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Showing posts from April, 2023

Rain Can't Stop Four Meet Records - Oda Memorial Meet Highlights

Increasingly heavy rain throughout the day couldn't hold back four meet records at the 57th Mikio Oda Memorial Meet Saturday in Hiroshima, a World Athletics Continental Tour bronze label meet. On the field, NR holder Haruka Kitaguchi (JAL) set a new MR of 63.45 m on her 3rd attempt, then took that up to a winning 64.50 m on her 5th attempt. On the track, Rose Wangui of Sera H.S. won the U20 women's 3000 m by over 23 seconds in a MR 9:03.03, over 10 seconds under the old MR. Australian Georgia Winkcup took 5 seconds off the women's 3000 mSC MR, winning in 9:46.27 by almost 10 seconds over Manami Nishiyama (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). The top 7 in the men's 1500 m all broke the old MR, with Nanami Arai (Honda) getting the win in 3:40.24 with the top 5 all under 3:41. In other races, quadruple U20 NR holder Keita Sato of 2023 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University scored the first major win of his career on the track, holding back in the 1st half of the men's 500

Oda Memorial Meet Preview and Streaming

This weekend's main event on the Japanese calendar is Saturday's Oda Memorial Meet in Hiroshima , a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meet. Streaming starts at 10:30 a.m. local time, with the first main field final happening at 11:45 and the first one on the track at 14:15. Check the full meet schedule here . Entry lists are here . Track event previews: Women's 1500 m Final - 14:15 No Japanese women have cleared the Budapest World Championships standard of 4:03.50, but four are currently in the quota of 56. Three of them, Yume Goto (Uniqlo), Mizuki Michishita (Wacoal) and Saki Katagihara (Tsukuba Univ.) are entered, along with Tokyo Olympian Ran Urabe (Sekisui Kagaku) who's looking for enough points to break into the top 56. Goto is closest to the standard at 4:09.41, but realistically this race will be mostly about points. Men's 1500 m Final - 14:25 The four fastest men in the 1500 m, NR holder Kazuki Kawamura (Toenec), Nanami Arai (Honda), Keisuke Mor

Corporate Federation Sets Up Special National Ekiden Championships Qualifying Rules for Teams With Athletes Running Olympic Marathon Trials

With the MGC Race , Japan's marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics, scheduled to be held Oct. 15 in the middle of ekiden season, on Apr. 25 the National Corporate Federation (JITA) announced that special measures will be taken regarding the qualifying races for the National Corporate Ekiden Championship races. Teams with an athlete that has qualified for the MGC Race will be allowed to compete in the Queens Ekiden and New Year Ekiden as long as they finish at the qualifying races in October and November. The Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for the Queens Ekiden national, is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Fukuoka, while the six regional qualifying races for the New Year Ekiden will take place from Nov. 3 to Nov. 12. The top 8 teams at last year's Queens Ekiden are automatically qualified for this year's race and do not have to run the Princess Ekiden. With many teams' best athletes scheduled to run the MGC, a number of teams had expressed concerns to the JITA that th

Richard Etir Runs 27:06.88 Collegiate 10000 m Record - Weekend Track Roundup

There were big meets across the country this weekend, but the biggest results were at the Nittai University Time Trials in suburban Yokohama. Across the fastest two 10000 m heats Saturday night, a total of 10 men, 7 of them university athletes, broke 28 minutes. Topping the list was 19-year-old Tokyo Kokusai University 1st-year Richard Etir , who just missed a world-leading time as he blasted a new collegiate record of 27:06.88 to win the A-heat. Emmanuel Maru (Toyota Boshoku) was also under 27:10, taking 2nd in 27:09.96. 2023 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University added another sub-28 runner to its roster as 4th-year Takumi Karasawa took 5th in 27:57.52, with Waseda University 3rd-year Haruto Ishizuka 6th in 27:58.53. In the B-heat, Yamanashi Gakuin University 2nd-year James Mutok won in 27:50.54, edging Soka University 3rd-year Kamina Leakey by just 0.08. YGU 1st-year Birian Kipyegon was 3rd in 27:51.65. 3000 m was the main event for women at Nittai, with Judy Jepngetic

Nishi Leads Three New Olympic Trials Qualifiers at Nagano Marathon

The fastest Japanese man inside the qualifying window for October's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials not to have hit any of the qualifying criteria, Kento Nishi (Osaka Gas) got it done with a 2:10:01 win at the Nagano Marathon less than two months after his 2:08:11 PB at February's Osaka Marathon. Nishi, Kensuke Horio (Kyudenko) and Kenji Yamamoto (Mazda) all needed to run in the mid-2:11 range to qualify via the two-race sub-2:10 average route, and when 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Michael Githae (Suzuki) took the race out on mid-2:10 pace it was exactly what they could have hoped for. Githae did all the work as others in range of qualifying like Reo Kuniyuki (Otsuka Seiyaku), Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) and Daisuke Hosomori (YKK) dropped off the lead pack. A surge from Horio after halfway cut the lead group down to just Githae, the three qualifying hopefuls, and Yamamoto's teammate Shun Sadakata (Mazda), and it stayed that way until Githae attack

Amos Kurgat and Dolphine Omare Win Again at Gifu Seiryu Half

2019 Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon men's winner Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) and last year's women's champ Dolphine Omare (U.S.E.) were back on top with repeat wins this time. Despite a good field with four sub-60 runners the men's race went out too slow for Kurgat's liking. Within the first 5 km he was away, leading by 6 seconds at 5 km and never looking back as he won by over a minute in 1:00:20. The pack behind him came down to a five-way sprint finish, with past Marugame Half winner Paul Kuira (JR Higashi Nihon) turning in one of his better runs in years with a 1:01:37 for 2nd. Former Soka University top man Philip Mulwa (GMO) was 3rd in 1:01:38 in his corporate league debut, with top Japanese man Kiyoshi Koga (Yasukawa Denki) 4th in 1:01:40. Omare led start to finish in the women's race, initially with company from the debuting Hellen Ekarare (Toyota Jidoshokki) and Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba through 5 km in 16:06 but soon leaving both behind. Omare ca

Chinese Duo Jiaju Zhao and Fuzhao Xiang Dominate UTMF

The morning of Apr. 22 China's Jiaju Zhao arrived at Fujikyu Highland Conifer Forest in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, the finish point of the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji long course race, covering the 164.7 km distance in 19:35:24 to take the win. Yuya Kawasaki was a close 2nd in 19:54:57, with 1:01:37 half marathoner Tomonori Onitsuka 3rd in 20:59:25. Just under 5 hours later, Zhao's teammate Fuzhao Xiang won the women's long course race in 24:14:51 to make it a Chinese debutant double. Xiang said that she ran in memory of the late Liang Jin , 2nd at UTMF in 2019. UTMF is an international trail race through the foothills of Mt. Fuji, put on with international-quality environmental awareness and race management. A total of 3400 people ran this year between the long course and the 68.4 km short course race, the most in the event's history, and international athletes were welcomed back for the first time since 2019. Japanese athletes took the short course races, with Kento Tamur

Nagano Marathon, Tirunesh Dibaba in Gifu and More - Weekend Preview

It's another busy weekend on the roads and track across Japan. Sunday's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon has a good matchup between the great Tirunesh Dibaba and Japan-based Kenyan Dolphine Omare in the women's race . Tirunesh has run 1:06:50, but after 5 years away from the sport her recent best is only a 1:11:35 in Houston in January. Omare bettered that by a kilometer in winning Gifu last year in 1:08:13, and was even better with a 1:07:56 win at last year's National Corporate Half. Australian Isobel Batt-Doyle and Japan's Reia Iwade have both run under 70 minutes, and there are interesting debuts from Kenyan Hellen Ekarare and Australian Genevieve Gregson , but it's hard not to see Omare as the favorite again. The men's race has sub-60 Japan-based Kenyans Amos Kurgat , Joseph Karanja , Vincent Raimoi and Paul Kuira up front, with support from sub-61 men Macharia Ndirangu , Joel Mwaura and Kiyoshi Koga . Kurgat, Karanja, Raimoi and Keira all have exper

20-Year-Old Cynthia Mbaire Passes Away After Unspecified Illness

On April 19 the Hitachi women's corporate team announced that its athlete Cynthia Mbaire had passed away on April 14. A statement from head coach Satoru Kitamura said that Mbaire had been suffering from an unspecified illness since last year, and that she had faced it with strength and had fully expected to make a comeback. "She was always kind and considerate of those around her, and she brightened the mood on the team and gave us all courage," Kitamura wrote. "She made us all smile, and we are saddened to the depth of our hearts." Mbaire attended Kamimura Gakuen H.S. in Kagoshima. She was best known for her 8:49.72 meet record in the 2019 South Kyushu High School Championships 3000 m at age 16. Mbaire went on to win both the 1500 m and 3000 m at the National High School Championships that year, then won the 1500 m at the 2021 East Japan Corporate Championships her first season with Hitachi. Her best performance following that was a 9:01.66 for 3000 m in

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Aiming for Olympic trials qualification at Sunday's Rotterdam Marathon , Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Holdings) had the closest thing to a good race out of the four elite-level Japanese athletes competing abroad this weekend. Needing to run 2:27:15 for qualification after running a 2:28:45 PB just five weeks ago in Nagoya, Tsutsui was just off target at 5km in 17:29, 2:27:33 pace. She fell progressively further off as she went but rallied in the last 10 km to finish 8th overall in 2:29:09, a solid effort at just 24 seconds off her Nagoya best. Also in Rotterdam, Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) needed to run 2:10:45, just under 3:06/km pace, after a 2:09:15 PB at Beppu-Oita the first weekend of February. Shunya Kikuchi (Chugoku Denryoku) only needed 2:11:40, just over 3:07/km, off a 2:08:20 PB in Osaka at the end of February that put him as the 2nd-fastest Japanese man not to have qualified for October's Olympic trials yet. Mystifyingly, both went out at 3:00/km only to crash and bur

Komazawa's Akatsu Wins Kasumigaura 10-Miler

The Kasumigaura Marathon and 10-Miler took place Apr. 16 in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki. In the most competitive race of the day, Yushin Akatsu kept 2023 Hakone Ekiden winner Komazawa University 's streak of road race domination this season going with a win by 15 seconds in 48:07. Komazawa's Shura Miyagi was the second collegiate finisher at 4th overall in 48:45. Considering that neither Akatsu nor Miyagi made Komazawa's entry roster of ten starters and six alternates for Hakone in January, their success at Kasumigaura showed just how hard other schools are going to have to work this fall to stop Komazawa from becoming the first program ever to sweep all three major university ekidens in a single season two years in a row. In the women's 10-miler, Takushoku University took the top two places, Yuko Umeki getting the win in 58:02 and teammate Mayuko Ii 2nd in 58:57. In the men's marathon, former Nihon University Hakone runner Benjamin Ngandu won by nearly 5 minutes ov

40-Year-Old Man Arrested On Suspicion of Filming Teenaged Female Track Athlete in Tights

A 40-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of recording voyeuristic smart phone video of a teenaged girl in competition tights at a track and field meet. Kentaro Tsuchiya , 40, a company worker in Ichinomiya-cho, Fuefuki, was charged with trespassing and violating Yamanashi prefecture's ordinance against committing acts of public nuisance. Tsuchiya is suspected of entering the track and field stadium at Kose Sports Park in Kofu on April 9, the date of a time trial meet held at the stadium by the Yamanashi Athletics Association, for the purpose of surreptitiously filming the girl, who was waiting near the track for her event wearing racing tights. According to investigators, Tsuchiya admitted the allegations. Police are investigating potential additional charges. The Yamanashi Athletics Association said that Tsuchiya had applied to shoot video and pictures in an area requiring an official photography credential. In response to the events the YAA said it planned to increase sec

Ichida, Kikuchi Tsutsui and Yamaguchi Racing Overseas This Weekend

Four noteworthy Japanese marathoners are racing overseas this weekend, all with goals centered on October's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials. Sunday at the Rotterdam Marathon, Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) and Shunya Kikuchi  (Chugoku Denryoku) will try to become the 63rd and 64th  Japanese men to qualify for the MGC Race. Kikuchi ran 2:08:20 at the Osaka Marathon at the end of February, making him the 2nd-fastest Japanese man not to have qualified yet. He has a relatively low bar of 2:11:40 to clear in Rotterdam in order to hit the two-race 2:10:00 qualifying criteria. With a 2:09:15 PB at February's Beppu-Oita Marathon Ichida needs to run 2:10:45 in Rotterdam, giving him a bit less of a margin of error. With his wife Misaki Nishida (Edion) having made the MGC cut at the Osaka Marathon later in February, Ichida getting there in Rotterdam would make them the second married couple to qualify following men's NR holder Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu) and women-only NR holder Mao Ichi

Athlete Town Nobeoka Hangs Banners Ahead of Next Month's Golden Games

The town of Nobeoka in Miyazaki prefecture hung banners for the May 4 Golden Games in Nobeoka track meet throughout its downtown area to help promote the meet and generate local excitement. The Golden Games meet brings in the country's top middle and long distance athletes, and in preparation for it the local Asahi Kasei men's corporate team and city officials hung a total of 117 promotional banners. This year's meet will focus on qualifying times for August's World Championships, and the 10000 m in particular is expected to be high level. Asahi Kasei head coach Isao Nishimura commented, "The support of local fans really helps push the athletes on to faster times. I hope that a lot of people will come down to cheer them on." The Golden Games in Nobeoka meet starts at 1:00 p.m. on May 4 at Nishishina Field. source article: translated by Brett Larner

Kanakuri Memorial Meet Highlights

Kumamoto's Kanakuri Memorial Meet kicked off Japan's outdoor track season Saturday. In cold and windy conditions Hakone Ekiden great Vincent Yegon made his debut for two-time New Year Ekiden champ Honda with a win in a four-way battle over the last lap, dropping Samson Ndirangu (Sunbelx) in the last 50 m for 1st 27:37.85 to 27:39.67. Tomoki Ota (Toyota) was 3rd in 27:42.49, with collegiate half marathon champ Kotaro Shinohara of Hakone Ekiden winner Komazawa University 4th in 27:43.13, the 4th-best ever by a Japanese-born collegiate man. The women's 10000 m had only five athletes on the starting line, and it was 2022 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Dolphine Omare (U.S.E.) all the way. Omare clocked 31:44.67, over 30 seconds up on top Japanese woman Misaki Hayashida (Kyudenko). Hayashida was 2nd in 32:15.97, with all four Japanese women clearing 32:45. The men's 5000 m was split into six heats, with Heat 6 winner Emmanuel Korir (Mitsubishi Juko) turni

Kanakuri Memorial and More - Weekend Preview

Outdoor track season gets moving this weekend with at least three competitive meets across the country. The Hokuriku Region Corporate Championships in Niigata and Chugoku Corporate Time Trials in Hiroshima are solidly in the second tier, but the main event happens Saturday in Kumamoto at the Kanaguri Memorial Meet . Streaming of Kanaguri starts at 15:30 local time above, with the main races happening later in the evening. Meet schedule and start lists here . Both the men's and women's 1500 m feature three of Japan's all-time top five. The men's race is slightly stronger, with NR holder Kazuki Kawamura (Toenec), all-time #3 Nanami Arai (Honda) and #4 Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.). The women's race has NR holder Nozomi Tanaka (New Balance), #3 Ran Urabe (Sekisui Kagaku) and #5 Yume Goto (Uniqlo). Two others in the Japanese men's 1500 m all-time top ten, #6 Keita Sato (Komazawa Univ.) and #10 Yuta Bando (Fujitsu), are opting for the 5000 m. Just back from

Updates on Retirements, Team Transfers, and New Recruits

The Japanese fiscal and academic years run April through March, so most changes to teams' lineups happen then. With changes to regulations over team transfers after a national government investigation of potential anti-trust violations by the National Corporate Federation there's no shortage of transfers between teams. A quick look at some of the changes to the top corporate teams this year: Women Shiseido retiring  - Naruha Sato, 25 - 10000 m 31:52.43  transfer out - Wakana Kabasawa, 24 - 5000 m 15:24.79 Sekisui Kagaku new recruit  - Yuma Yamamoto, 22 - 3000 m 8:52.19, 5000 m 15:16.71 new recruit  - Akari Matsumoto, 18 - 3000 m 9:11.96 new recruit  - Yuna Arai, 22 - 10000 m 32:11.08 Japan Post new recruit  - Kokone Sugimori, 18 - 3000 m 9:10.01, 5000 m 15:34.54 new recruit  - Kae Gyu, 22 - 3000 m 9:14.29 Edion new recruit  - Kana Mizumoto, 18 - 3000 m 9:05.03 Daihatsu new recruit  - Aiko Hosoya, 18 - 3000 m 9:13.09 new recruit  - Marin Nishizawa, 18 - 3000 m 9:14.24 Toyota Ji

Waseda's Ishizuka Wins Tokyo 6 University Season Opener

The Tokyo Six University Meet took place Apr. 2 at Tokyo's National Stadium. In the men's 5000 m, Waseda University 3rd-year Haruto Ishizuka ran a PB 13:46.31 for the win. "The first half went out fast, so my time ended up being a lot faster than I expected," he said post-race. 2023 has been good for Waseda so far. In January the team placed 6th at the Hakone Ekiden, making the seeded bracket for next year's 100th running. In February 4th-year Koki Sato won the Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon in his debut at the distance. In March 2nd-year Tomonori Yamaguchi won a race in Hong Kong. Ishizuka said his teammates' success gave him "good synergy." In late April he plans to race 10000 m, where, he said, "I'll be looking to run another big PB and go sub-28." source article: translated by Brett Larner

Komazawa's Kaneko Wins Yaizu Minato Half Marathon

The Yaizu Minato Half Marathon took place Apr. 2 in Yaizu, Shizuoka, its second year back after coronavirus pandemic-era cancelations in 2020 and 2021. In windy conditions 2023 Hakone Ekiden champion Komazawa University 4th-year Ibuki Kaneko took the overall win in 1:04:31, beating 4th-year Hayato Shiki of Aoyama Gakuin University by 6 seconds. Local Ayumi Sano won the women's race in 1:22:21. The Yaizu Half has long been a fixture on the collegiate circuit, attracting many of the top university men's ekiden teams. It Doubles as the National University Pair Marathon Championships, with each university scored on the combined times of its top two placers. Aoyama Gakuin won this year, with individual runner-up Shiki and 2nd-year Tomoki Aramaki , 6th in 1:05:04 to give AGU a total of 2:09:36 for the win. Komazawa and last year's Pair Marathon winner Toyo University tied for 2nd in 2:10:16. 38th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon Yaizu, Shizuoka, 2 Apr. 2023 Men 1. Ibuki Kaneko