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Showing posts from February, 2023

More Records

Shinya Wada 's T11 marathon world record, 24-year-old duo Kazuya Nishiyama and Yohei Ikeda running the two fastest Japanese debut marathons ever, and South African Stephen Mokoka and Mongolian Jamsran Olonbayar each coming within 10 seconds of their NR made the Osaka Marathon something special this year. But they weren't the only records and near-misses on the Japanese scene this weekend. In Spain, women-only half marathon NR holder Rino Goshima of 2022 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champ team Shiseido ran a 30:55 road 10 km NR for 3rd in the Maraton de Castellon's mixed-gender 10 km race . With the previous record having stood at just 31:44 for a women-only race and 31:49 for a mixed race it was a pretty soft record to break, but given how often top-level Japanese women run under that, even under 31 minutes, on the long stages at ekidens it was good to see someone take a serious swing at putting a quality mark in the books. Her teammates Tomoka Kimura and

National Cross Country Championships Results

The favorites took the top spots in most of the races at Sunday's National Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka. The front end of the U20 women's 6 km was like a replay of the 6.0 km First Stage at December's National High School Ekiden, and it couldn't have been closer. Both Kanoko Nawa , leadoff runner for ekiden winner Nagano Higashi H.S. , and Akari Matsumoto , the first runner from 7th-place Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S. , clocked 20:20 with Nawa getting the win in the photo finish. Narumi Okumoto , first runner from ekiden 8th-placer Kojokan H.S. , was 3rd in 20:23, and Aya Kotajima , first runner from 5th-place Hakuho Joshi H.S. , was 4th in 20:28. Soma Nagahara , the first runner from Saku Chosei H.S. ' runner-up team at the National High School Ekiden, won the U20 men's 8 km in another photo finish, both he and Sota Yamasaki , first runner from 12th-place Yamaguchi Kenritsu Saikyo H.S. , clocking 24:01. Sota Orita (Suma Gakuen H.S.) was a close 3rd

A Record-Breaking Day at the Osaka Marathon

With five 180˚ turnaround points and serious hills in its last 12 km the Osaka Marathon course isn't the fastest around, but that didn't hold back record-breaking runs in both the women's and men's races. Great conditions, 5˚~7˚C, light clouds and very light winds definitely helped. The women's race went steadily on 2:22 pace, an early group of six shaking down to just four, Japan's Momoko Watanabe (Tenmaya), favorite Vivian Kiplagat (Kenya) and Ethiopian duo Helen Bekele Tola and Beyenu Degefa , by 30 km with Australian a few seconds behind. Bekele made the winning break, pulling away to win in a course record 2:22:16. Watanabe, who came into the race with a best of only 2:30:42 PB, led Degefa in the home straight but lost out in the last kick. Degefa was 2nd in 2:23:07 and Watanabe 2:23:08 for 3rd, clearing the 2:24:00 auto-qualifying standard for MGC Race Olympic marathon trials qualification. Only getting faster with age, the 43-year-old Weightman ran K

National XC and Osaka Marathon - Weekend Preview

Two big events cap the weekend's Japanese schedule. Just a week after the World Cross Country Championships, the National Cross Country Championships happen Sunday in Fukuoka. At the U20 level most of the top talent ran Worlds last week or is entered in the senior races, leaving deep but not especially strong fields in the U20 women's 6 km and U20 men's 8 km races. 2022 National High School Ekiden girls' winner Nagano Higashi H.S. has its two leading runners from its national title-winning team entered, Kanoko Nawa and Mai Kubota . Boys' runner-up Saku Chosei H.S. , one of the first programs to incorporate cross country training as a major part of its regimen, is a notable presence in the U20 men's race with 25 athletes entered including ekiden team members Soma Nagahara , Shumpei Yamaguchi and Kazuma Shino . Boys' national champ Kurashiki H.S. is giving it a miss. The senior women's race is thin on top-tier talent, the biggest names being Chika Ko

Former Sendai Ikuei H.S. Coach Junichi Seino Named Teikyo Teika University Women's Head Coach

On Feb. 21 Teikyo Teika University announced that former Sendai Ikuei H.S. head coach and Juntendo University alum Junichi Seino , 38, will take over as the new head coach of its women's ekiden team starting Mar. 1. As an athlete Seino was a member of Sendai Ikuei's winning team at the 2001 National High School Ekiden during his second year, and of Juntendo's winning team at the 2007 Hakone Ekiden his fourth year there. After graduating from Juntendo he served as head coach at Sendai Ikuei from 2008 to 20012, then as assistant coach at the Sekisui Kagaku women's corporate team from 2014 to 2018. Following that he worked in sales for home builder Sekisui Heim. With a proven record of achievement as a coach and athlete and business experience outside athletics, Teikyo Teika felt that Seino was the ideal choice to lead its women's ekiden team, launched in 2018, to its first National University Women's Ekiden appearance. Located in Adachi ward, Tokyo, the school

2023 Hakone Champ Komazawa University's Tsubura and Akahoshi to Make International Debuts at United Airlines NYC Half

The New York Road Runners have announced the elite women's and men's fields for the Mar. 19 United Airlines NYC Half . Alongside half marathon WR holder Jacob Kiplimo and 5000 m/10000 m WR holder Joshua Cheptegei , 2023 Hakone Ekiden champion Komazawa University 's Kensuke Tsubura and Yuta Akahoshi will make their international debuts. Tsubura and Akahoshi were the top two Japanese collegiate finishers at November's Ageo City Half Marathon , earning them places in NYC through a program JRN has run since 2012 in cooperation with the NYRR and Ageo city hall. Tsubura finished 2nd on the opening leg at Hakone to get Komazawa off to a solid start, with Akahoshi maintaining Komazawa's lead on the second day of the race with a 4th-place finish on the eighth leg. Their win capped a 2022-23 season sweep of all three major university ekidens, the first-ever triple crown for head coach Hiroaki Oyagi . Oyagi will travel to NYC with his two athletes, and having announced pos

2:08 Marathoner Miyawaki Says Will Quit Toyota Team If Doesn't Qualify For Olympic Trials in Tokyo

2:08:45 marathoner Chihiro Miyawaki , 31, tweeted on Feb. 19 that if he doesn't qualify for the Olympic marathon trials at next month's Tokyo Marathon he will quit the Toyota corporate team. "At the Mar. 5 Tokyo Marathon, if I don't make the qualifying bracket for the MGC Race then I will be leaving the Toyota team," he wrote. "I'm not calling it a retirement because I haven't been training for the Tokyo Marathon like it's my retirement race. I'm prepared to be on the starting line at the MGC Race, and I'm not running Tokyo just to put a punctuation mark on my career. I'll be running this race as the culmination of what I've accomplished so far, and I hope that you'll all cheer for me." The official marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympic team, the MGC Race is scheduled to take place in Tokyo on Oct. 15. Miyawaki joined Toyota after graduating from Chukyo H.S. In 2011 he ran his PB of 27:41.57 for 10000 m, at the tim

Marathoner Tobimatsu and Wife Shihono Appear on TV Show During Ekiden

The popular TV show Welcome Newlyweds! filmed an episode at SS Plaza Sendai in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima on Feb. 20. Having gotten married in 2021, the star runner from the Hioki team at the Kagoshima Circuit Ekiden, 2:10:47 marathoner Yusuke Tobimatsu , 31, appeared on the show with his wife Shihono , 31, on what was the third day of the prefectural tour ekiden. The couple had been scheduled to be on last September, but their appearance was postponed when Typhoon 11 struck. On the first two days of the ekiden Tobimatsu ran well, winning both of his stages. But on-set it was a different story. "I'm more nervous that before a big race," he said. Tobimatsu's third run at the ekiden is usually on its fifth and final day, but this year he is scheduled to run on the fourth day. "Recording this today is my run," he joked. "That means I have to run four days in a row." The Tobimatsus' segment will be broadcast on KKB TV on Mar. 19 and 26. source artic

Weekend Road Racing Roundup

Another busy weekend in Japan as its road races and marathons continue to return from pandemic-era hiatuses, with two 30 km races, four big marathons, and a post-season university ekiden. In Kumamoto, Yuki Sato (SGH), 36, put in a hard last 5 km to pull away from the massive leading pack and win the Kumanichi 30 km in 1:30:57, the oldest athlete to win Kumanichi to date. Kira Migita (Toyota Kyushu) was 2nd in 1:31:13, just beating Sato's teammate Kazuto Kawabata (SGH) by 1 second. Rui Nishida (Higo Ginko) won the women's race by over 2 minutes in 1:46:58. Sato, who ran a 1:00:35 PB at last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon, said post-race that he'd done a 30 km training run on Thursday and that Kumanichi had been only a workout effort. In western Tokyo, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race men's winner Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Danryoku), 38, led almost start to finish in pursuit of a second win on the hilly Ome course, but in the home straight he fell victim to a

World Cross Country Championships Japanese Results

Cross Country isn't a big thing in Japan, and with a tough course and hot conditions at the Bathurst World Cross Country Championships the Japanese national team didn't make much of an impact. And despite being the land of the long-distance relay, it declined to field a squad for the Mixed Relay 8 km. As usual the U20 women's squad placed the best of the lot in team scoring, taking 5th despite its two strongest members, Nanaka Yonezawa  and Yuya Sawada , finishing outside the scoring. Top two placers Kana Mizokami  and Miku Muraoka  both cracked the top 20. The U20 men were 9th, with H.S. 5000 m NR holder Hiroto Yoshioka  and 28:31 road 10 km high schooler Sonata Nagashima  both DNFing in the mid-30s heat after leading the first lap. Yoshioka collapsed at a white line a few meters before the finish, then crawled feet-first until he collapsed again as soon as his feet touched the front edge of the finish line. But when he was unable to get fully across he was taken off in

Chepngetich Returns - Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field

Last year's winner and all-time #2 woman Ruth Chepngetich returns to the Nagoya Women's Marathon on Mar. 12 for another taste of its $250,000 prize money for 1st place. Nagoya is the world's biggest women-only marathon, and along with Chepngetich 2021 Valencia Marathon winner Nancy Jelagat and Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Molly Seidel lend it a bit of cachet. But overall it's a very weak field for a platinum label race, one of the weakest in Nagoya history. 6 of the top 7 Japanese women entered, Ayuko Suzuki , Mao Uesugi , Mizuki Tanimoto , Yuka Suzuki , Chiharu Ikeda and Mirai Waku , have already qualified for October's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials, so while the Japanese group will probably try to run 2:19 or 2:20 however fast Chepngetich goes, there's not even a lot of drama around Nagoya being the last domestic chance to make the trials. The only real drama on paper is whether snakebitten Tokyo Olympics marathon trials winner and 30 km NR holder Ho

Weekend Road and Track Roundup

It was the busiest weekend so far this year in Japanese road racing. At the National Corporate Half Marathon and 10 km Championships , Joseph Karanja (Aichi Seiko) took the men's title in 1:00:25, leading 11 under 61 minutes. 3rd overall, Ryota Kondo (Mitsubishi Juko) was the top Japanese man in 1:00:32. Depth-wise it was pretty typical for a top-level Japanese half: sub-61: 11 sub-62: 26 sub-63: 46 sub-64: 78 sub-65: 93 sub-66: 106 After a CR and women-only NR last year the women's race was unexpectedly slow this time. 2022 champ Dolphine Nyaboke Omare (U.S.E.) made it two in a row with an easy solo win in 1:10:16, with Shiori Yoshizono (Tenmaya) 2nd in 1:10:48. Sora Shinozakura (Panasonic) won the women's 10 km title in 33:09. At the Karatsu 10-Miler , marathoner Hiroto Fujimagari (Toyota Kyushu) held off  Hideaki Sumiyoshi (Kyudenko) for the win 46:56 to 46:58. Naruha Sato (Shiseido) won the women's 10 km, bettering Shinozakura's time at the National

2024 Olympic Marathon Trials Course Revealed

At a press conference in Tokyo on Feb. 9 the JAAF revealed the course for the Oct. 15 Marathon Grand Championship race (MGC), Japan's marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Starting at finishing in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, with six 180˚ turns it's a challenging course with downhill in the first 5 km, a flattish middle 30 km, and then a climb back up to the stadium in the last 5 km. Most of its course mirrors that of the 2020 Olympics edition of the MGC Race, with the middle part of that course compressed into two laps of a segment between Ueno and Ginza. JAAF Road Running Commission Leader Toshihiko Seko commented, "I think there are athletes who will make their move on the climb over the last 5 km. It's hard to go back into a higher gear after your pace drops at a 180˚ turnaround, but fans will get a lot of chances to cheer for the runners. In that way it's a course we can all say thanks for. I think the athletes are going to be inspired." Sitting

'Former Tokyo Olympics Operations Exec and Three Others Arrested Over Bid-Rigging' Prior to his role with the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, Yasuo Mori  was an executive with the JAAF where he was involved with organizing the 2007 World Championships, the inaugural Tokyo Marathon, and other major events.

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

The Osaka Marathon is only 2 1/2 weeks away but it's taken until now for it to announce its elite fields. Last year's Milan Marathon winner Vivian Kiplagat is the clear favorite in the women's race, but beyond her there's a pretty even group of 7 at the 2:23~2:25 level including Ethiopian duo Beyenu Degefa and Helen Bekele , Australian Lisa Weightman , and Otsuka Seiyaku teammates Ikumi Fukura and Rie Kawauchi , Given the current version of Osaka's history as the descendent of the men-only Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, this field is a pretty good step toward parity. But the men's race is still a lot bigger and higher-level. Ethiopians Hailemaryam Kiros and Abayneh Degu lead a group of 7 internationals at the 2:04~2:06 level. Toshiki Sadakata and Shuho Dairokuno come in just below that as the top-ranked Japanese men in a group of 11 at the 2:07 level. One of the key names in there is Yuma Hattori , winner of Fukuoka in 2018 in 2:07:27 but still strugglin

Zeyituna Husan and Ibrahim Hassan Break Beppu-Oita Mainchi Marathon CR

In its 71st edition the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon saw new course records in both the women's and men's races. On a cold and slightly windy day Japan-based Ethiopian Zeyituna Husan took advantage of the big crowds of amateur men at her pace, going through halfway in 1:14:44 en route in her debut to win in 2:31:41. Her time took 1:19 off the previous record set in 2018 by Hiroko Yoshitomi . Excellent pacing that saw every 5 km split through 30 km in the men's race land in the 15:01 to 15:03 range and a big pack that rolled with it set up a tough last 12 km. Djibouti's Ibrahim Hassan inched it up a notch as soon as the pacers were done, covering the next two 5 km in 14:59 each. That gave him a short lead over Kenyan Daniel Kipchumba , but Hassan almost lost it. Deeply in the zone, he didn't notice the turn into the stadium for the track finish and ran into the back of the camera truck. Kipchumba surged to take advantage of Hassan's loss, but Hassan managed t

Pauline Kamulu and Alexander Mutiso Break Marugame Half CR

In its 75th anniversary race the Marugame Half saw new course records in both the women's and men's races and a near-miss on a new Japanese men's NR. Japan-based Kenyan  Pauline Kamulu soloed a 1:07:22 CR to win the women's race by 49 seconds, 4 seconds under the old CR and her fastest time since her 1:06:56 for bronze at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships. Rika Kaseda continued to climb the ranks among Japanese women with a 1:08:11 for 2nd, landing her in the all-time Japanese top 10. Australian duo Isobel Batt-Doyle and Sinead Diver were 3-4 just 2 seconds apart in 1:09:27 and 1:09:29. In the men's race a lead sextet of Japan-based Kenyans Alexander Mutiso , Cleophas Kandie and Andrew Lorot , corporate leaguer Tomoki Ota , and collegiate runners Kotaro Shinohara and Reishi Yoshida went through 10 km together in 10 km before splitting into two groups. Lorot fell off the front group before 15 km and Yoshida off the back group by 15 km, leaving Muti

9th-Grader Drury Scratches From Biwako XC Due to Media Attention: "I Don't Like Them Reporting On My Private Life"

On Mar. 3 Tsuyama 9th grader Sherry Drury withdrew from Sunday's Biwako Cross Country Meet. An attorney representing Ms. Drury made the announcement, saying that she is uncomfortable with the amount of media coverage of her recent races and doesn't know how to deal with all the people stopping her to take pictures and talk to her. In comments made public by her attorney Ms. Drury said, "Because of all the changes since the National Women's Ekiden I can't train in freedom like I did before, and all the media reporting on me is wearing me out. I don't like them reporting on things outside my running, things in my private life that I've never talked about publicly like my studies and hobbies. Some magazine reporters have interviewed our neighbors and other people who know me, and some have even gone to my classmates' homes to try to interview them. I don't want other people to have to go through that because of me. I'm going to keep running in h

Marugame Half and Beppu-Oita Marathon Headline Weekend Action

Post-ekiden road season is up to full speed in Japan with two major races this Sunday. First up, the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon kicks off its 75th anniversary edition at 10:35 a.m. with an Aussie-heavy field and the usual domestic depth. Kenyan Nancy Jelagat is the class of the women's field on paper with a 1:05:21 in Berlin 2021, but without any race results in 2022 it's a question how she'll fare against Japan-based Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels), the Aussie trio of Sinead Diver , Eloise Wellings and Isobel Batt-Doyle , Brit Charlotte Purdue , American Sarah Pagano , and top-ranked domestic woman Rika Kaseda (Daihatsu). Sub-58 man Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) fronts the men's field, with Aussies Jack Rayner and Riley Cocks set to mix it up with debuting 27:20.34 man Cleophas Kandie (Mitsubishi Juko) and a million domestic men including sub-61 half marathoners Yusuke Tamura (Kurosaki Harima) Takashi Namba (Toenec) and Yusuke Nishiyama

Sub-61 Half Marathoner Masashi Nonaka Transfers From Osaka Gas to Toyota

On Feb. 1 the Toyota corporate team announced that Masashi Nonaka , 27, has transferred from longtime sponsor Osaka Gas to join the Toyota roster. Nonaka graduated from Kawanishi Hokuryo H.S. in Hyogo before attending Kwansei Gakuin University , where his achievements included a 7th-place finish in the 5000 m at the 2017 National University Track and Field Championships. Following his graduation from KGU Nonaka joined the Osaka Gas team, running track PBs of 13:35.94 for 5000 m and 27:58.38 for 10000 m in 2021. Last year he showed growth on the roads too, running 1:00:48 at the National Corporate Half Marathon and 2:09:57 at the Osaka Marathon. In comments published on the Toyota team site Nonaka said, "I'm really grateful to have the chance to take things to the next level alongside incredible teammates and staff in a great environment. Thank you all for your continued support." Nonaka is scheduled to run the Mar. 5 Tokyo Marathon. Toyota placed 3rd at this year'