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Showing posts from March, 2024

Keita Sato on Training with OAC, Breaking NR in the USA, and the Road Ahead

Translator's note: Over his 2nd year at four-time national champion Komazawa University , 1500 m, 3000 m, indoor 3000 m and 5000 m U20 NR holder Keita Sato spent a total of three months training with OAC with support from JRN, one week in Boulder last spring, three weeks in St. Moritz during the summer, and the last two months back in Boulder. During that time he ran the equivalent of a 27:57 road 10 km and 59:22 half marathon in ekidens and U20 Asian area best 27:28.50 for 10000 m, all at age 19, and since turning 20 in January an indoor 5000 m NR of 13:09.45, an indoor 3000 m NR of 7:42.56, and an Asian area best 8:14.71 for 2 miles indoor. This interview by journalist Tatsuo Terada took place in late February before The TEN, where Sato ran 27:34.66. Komazawa University 2nd-year Keita Sato had a great indoor track season. On January 26 in Boston just after his 20th birthday he ran a 13:09.45 indoor 5000 m national record, the 2nd-fastest time ever by a Japanese man behind o

World Cross Country Championships Japanese Results

The Japanese U20 men had a near-miss on team bronze at the Belgrade World Cross Country Championships Saturday, taking 4th behind Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Tomoya Inoue had the best individual performance of the day by a Japanese runner at 16th, with other scoring members Kaito Matsui , Sota Orita and Yamato Hamaguchi all placing in the top 22. Both the U20 and senior women's teams took 6th, Miyu Murakami leading the junior women at 19th and Miku Sakai the senior women at 22nd. The mixed relay team also make single digits, placing 7th, but the senior men were a disappointing 12th. 2:08:20 marathoner Hiroto Fujimagari led the senior men at 48th overall. More video highlights on the World Athletics Youtube channel. Detailed stories and complete results: U20 Women : Alemayo Dominates to Lead Ethiopia to Team U20 Gold in Belgrade Results : individual ・ team U20 Men : Kibathi Outsprints Sime to Secure U20 Title in Belgrade Results :  individual ・ team Mixed Relay : Kenya Runs

1:00:43 Half Marathoner Kazuki Matsuyama to Do Fifth Year at Toyo University

4th at the 100th Hakone Ekiden in January, Toyo University announced this week that 1:00:43 half marathoner Kazuki Matsuyama will do a fifth year at Toyo during the 2024-2025 academic year beginning next week. Head coach Toshiyuki Sakai , 47, commented, "He feels that he has unfinished business at Toyo, both academically and athletically." Matsuyama has been one of the driving forces at Toyo since enrolling in the spring of 2020. He ran Hakone's competitive Second Stage as a first year, placing 4th, and backed that up a year later with a 5th-place run as the second-fastest Japanese athlete. As a 4th-year this year he left the Second Stage to 3rd-year Ren Umezaki , instead running the Fourth Stage where he was 2nd. That played a major role in Toyo taking 4th on Day One and in the overall results. Collegiate athletes are allowed to be registered as part of a team's 16-member entry roster a maximum of four times. During Matsuyama's 3rd year he didn't make Toy

Paris Olympics Medal Bonuses Reduced by Almost 90% from Amounts Offered at Tokyo Olympics

On Mar. 26 the JAAF board of directors met to finalize a variety of issues for the upcoming year. One topic was the bonuses to be paid to medalists at this summer's Paris Olympics. Gold medalists will receive 3 million yen [~$19,800 USD] , silver medalists 2 million yen [~$13,200] , and bronze medalists 1 million yen [~$6,600] . Athletes who finish 4th through 8th in finals will receive from 800,000 yen to 400,000 yen [~$5300 to ~$2650] . All amounts are the same as those that were offered for last summer's World Championships. For relays, all athletes who compete during the heats or final will receive half the above amounts. At the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalists received a 5 million yen bonus [~$45,000 USD at the exchange rate at that time] . For the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics that was increased to 10 million yen [~$93,000 in 2008 and ~$125,000 in 2012] . For the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and 2021 Tokyo Olympics it was further increased to 20 millio

It's Entry List Season

Lots of big meets coming up, and entry lists are promising some top Japanese talent at three of the first major ones. On Mar. 7 the JAAF announced a team of 12 men and 12 women for the Mar. 30 Belgrade World Cross Country Championships , with senior men's 10 km 3rd-placer Yuta Bando (Fujitsu) the only one of the top-placing athletes at last month's National Cross Country Championships to pass on running Worlds. There hasn't been any announcement of withdrawals by the JAAF, but as of this writing the official entry lists on the Worlds site list only 5 men and 7 women. All four people on the mixed relay team are there including the Louisiana State University -bound Yuya Sawada (Hamamatsu Shiritsu H.S.) and 1500 m NR holder Nozomi Tanaka (New Balance), but senior men's national champ Tomonori Yamaguchi (Waseda Univ.), the entire U20 men's team, and all but U20 women's 4th-placer Chiseno Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) are missing. It has to be wrong, right? The

Japan's Olympic Marathon Team Meets the Press

With renewed confidence, Japan's Olympic marathon team will face the total 438 m elevation difference hills of Paris this summer. The members of the women's and men's marathon teams for August's Paris Olympics appeared at a press conference in Tokyo on Mar. 25 in conjunction with the Japan Marathon Championship Series III (JMC) awards gala. Women's Olympic trials winner Yuka Suzuki (Daiichi Seimei) said she was riding a wave of motivation in the wake of the new women's national record. When she watched Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) set the record at January's Osaka International Women's Marathon on TV, Suzuki said she was, "absolutely stunned." Her coach Sachiko Yamashita told her afterward, "When someone breaks the NR, things change," and Suzuki found herself saying, "I want to take my shot." After training for a great run in Paris, she said, "I definitely want to break the NR in one of my marathons after that." Mao

Weekend Racing Roundup

  China saw a new men's national record of 2:06:57 from  Jie He  at the Wuxi Marathon Sunday, but in Japan it was a relatively quiet weekend with mostly cold and rainy amateur-level marathons across the country. At the Tokushima Marathon , club runner Yuhi Yamashita  won the men's race by almost 4 1/2 minutes in 2:17:02, the fastest Japanese men's time of the weekend, but oddly took 22 seconds to get across the starting line. The women's race saw a close finish between the top two, with Shiho Iwane  winning in 2:49:33 over Ayaka Furukawa , 2nd in 2:49:46.  At the 41st edition of the Sakura Marathon in Chiba, Yukie Matsumura  (Comodi Iida) ran the fastest Japanese women's time of the weekend, 2:42:45, to take the win. Club runner Yuki Kuroda  won the men's race in 2:20:08.  Chika Yokota  won the Saga Sakura Marathon women's race in 2:49:33.  Yuki Yamada  won the men's race in 2:21:47 after taking the lead in the final 2 km.  Naoki Inoue  won the 16th r

JOC to Eliminate Olympic Team Captain Position to Reduce Pressure

On Mar. 19 a Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) spokesperson said in an interview that the position of team captain will be eliminated from the Japanese Olympic team at this summer's Paris Olympics, which begin July 26. The move is intended to reduce the burden placed upon the athlete chosen. It will be discussed at the JOC Board of Directors meeting on Mar. 21 and, if approved, will make Paris the first summer Olympics without a Japanese team captain since the position was created at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Japan's first post-war participation. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) currently requires each country to nominate one man and one woman to serve as flag bearers, but it has no rules specifically regarding team captains. Japan has traditionally named a team captain, but the JOC is reviewing the practice as the pressure it places on the athlete chosen and the requirement for them to participate in pre-Games events makes selecting candidates difficult. On a trial bas

Takeuchi Wins Niigata Half in Boston Tune-Up

Running in cold, windy and rainy conditions, Ryoma Takeuchi (ND Software) warmed up for April's Boston Marathon with a win at Wednesday's Niigata Half Marathon . Takeuchi sat behind Nittai University duo Susumu Yamazaki and Ryuga Ishikawa in the early stages, then made a series of pushes to pick up the pace. Each time he tucked in behind whoever went to the front, while behind them others dropped off. Before 15 km only Yamazaki and Riki Koike of Soka University were left, and when Takeuchi went to the front the last time after 15 km only Koike followed. By 16 he was gone too, leaving Takeuchi to solo it in to the win in 1:03:13 with a 17-second negative split. "This was my last fitness check before the Boston Marathon next month, and my time was right on-target," he said post-race. "Everything went as planned. I'm looking forward to racing some of the world's best in Boston, and my goal there is to place in the single digits." Just back from tr

Noda Wins National University Women's Half Marathon

Daito Bunka University 1st-year Mariya Noda won a tight three-way battle over the last km to win the 2024 National University Women's Half Marathon title Sunday in Matsue. After a slow start with almost 40 athletes going through 5 km in 17:22, the pace built steadily with 17:14 and 16:41 splits over the middle part of the race. By 20 km it was down to just Noda, newcomer Mahiru Kobayashi of Osaka Gakuin University , last year's 5th-placer Nanase Tanimoto from national champion Meijo University and corporate leaguer Shiho Tachizako from Tenmaya , with 2023 3rd-placer Saki Harada drifting 9 seconds back in 5th. Noda ramped the pace up to 3:08 for the final km, dropping Tachizako, then Tanimoto, and finally Kobayashi to win by 2 seconds in 1:12:01. Kobayashi was next in 1:12:03, holding Tanimoto back to 3rd in 1:12:05. The top 6 were all under 1:13, with 17 women under 1:15 and 24 under 1:16. 45th Matsue Ladies Half Marathon National University Women's Half Marathon Mat

Yamaguchi 10th at United Airlines NYC Half - Weekend Overseas Results

2024 national cross-country champion Tomonori Yamaguchi was the top Japanese finisher in the men's race at the United Airlines NYC Half , taking 10th in 1:04:36. A 2nd-year at Waseda University , Yamaguchi was one of three collegiate runners running New York in the 11th year of JRN's development program collaboration between the Ageo City Half Marathon and the New York Road Runners, a program that has seen people like future half marathon and marathon NR breaker Yuta Shitara and Paris Olympic team member Akira Akasaki make their international debuts. Yamaguchi's Waseda teammate Taishi Ito started fast, going with the leaders through 5 km in 14:29 before losing touch. Hosei University senior Rei Matsunaga went through in 14:42 in his last race before joining the JR Higashi Nihon corporate team in April. Yamaguchi, who caught COVID after winning last month's National Cross-Country Championships, started more conservatively with a 15:11 first 5km. But where both Ito

Sota Orita 8:00.13 at Kobayashi Time Trials

At the 2nd Kobayashi Time Trials meet Mar. 16 in Kobayashi, Miyazaki, Suma Gakuen H.S. 3rd-year Sota Orita , the 2nd-fastest high schooler ever over 5000 m with a best of 13:28.78, ran 8:00.14 in the 3000 m A-heat. That time was good enough to put him at all-time #4 on the Japanese high school lists. Orita will start school at 2024 Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University and moved into the AGU team dorm a week ago. He is currently on a training camp in Mizukami, Kumamoto with other incoming AGU 1st-years. source article: translated by Brett Larner

National University Women's Half Marathon, The TEN, United Airlines NYC Half and More - Weekend Preview

There are a lot of Japanese athletes racing overseas this weekend, but at home the main action is the National University Women's Half Marathon Sunday in Matsue. Last year's runner-up Rio Einaga of Osaka Gakuin University and 3rd and 5th-placers Saki Harada and Nanase Tanimoto from six-time national champion Meijo University lead the entry list, with their top competition including Saki Arai of Daito Bunka University , the anchor stage winner at December's Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden national championship, Yuiri Ogata , Sakurako Yanai and Momoko Shimada from Mt. Fuji runner-up team Nittai University , and Yui Yoshii , Momona Yotsumoto and Mariya Noda from 3rd-place team Daito Bunka University . Complete entry list here . Overseas, the biggest block of Japanese athletes will be at Sound Running's The TEN in California. With a best of 31:34.39 Mikuni Yada (Edion) is the only Japanese woman in the meet, running the 10000 m Paris section. Hibiki Obara (Aoyama

'Financial Times and Nikkei Will Headline Sponsor the Inaugural FT Nikkei Ekiden, Bringing Iconic Japanese Relay Racing to the UK'

May's 10000 m National Championships to Use Electronic Pacing Again

  The JAAF has announced that the Wavelight electronic pacing system will be used in the May 3 10000 m National Championships at Shizuoka's Ecopa Stadium. The Wavelight uses 400 LED lights spaced at 1 m intervals around the track that can be illuminated to show different target paces, making it easier for athletes to go for particular times. The system has also been popular with audiences for adding some color and making it easier to follow the race's progression. The Wavelight system is used abroad in Diamond League meets and other races targeting high-level long-distance times. In Japan, it was used last year in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series and at December's 10000 m National Championships. In that race Kazuya Shiojiri (Fujitsu) set a new national record of 27:09.80, with the next three finishers Tomoki Ota (Toyota), Akira Aizawa (Asahi Kasei) and Ren Tazawa (Toyota) setting the all-time #2 through #4 Japanese marks. At the 10000 m National Championships in Ma

Rui Aoki Wins National University Men's Half Marathon - Weekend Results

Yuka Ando 's win at the Nagoya Women's Marathon was the big news of the weekend, but there were other high-level races happening, even in Nagoya. Held in parallel with the marathon, the Nagoya City Half Marathon saw Australians Natalie Rule and Ed Goddard take easy wins by about 2.5 minutes each, Rule in 1:13:57 and Goddard in 1:04:01. The new Biwako Marathon also had a non-Japanese winner, China's Yousheng Guan scoring 1st in 2:14:58 with Japan's Hirohito Sugai next in 2:16:40. Mikiko Ota won the women's race in 2:50:44. The Shizuoka Marathon returned for its first running in five years, with club runner Shumpei Oda leading the top 7 men under 2:20 in 2:15:36. Women's winner Remi Tanaka ran 2:41:23, beating runner-up Ayumi Sano by exactly 7 minutes. And in Tokyo, Rui Aoki continued what has been a great season so far for Koku Gakuin University with a win at the National University Men's Half Marathon . Aoki and Hiro Konda of Chuo Gakuin Unive

Yuka Ando Runs Down Asian Games Gold Medalist Chumba to Win Nagoya Women's Marathon

Back where she'd run her best in 2017 only to finish 2nd behind Kenyan-born Bahraini doper Eunice Kirwa , Yuka Ando ran down another Kenyan-born Bahraini named Eunice, in this case 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games gold medalist Eunice Chebichii Chumba , to win the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a 2:21:18 PB. Ando and the other top Japanese women in the race, Ayuko Suzuki and Rika Kaseda , had the hopeless task of running a 2:18:58 to make the Paris Olympics team, almost 3 minutes faster than any of them had run before. Hopeless, but not to say they didn't take a serious swing at it. The first 5 km was perfect, 16:28 projecting to exactly 2:18:58, but after that the quartet of pacers struggled to keep things steady. By 13 km pacers Charlotte Purdue and Judith Korir had dropped out of the lead pack, leaving the other two to try to keep it together. At halfway it was down to the three Japanese favorites, Chumba, Oregon World Championships gold medalist Gotytom Gebreslase and Roma

Ekiden - Inspiring a Mindset

  A JRN co-production with Maurten featuring Ai Ikemoto .

Nagoya Women's Marathon Preview

Last weekend's Tokyo Marathon sealed up the Japanese men's Paris Olympics marathon team lineup when top Japanese man Yusuke Nishiyama came 41 seconds short of the 2:05:50 he needed to take the spot away from marathon trials 3rd-placer Suguru Osako . Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon officially closes the window for Japanese women, but really it was pretty much slammed shut by Honami Maeda with her 2:18:59 national record in Osaka at the end of January. That was almost 3 minutes faster than what she needed to take trial 3rd-placer Ai Hosoda 's place in Paris. Is there any chance anyone lining up in Nagoya could run 2:18:58 or better? There are some good people on the list, but basically no. Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia has run faster than that with a 2:18:11 for gold at the 2022 Oregon World Championships, but she's the only one. Eunice Chumba and Delvine Meringor are both at the 2:20 level, and out of the top tier of Japanese women Ayuko Suzuki and Rika

Yuya Sawada Passes English Test, Plans to Move to Louisiana State in Summer

6th in the 1500 m at the last World U20 Championships, Yuya Sawada of Hamamatsu Shiritsu H.S. has achieved the required score on the English test needed for her to enter Louisiana State University . Sawada was 5th in the 1500 m at the National Junior High School Championships her 3rd year at Hosoe J.H.S. while still a member of the school's basketball team. She started running seriously in 2021 during her first year of high school and made it to the National High School Championships in the 3000 m that year. Her second year she made the 1500 m final at the National Track and Field Championships, placing 10th, then went on to take 6th at the Cali World U20 Championships in Colombia in 4:12.87, the 2nd-fastest time ever by a high schooler. Selected as an athlete with international potential, Sawada was later named to the JAAF's Diamond Athlete support program, receiving education in areas like leadership and English. Her performance at the World U20 Championships attracted the

Mariko Yugeta Returns, Tamana Half at 75, and More - Weekend Update

The Tokyo Marathon dominated the landscape this weekend , from the fastest-ever runs on Japanese soil by winners Sutume Asefa Kebede  and Benson Kipruto  to Yusuke Nishiyama 's heartbreaking reaction to missing the Paris Olympics team despite an excellent 2:06:31 after falling to Khishigsaikhan Galbadrakh 's 2:26:32 Mongolian NR that qualified for the Paris Olympics. There were dozens of other stories in the race, like Joan Benoit Samuelson  completing her World Marathon Majors six star, and her longtime fan Mariko Yugeta  running 3:01:28 at age 65. Including the 19 seconds it took her to get to the start line Yugeta went through halfway in 1:29:05 and was still on track for sub-3 at 35 km, but over the last 7.195 km it slipped away. Still, though, it was a single-age world record, that age graded  to a 2:10:54 marathon. At the Kagoshima Marathon , locally-based Eritrean  Dejen Tesfalem Weldu  who graduated from Seisa University  last year won his debut in 2:14:50, almost two m

Sutume Asefa Kebede and Benson Kipruto Run Fastest-Ever Marathons in Japan to Win in Tokyo

Sutume Asefa Kebede and Benson Kipruto made history at the Tokyo Marathon with the fastest-ever women's and men's marathon times ever run on Japanese soil. In some ways both races played out similarly. Tucked in with a pack of amateur Japanese men, Sutume, 2023 Tokyo winner Rosemary Wanjiru , 2023 Budapest World Championships gold medalist Amane Beriso Shankule and double Olympic gold medalist Sifan Hassan ran together in the early going before Hassan started to lose a few seconds before 20 km. By 30 km Hassan was out of the picture, and the steady 5 km splits hovering around 16:00 over the second half ground Amane down until she lost touch near the 37 km turnaround. Sutume and Wanjiru stayed together until the 40 km drink table, where Sutume timed her surge just as Wanjiru went for her bottle and opened the lead that gave her the win. With a 30-second negative split Sutume went 7 seconds under the Tokyo course record and Japanese all-comers record with a 2:15:55 PB for th