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Showing posts from July, 2023

Four Days in Osaka - 2023 World XC Gold Medalist Mirriam Cherop's First Experience of Japan, and Its First Experience of Her

The continuing decline of Twitter has had me thinking about ways it's impacted my life over the last 12 and a half years, from people I met there who became friends in real life, to people I'll never meet in person but would still consider friends, to work opportunities around then world, to intangible things like bass legend Jah Wobble liking a tweet about being happy after a marathon I did earlier this year. After the current management took over someone had a thread going asking for concrete examples of Twitter's real-life impact. My contribution was about Mongolian marathon national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir , who had asked me almost two years ago to find him a new sponsor in Japan after his previous corporate league contact expired. At some point I sent a DM about it to a very tenuous contact I had on Twitter, a Tokyo-area fashion designer I'd never met but had had a short Twitter exchange with a couple of months earlier. The designer couldn't help but in

Yoshizumi Wins Fifth-Straight Fuji Mountain Race Title, Omi Takes Men's Race

The 76th edition of one of Japan's most iconic races happened Friday at the Fuji Mountain Race in Yamanashi. In the summit race, 21 km up the slopes of Mt. Fuji starting near 800 m and peaking around 3700 m, international-level mountain runner Yuri Yoshizumi won a fifth-straight women's title. Her time of 3:16:53 was the slowest of her wins by just over a minute but still put her almost 13 minutes ahead of runner-up Rieko Koshi , last year's short course winner making her debut at the longer, tougher distance. Ryunosuke Omi won the men's summit title in 2:41:31, 5 minutes up on 2nd-placer Taiga Yamaguchi . Defending men's champ Hiroki Kai was only 6th in 2:55:50, with last year's short course runner-up Jumpei Yamaguchi doubling back from a 100 km NR last month at Lake Saroma to take 12th in 3:00:30. Post-race Yamaguchi said, "I think I want to stick to road racing." Two-time winner Shun Gorotani finished far down the field behind Yoshizumi in 3:

Hakone Champ Team Member Nakashima and National University Women's Ekiden Champ Team Member Takamatsu Marry

On July 28, Reiri Nakashima , 25, a member of a winning Hakone Ekiden team while in college, and 2018 1500 m national champion Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu , 23, announced on Twitter that they have gotten married. Nakashima was a member of Tokai University 's 2019 Hakone-winning team, while Takamatsu was a member of national champion teams at both the National High School Ekiden and National University Women's Ekiden. Together they form one of the power couples of Japanese athletics. The daughter of a Kenyan father and Japanese mother, Takamatsu came to Japan at age 1. At Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. she won the Second Stage at the National High School Ekiden, helping lead the team to the overall win. She was also a member of Meijo University 's undefeated team at the National University Women's Ekiden and Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden. She retired after graduating in 2022. Hailing from Himeji, Nakashima ran the downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, helping Tokai score

Kamau and Kawauchi Win Shibetsu Half Marathon

The 36th Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon and 10 km took place July 23 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. 19-year-old Patrick Kamau (Jobu University) won the men's race in 1:02:27, beating his PB by exactly one minute. Tomoki Ota (Toyota) was the top Japanese finisher at 2nd in 1:02:42, a successful follow-up to his pair of 5000 m PBs earlier this month in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series despite temperatures over 20˚C. Kiyoshi Koga (Yasukawa Denki) took 3rd in 1:03:41 with Ota's Toyota teammates Masashi Nonaka and Shunta Uchida going 4-5 in 1:03:41 and 1:04:17. Fumiya Tsuji (Waseda Univ.) was the top collegiate finisher at 6th in 1:04:24. In the women's race, Olympic marathon trials qualifier Rie Kawauchi (Otsuka Seiyaku) won in 1:13:18. Wacoal teammates Hina Yanagitani and Yuka Ando took 2nd and 3rd in 1:14:08 and 1:14:12. High schooler Samuel Korabo (Sapporo Yamanote H.S.) won the men's 10 km in 29:06 by 18 seconds over Gilbert Kiprotich (Sunbelx). Natsuki O

An Update on the Potential Japanese Team for the Budapest World Championships

Pretty much as expected, last week's Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships, where Japan dominated the medal count , were an easy point grab for a lot of Japanese athletes that boosted their positions in the qualifying quota for August's Budapest World Championships . Which isn't to say that there weren't some great performances, like Sumire Hata 's 6.97 m +0.5 m/s women's long jump NR and Kentaro Sato 's all-time Japanese #2 45.00 in the 400 m. But for a lot of people, the ACC were a last-minute back door into the rankings. If you're not familiar with the qualifying system for Worlds, it basically works like this. Each event has a designated number of qualifying spots, in most cases around 40. World-level champions and people who hit qualifying marks automatically make it. The rest of the quota for a given event is filled up in order of athletes' world rankings score , made up of points earned based on performance level, placing, and competition lev

Uzawa Breaks 200 m Championships Record, Yamamoto and Endo Double 5000 m Gold on Final Day of Asian Athletics Championships

The final day of the Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships kicked off with a gold medal in the men's 20 km race walk from Yutaro Murayama in a close race with China's Kaihua Wang that saw Murayama win by 49 seconds. Bronze medalist Vikash Singh was over 4 minutes behind Wang, while Murayama's teammate Hiroto Jusho dropped out mid-race. Yukiko Umeno took bronze in the women's race in 1:36:18, almost 4 minutes behind winner Liujing Yang . Miyu Naito finished just out of the medals in 4th in 1:37:35. In the evening session, Yuma Yamamoto and Hyuga Endo made it a Japanese women's and men's double in the 5000 m. In the women's race, Yamamoto stayed behind Mongolia's Munkhzaya Bayartsogt and Kazakhstan's Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui through the early phases, then India's Parul Chaudhary before going to the front. After hitting 4000 m in 12:57.19 Yamamoto went faster and faster to burn Chaudhary off, officially clocking a 2:53.97 last 1000 m t

Japan's First Goldless Day - Asian Athletics Championships Day Four Highlights

Day 4 of the Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships was the first without a single gold medal going to Japan, but there were still enough silvers and bronzes to go around. Robyn Lauren Brown of the Philippines outclassed the rest of the women's 400 mH final field, taking gold in 57.50. Eri Utsunomiya and Ami Yamamoto made it a Japanese 2-3, Utsunomiya running 57.73 for silver and Yamamoto 57.80 for bronze. Yusaku Kodama also scored silver in the men's 400 mH, running 48.96 behind Qatari winner Bassem Hemeida 's 48.64. Yuki Yamasaki won bronze in the heptathlon with 5696 points, Uzbekistan's Ekaterina Voronina taking gold in 6098 and Swapna Barman silver in 5840. Teammate Karin Odama was 4th in 5487. Another bronze came in the mixed 4x400 m relay, with Japan running 3:15.71 behind India's 3:14.70 and Sri Lanka's 3:15.41. Naoto Hasegawa and Ryoichi Akamatsu both cleared 2.23 m in the men's high jump, Hasegawa finishing 4th overall and Akamatsu 5th.

Sumire Hata 6.97 m Women's Long Jump NR - Asian Athletics Championships Day 3 Highlights

Sumire Hata moved up a level globally with a 6.97 m +0.5 m/s Japanese national record to win the women's long jump gold medal on day 3 of the Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships. Already in first with a 6.74 m +1.7 m/s jump in the 4th round, Hata closed with the 6.97 m jump, the 4th-furthest in the world so far this year, to increase her margin over silver medalist Shaili Singh of India to 0.43 m. Bronze medalist Jiawei Zhong was another 8 cm back at 6.46 m. Another big gold came in the men's 100 m, where Hiroki Yanagita followed up on his 10.10 PB in the first round with a dominating 10.02 +0.0 m/s for gold, winning by 0.17 and moving up to all-time Japanese #7. National champion Ryuichiro Sakai was 6th in 10.26. With many of the main names in Japanese men's spring struggling this season as they hit mid and late career phases, Yanagita's jump up in performance couldn't have come at a better time. Still another was in the men's 110 mH. Shunya Takayama was

Kentaro Sato Runs 2nd-Fastest JPN 400 m Ever for Gold - Asian Athletics Championships Day 2 Highlights

Japan dominated day 2 of the Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships Thursday, winning 3 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze medals across 10 events. The biggest news was in the men's 400 m final, where Kentaro Sato ran an all-time JPN #2 45.00 for the win and Fuga Sato an all-time JPN #5 45.13 for silver. Both were well back from Asian record holder Yousef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia coming into the home straight, but with stunning kicks they pulled up into the medals, in Fuga's case going all the way from 5th to 2nd. Masrahi was in the bronze position in a season best 45.19. Another 1-2 finish for Japan came in the women's 10000 m. Haruka Kokai was part of a breakaway trio with Kenya-born Kazakhstani Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui and Mongolian NR holder Munkhzaya Bayartsogt , while Momoka Kawaguchi held back in the second group warier of the heat and humidity. On track to break her own NR, Munkhzaya did all the work up front, burning off Kipkirui who ultimately dropped out.

Ren Tazawa Wins Japan's First Asian Championships 10000 m Gold in 42 Years - Day One Highlights

The 2023 Asian Athletics Championships started Wednesday in Bangkok, Thailand. Japan's fastest-ever collegiate 10000 m runner Ren Tazawa said pre-race that he would go for a sub-28 win to have a shot at getting into the quota for next month's Budapest World Championships. But while he, teammate Yuto Imae , Kenya-born Kazakhstani Shamrock Kimutai and others gave it a go, it was just too hot and humid to sustain. Tazawa led the entire way except for some early assistance from Imae and a very brief mid-race attack from Kimutai, going through halfway in 14:17.99 and crossing the finish line in 29:18.44. Kimutai was 2nd in 29:31.63, with Imae getting caught by India's Abhiskhek Pal in the last 200 m and knocked out of the medals. Tazawa's gold was the first AAC 10000 m gold for Japan since 1981, which seems surprising, but while his time was over a minute short of what he needed for the Budapest quota there's still a chance he'll make it as area champion. That wo

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet Results

Racing her second 5000 m in five days, national record holder Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) continued to build back from injury with a 3rd-place finish in 15:18.77 at Wednesday's Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami meet , 11 seconds up on what she ran Saturday in Abashiri . Pacer Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) gradually built up in speed, wearing down the lead pack but Hironaka staying with her as fast as it got. Joan Kipkemoi (Kyudenko) and Eva Cherono (Toto) had a stronger kick over the last 200 m, going 1-2 in 15:15.55 and 15:16.35, but Hironaka's performance increased the chance she'll be ready for the 10000 m at next month's Budapest World Championships. Marathoner Akira Akasaki (Kyudenko) also had a quick turnaround from his 13:27.79 PB in Abashiri, tailing 3000 mSC NR holder Ryuji Miura (Juntendo Univ.) most of the way through the 5000 m before going for a long surge. Miura started to close over the last 200 m, but going into the home straight Akasaki threw

Bangkok Asian Athletics Championships Preview and Streaming

We'd like to give you preview and streaming info for the Asian Athletics Championships starting tomorrow in Bangkok, Thailand, but there's not a lot to go on. Streaming should be here under the "Live" tab , but as the JAAF site notes , "There's a chance a link to streaming might be released right before the start. If one is announced, we'll let you know." 42 countries are set to compete, but no overall entry lists have been made public anywhere we've looked. The Asian Athletics Association site isn't very helpful either, its top story being the federation bureaucrats' "Gala and Awards Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Asian Athletics Association" and almost nothing about its championships apart from a statistics PDF that starts off with a long autobiography by an AAA exec. The meet schedule is up and it has links to event start lists, but nothing has been added there yet. So, about all we can tell you right now is about

Hokuren Distance Challange Abashiri Meet Results

The third meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series happened Saturday in Abashiri, Hokkaido. 5000 m NR holder Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) had her best run of the year with a 15:29.12 to win the 5000 m A-heat, a step back in the right direction after a series of flat performances since last ekiden season. And it couldn't have come at a better time, with Hironaka being the only Japanese woman qualified for the 10000 m at next month's Budapest World Championships. The rest of the field was over 20 seconds back, led by Yuna Wada (Japan Post) in 15:52.33. Eva Cherono (Toto) took the women's 10000 m in a season best 31:25.57. Sarah Wanjiru (Daito Bunka Univ.) continued to grow through her first collegiate season was a 30 sec+ PB of 31:46.17, just beating marathoner Yuka Ando (Wacoal) who clocked 31:46.85 for 3rd. Janet Nyiva (Panasonic) led the women's 3000 m in 8:49.32, Wakana Kabasawa (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) 2nd in 8:55.52 and Esther Wangui (Starts

October's Olympic Marathon Trials To Pay Out ¥35,000,000 In Prize Money

With 100 days to go until the Oct. 15 MGC Race , Japan's marathon trials for the Paris Olympics, the JAAF held a press conference July 7 to announce a range of information about the race. The winners of the women's and men's races this time will each receive ¥10,000,000 [~$70,000 USD at the dismal current exchange rate] , with 2nd place earning ¥5,000,000 [~$35,000 USD] and 3rd place ¥2,500,000 [~$17,500 USD] . The top two finishers at the MGC Race will earn places on the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon team. The 3rd placer will be provisionally named to the team, but other athletes will have the chance to steal that spot if they break 2:05:50 for men or 2:21:41 for women at one of the major domestic marathons in the upcoming winter season. 65 men and 27 women are entered in the MGC Race. The race starts and finishes at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Translator's note: At the first MGC Race before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics there was no prize money, leading 3rd-place man Sug

Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet Streaming

  Streaming of today's Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet starts at 14:15 local time. Live results .

Natsuki "Wrong Way" Terada Named Head Coach at Kogakkan University

  Kogakkan University in Ise, Mie has announced that former Hakone Ekiden and corporate league runner Natsuki Terada , 31, has been named the new head coach of its ekiden program. In a statement on the university's website Terada said, "I want to prioritize effective communication with the athletes, and while cherishing the program's history I want to work together with them to build a new history. Strong athletes, not just fast athletes. I want them to become athletes that the people of Ise, of Mie, and all across the country will support and cheer on. That's the kind of team I plan to make." As a runner at Koku Gakuin University Terada ran the Hakone Ekiden all four years of his college career. As a 1st-year in 2011 he ran Hakone's anchor stage. Leading a four-way race for the last three spots in the top 10, with just 120 m to go before the finish line he turned right and followed a broadcast vehicle off the course. Dropping from 8th to 11th because of the

Hokuren and Nittai - Early July Track Results

Three big meets have happened in Japan in the last few days. Nittai University held a one-day edition of its time trials series on July 1, most of its usual base of athletes being up north in Hokkaido. Unattached Kenyan Stephen Lemayan took the men's 5000 m A-heat in 13:47.49 over Tomoki Ichimura (Sunbelx), 2nd in 13:47.92. Hayato Oguma (Tokyo Jitsugyo H.S.) won the 1500 m A-heat in 3:46.83, a quality mark for a Japanese high schooler. Sarah Wanjiru (Daito Bunka Univ.) continued her solid debut season with a 15:53.46 win by almost 15 seconds in the women's 5000 m A-heat. The home team's Haruko Hosaka (Nittai Univ.) won the women's 3000 m A-heat in 9:20.54. The Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Hokkaido also kicked off July 1 with its first meet happening in Shibetsu . Mostly a tune-up for later meets in the series, the highlight in women's races was an 8:55.80 win by Eva Cherono (Toto) in the 3000 m A-heat by 4 seconds over Esther Muthoni (Nitori). Rion F

Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet Streaming

Streaming of the second meet in this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series starts at 15:15 local time today. Start lists . Live results will be here .

Koyama Breaks Shitara's CR, Tanui Takes 2nd Title at Gold Coast Marathon

On a windier than usual race morning the 2023 Gold Coast Marathon was kind of a throwback to ancient pre-pandemic history, 2019 to be specific. In the women's race, 2019 winner Rodah Jepkorir Tanui was the last woman left standing after a CR-pace 1:12:19 first half, fading the least in the strong headwinds after the turnaround point near 36.5 km and coming to the line in 2:27:10, 46 seconds better than when she won last time. 2018 winner Ruth Chebitok lost touch with Tanui around 25 km but held on for 2nd in 2:28:17. In 3rd, Australian Genevieve Gregson moved up through the field after a more conservative 1:14:19 first half, executing her debut perfectly with a 5-second negative split to finish in 2:28:33. In her first race since 2019, two-time world champion and two-time winner of both the Chicago and Berlin marathons Florence Kiplagat was 6th in 2:36:29. "I wished only to finish," she told JRN. "This was a start to again have something to my name." Top Jap