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Showing posts from November, 2023

Local Farmers Donate 100 kg of Rice to Waseda University Ekiden Team

  The JA Irumano farmers' collective has donated 100 kg of locally-grown rice to the Waseda University ekiden team in support of the team's preparations for the 100th Hakone Ekiden on Jan. 2-3 next year. The JA Irumano, which represents an area of 13 municipalities including Kawagoe and Tokorozawa, donates local rice every year to Hakone-bound schools that have campuses within the collective's domain as a way of wishing the athletes good luck. On Nov. 29, JA Irumano regional director Toshio Ishii and managing director Yoji Shimizu went to Waseda's campus in Tokorozawa to present the team with 100 kg of Kinmemai, a commercial brand produced from Saitama prefecture's proprietary sainokizuna variety of rice and polished using original techniques. "Our athletes are in heavy training right now and I told them that it's important to eat a lot of rice, so I'm really grateful for this," commented Waseda head coach Katsuhiko Hanada . "We want to del

Tokyo Paralympics Gold Medalist Michishita Withdraws From Sunday's Hofu Marathon

  On Nov. 27 the organizers of the 54th Hofu Yomiuri Marathon announced that Tokyo Paralympics women's T12 marathon gold medalist Misato Michishita (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) has withdrawn from Sunday's race. Organizers cited an unspecified injury as the reason for Michishita's withdrawal. source article: https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/local/kyushu/news/20231128-OYTNT50064/ translated by Brett Larner

High School Seniors Kaito Iida and Shunpei Yamaguchi 13:34 at Nittai University Time Trials

  A group of seven high schoolers dropped fast 5000 m times at the 310th Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama on Nov. 25. Racing corporate leaguers Kenyan collegians in the Nittaidai Challenge Games fast heat, 3rd-years Kaito Iida (Izumi Chuo H.S.) and Shunpei Yamaguchi (Saku Chosei H.S.) ran 13:34.20 and 13:334.59, the 4th and 5th-best ever by Japanese high school boys. Prior to this race, Iida's PB was 13:57.62 from April this year, with Yamaguchi having run a PB of 13:52.73 in September. At the 2023 National High School Championships Iida was 9th and Yamaguchi 10th. Other Saku Chosei H.S. runners also set new PBs at Nittai. Running in Heat 22, 2nd-year Kazuma Shino ran 13:55.79 and 3rd-year Toma Yoshioka 13:56.99, the first time under 14 minutes for both. At an earlier Nittai Time Trials meet in late September four other Saku Chosei runners broke 14, meaning the all-Japanese team now has six boys at 13 minutes. With 2nd-year Tetsu Sasaki having run a PB 14:03.51

Sekisui Kagaku Back on Top at Queens Ekiden

In some ways there weren't really any surprises at this year's Queens Ekiden , the corporate women's national championships. Favorite Sekisui Kagaku , the 2021 national champ, moved into the lead by the 3rd of the 42.195 km race's six legs and stayed there the rest of the way, taking the 2023 national title in 2:13:33. The other three teams that have won every national title the last seven years, 2016, 2019 and 2020 winner Japan Post , 2017 and 2018 champ Panasonic , and 2022 winner Shiseido , took the next three spots with only a 9-second spread between them. Most of the people who ran last month's Paris Olympic marathon trials looked tired. Princess Ekiden qualifier winner Iwatani Sangyo made the podium for the first time. Last year's 6th-placer Toyota Jidoshokki plummeted from grace to finish last. All pretty predictable. But there were some great highlights. Women-only half marathon NR holder and 5th leg CR holder Rino Goshima (Shiseido) was stellar on th

Keita Sato 27:28.50 U20 NR in 10000 m Debut at Hachioji Long Distance Meet

Conditions couldn't have been better for Saturday's Hachioji Long Distance meet in western Tokyo's Minami Osawa, with zero wind, 9.5˚C temps and humidity in the low 40% range, the Wavelight ready, and experienced pacers across the seven heats of 10000 m. The field took complete advantage of it, with these winning times in the first five races: Race 1: Shotaro Hosokawa (Sekino Kosan) - 29:27.57 Race 2: Hiromi Suzuki (Sekino Kosan) - 28:47.27 Race 3: Yudai Shimazu (GMO) - 28:27.32 Race 4: Tetsu Yokoyama (Logisteed) - 28:14.05 Race 5: Yuki Muta (Logisteed) - 28:04.41 Things really took off in Race 6, where Shadrack Rono (Subaru) front ran a 27:42.37 to lead the top 17 under 28 minutes. Waseda University grad Ryuto Igawa (Asahi Kasei) ran a 12-second PB of 27:47.21 for top Japanese honors at 4th, with teammate Shuho Dairokuno just behind in 27:49.31 for 6th and three other Japanese men getting under 28. With that kind of progression in winning times across the first six ra

Queens Ekiden National Championships Preview

Sunday's Queens Ekiden is the season-ending national championship race for corporate women's teams, 6 legs totaling 42.195 km through the Sendai countryside. It's a pretty interesting race up front this year. Last year Shiseido shook off revelations of a toxic team culture to win for the first time since 2006, with 2021 winner Sekisui Kagaku 2nd and 2020 champ Japan Post 3rd. Shiseido has had an exodus since then, including head coach Yoshitaka Iwamizu and star runner Tomoka Kimura , who jumped ship to go to Sekisui Kagaku. It still has at least half a quality team, including Olympic marathon trials runner-up Mao Ichiyama , Kenyan Judy Jepngetich , women-only half marathon NR holder Rino Goshima and veteran Yuka Takashima , but the win will be tough. Sekisui Kagaku has the lineup to win, although that's due more to its budget that head coach Hidenori Noguchi 's abilities. Most of its A-team was either poached from other teams, Kimura from Shiseido and Rina Ku

Hachioji Long Distance Streaming and Preview

There are so many 10000 m time trial meets going on this month that you have to wonder if there's a limit. Two weeks ago the Nittai University Time Trials and Kyushu Corporate Time Trials had winning times of 27:40.58 and 28:12.70 in their fastest heats. Last weekend was the Autumn Distance Challenge meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, with Hiroki Nakayama (Teikyo Univ.) clocking the fastest men's time out of ten heats in 28:35.65 and 1st-year Haruka Ogawa (Rikkyo Univ.) leading the three women's heats in 32:29.14. Wednesday was the MARCH Taikosen meet, with Issei Sato (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) fastest out of the four heats in 28:11.00. There's another edition of Nittai on Saturday with eleven heats of 10000 m on the program and the 10000 m National Championships , Japan's selection event for the Paris Olympics, are coming right up on Dec. 10. But the big one is Saturday's Hachioji Long Distance meet. Happening in Minami Osawa in western Tokyo this year, H

Aoyama Gakuin Dominates MARCH Taikosen 10000 m Meet

The bar was raised again for the Hakone Ekiden's 100th running on Jan. 1-2. Wednesday night at the Meiji-Aoyama Gakuin-Rikkyo-Chuo-Hosei pentangular MARCH Taikosen 10000 m meet in Machida, Tokyo, hosts Aoyama Gakuin University dominated with 10 of its members running new sub-29 PBs, 6 of them going sub-28:30. AGU 4th-year Issei Sato led the way with a meet record 28:11.00 to win the fastest heat, 2nd-year Asahi Kuroda following up great runs at both the Izumo and National University ekidens with a 28:15.82 PB for 3rd and 4th-year Genta Kuramoto just getting under 28:20 with a 28:19.31 PB for 4th. 2023 Hakone runner-up Chuo University and some of the other teams that just ran the Ageo City Half Marathon on Sunday had a lighter presence, but 2 Chuo runners did go sub-28:30, 4th-year Jin Yuasa taking 2nd behind Sato in a PB 28:12.17, and 3rd-year Haruki Abe running a 28:26.58 PB for 6th. The fastest finishers from Rikkyo University and Hosei University both clocked PBs, R

MARCH Taikosen 2023 Streaming

Streaming of the MARCH Taikosen 2023 track meet, a 10000 m time trial meet in Machida, Tokyo between Hakone Ekiden-bound Meiji University , Aoyama Gakuin University , Rikkyo University , Chuo University and Hosei University . The meet features "scholarship" money for top-placing individuals and teams, and for fast times. Streaming starts at 15:20 local time Wednesday local time, with the first of the meet's four heats going off at 16:00. Entry lists are here . © 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Horie and Kipkoech Win Kobe Marathon

  The Kobe Marathon took place Nov. 19 in central Kobe, memorializing the Great Hanshin Earthquake with the theme "Gratitude and Friendship" and the slogan "'Thanks' to This City." Almost 20,000 runners passed through the city streets. At their front, Kenyan Barnaba Kipkoech won in 2:11:19, with Misato Horie (Sysmex) taking the women's race in 2:33:04. During the opening ceremony in front of Kobe City Hall there was a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake and for those in areas affected nationwide. As the song "To Bring You Joy" played, runners wearing gloves designed to look like sunflowers, a symbol of the reconstruction, raised their arms above their heads to transform the Flower Road into a sea of yellow. After the starting gun fired runners headed west, passing by the Tetsujin #28 monument near Shin-Nagata Station and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge before turning around near Nishimaiko Station. En route to the finish they climbed t

Khishigsaikhan and Kuira Break Ageo City Half Marathon CRs (updated)

Stellar conditions and a solid fields meant times were going to be fast at the Ageo City Half Marathon , and in both the women's and men's races the front end took full advantage of the day. In the midst of the super-deep men's field Khishigsaikhan Galbadrakh , the top Mongolian in this summer's Budapest World Championships marathon and in last month's Hangzhou Asian Games marathon, ran steady and strong, splitting 33:29 at 10 km, 1:10:38 pace, before pushing the 2nd half. Khishigsaikhan crossed the finish line 1:10:32, 1:22 under the old course record, 3:35 ahead of 2nd-place Kana Kobayashi , and a massive 4:16 off the Mongolian women's national record. Khishigsaikhan is currently training in Japan and ran Ageo in prep for next month's Taipei City Marathon, where she was 3rd last year. The men's race went out hard, with Kenyan Brian Kipyegon (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), NR holder Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) and the ambitious Rei Matsunaga (Hosei) leading the

Kyoto Sangyo Wins Tango University Ekiden for First Time in 8 Years

The Tango University Ekiden , the 85th edition of the Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships, took place Nov. 18 on an 8-stage, 74.4 km course from Miyazu Civic Gymnasium in Kyoto to Hagoromo Field in Tango. Kyoto Sangyo University ran 3:48:08 to win for the first time in 8 years, its 33rd title in event history. 3rd-year Shunpei Awai led off for Kyoto Sangyo with a stage-winning 29:49 on the 9.9 km 1st leg. 2nd runner Kaito Kojima , the top KSU finisher at last month's Hakone Ekiden qualifier, won the 11.8 km 2nd leg to extend the team's lead to 1:16. By the end of the 5th leg the team's lead had continued to grow to 1:51, but 2 stages later it had shrunk to just 38 seconds. Anchor Koki Nakamura came through, though, running a stage best 31:18 for the 10.4 km 8th leg to deliver KSU the win. Kyoto Sangyo didn't run either the Izumo Ekiden or National University Ekiden this season, but at the Hakone Ekiden qualifier it was the top team from outside the Kanto Re

Weekend Road and Track Streaming and Preview

With championship ekiden season right around the corner there aren’t many weekends this time of year that aren’t busy ones in Japan. This one is another one. Saturday is the 85th Tango University Ekiden in Kyoto, the 8-stage, 74.4 km season-ender for Kansai Region university teams. This year a few of them had the chance to run the Hakone Ekiden qualifier in October to try to achieve the hopeless task of beating even one Kanto Region team for a spot at the 100th Hakone in January, but with none achieving that goal they’re back for their own regional championship. It’s an interesting situation as some teams like Ritsumeikan University and Kantaiheiyo University just made the challenging Hakone qualifier - National University Ekiden double, and others like Kwansei Gakuin University opted to focus everything this season on a Tango win. And this time there’s actually a Kanto Region interloper in the form of powerhouse Aoyama Gakuin University , making a special one-time appearance at Ta

Weekend Track and Road Roundup

Along with Saturday's The Fst in Fukuoka there was a lot going on on the roads this weekend across the country, but the biggest results were on the track. Saturday at the Nittai University Time Trials , Margaret Akidor (Comodi Iida) soloed a 14:47.71 Olympic standard 5000 m, over a minute faster than runner-up Kana Mizumoto (Edion) who ran 15:49.25. Akidor's coach reported her splits as 2:53.7 - 3:00.3 - 2:59.9 - 3:00.8 - 2:52.2. Charles Wanjiku Kamau (Musashino Gakuin Univ.) ran 27:40.58 to lead 10 men sub-28 in the fastest 10000 m heat, 5 of them Kenyan and 5 Japanese. Most notably, just 6 days after winning back-to-back stages at the National University Ekiden Josai University 2nd-year duo Victor Kimutai and Shoya Saito joined the sub-28 club, Kimutai 2nd in 27:41.04 and Saito 9th in 27:59.68. 3 other Josai runners were sub-29 in the B and C heats. Something has finally clicked at the Josai program this season, and together with great runs at Izumo and Nationals the r

Australia and Kenya Dominate at Fst in Fukuoka Mile and 5k

  After a day of heavy rain conditions were pretty close to ideal for the 2nd edition of The Fst in Fukuoka road mile and 5 km, an appetizer event ahead of Sunday's mass participation Fukuoka Marathon. In her Japanese debut Australia's Sarah Billings had an easy win in the women's mile, outclassing Mami Yamaguchi (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ) 4:48 to 4:59. Stewart McSweyn made it an Aussie double with a win in the men's mile in a much closer race, running 4:02 with domestic favorites Masato Saiki (Fujisan no Meisui) and Yusuke Takahashi (Hokkaido Univ.) going 2-3 in 4:04 and 4:08. The women's 5 km was the most competitive of the day, with a tight pack of 5 Japan-based Kenyans that whittled down to just last year's winner Teresiah Muthoni (Daiso), corporate half marathon champ Dolphine Omare (U.S.E.) and 2023 World XC relay gold medalist Mirriam Cherop (Shin Nihon Jusetsu) with a km to go. Muthoni kicked away over the last 200 m to take the win in 15:35, with O

Another Big Weekend on the Roads

It’s another busy weekend on the roads across Japan. Saturday is the 2nd edition of the Fst in Fukuoka road mile and 5 km, mostly unexplored distances in Japanese running. The road miles aren’t strong, with Australian Sarah Billings the only woman under 4:25 for 1500 m at 4:06.77 and Stewart McSweyn the only man under 3:35 for 1500 m at 3:29.51. McSweyn does have a little competition at least from Yusuke Takahashi , 3:38.69, and Masato Saiki , 3:39.58. The women’s 5 km is probably the race of the day, with six Kenyan women who would probably beat the top Japanese woman by 1 to 2 minutes in an all-out race. Eva Cherono , 14:30.77, Teresiah Muthoni , 14:44.89, and Rebecca Mwangi , 14:55.32, lead the way. 10-mile world best holder Benard Koech is the fastest man in the 5 km at 13:00.38, with the next tier including former Japanese half marathon and marathon NR holder Yuta Shitara at the 13:20-30 level. Sunday is a big ekiden day, with New Year Ekiden corporate men’s national champion

Paris Olympics Marathon Team Member Akira Akasaki Visits Grave of Olympian From 100 Years Ago

Paris Olympics marathon team member Akira Akasaki is the first man from Kumamoto to make an Olympic marathon since the father of Japanese marathoning Shizo Kanakuri 100 years ago. Akasaki finished 2nd in October's Olympic marathon trials to make the Paris team, only the second man from Kumamoto prefecture to ever make an Olympic marathon team after Kanakuri at the 1924 Paris Olympics. On Nov. 6 Akasaki visited the town of Tamana in Kumamoto to pay his respects at the great Kanakuri's grave. At Tamana City Hall he was greeted by applause from city workers. Akasaki's coach at the Kyudenko corporate team, Kazuharu Takai , and his Takushoku University -era coach Masahiro Okada , were also in attendance to celebrate his achievement. Afterward Akasaki visited Kanakuri's grave to pay his respects and inform the legend's spirit that he will be running in the Olympics too. "Kanakuri was the creator of the Hakone Ekiden, and I was lucky to run it four times," sai

Bankrupt Hokkaido Athletics Association Accounting Fraud Uncovered After Non-Payment of JAAF Dues

Last week the Hokkaido Athletics Association revealed that it has not paid the JAAF ¥7.35 million [~$49,000 USD] it collected in membership fees and licensing of officials within the precfecture in 2022. The HAA said that due to a drop in income and rise in costs it had been forced to divert the funds to pay for other activities such as training camps, and that it has asked its member local athletics associations for further financial support. According to the HAA, in the 2022 fiscal year it collected approximately ¥19 million [~$127,000 USD] in membership fees from roughly 11,600 people, including junior high school students, high school students, adults, and officials. A JAAF statement said that "members will not be held responsible" for the situation, and that their 2022 results would still be accepted as valid despite the prefectural association's non-payment of their membership fees to the national organization. The HAA has operated at a loss for the last 10 years

Fukuoka International Marathon Elite Field

With less than 4 weeks to go the organizers of the Dec. 3 Fukuoka International Marathon have announced this year's elite field. And here it is. The field is set up to try to help top Japanese man Kyohei Hosoya (Kurosaki Harima), who fell and dropped out during last month's Olympic marathon trials, to 2:05:50, where he'll take the third spot on the Paris Olympic team away from trials 3rd-placer Suguru Osako (GMO). Hosoya ran 2:06:35 in the Miracle at Lake Biwa in 2021, but although he's been pretty stable since then he hasn't been able to get under 2:08 again. Abebe Negewo Degefa (Ethiopia) is the only athlete in the field to have gone under 2:05:50 in the last 3 years, with Kenyans Bethwel Yegon and Abel Kirui , 5th last year at age 40, both at the 2:06 level. Beyond that it looks like a solid 2:07 race with 6 men including last year's 2nd through 4th-placers Vincent Raimoi (Suzuki), Michael Githae (Suzuki) and Australian NR breaker Brett Robinson . An in

Komazawa Scores 4th-Straight National University Ekiden Title

There was just no stopping the best, as three-time defending champion Komazawa University led start-to-finish to win the 8-stage, 106.8 km National University Ekiden for the 4th year in a row. Yushin Akatsu led it off with a great back-and-forth sprint finish battle against Waseda University 's Jumpei Maseda to put Komazawa out front at the first exchange. Keita Sato followed that up with a 31:01 CR on the 11.1 km Second Stage, 27:57 road 10 km pace at age 19, a run that earned him this year's Nationals MVP award. And from there on out Komazawa's lead only grew. Komazawa's remaining six runners all made top 3 on their stages, and despite sunny skies and temperatures that went over 23˚, unheard of for early November, at every exchange its lead was bigger. Anchor Takuma Yamakawa started 2:49 ahead of Aoyama Gakuin University 's Yuto Tanaka and had more than enough room to coast it in for a safety win, but turned in a stage-winning 58:10 for 19.7 km to give Koma