Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2023

Mizuki Matsuda Announces Plans to Retire Soon to Have Children

The JAAF held an award ceremony for the Japan Marathon Championship Series II in Tokyo on Mar. 29. Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) and Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nihon) were named the women's and men's series champions, earning 6,600,000 yen [~$50,000 USD] each, equal to the prize money for winning the World Marathon Majors series. Matsuda told the media, "I was 2nd last year, so to be the winner this year honestly makes me really happy." Matsuda will run the marathon at August's Budapest World Championships, then will double at the Oct. 15 MGC Race Paris Olympic marathon trials. She admitted that it's a tough schedule, but said, "Being able to compete at the top level of the sport is a great experience. I want to perform in the race that's closer on the horizon more than what's still further away, and that's why I wanted to do compete at the World Championships." Matsuda's coach Miwako Yamanaka wanted her to only run the Olympic trials,

Most Pleasant Exhaustion Ep. 252 - Brett Larner from Japan Running News

Most Pleasant Exhaustion · Episode 252--Brett Larner from Japan Running News

JAAF Announces Marathon Teams for 2023 World Championships and Asian Games

The JAAF has announced the men's and women's marathon teams for this year's Budapest World Championships and Hangzhou Asian Games . Japan's MGC Race Paris Olympics marathon trials are scheduled for Oct. 15. With Budapest happening Aug. 19-27 everyone on the Budapest team will have to either double high-level marathon performances seven weeks apart or try to steal the 3rd spot on the Paris team by running a fast time at one of the major winter 2023-24 domestic marathons. With Hangzhou happening Sept. 23 to Oct. 5 it's not likely anyone named to that team will try to double, meaning either a shot at something ambitious next winter or giving Paris a miss. Between the two teams, the two fastest Japanese men at both the Osaka Marathon and Tokyo Marathon this year have been chosen. Heading to Budapest are Ichitaka Yamashita (Mitsubishi Juko), 2:05:51 for 7th in Tokyo, Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nihon), 2:05:59 for 8th in Tokyo, and Kazuya Nishiyama (Toyota), 2:06:45 fo

A Late Update on Niigata, Matsue and Tokushima

A late update on last weekend's main domestic Japanese road results. At the Niigata Half Marathon , Meiji University 's Shota Morishita dominated with a win by 34 seconds over teammate Hibiki Kikkawa in the men's race, clocking 1:03:26. Ayami Hirano of the Noritz corporate team had an even bigger margin of victory in the women's race, running 1:14:28 and finishing 1:14 up on 2nd-placer Mayuka Fujita from Route Inn Hotels . Complete results . The Matsue Ladies Half Marathon , which doubles as the National University Women's Half Marathon, saw one of the tightest finishes in its history after three-straight years of pandemic-era cancelations. Panasonic 's Yuki Nakamura beat top collegian Hikaru Kitagawa of Osaka Geijutsu University by 2 seconds to win in 1:10:48. A corporate leaguer also took the 10 km division, with Yuna Takahashi from the Shimamura team winning by over 6 minutes in 33:47. Surprisingly, Kitagawa's time of 1:10:50 was the fastest-ev

The 2023 Hakone Ekiden Champs Komazawa University at the United Airlines NYC Half

2023 Hakone Ekiden champion Komazawa University 's 1st and 8th runners from its winning team Kensuke Tsubura  and Yuto Akahoshi were at the United Airlines NYC Half Sunday with head coach Hiroaki Oyagi and his wife Kyoko Oyagi as part of the partnership between race organizers NYRR and November's Ageo City Half Marathon set up by JRN in 2012. For both athletes it was the first time for them to ever go outside Japan. Akahoshi, a 3rd-year at Komazawa who ran his PB of 1:02:00 at Ageo last fall, lasted longer in the main pack, staying with the group that ended up filling 4th through 14th after the breakaway move up the East Side by world record holders Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Moroccan Zouhair Talbi . In the last 5 km he dropped back to finish 14th in 1:03:49, just behind 2022 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Maru Teferi of Israel. "My goal was to come here and try to stay with some of the best athletes in the world, so I'm pretty disap

Where Japan's Paris Olympic Marathon Trials Qualification Is At

Last Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon was the last of the main chances for Japanese marathoners to qualify for the Oct. 15 MGC Race, the country's official marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics. At the trials the top 2 finishers will be named to the Olympic team, with the 3rd finisher provisionally in and the 4th and 5th placers named provisional alternates. After that it's one last turn through the winter 2023-24 season of the big domestic races where people will have the chance to steal the 3rd spot on the team and bump the 3rd-placer at the trials down to alternate. The deadline for qualifying for the trials is May 31, and there are still a few smaller domestic races like this Sunday's Tokushima Marathon and April's Nagano Marathon, and overseas races with a World Athletics elite label or better where those who haven't qualified yet can try to make a miracle happen. But for the most part, almost all the real contenders are already in. 62 men and 29

Shinohara Wins National University Half Marathon, 215 Go Sub-1:06

Fresh off becoming the fastest-ever Japanese-born collegiate half marathoner with a 1:00:11 in Marugame last month, 2023 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University 2nd-year Kotaro Shinohara won the National University Half Marathon Sunday in Tokyo's western suburb of Tachikawa. In warm conditions the dense lead group ran relatively conservatively, on track to go just under 63 minutes. But entering Tachikawa's Showa Kinen Park for a final 5 km of undulations and sharp turns Shinohara turned it on to pull away, winning easily in 1:02:16. Another of the pre-race favorites, sub-28 10000 m runner Reishi Yoshida of Hakone non-qualifier Chuo Gakuin University was 2nd in 1:02:29. Another Hakone non-qualifier, Tokyo Nogyo University 's Neo Namiki looked set to take 3rd. But in the last km Rei Matsunaga of Hosei University , famed for trying to run away with last year's Kanto Regionals 5000 m versus 3000 m SC NR holder Ryuji Miura , came up to pass Namiki, stealing 3rd in 1:0

Ruth Chepngetich Repeats in Nagoya With Solo 2:18:08

With temps in the high teens the Nagoya Women's Marathon was warmer than ideal, but that didn't stop the expected protagonists from dominating, and in fast times. 2022 winner Ruth Chepngetich soloed the race the entire way, going ahead of the pacers in the first kilometer and splitting between 16:14 and 16:19 for five of the six 5 km splits up to 30 km. She couldn't quite hold it together enough over the last 10 km to give her 2:17:18 CR from last year a serious go, fading from 1:08:47 at halfway to a 2:18:08 for 1st. But that was still enough for her to win by over a kilometer and take home another $250,000. The main chase group of over a dozen skimmed just under 17 minutes per 5 km through a 1:11:20 half split before top-ranked Japan woman Ayuko Suzuki took off when the last pacer stopped. Deshun Zhang and Mao Uesugi initially went with her but soon lost touch, leaving Suzuki to drop an impressive 48-second negative split for a 2:21:52 PB, 10 seconds better than her

Nagoya and the National University Half - Weekend Preview

Two big races cap Sunday's road racing action in Japan. First up is the Nagoya Women's Marathon , where last year's winner Ruth Chepngetich is back saying at the pre-race press conference that she's ready to break the course record. Although she's still listed in the field on the English section of the Nagoya site, oddly she has been dropped from the Japanese section's field listing . She wasn't included in yesterday's announcement of the withdrawal of Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Molly Seidel and Germany's Katharina Steinruck , either language version, so it's possible her absence from the field listing on the Japanese site is a mistake. But it's very odd. Either way, the world's largest women-only marathon has a relatively thin elite field , even thinner with Seidel and Steinruck out. 2021 Valencia winner Nancy Jelagat is the only sub-2:20 runner in the field apart from Chepngetich, with the next tier solidly at the 2:22-2:23 and

H.S. 5000 m NR Holder Hiroto Yoshioka Recovering From World XC Collapse

13:22.99 high school boys' 5000 m national record holder Hiroto Yoshioka , a 3rd-year at Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. , talked to the media for the first time after returning from the Feb. 18 World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia. "I can't say everything is back to normal, but I'm getting better bit by bit," he said. In high temperatures at World XC Yoshioka ran an aggressive race against the international field, only to collapse right before the finish. "I was really flying, a lot more than usual, and I could feel it was really physically demanding," he said. "I thought I had crossed the finish line, but the line where I collapsed was actually the start line. People around me were shouting, 'You're not done!'" Unable to move his legs, he used his arms to inch forward feet-first. He instinctively felt he had reached the finish line and collapsed again, this time for good. But, he admitted, "Since I was goin

Seidel and Steinruck Withdraw From Nagoya Women's Marathon

On Mar. 8 the organizers of Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon announced that American Olympic medalist Molly Seidel and German Katharina Steinruck have withdrawn from the race. According to the organizers, Seidel has sustained an injury to her right hip while Steinruck was described as suffering from acute sinusitis. More here . © 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Rio Olympian Kitajima Retires from Yasukawa Denki as London Olympian Nakamoto Becomes Head Coach

The Yasukawa Denki men's corporate team has announced that four of its members including 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics marathoner Hisanori Kitajima , 38, are retiring. Kitajima won the Hakone Ekiden's Eighth Stage his fourth year at Toyo University . He finished 2nd as the top Japanese man at the 2016 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon to qualify for the Rio Olympics, where he placed 94th. In comments Kitajima said, "The last few years I've felt my body deteriorating day by day, and it was frustrating not to be able to do the kind of training and aggressive racing I used to. But that made me change the way I approached racing, and to approach it with more thought and craft. I learned new things and changed my way of thinking, and as I got older I found a new kind of enjoyment and satisfaction in racing. Part of that was being called a veteran, which felt like some kind of persona. It made me want to compete with the 'veterans' from other teams, and that came to be a m

Wanjiru Runs World Lead, Deso Wins 3-Way Sprint Finish, Levins Breaks Canadian NR, and More - Tokyo Marathon 2023

The Tokyo Marathon delivered on quality and exciting races, if not the record-breaking depth its entry lists promised. Swiss power duo Manuela Schar and Marcel Hug broke the course records in the wheelchair races, Schar soloing a 1:36:43 CR to win the women's race by more than 6 minutes over Japanese NR holder Tsubasa Kina . Hug worked together with Japanese men's NR holder Tomoki Suzuki for the first 25 km before hammering on the bridge over the Sumida River just before 30 km to put him away. Hug opened more than 3 1/2 minutes on Suzuki from there to the finish, winning in a new CR of 1:20:57. Based in Japan since 2010, first at Aomori Yamada H.S. and then at the Starts corporate team, Rosemary Wanjiru came to the Tokyo Marathon women's race ranked #2 in the field after a 2:18:00 debut for 2nd in Berlin last fall. Running a lead quartet with Ethiopians Tsehay Gemechu , Worknesh Edesa and last year's runner-up Ashete Bekere , Wanjiru was calm and relaxed until th

Tokyo Marathon Preview

Riding the wave of the massive results at last weekend’s Osaka Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon is back this Sunday with what looks set to be the deepest-ever men’s marathon and strong women’s and wheelchair races in the works. Conditions are looking ideal, with the current forecast predicting temperatures of 8˚C at the start rising to 9˚C by the finish, cloud cover, and gentle 2 m/s winds. Fuji TV’s international broadcast will be available worldwide , with leaderboard and athlete tracking here . In the men’s race, an incredible 56 men on the entry list have run sub-2:10 since 2020. The deepest-ever marathon, the 2021 Lake Biwa Marathon, produced 42 sub-2:10 performances. Given that Osaka last week had 32 recent sub-2:10 runners on its list and produced 35 sub-2:10s on a tougher course than Tokyo’s, expect things to go big. With a 2:03:36 in 2019 in Berlin, 2021 London winner Sisay Lemma is the only one in the field to have run sub-2:04. But after a sub-par year in 2022 he’s vulnerable