Saku Chosei H.S.) took the top spot in 13:53.85, Sonota Nagashima (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) 2nd in 13:54.80 and Yoshihiro Kusuoka (Keisei H.S.) 3rd in 13:55.84. In the junior women's 3000 m Caro

Komazawa University Breaks Izumo Ekiden CR in First Win Since 2013

2021 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University ran an almost perfect season-opener to win the Izumo Ekiden for the first time since 2013. 2nd after a good run from Kyosuke Hanao on the opening leg, 1500 m U20 NR holder Keita Sato had a big impact in his college ekiden debut, putting Komazawa into 1st and beating 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) by 4 seconds to set a new CR of 15:27 for his 5.8 km stage. 27:23.44 10000 m runner Ren Tazawa and 1:00:40 half marathoner Chikara Yamano were both second on the next two stages, but still extended Komazawa's lead to 33 seconds. The weakest link on the team, fifth man Taiyo Yasuhara initially lost 12 seconds to his chasers, but on the second half of his stage he turned it around and reopened Komazawa's lead to 44 seconds, winning the stage on time. Critically, that meant anchor Mebuki Suzuki , a 27:41.68 10000 m runner who lost most of the last year to a stress fracture, could afford to play it safel

Ritsumeikan Uji Girls and Kyushu Gakuin Boys Win Kurayoshi Joshi / Nihonkai Ekiden

The traditional first big race of the high school ekiden season was back Sunday, with the Kurayoshi Joshi Ekiden and Nihonkai Ekiden returning from corona cancelations the last two years. One race with different event names for girls and boys, 70 girls' teams ran the half marathon distance divided into 5 stages, and 96 boys' teams the marathon distance divided into 7 stages. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. won the girls' race for the first time since 2011. 4th after the 6.0 km First Stage, Ritsumeikan Uji's Ai Segawa opened a 30-second lead on the 3.0 km Third Stage that fourth runner Chiseno Ikeda and anchor Yumi Yamamoto extended to 1:21 by the end of the race. Ritsumeikan Uji won in 1:08:57, early leader Hakuoh Joshi H.S. hanging on to 2nd in 1:10:18 and Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. taking 3rd in 1:10:42. Kyushu Gakuin H.S. took the lead from the start in the boys' race, Shu Nagamoto winning the highly competitive 10.0 km First Stage in 29:04 with the top 21 all clearing

Niigata City Marathon Returns After Four Years

After four years away, the Niigata City Marathon returned to the streets of downtown Niigata on Sunday. Early the morning of the 9th marathoners lined up in front of Denka Big Swan Stadium for the first time since 2018, with the 2019 race having been canceled because of a typhoon and the 2020 and 2021 races not held due to the coronavirus pandemic. Between the marathon, 10 km fun run and universal run in which participants could run whatever distance they wanted, 7000 people took part. With Sydney Olympics marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi there to cheer them on, runners of all ability shared their joy together at being back together after 4 years away. Shusei Ohashi won the men's race in 2:18:22, Yuka Seki taking 1st in the women's race in 2:54:58. source article: translated and edited by Brett Larner

Chicago Marathon Japanese Results

Runner-up at last year's Fukuoka International Marathon, Kyohei Hosoya was the top Japanese finisher at the Chicago Marathon Sunday. Hosoya went through halfway in the 2nd pack in 1:03:46 en route to a 2:08:05 for 6th. Riki Nakanishi was the only other Japanese man under 2:10, barely, finishing 14th in 2:09:59. Hiroto Fujimagari and Kiyoshi Koga were less successful, Fujimagari 20th in 2:13:04 and Koga 23rd in 2:13:42. Koki Ozawa just made it under 2:20 in an apparent marathon debut, running 2:19:54 for 40th. Sub-2:10 man Masaya Taguchi dropped out after 25 km, hitting halfway in 1:05:10 but abruptly slowing after that. Club runner Tomomi Nakajima was the top Japanese woman to finish, 55th in 2:47:23. © 2022 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

2022 Izumo Ekiden Preview

Ekiden season kicks off for real on Monday with the first of the Big Three university men's ekidens, the Izumo Ekiden in Shimane. Fuji TV will be broadcasting Izumo live starting at 12:30 p.m. local time, with pre-race and exchange zone shots streamed on Youtube . Follow @JRNLive for English coverage. Last year was a great season, with three different schools winning the three big races, Tokyo Kokusai University taking Izumo in its debut there, Komazawa University winning November's National University Ekiden, and Aoyama Gakuin University getting back on top of the big one, January's Hakone Ekiden. All three are going to be heavy hitters on Monday, but at the same time it's one of the closest fields ever at Izumo. There's not much difference in level for the top eight teams, all of them having top six runner averages under 14 minutes for 5000 m and under 29 minutes for 10000 m. With the average level so close it could come down to the strongest star runner on t

National Sports Festival, Izumo, Chicago and More - Weekend Preview

It feels like old times again, with at least five big events on the Japanese calendar. The biggest is Monday's Izumo Ekiden , the season opener for the top university men's teams in the country. We'll have a separate Izumo preview out soon, but you can look forward to the race being broadcast live on Fuji TV starting at 13:00 local time Monday. We'll also cover it live on @JRNLive . The other big ekiden is Sunday's Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden and Nihonkai Ekiden , the first major high school races of the season. They're really one thing billed with separate event names for the girls' and boys' races, five stages totaling 21.0975 km for girls and seven stages totaling 42.195 km for boys. Most of the top high school programs in the country will be there, with 2021 National High School Ekiden 2nd and 4th-placers Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. and Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. leading the 70 teams in the girls' race and 2021 Nationals winner Sera H.S. , 2nd-p

'Marathon Course for Paris Olympics Announced; Lots of Uphill'

Japan's First Boston Marathon Winner Shigeki Tanaka Passes Away Aged 91

1951 Boston Marathon champion  Shigeki Tanaka , Japan's first winner of the prestigious race and a survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear attack less than six years earlier, passed away on Oct. 4. He was 91. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 on Oct. 12 at 719 Joyake-cho, Utsunomiya.  photo © 1951 Leslie Jones, all rights reserved source article: translated and edited by Brett Larner