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Showing posts from December, 2022

Meijo University Wins 5th-Straight Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden National Title

There was never any doubt that Meijo University was going to win a fifth-straight national title at today's Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden , but what they really showed was that they have the core of a team that is going to extend its dynasty at least another 3 or 4 years. 1st-year trio Azumi Nagira , Hikaru Kitagawa and Nanaka Yonezawa built up a 43-second lead for Meijo over the first three legs, Yonezawa taking 4 seconds off the CR for hers. 3rd-year Yuka Masubuchi added another 19 seconds to that, setting up 4th-year power duo Yuma Yamamoto and Narumi Kobayashi to deliver it to 2nd-year anchor Nanase Tanimoto to bring Meijo home up the ~170m climb of the final stage. Yamamoto made sure nobody was going to come from behind late in the race, taking Meijo's lead from 1:02 to 2:28 over the 10.5 km fifth leg. Kobayashi has had trouble performing up to her past level this year, but even though she lost 21 seconds she still managed to run the 3rd-fastest time on her stage.

Yasukawa Denki Withdraws From New Year Ekiden After Team Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

On Dec. 30 the Yasukawa Denki corporate team announced that is withdrawn from the Jan. 1, 2023 New Year Ekiden national championships after a team member tested positive for COVID-19. The race will go ahead with the remaining 36 teams entered. According to team management, one athlete came down with a fever on Dec. 28 after Yasukawa Denki had arrived in Gunma for the race. On Dec. 29 the athlete was taken to a hospital for testing, where his result came back positive. All team members had tested negative prior to leaving for Gunma. "We want to avoid having an impact (infecting) and other teams," said team management in explaining its withdrawal. Yasukawa Denki has run the New Year Ekiden the last 33 years straight and a total of 45 times. According to the National Corporate Federation, organizers of the New Year Ekiden, this year will still count as an appearance in the record books. Translator's note: In the video above Yasukawa Denki's Kiyoshi Koga  set a new CR o

2023 Hakone Ekiden Preview

The Hakone Ekiden is almost here. The 99th running of Japan’s biggest sporting event happens Jan. 2-3, 21 collegiate relay teams of ten men running around a half marathon distance each from downtown Tokyo to Lake Ashi in the mountains near Mt. Fuji and back. All of it and more is broadcast live domestically starting at 7:00 a.m. by Nihon TV to tens of millions of fans and streamed on their Hakone site  starting at 7:50, with domestic streaming of both Day One and Day Two  also on TVer. There’s no official international streaming, but get yourself a VPN or subscribe to one of the online services that makes it possible to watch Japanese TV and you’re in. JRN will cover the entire race both days again this year on @JRNLive , so buy us a coffee and help make it possible . With course record wins at the season’s first two major ekidens, Izumo and Nationals , Komazawa University is the heavy favorite. The triple crown of major university ekiden wins is just about the only thing head coa

New Year Ekiden Preview and Streaming

The first big race of the year worldwide every year is the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships, 100 km in 7 stages through Gunma northwest of Tokyo. TBS broadcasts it live domestically starting at 8:30 a.m. local on Jan. 1, with the broadcast to be streamed live on TVer . TBS will also be streaming live, unedited feeds from three different camera trucks too starting at 9:00 a.m. You'll probably need a VPN to get around geoblocking for both TVer and the unedited feed above. Live results will be here , and JRN will be covering the race live on @JRNLive  and Instagram to help you make sense of what's going on, and on the ground from the course. Buy us a coffee to help make the first of three straight days of live ekiden coverage possible. Last year the Honda team won for the first time in the race's 66-year history. Anchor Hidekazu Hijikata promptly jumped ship for CR holder Asahi Kasei , a product of 2020 rule changes around restrictions on team

Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden Preview

The Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden , the year-ending national championship for university women, happens this Friday at 10:00 a.m. Japan time, kicking off four days of the year's best racing over the course of five. Fuji TV has the live broadcast starting at 9:50 a.m., TVer has the streaming, and @JRNLive will have the English coverage. When it comes to the collegiate men's ekiden circuit it's a given that Tokyo-area schools are going to win and, in most cases, fill the podium, but the college women's ekidens are more genuinely national, and in that way have a type of excitement the men's races lack. The Mt. Fuji race has 7 hilly stages totaling 43.4 km, with a mostly downhill first two stages, a rolling middle four, and an anchor stage that climbs almost 170 m. And Meijo University is going to win. Meijo is the four-time defending champ and is fresh off a sixth-straight win at October's Morinomiyako Ekiden where it won 5 of the 6 stages, 3 in CR time. The

JRN's 10 Most-Read Stories of 2022

Like you'd expect, marathons and ekidens were the main stories of 2022 on JRN. But 2 of the 3 most-read this year were about track 10000 m, one that speaks to another area of the incredible depth here, and another that organizers would probably like to forget about. This was 2022 as JRN readers saw it. Thanks for reading, and please consider subscribing in 2023 . 1. Aoyama Gakuin Breaks Own Course Record for Sixth Hakone Ekiden Win in Eight Years - Jan. 2-3 After opening a lead of almost a kilometer on the first day of Japan's biggest race , Aoyama Gakuin University turned that into a margin of over 3 km to win the 98th Hakone Ekiden in course record time. 3 of the 10 stages saw new course records , with incredible depth on almost every one of them. Preview . 2. JAAF and NHK Apologize for Camera Crew Interfering With Men's 10000 m National Championships - May 9 After an oblivious camera crew walked onto the track as the race was still happening, clotheslining Shinji Mita

Hironaka Tops Japanese Women's Rankings for 2nd Year Straight

Men's rankings here For the second year in a row 5000 m NR holder Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) took the top spot in JRN's overall Japanese women's rankings, and she got there the same way. After running her 5000 m NR and a 10000 m PB at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Hironaka ran big again at the 2022 Oregon World Championships. Her 30:39.71 in the 10000 m was a 21-second improvement on her PB and the 2nd-fastest ever by a Japanese woman. This time she missed making the 5000 m final, but her 15:02.03 in her heat still ended up being the 2nd-fastest Japanese time of the year. Post-Worlds Hironaka dropped off a bit, unable to break 15 minutes in the fall track time trial season. But at November's National Corporate Women's Ekiden she delivered the women's ekiden performance of the year, fighting off tough competition to hang onto the lead for the Japan Post team on the race's most competitive stage. Given her lack of experience with the 10000 m, her big jump up in

Nagano Higashi Girls Win First National Title, Kurashiki Boys Break National High School Ekiden CR

The National High School Ekiden took place Dec. 25 in Kyoto with a live nationwide ad-free broadcast on NHK . In the girls' race , Nagano Higashi H.S. ran a perfect second half to run down 2021 national champ Sendai Ikuei H.S. on the anchor stage for its first-ever national title. In the boys' race , Kurashiki H.S. broke the overall course record by 8 seconds to win for the 3rd time in the race's 73-year history, with runner-up Saku Chosei H.S. running the fastest-ever time by an all-Japanese team thanks in large part to a brilliant run from 5000 m H.S. NR holder Hiroto Yoshioka . 7th last year, the Nagano Higashi girls got off to a good start with leading runner Kanoko Nawa 4th and just 6 seconds off the lead. Sendai Ikuei's Daisy Jerop put the defending champs into the lead on the second leg, with its next two runners Misaki Nagaoka and Kurea Watanabe holding that position. But a stage win from Nagano Higashi's fourth runner Yuka Sato cut Sendai Ikuei

National High School Ekiden Preview, and the Rest of Championship Ekiden Season

Corporate women and junior high school students have already had their nationally-televised national championship ekidens, but tomorrow's National High School Ekiden in Kyoto kicks off the busiest part of the year, with 5 days of championship ekiden racing in the span of 10 days. NHK broadcasts high school Nationals live and ad-free on Dec. 25, with the girls' race starting at 10:20 a.m. and the boys at 12:30 p.m. local time. There's not likely to be any internationally-available streaming, but get a VPN and you should be good. With JRN's holiday travel plans canceled because of the weather in the PNW, we'll probably be covering both races live on @JRNLive . Buy us a coffee to help us get through the day. The top high school teams in Japan would do pretty well in the NCAA on both the girls' and boys' sides, meaning two high-level races. In the girls' race, 21.0975 km in five legs, Sendai Ikuei H.S. won in 1:07:16 by over a minute last year but is d

Osaka Half Marathon Elite Field

Along with yesterday's announcement of the Jan. 29 Osaka International Women's Marathon elite field , organizers have also announced the fields for the simultaneous Osaka Half Marathon . With athletes from 9 countries it's the most international field in the event's history, a welcome sign as other races like the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon a week later continue to restrict entries to residents of Japan. Osaka Half Marathon Elite Field Highlights Osaka, 29 Jan. 2023 complete field listing times listed are best in last 3 years except where noted Women Zeyituna Husan (Denso) - 1:09:24 (Sanyo 2020) Desta Burka (Denso) - 1:09:31 (Sanyo 2021) Kaede Kawamura (Iwatani Sangyo) - 1:10:17 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2022) Shuri Ogasawara (Denso) - 1:10:25 (Sanyo 2020) Mirai Waku (Univ. Ent.) - 1:10:26 (Sanyo 2020) Yukina Ueda (Daihatsu) - 1:10:49 (Osaka 2020) Wuga He (China) - 1:10:54 (Philadelphia 2022) Hanae Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 1:11:08 (Sanyo 2021) Hina Yanagitani (Wacoal) - 1

Osaka International Women's Marathon Elite Field

The Osaka International Women's Marathon jumps into the World Athletics platinum label pool Jan. 29 with its 42nd edition. A-group pacing it set to go at 3:19~20/km, 2:19:57 to 2:20:39 pace, with organizers opting to switch back to female pacers after two years with men. They've pulled in a trio of recent 2:20-level women, Kenyan Maurine Chepkemoi and Ethiopians Haven Hailu Desse and Sisay Meseret Gola , to try to max out the chances that the top Japanese women will be able to ride that in to something close to sub-2:20, and have tweaked the course a bit to do the same. Yuka Ando (Wacoal) is the only Japanese woman in the race to have gone sub-2:22 in her career, but in terms of times in the last three years she's one of three coming in with a 2:22, alongside last year's runner-up Mao Uesugi (Starts) and Sayaka Sato (Sekisui Kagaku). Tokyo Olympian Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) is in the mix too with a 2:23:30 in Osaka two years ago and some good half marathons last ye

Weekend Road Race Roundup

Strong winds prevented the kind of times usually seen at the Sanyo Ladies Road Race , the last major non-ekiden race on the Japanese calendar every year. Running as a tuneup for pacing January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, 3000 m JPN all-comers record holder Margaret Akidor (Comodi Iida) won a four-way sprint finish to take 1st in the half marathon in 1:11:19. 3rd last year, Joan Kipkemoi (Kyudenko) was 2nd in 1:11:20, reversing places with Desta Burka (Denso) who dropped from 2nd last year to 3rd in 1:11:21. Unable to keep up in the last kick, 2-time champ Zeyituna Husan (Denso) was 4th in 1:11:25. Yuri Karasawa (Kyudenko) was the top Japanese woman at 5th in 1:12:01. In the 10 km division, Agnes Mwikali (Kyocera) won a slightly less close sprint finish over Tabitha Njeri Kamau (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and Janet Nyiva (Kurashiki H.S.) in 31:56 to Njeri' 31:59 and Nyiva's 32:00. Top Japanese woman Misaki Hayashida (Kyudenko) was 4th in 33:14. The 136t

A First Look at the 2023 Hakone Ekiden Field

Earlier this week the KGRR released the entry lists for the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden 's 99th running. We'll do a more detailed preview closer to the race, but a few quick takeaways: Not including the Kanto Region Student Alliance select team, each of the 20 universities in the race entered 16 names, of which 10 will actually start the race. 13 teams have 10-man 5000 m PB averages under 14 minutes, 15 teams have 10-man 10000 m PB averages under 29 minutes, and 4 teams have 10-man half marathon averages under 1:03. With the average stage length at Hakone being just over a half marathon it's hard to see any team outside the 4 with 62-minute half averages being in it for the win, but the massive number of 28-minute 10000 m teams shows where the focus has been during the pandemic, and low-ranked teams like Daito Bunka University , Nittai University and Tokyo Kokusai University that have good track credentials without half marathon marks to match should do better than what it

Hyuga Endo Tops 2022 Japanese Men's Distance Rankings

The Japanese women's 2022 season still has big races to come, with the Sanyo Ladies Road Race 10 km and half marathon this weekend and the Nittai University Women's Long Distance Time Trials on Dec. 24, but for men the top lists for the year are pretty much a done deal barring something unexpected at the Dec. 24-25 Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials or Dec. 29 Year End Half Marathon . We'll wait until after Nittai for our women's rankings, but as men from JHS to the corporate leagues do their final preparations for the four championship ekidens over the next three weekends here's how they shaped out in 2022. Update: Women's rankings are here . Indoor 5000 m NR holder Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) took the top spot on the strength of a single run, his all-time JPN #2 13:10.69 win against an incredibly deep field of Japan-based Kenyans at the May 4 Golden Games in Noboeka . That came less than a month after his 3:36.69 1500 m at the Kanakuri Memorial Meet , a