Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Ex-No. 2 Women's Marathoner of All Time Retires After Doping Ban Ends'

http://olympics.nbcsports.com/2016/05/04/liliya-shobukhova-retires-marathon-doping-russia-track-and-field/

Ex-#2 all-time, Liliya Shobukhova of Russia remains #1 on the athlete roster of agent Andrey Baranov's now-deleted Spartanik RS Inc International Sport Management website.  JRN is glad to help make that website and its roster publicly available again.  At least 12 of the female athletes on that roster, 2/3 of those to have broken 2:26 in the marathon, have been suspended for positive drug tests or biological passport violations along with other subsequently Baranov-managed athletes such as Belarus' Alexsandra Duliba.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Suzuki Impresses at Payton Jordan

by Brett Larner


Virtually the only bright spot on the Japanese team at last year's Beijing World Championships, Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post) delivered again with the best Japanese performance of this year's Payton Jordan Invitational.  With her 15:08.29 in the Beijing 5000 m final having put her at #5 on the all-time Japanese lists, Suzuki ran a 30-second PB of 31:18.16 for 3rd at Payton Jordan, landing at #8 all-time among Japanese women.  Four other Japanese women went under the 32:15.00 Olympic standard, three of them breaking 32.  Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) was the only Japanese man to clear the 28:00.00 men's Olympic standard, easily outdistancing Japanese year leader Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) for 2nd in 27:50.27.

Last year's 5000 m national champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) came up just short of the 15:24.00 Olympic standard, running 15:24.10 for 9th in the fastest women's 5000 m heat, but with a valid time from last year the impact on her chances of making the Rio team wasn't major.  More so for past 3000 m steeplechase national champion Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), who came up short of the 8:30.00 standard when he ran 8:34.81 for 3rd in the second heat of the men's steeple.  The next big chance for Japanese athletes to score fast times ahead of June's National Championships, where much of the Rio lineup will be decided, comes at Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka, the best meet on the Japanese calendar.

Payton Jordan Invitational
Stanford University, California, U.S.A., 5/1/16
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m Heat 1
1. Irene Cheptai (Kenya) - 31:15.38
2. Caroline Chepkoech (Kenya) - 31:16.38
3. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan/Japan Post) - 31:18.16 - all-time JPN #8
4. Marielle Hall (U.S.A.) - 31:37.45
5. Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal (Norway) - 31:37.91
-----
7. Miyuki Uehara (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 31:38.80
12. Hanami Sekine (Japan/Japan Post) - 31:48.90
14. Riko Matsuzaki (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 31:55.26
20. Kasumi Nishihara (Japan/Yamada Denki) - 32:07.77
24. Yuka Miyazaki (Japan/Kyudenko) - 32:24.07
29. Rei Ohara (Japan/Tenmaya) - 33:31.47

Men's 10000 m Heat 1
1. Bernard Lagat (U.S.A.) - 27:49.35 - 40+ WR
2. Suguru Osako (Japan/Nike Oregon Project) - 27:50.27
3. Futsum Zienasellassie (U.S.A.) - 27:52.70
4. Abraham Habte Ghebrezghiabher (Eritrea) - 27:53.38
5. Sam Chelanga (U.S.A.) - 27:54.57
-----
7. William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:56.23
22. Yuta Shitara (Kenya/Honda) - 28:51.21

Women's 10000 m Heat 2
1. Sarah Lahti (Sweden) - 31:54.87 - NR
2. Margarita Hernandez Flores (Mexico) - 32:11.04
3. Sara Slattery (U.S.A.) - 32:13.03
----
17. Kotomi Takayama (Japan/Sysmex) - 33:34.86

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Sally Kipyego (Kenya) - 14:58.60
2. Nicole Tully (U.S.A.) - 15:04.08
3. Maureen Koster (Netherlands) - 15:07.20
-----
9. Misaki Onishi (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:24.10

Men's 3000 mSC Heat 2
1. Ole Hesselbjerg (Denmark) - 8:30.51
2. Caleb Hoover (U.S.A.) - 8:34.23
3. Jun Shinoto (Japan/Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:34.81
-----
13. Aoi Matsumoto (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:07.57

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kawauchi Wins Inaugural Kawauchi Half Marathon

http://www.minyu-net.com/sports/running/FM20160501-070419.php

translated by Brett Larner

Yuki Kawauchi Road in Kawauchi, Fukushima

Held to inspire former residents to return to the area after the nearby TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident five years ago, the village of Kawauchi held the first "Kawauchi no Sato Kaeru Half Marathon - From Reconstruction to Creation" on April 30.  The course started and finished at the village heliport.  1188 runners from across the country gathered to celebrate the village's revival as they ran through its springtime streets.

The event's organizing committee was made up of local government and board of education members with support from the Fukushima Minyu Newspaper and other sponsors.  The race's purpose was to transmit the vitality and charm of the reconstructing Kawauchi village to the rest of the nation in hopes of helping to reverse the area's population decline.  Leading the half marathon was the world-famous "Civil Servant Runner" Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), who ran along with his two younger brothers.  Kawauchi wowed everyone by winning in 1:05:40, shaking hands and posing for pictures with other participants after the race.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wanjiru and Kamais Take 5000 m Titles at 50th Oda Memorial Meet

by Brett Larner

Japan-based Kenyans Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) and Paul Kamais (Team Chugoku Denryoku) scored tight wins to take the Grand Prix 5000 m titles at the 50th Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet at Hiroshima's Edion Stadium on Saturday.  Wanjiru, a graduate of Aomori Yamada H.S., led start to finish in the women's race, taking it out at 15:20 pace and closing in 2:58 to beat teammate Grace Kimanzi by just over a second.  Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), already the fastest Japanese woman so far this year for 10000 m, delivered the fastest 5000 m, 15:37.21, to take the top Japanese spot in 5th.

Kamais, a brand-new graduate of Hiroshima's local National High School Boys Ekiden course record-setter Sera H.S., alternated the lead with two-time World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) throughout the men's race before closing in 2:33 for the win.  Shuho Dairokuno (Team Asahi Kasei) was the top Japanese finisher in 13:31.56 for 5th, his teammate Takashi Ichida knocking a second off his PB to take 7th in 13:35.19.  Asahi Kasei's Tetsuya Yoroizaka, all-time Japanese #2 for both 5000 m and 10000 m last year, was only 10th in 13:49.60.

Sera's Hibiki Onishi topped the West Japan Junior Women's 3000 m, part of a group of four that kicked past leader Nagisa Shimotabira (Kobayashi H.S.) on the last lap and outrunning Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.), younger sister of the Nike Oregon Project's Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu, for the win in 9:22.60.

50th Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet
Edion Stadium, Hiroshima, 4/29/16
click here for complete results

Women's Grand Prix 5000 m
1. Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Kenya/Starts) - 15:15.14
2. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Starts) - 15:16.44
3. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Universal Entertainment) - 15:19.47
4. Ann Karindi (Kenya/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:23.80
5. Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:37.21
6. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:37.93
7. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 15:43.13
8. Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 15:44.37
9. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:44.61
10. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:47.47

Men's Grand Prix 5000 m
1. Paul Kamais (Kenya/Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:24.06
2. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 13:25.28
3. Teressa Nyakola (Ethiopia/Mazda) - 13:26.41
4. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 13:30.47
5. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 13:31.56
6. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 13:34.52
7. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 13:35.19 - PB
8. Hideyuki Tanaka (Toyota) - 13:36.08
9. Hiram Ngatia (Kenya/Toyota) - 13:42.67
10. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) - 13:49.60

West Japan Junior Women's 3000 m
1. Hibiki Onishi (Sera H.S.) - 9:22.60
2. Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 9:26.01
3. Kyoka Kudo (Oita Nishi H.S.) - 9:26.48
4. Tsuzumi Terao (Yamada H.S.) - 9:26.76
5. Nagisa Shimotabira (Kobayashi H.S.) - 9:30.71

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Update on Eastern European Women in Japan

by Brett Larner

The 4th-place finish by Volha Mazuronak of Belarus at last weekend's London Marathon turned heads around the world.  Her time of 2:23:54 may become a national record pending the annulment of times run by Belarussian Alexsandra Duliba following January's announcement of Duliba's suspension on biological passport violations.  New York Road Runners professional athlete consultant David Monti was quick to point out Mazuronak's splits, a 1:13:19 first half, 1:10:35 second half and 7:08 for the final 2.195 km split from 40 km to the finish, the fastest closing split in the London women's field and on a par with or better than the 6th through 10th-place men there.  Mara Yamauchi, the second-fastest British woman ever in the marathon, wrote an analysis noting the similarity between Mazuronak's splits and those in a 2012 JRN analysis of performances by Eastern European women represented by Russian Andrey Baranov and his Spartanik agency.

Baranov also represented Duliba, who recorded the following performance, facing possible annulment, at the 2014 Boston Marathon:

Aleksandra Duliba/BLR - 6th, 2014 Boston Marathon - 2:21:29
1st half: 1:10:15
2nd half: 1:11:14
last 2.195km: 7:17 (2nd-fastest in field behind only suspended doper Rita Jeptoo)

Below is an update to JRN's 2012 post with other performances by Eastern European Baranov athletes in major Japanese marathons since 2012.  As noted, all but one have been annulled due to biological passport suspensions.  Mazuronak's second half and closing split were truly remarkable in that they beat those in every performance below.

Mariya Konovalova/RUS (age 40) - 2nd, 2015 Nagoya Women's Marathon - 2:22:27 (annulled)
1st half: 1:11:08
2nd half: 1:11:19
last 2.195 km: 7:22 (2nd-fastest in field behind only Japanese collegiate NR holder Sairi Maeda)

Tetiana Gamera/UKR - 1st, 2015 Osaka Women's Marathon - 2:22:09 (annulled)
1st half: 1:11:15
2nd half: 1:10:54
last 2.195 km: 7:18 (fastest in field)

Mariya Konovalova/RUS - 1st, 2014 Nagoya Women's Marathon - 2:23:43 (annulled)
1st half: 1:12:34
2nd half: 1:11:09
last 2.195 km: 7:13 (fastest in field)

Tetiana Gamera/UKR - 1st, 2014 Osaka Women's Marathon - 2:24:37 (annulled)
1st half: 1:12:12
2nd half: 1:12:25 
last 2.195 km: 7:26 (fastest in field)

Albina Mayorova/RUS - 1st, 2013 Yokohama Women's Marathon - 2:25:55
1st half: 1:13:45
2nd half: 1:12:10
last 2.195 km: 7:43 (fastest in field)

Tetiana Gamera/UKR - 1st, 2013 Osaka Women's Marathon - 2:23:58 (annulled)
1st half: 1:11:40
2nd half: 1:12:18
last 2.195 km: 7:14 (fastest in field)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Hakodate Half Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Hakodate, Hokkaido, 6/26/16
click here for complete field listing
times listed are 2013-16 bests except where noted

Women
Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) - 1:10:04 (Berlin 2014)
Asami Kato (Panasonic) - 1:10:21 (Philadelphia 2013)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Hokuren) - 1:10:27 (Sanyo 2015)
Yuko Mizuguchi (Denso) - 1:11:03 (Marugame 2015)
Yukiko Okuno (Shiseido) - 1:11:28 (Matsue 2015)
Kaori Yoshida (Runners Pulse) - 1:13:04 (Nerima 2016)

Men
Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 1:02:17 (Marugame 2013)
Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 1:02:21 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:27 (Gifu 2015)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:55 (Ageo 2014)
Masaki Takamoto (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:10 (Marugame 2015)
Yu Chiba (Honda) - 1:03:12 (Ageo 2013)
Yuya Kato (Teikyo Uiv.) - 1:03:54 (Marugame 2016)
Shota Saito (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:03:58 (Marugame 2014)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Gifu, 5/15/16
click here for complete field listing
times listed are 2013-2016 bests except where noted

Women
Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:06 (Marugame 2016)
Rebecca Kangogo Chesir (Kenya) - 1:08:21 (Milan 2015)
Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 1:09:23 (Olomouc 2014)
Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) - 1:09:43 (Adana 2016)
Yuka Ando (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:09:51 (Sanyo 2015)
Sayo Nomura (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 1:10:03 (Sanyo 2013)
Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 1:10:04 (Berlin 2014)
Lauren Kleppin (U.S.A.) - 1:10:16 (Copenhagen 2014)
Eri Makikawa (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:27 (Marugame 2014)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:31 (Valencia 2015)
Bornes Jepkirui (Kenya) - 1:10:32 (Azpeitia 2014)

Men
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) - 59:14 (Copenhagen 2015)
Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 59:47 (Marugame 2015)
Kenneth Keter (Kenya) - 59:48 (Venlo 2016)
Martin Mathathi (Kenya) - 1:00:11 (Marugame 2014)
James Rungaru (Kenya/Chuo Hatsujo) - 1:00:12 (Nice 2015)
Fabiano Sulle (Tanzania) - 1:01:19 (Marugame 2016)
Moses Kibet (Uganda) - 1:01:37 (Lisbon 2016)
Kenta Matsumoto (Japan/Toyota) - 1:01:55 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:56 (Gifu 2014)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 1:02:10 (Marugame 2016)
Takuya Suzuki (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:15 (Marugame 2016)
Yuya Ito (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:21 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Chiharu Takada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:22 (Marugame 2013)
Dishon Maina (Kenya/Omokawa Zaimoku) - 1:02:23 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:27 (Gifu 2015)
Yuichiro Ogawa (Japan/NTN) - 1:02:30 (Marugame 2014)
Ryo Matsumoto (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:32 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Kinari Ikeda (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:45 (Takanezawa 2016)
Junji Katakawa (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:49 (Marugame 2015)
Satoru Kasuya (Japan/Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:52 (Marugame 2013)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:55 (Ageo 2014)
Cuthburt Nyasango (Zimbabwe) - 1:02:56 (Prague 2013)
Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - debut - 27:42.09 (Tokai Univ. 2015)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

'Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved'

https://medium.com/@joshuatopolsky/your-media-business-will-not-be-saved-1b0716b5010c#.jds9z59vq

Not running or Japan-related, but a good read that expresses some of the same philosophy by which JRN has always operated.