What was the Japanese men's performance of the year?

What was the Japanese men's performance of the year?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sang, Simon Win 27,000-Strong Inaugural Osaka Marathon

http://www.pjnews.net/news/291/20111030_2

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Stretching from Osaka City Hall to the south part of Osaka Bay, 27,000 runners took part in Kansai's first mass-participation marathon, the Oct. 30 Osaka Marathon.  With a surge at 30 km Elijah Sang (Kenya) became the race's first champion, winning in 2:12:43.  In post-race comments Sang told the media, "I think this will be a very fast course.  The cheering was incredibly loud, so I never got tired or had to back off.  Things went as planned and I made a move at 30 km.  I was able to win because I was running for the win."

Veteran Lidia Simon (Romania) won the women's race in 2:32:48.  "The course is an easy one without any difficult sections," she said, "but I had trouble maintaining my speed after the turnaround.  I wasn't able to hit my target of a sub-2:30 time, but I did manage to achieve my other goal of winning.  My next goal will be to run in London for my fifth Olympic Games."  Hokkaido Marathon course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) was 2nd in 2:33:36, while local heroine Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) came through with a two-minute PB for 3rd in 2:40:31.

The top Japanese man in the race, 4th in 2:14:31, was the popular Yuki Kawauchi, who was once again wheeled away to receive emergency medical treatment after crossing the finish line.  At the post-race press conference Kawauchi commented, "My time was what I was planned, but when the foreign runners sped up at 35 km I slowed down.  I drew strength from all the cheers along the course, and especially out in the bay area near the end where there weren't many people I got a boost when people yelled, 'Go Kawauchi!'"

Kawauchi ran Osaka less than two months after September's World Championships marathon in Daegu, Korea, but with regard to the short period of time between his two races he said, "I can't train a lot for one specific race like corporate runners.  If I don't race a lot my level will go down."  Kawauchi plans to run next month's Ageo City Half Marathon to sharpen his speed for the first domestic selection race for the Olympic team, December's Fukuoka International Marathon.  "Regardless of how things go in Fukuoka," he said, "I'm going to run the Tokyo Marathon as well."

Along with all 27,000 runners on the roads, the cheers from countless roadside supporters as well as the hard work of the the race staff and volunteers combined to help make the first Osaka Marathon an event where Osaka truly become one.

Translator's note: 3rd-place Salim Kipsang (Kenya) won the 2009 Tokyo Marathon.  4th-place Kawauchi's time was the 3rd-best of his career.  2009 Copenhagen Marathon winner Toyokazu Yoshimura (Hyogo Pref.) returned from a year and a half of injury to finish 6th, while notorious 2009 Tokyo Marathon wig runner Nobuaki Takata (Hirakata Masters AC) was 7th.

2011 Osaka Marathon
Osaka, 10/30/2011
click here for complete results

Men
1. Elijah Sang (Kenya) - 2:12:43
2. Aleksey A. Sokolov (Russia) - 2:13:15
3. Salim Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:14:18
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 2:14:31
5. Kenji Onaka (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:14:36 - PB
6. Toyokazu Yoshimura (Hyogo Pref.) - 2:21:10
7. Nobuaki Takata (Hirakata Masters AC) - 2:22:28

Women
1. Lidia Simon (Romania) - 2:32:48
2. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:33:36
3. Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:40:31 - PB

Komazawa Adds Another 28-Minute Man to Roster

by Brett Larner

A week out from the National University Ekiden Championships, the Kanto region men's scene became even more complicated as Izumo Ekiden runner-up Komazawa University, already holding ten men with sub-14 PBs for 5000 m, six of them with 10000 m bests under 29 minutes, added another name to its top ranks.  Junior Toshiaki Nishizawa took nearly a minute off his 10000 m PB as he finished 13th in the Nittai Univ. Time Trials 10000 m A-heat in 28:51.05 to give Komazawa crucial depth beyond the ten men necessary for January's Hakone Ekiden.  Nishizawa's step up puts further pressure on defending national and Hakone champ Waseda University and on this year's Izumo winner Toyo University.

The injury-plagued Waseda's chances did take a turn for the better as sub-29 senior Takuya Nakayama, son of former 10000 m and marathon national record holder Takeyuki Nakayama, returned to competition after sitting out most of his sophomore and junior years.  Nakayama finished only 28th in the 10000 m A-heat in a modest 29:27.59, but as a step toward finally making Waseda's Hakone team it was a welcome return to the public eye.

Four other Kanto region schools which failed to make the grade for Nationals had runners under 29 minutes at Nittai, chief among them Takushoku University sophomore Duncan Muthee who finished 2nd in an excellent 27:58.26, his first solid run of the year after an outstanding debut as a first-year in 2010.  Chuo Gakuin University's Keisuke Fujii also came through with a big run, 3rd in 28:42.42 to finish as the top Japanese man in the heat.

In the other Nittai races of the weekend, Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) had a good run in the women's 5000 m A-heat, winning in 15:42.18 over pros Kumi Ogura and Yoko Aizu.  Members of Team S&B took three of the top four spots in the men's 5000 m A-heat, Yusuke Hasegawa coming out on top in a good 13:38.70.  Kenyan newcomer Joseph Onsarigo (Sozo Gakuen Univ.) was the only one to break up the S&B block, 3rd in 13:47.19.  Twins Shiori and Kaori Morita (Eda H.S.) went 1-2 in the women's 3000 m A-heat, with junior high schooler Anri Matsumoto (Midorigaoka J.H.S.) 3rd in a very strong 9:28.51.

219th Nittai Univ. Time Trials
Nittai Univ., Yokohama, 10/29-30/11
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 27:55.62
2. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 27:58.26
3. Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:42.42
4. Shinichi Yamashita (Takigahara SDF Base) - 28:42.62
5. Yusuke Kawaminami (Team Osaka Gas) - 28:43.07
6. Yohei Yamamoto (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 28:43.23
7. Kosuke Murasashi (Team YKK) - 28:44.29
8. Yoshiyuki Oseki (Team Subaru) - 28:45.15
9. Sho Matsueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:45.68
10. Yoshihiro Hinomoto (Team YKK) - 28:46.07
-----
13. Toshiaki Nishizawa (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:51.05
17. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:54.89
28. Takuya Nakayama (Waseda Univ.) - 29:27.59

Women's 5000 m Heat 20
1. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 15:42.18
2. Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 15:45.15
3. Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 15:52.40
4. Narumi Shirataki (Nihon Univ.) - 15:52.93
5. Erika Ikeda (Meijo Univ.) - 15:54.01
6. Aki Odagiri (Meijo Univ.) - 15:57.43
7. Kaori Akagawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:58.43
8. Akane Mutazaki (Team Edion) - 16:00.53
9. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:01.19
10. Yukie Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:01.64

Men's 5000 m Heat 26
1. Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) - 13:38.70
2. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 13:44.31
3. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Sozo Gakuen Univ.) - 13:47.19
4. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:52.16
5. Masaki Sekido (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 13:58.51
-----
13. Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 14:15.58

Women's 3000 m Heat 4
1. Shiori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 9:26.69
2. Kaori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 9:28.10
3. Anri Matsumoto (Midorigaoka J.H.S.) - 9:28.51

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The 2011 Venice Marathon in Video and Pictures


by Brett Larner

photos by Mika Tokairin
elite race video by Alberto Stretti
running video by Brett Larner

For the third straight year JRN was on-hand to cover the Venice Marathon, this year helping to host Courir Magazine editor-in-chief Yukiya Higuchi who ran the race for a feature article in the November issue of Courir.  After several days of rain the entire race weekend saw excellent conditions on the cool side with sunny skies at the start outside Villa Pisani on the banks of the Brenta in Stra.



The excellent weather was conducive to good times in the elite races, where Kenyan Helen Kirop took nearly four minutes off the Venice record with an outstanding 2:23:37 and Ethiopian Tadese Tolosa Aredo led three men under 2:10 with a 2:09:13 win. Defending champions Harun Makda Haji (Ethiopia) and Simon Mukun (Kenya) both finished 2nd.





At last year's 25th anniversary race the Venice city council had for the first time granted permission for the race course to pass through Venice's most famous landmark, the Piazza San Marco. Unexpectedly high water forced organizers to use a backup course which bypassed the piazza, leading the council to grant permission again this year to make it up to all those who came last year in the expectation of being the first to run San Marco. Nature cooperated, and this year's marathoners were rewarded with a scenic dogleg through the crowded square with just over 1 km to go.  JRN's Brett Larner ran the marathon with a video camera to capture the fourteen bridges in the last 3.5 km and the first-ever running of the Piazza San Marco segment.



The course proved very popular with both runners and spectators, with tourists adding to the cheering crowds. It wouldn't be surprising to see the San Marco course become a regular feature, an essential attraction of the Venice Marathon even if the 7000 available places already sell out six months in advance. JRN's Mika Tokairin focused on photos in and around the Piazza San Marco. Click any photo to enlarge.

In high spirits just before heading into the piazza.

Two-way traffic amid thick crowds at the entrance to the piazza.

Turning around at the Museo Archeologico end of the piazza.

Higuchi hard at work in the turnaround with the camera he carried while running.

Supporters in front of the Torre dell'Orologio.

Passing the Basilica di San Marco with 1.2 km to go.

Almost out of the piazza, in front of the Palazzo Ducale.

Out of the piazza and heading along the waterfront to the finish near the Giardini Pubblici.

Post-race pasta and pie in the Giardini Pubblici.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
photos (c) 2011 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mizuki Noguchi Wins W. Japan Ekiden Stage, Will Run Osaka International Women's Marathon

by Brett Larner

note: International travel resulted in a delay to posting these results.  Apologies.

Three big road races produced noteworthy results across Japan over the past weekend.  At last year's Takashimadaira Road Race 20 km, the completely unknown Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) exploded onto the Kanto region university men's distance scene by tying the course record of 58:51 while winning by a margin of 1:30.  This year as a more established name Deki successfully repeated, winning Takashimadaira again in warm conditions in 59:44 by a margin of 1:13.  Veteran Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes AC) took her fifth win in the women's division, running 1:15:12, while five-time women's 10 km division winner Maki Inami (Kita AC) made it six as she won in 34:50.  Komazawa University graduate Akinori Iida (Team Honda) won the men's 10 km in 29:59.

Further north in Sendai, Ritsumeikan University scored a major upset as it beat rival and defending champion Bukkyo University to win the Morinomiyako Ekiden, the national university women's ekiden championships.  Talented senior Risa Takenaka got Ritsumeikan off on the right foot with a soaring 18:16 stage record on the 5.8 km First Stage.  As with Komazawa University at the recent Izumo Ekiden, pre-race favorite Bukkyo fell victim to a bad run from its star new recruit, in Bukkyo's case Risa Shibuya who finished 14th on the First Stage 1:28 behind Takenaka.  Like Komazawa, Bukkyo spent the rest of the race trying to work its way out of the hole but despite stage bests from Hikari Yoshimoto and Chinami Mori only ended up earning 10 seconds as it finished the six-stage, 38.6 km course in 2:07:47 to Ritsumeikan's 2:06:29.  Perpetual 3rd-placer Meijo University actually gave Bukkyo a scare, 3rd again in 2:07:58 after a stage best from anchor Eri Yagi.  The surprise upset restored the Ritsumeikan dynasty and underlined the fact that as opposed to traditional cross-country team scoring, in ekidens every single runner's performance counts.

But the biggest news of the weekend came from Fukuoka.  Marathon national record holder and Athens Olympics gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), who made an abortive two-race comeback from long-term injuries last year only to suffer a stress fracture in the second race, made a strong statement of her determination to make the London Olympics with a stage win at the six-stage, 42.195 km West Japan Corporate Women's Ekiden, the regional qualifier for December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.  Picking up the tasuki already in the lead at the start of the 10.2 km Third Stage, Noguchi opened 50 seconds over pursuing national champion Team Tenmaya as she ran 32:25 to establish the record on the new stage.  Up by 1:07 at the end of Noguchi's run, Sysmex's remaining three runners did their best to ride her momentum but could not hold off the steady Tenmaya, whose last runners each chipped 20-30 seconds off the margin.  One of three anchors to tie the 20:57 record on the 6.495 km Sixth Stage, Tenmaya's Risa Shigetomo succeeded in catching Sysmex anchor Misato Tanaka, outkicking her by 5 seconds to give Tenmaya the win in 2:18:31 to Sysmex's 2:18:36.  The tiny Team Juhachi Ginko was a surprise 3rd, running 2:20:06.

Post-race, Noguchi buoyed national spirits when she announced that she will run January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in a bid for the Japanese team for next summer's London Olympics.  Only one woman, the great Catherine Ndereba (Kenya), has ever beaten Noguchi in the marathon, but with her last marathon being four years ago and having run only two marathons in the nearly eight years since winning Olympic gold in Athens time may be against her as she faces her last chance to redeem the last four years of recovery from the injuries that knocked her out of the Beijing Olympics.  She may also face an even greater challenge to making the team: half-marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).

2011 West Japan Corporate Women's Ekiden
regional qualifier for National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships
Munakata, Fukuoka, 10/23/2011
click here for complete results

Top Team Performances - six stages, 42.195 km
1. Tenmaya - 2:18:31
2. Sysmex - 2:18:36
3. Juhachi Ginko - 2:20:06
4. Kyocera - 2:20:20
5. Edion - 2:20:23

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.7 km)  - Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 21:22
Second Stage (3.5 km) - Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 10:41
Third Stage (10.2 km) - Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 32:25 - CR
Fourth Stage (4.5 km) - Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya) / Rina Utta (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 14:34 - CR
Fifth Stage (10.8 km) - Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 36:38 - CR
Sixth Stage (6.495 km) -  Hiromi Chujo (Team Wacoal) / Chizuru Ideta (Team Daihatsu) / Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 20:57 - CR

2011 Morinomiyako Ekiden
National University Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, 10/23/11
click here for complete results

Top Team Performances - six stages, 38.6 km
1. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 2:06:29
2. Bukkyo Univ. - 2:07:47
3. Meijo Univ. - 2:07:58
4. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 2:11:00
5. Matsuyama Univ. - 2:11:15

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (5.8 km) - Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 18:16 - CR
Second Stage (6.8 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 22:26
Third Stage (9.1 km) - Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 30:06
Fourth Stage (4.9 km) - Mutsumi Ikeda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:20
Fifth Stage (4.0 km) - Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.) - 12:56
Sixth Stage (8.0 km) - Eri Yagi (Meijo Univ.) - 26:21

2011 Takashimadaira Road Race
Takashimadaira, Tokyo, 10/23/11
click here for complete results

Men's 20 km
1. Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 59:44
2. Yudai Fukuda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:57
3. Kohei Ogino (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:19
4. Kento Sato (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:35
5. Naoki Inoue (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:38

Women's 20 km
1. Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes AC) - 1:15:12

Men's 10 km
1. Akinori Iida (Team Honda) - 29:59

Women's 10 km
1. Maki Inami (Kita AC) - 34:50

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Charles Ndirangu 13:15.44 National High School Record at Oita Challenge 5000 m

by Brett Larner

Sera High School’s scouts are on top of their game.First Sera’s Bitan Karoki (Team S&B) came a hairsbreadth from cracking Samuel Wanjiru's legendary National High School Ekiden stage record his senior year before going on to impress this year at the Cardinal Invitational, Kenyan Championships and the Africa Games. Then as a junior last year current Sera senior Charles Ndirangu likewise missed Wanjiru’s record by the slimmest of margins. Now Ndirangu has come through.

Seemingly unaware of the international declaration of the end of track season last month, Ndirangu rocketed a 13:15.44 at the Oct. 22 Oita Prefecture Challenge Games track meet to break the Japanese national high school 5000 m record. Officially called a new Japanese high school international student record, Ndirangu’s time is a full 16 seconds better than the best ever run by a Japanese high school student.  In comparison, past Kenyan national XC champion Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran 13:32.25 to win the Tokai Univ. Time Trials 5000 m A-heat the same day. Another solid shot at Wanjiru’s stage record at December’s Nationals looks to be in the cards for Ndirangu.

Sera first-year John Gasaya was also under the 14 minute mark in Oita, taking 2nd in 13:56.34. The top Japanese finisher, Kaoru Hirosue, was 3rd in 14:16.25, narrowly escaping being lapped. Sera senior Susan Wylim likewise dominated the women’s 3000 m, winning by 25 seconds in 8:59.07 over Nihon Bunri Prep first-year Madoka Uesugi who was 2nd in 9:24.63.

2011 Oita Prefecture Challenge Games
Oita Bank Dome, Oita, 10/22/11
click here for complete results

Men’s 5000 m Heat 13
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Sera H.S.) – 13:15.44
2. John Gasaya (Kenya/Sera H.S.) – 13:56.34
3. Kaoru Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) – 14:16.25
4. Yusuke Egashira (Shiroishi H.S.) - 14:17.74
5. Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) - 14:18.42

Women's 3000 m Heat 5
1. Susan Wylim (Kenya/Sera H.S.) - 8:59.07
2. Madoka Uesugi (Nihon Bunri Prep. H.S.) - 9:24.63
3. Mikako Kodama Kodama (Oita Nishi H.S.) - 9:29.44
4. Karen Yakushi (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:30.02
5. Fumika Shinohana (Sera H.S.) - 9:31.42

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Ayano Kubo (Kobayashi H.S.) - 16:07.17
2. Mai Nakamura (Oita Nishi H.S.) - 16:07.70
3. Misuzu Nakahara (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 16:12.41
4. Nozomi Nishiyama (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 16:13.10
5. Miki Yasutomi (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 16:23.51

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, October 21, 2011

JRN On Location: 2011 Venice Marathon


JRN and Courir Magazine editor-in-chief Yukiya Higuchi are on location at the 2011 Venice Marathon. Look for our coverage with exclusive photos and video over the weekend.

photo (c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kinukawa Wins Amsterdam Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

click here for photos and video of Kinukawa's win at the Amsterdam Half Marathon

5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) made a low-key return to racing last weekend after her disappointing World Championships track performances.  Unannounced to the Japanese media, Kinukawa ran Sunday's Amsterdam Half Marathon, the second half marathon of her career after debuting at July's Sapporo International Half Marathon.  In the absence of any professional-level competition Kinukawa won in a leisurely 1:17:08, surely a training run or fun run effort.  Does another half at this stage point toward a marathon debut this winter and the fact that she did it in a European race toward a test run for getting used to the kind of time difference she would face at the London Olympics?  We'll find out soon enough.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sendai Ikuei H.S., Toyota Jidoshokki, Chugoku Denryoku Dominate Regional Ekidens

by Brett Larner

The local titans dominated three significant regional ekidens over the weekend.  In disaster-hit Miyagi, Sendai Ikuei H.S., alma mater of the late Samuel Wanjiru and 5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), had superb runs in both the boys' and girls' races to sweep the National High School Ekiden Championships Miyagi Prefecture Qualifier.  Running on a modified course due to lasting tsunami damage, Sendai Ikuei runners won every stage in both the six-stage, 42.1 km boys' race and five-stage, 21 km girls' race.  Particularly dominant boys included the Hattori twins, Yuma and Hazuma, who won the 8.1 km Third Stage and 8 km Fourth Stage by margins of 2:18 and 1:38, Kenyan first-year Hiram Ngatia, who won the 5 km Sixth Stage by 1:11 in his ekiden debut, and anchor Tadashi Isshiki who clocked 13:55 for the 5 km road course to win by over one minute.  The boys' team totalled 2:02:17 versus second-place Rifu H.S.' 2:10:36, putting them in range of a shot at Sendai Ikuei's Wanjiru-era course record at December's Nationals.

The Sendai Ikuei girls' team likewise mopped the roads with their competition, winning in 1:05:32 over runner-up Tokiwagi H.S.' 1:11:00.  The best performances came from 4 km Second Stage runner Michi Horikawa, who won by a margin of 1:10, and Kenyan anchor Mary Waithira who ran a sensational 15:00 for the 5 km Fifth Stage, 2:30 faster than the next-best on the stage.

Having relocated to Aichi prefecture from their longtime base in Chiba following March's disasters, Team Toyota Jidoshokki nearly rewrote the record books at the Central Japan Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden in Gifu, the regional qualifier for December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden.  Five of the team's six women tied or set new course records, including the team debut of 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi who had been banned from competing in official corporate-league competition after she entered a university shortly following her signing to the team.  The lone team member not to hit a record, Kenyan Ann Karindi, nevertheless won the 4.2 km Second Stage, beating Ethiopian rival Betelhem Moges (Team Denso) in the process.  Toyota Jidoshokki ran 2:16:50 for the 42.195 km course, a new record, with Denso far behind in 2:21:11.  Rather than a fixed number of teams, any team that broke 2:30 would qualify for Nationals.  With last-place Team Kojima Press clocking 2:29:24 all six teams from the Central Japan race will face each other again at the National Championships.

Defending champion Team Chugoku Denryoku had a bit of a scare after its first two runners, Yasuhiro Tago and Tomonori Ikebuchi, were beaten at the Hiroshima Prefecture Jitsugyodan Ekiden, but with its next four runners winning their stages the team was successful in picking up another title.  Naoki Okamoto ran 19:01 to set a new record on the 6.6 km Fourth Stage, with anchor Hiroki Tanaka likewise marking a new record of 16:21 for the 5.69 km leg.  Chugoku Denryoku won the 45.62 km race in 2:14:58, 59 seconds up on early leader Team JFE Steel.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Track Roundup - Miyawaki Becomes Tenth Japanese Man to Clear 10000 m Olympic Standard

by Brett Larner

Another weekend, another round of massive track time trials.  The Shizuoka Long-Distance Time Trials meet, always the site of the fastest 10000 m of the fall season, had a tight race up front as Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) outkicked John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota) for the win, 27:23.82 to 27:24.41.  Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) also cleared the 27:45 Olympic A-standard, 3rd in 27:33.14.

A large selection of top young Japanese talent ran the same heat to shoot for the A-standard, but the only new athlete to achieve an Olympic mark was 20-year-old Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) who ran a PB of 28:01.00, the tenth Japanese man this year to clear the London A- or B-standard.  Only five days after a disastrous university debut at the Izumo Ekiden where he was 13th on his stage, 18-year old Komazawa University first-year Kenta Murayama was the second Japanese finisher, outkicking pro Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) and Tokai University ace Akinobu Murasawa and running a PB of 28:17.57.  Kenyan Jeremiah Karemi (Toyokawa H.S.) won the men's 5000 m A-heat in 13:55.86, 14 seconds over Saku Chosei H.S. ace Shun Morozumi.  Karemi's time beat that of rival Titus Waroru (Kenya/Chinzai H.S.), who ran 14:02.12 for the win at the Kumamoto Prefecture Long Distance Time Trials Meet the same day.

The women's talent in Shizuoka was split between 3000 m and 5000 m.  Karemi's teammate Beatrice Wainaina Mururgi (Toyokawa H.S.) soloed a 9:02.35 win in the 3000 m A-heat, with 2nd-place pro Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) over 8 seconds behind.  Matsuzaki's teammates Yuko Shimizu and Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) had the fastest runs in the 5000 m, 15:46.05 and 15:46.22.  Daegu World Championships marathoner Mai Ito was the only other woman to break 16, 3rd in 15:56.14.  Across the country two other women also broke 16.  Kenyan ace Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) ran a solid 15:28.83 to win the Nagasaki Nighter Time Trials meet, while Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) set a meet record 15:50.74 at the Tokai Region Fall University Championships meet.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Okubo Sets Course Record at Ichinoseki International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter

Just three weeks after running a PB of 2:28:49 at the Berlin Marathon, Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) continued her outstanding year by lopping 3 minutes off her half marathon best with a 1:11:22 course record win at the 30th Ichinoseki International Half Marathon in Ichinoseki, Iwate.  Rain until shortly before the start of the race had little impact on the otherwise good conditions as Okubo clocked the fourth-fastest half of the year by a Japanese woman, admittedly in a year which saw the cancellation of the spring half marathon season following the March disasters.  Okubo's rapid progress this year ranks her as the top member of the Second Wind club following the departure of ace Yuri Kano.

In the men's race, Komazawa University's Takahiro Gunji had a narrow win in 1:06:01 over Koku Gakuin University's Nozomu Hashisaka and pro Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Nissin Shokuhin) who went 1:06:04, and Hashizaka's teammate Shinobu Aoki who ran 1:06:10.  Gunji became the second Komazawa second-stringer to win a half marathon in the last two weeks following Toshiaki Nishizawa's win at the Oct. 2 Sapporo Half Marathon.  Gunji told Komaspo news, "I felt great.  Last year [teammate Akinori] Iida won here, so I ran with the intention of adding to the streak.  Coach [Hiroaki Oyagi] told me, "More than the time I want you to go for the win," so I went into it at a high level and tried to hang on.  I couldn't pull that off, though, so I'm a little disappointed.  Still, I made the team's entry roster for the National [University Ekiden Championships] so now I really want to fight for a place on the starting list."

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi's Brother Makes University Debut

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20111015-850392.html

translated by Brett Larner

Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.), younger brother of Daegu World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.), made his university debut at the Oct. 15 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km qualifier road race.  At the start of the race one of the younger Kawauchi's shoes unluckily came off, but he nevertheless was able to run a tenacious race, finishing 302nd in 1:06:48, the 2nd finisher from his team.  Along the way he heard his older brother's cheers.  "He's got a high voice, so I knew right away it was him," said Koki with a smile.  His goal is to make the Hakone Ekiden Select Team, on which his brother ran Hakone's Sixth Stage twice.  "If I can run Hakone then I want to do the Sixth Stage," he said, revealing his dreams of the future of his university career.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jobu University Surprises With Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Win

by Brett Larner
photos by Daniel Seite




One of three current teams coached by members of Waseda University's record-setting mid-90's team, Jobu University pulled off a surprise win at this year's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, a 20 km road race in and around Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park that determines the second tier of teams to join the ten already seeded for January's main event.  The youngest team in the field, under head coach Katsuhiko Hanada Jobu has developed a heavy emphasis on overall quality and team running rather than relying on individual aces, a trait that served has served it well in the past and was again the key to its success this year.  Ranked only 5th coming into the race Jobu ran consistently, outside the top ten for the first half, 5th at 15 km, and on top by the end.  It was one of only two schools to put two runners into the top ten, one of them courtesy of a very nice run from first-year Shun Sato.  By contrast, top-ranked Josai University, coached by another member of the legendary Waseda squad, Seiji Kushibe, was overly dependent upon the success of its top two men and, when they performed poorly after starting fast, finished 7th to barely sneak into the qualifying bracket.

For the first time in 20 years heavy rains drenched the field of nearly 500 during their warmup and the first 5 km of the race, but although temperatures were ideal even after the rains lifted runners had to slog through puddles that were ankle-deep in places.  Five runners broke into an early lead as the rain fell, Kenyans Cosmas Ondiba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and Benjamin Gandu (Nihon Univ.) leading Gandu's teammate Naohiro Domoto (Nihon Univ.), Kokushikan Univ. ace Masaki Ito, and talented minor-school man Aritaka Kajiwara (Shoin Univ.).  Through the middle section of the race Kajiwara and Domoto faded as Ondiba pushed the pace.  Gandu surprisingly fell away as well, and even more surprisingly Nihon's Yusuke Sato came up from behind to join Ito and run Gandu down.  Ondiba looked to have a winning margin over Sato and Ito, but by 15 km Sato had other ideas.

Coming onto the twisting hills in the final 5 km Sato surged, making contact with Ondiba at 16 km.  The pair traded surges on the hills over the next 3.5 km before Sato made a break for it with 400 m to go.  Ondiba was able to counter, breaking back into the lead in the last 100 m to win in 59:26 with Sato just behind in 59:28.  Sato was the only runner in the field to break 15 minutes for every 5 km split, faster than Ondiba from 5 km to the finish but losing out to Ondiba's quick 14:27 opening split and last kick.  Ito was over 30 seconds back in 3rd, easily beating Gandu who came to the line 4th a step ahead of Naoto Miyagawa (Asia Univ.) and Keisuke Fujii (Chuo Gakuin Univ.).

Pre-race worries about the injury rate on the Yamanashi Gakuin squad proved needless as Ondiba's win spurred the team on to take 2nd behind Jobu, but in Nihon's case the worries were on-point.  Despite being ranked 4th on paper going into the race, putting three men into the top ten, and having a time handicap of 3:40, the biggest in the field, Nihon finished only 11th in final scoring and even lower on pure time.  It was a shocking turnaround in fortunes for what has long been one of the best teams in Japan, only the 6th time in the Hakone Ekiden's 88-year history that Nihon has not qualified.  Nihon's failure to qualify means its top finishers will be eligible for nomination the Select Team, Hakone's 20th team made up of the top-placing individuals at the Qualifier from schools that do not make the cut.  It will be very interesting to see whether the university federation opts to include Kenyan junior Gandu, 4th overall, Nihon's 2nd finisher and a multiple university champion on the track, on the team or whether they will bypass him for Nihon's 3rd man, 7th placer Hirotaka Tamura.

While Josai and Nihon faltered, Kanagawa and Chuo Gakuin Universities joined Jobu on the list of surprise successes as both made the Hakone cut despite being ranked outside the top ten pre-race.  One-time powerhouse Juntendo University, headed by federation executive Keisuke Sawaki, returned to the fold with a 9th-place finish on the strength of its hefty 3:25 time handicap.  The time handicap, calculated on the basis of each university's overall results, including sprints and field events, at May's Kanto Regional T&F Championships, serves to reinforce the position of well-established, historic universities such as Juntendo and 10th and 11th place schools Hosei University and Daito Bunka University, while penalizing small schools without the resources to support an entire track program.

Getting screwed by the system this way this year was 12th-place Senshu University.  Senshu's distance squad ran 10:18:27, the 9th-fastest in the field, more than a minute faster than Juntendo's time and likewise faster than both Hosei and Daito Bunka, but as a distance-specialty school it had a time handicap of only 20 seconds and was thus ranked only 12th in the final scoring.  Senshu runners Shusei Ohashi and Shingo Ajima are likely to be named to the Select Team on the strength of their runs, but that's small consolation to the rest of the team who ran better than three of the schools ultimately ranked ahead of them but were not rewarded for their efforts.

2011 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km Qualifying Road Race
Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 10/15/11

Top Individual Results
click here for complete individual results
1. Cosmas Ondiba (4th yr., Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 59:26
2. Yusuke Sato (3rd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 59:28
3. Masaki Ito (4th yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 1:00:04
4. Benjamin Gandu (3rd yr., Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 1:00:15
5. Naoto Miyagawa (4th yr., Asia Univ.) - 1:00:16
6. Keisuke Fujii (3rd yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:16
7. Hirotaka Tamura (2nd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 1:00:21
8. Toshikatsu Ebina (2nd yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 1:00:26
9. Kensuke Ujihara (3rd yr., Jobu Univ.) - 1:00:28
10. Shun Sato (1st yr., Jobu Univ.) - 1:00:31

Top Team Results
click here for complete team results
top nine schools qualify for 2012 Hakone Ekiden
1. Jobu University - 10:12:08
2. Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. - 10:12:43
3. Kokushikan Univ. - 10:13:38
4. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 10:13:58
5. Kanagawa Univ. - 10:14:03
6. Teikyo Univ. - 10:14:18
-----7th-9th include points from May's Kanto Regionals
7. Josai Univ. - 10:16:40 (-2:45)
8. Chuo Gakuin Univ. - 10:16:07 (-0:45)
9. Juntendo Univ. - 10:19:39 (-3:25)
-----did not qualify
10. Hosei Univ. - 10:19:53 (-3:10)
11. Nihon Univ. - 10:20.38 (-3:40)
12. Senshu Univ. - 10:18:27 (-0:20)

2012 Hakone Ekiden Field
1. Waseda Univ.
2. Toyo Univ.
3. Komazawa Univ.
4. Tokai Univ.
5. Meiji Univ.
6. Chuo Univ.
7. Takushoku Univ.
8. Nittai Univ.
9. Aoyama Gakuin Univ.
10. Koku Gakuin Univ.
11. Jobu Univ.
12. Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.
13. Kokushikan Univ.
14. Tokyo Nogyo Univ.
15. Kanagawa Univ.
16. Teikyo Univ.
17. Josai Univ.
18. Chuo Gakuin Univ.
19. Juntendo Univ.
20. Kanto Regional Univ. Select Team

2012 Hakone Ekiden Kanto Regional Univ. Select Team Short List
Yusuke Sato (3rd yr., Nihon Univ.)
Benjamin Gandu (3rd yr., Kenya/Nihon Univ.)
Naoto Miyagawa (4th yr., Asia Univ.)
Hirotaka Tamura (2nd yr., Nihon Univ.)
Shusei Ohashi (3rd yr., Senshu Univ.)
Yuki Tago (2nd yr., Hosei Univ.)
Aritaka Kajiwara (4th yr., Shoin Univ.)
Taiki Yoshimura (1st yr., Ryutsu Keizai Univ.)
Yoshihiro Shinohara (3rd yr., Hosei Univ.)
Masashi Ota (3rd yr., Soka Univ.)
Yasunori Onuma (3rd yr., Asia Univ.)
Shingo Ajima (4th yr., Senshu Univ.)
Hiroki Kamada (3rd yr., Daito Bunka Univ.)
Kazuki Kojima (1st yr., Soka Univ.)
Shunsuke Mikata (4th yr., Asia Univ.)
Kota Hoshino (3rd yr., Senshu Univ.)
Toshiya Suzuki (2nd yr., Asia Univ.)
Ryo Kagitani (4th yr., Hosei Univ.)
Masato Enta (4th yr., Ryutsu Keizai Univ.)
Naohiro Domoto (4th yr., Nihon Univ.)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved
photos (c) 2011 Daniel Seite
all rights reserved

Friday, October 14, 2011

'Working His Way to the Top'

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=24166&cm_mmc=Twitter-_-RT-_-Content-Runners-_-kawauchi

Watch the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Online

The Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, the world's deepest 20 km road race, takes place tomorrow, Oct. 15, in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park.  JRN will be on-site to cover the race and will be doing live English-language commentary via Twitter @JRNLive during the tape-delayed broadcast on Nihon TV from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Japan time on the 15th.  Overseas viewers can watch online via Keyhole TV.  Click here for JRN's preview of the race.

'Tokyo Key for Gebrselassie'

http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/sport/2011/10/13/tokyo-key-for-gebrselassie

TEPCO Ekiden Team Suspension Continues With No Sign of Return to Activity

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/f-sp-tp0-20111013-849436.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Oct. 13 TEPCO announced that as a consequence of the ongoing situation at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant the suspension of its men's long distance and ekiden team will continue indefinitely.  There are no plans for the team to compete in corporate league competition and, at the present time, it cannot take part in the fall and winter ekiden season.

Following March's earthquake and tsunami disaster the TEPCO team's athletes and coaching staff have all been sent to work in Fukushima.  A team representative commented, "We have no restrictions on them running races independently."

Translator's note: In reality, many of the team's athletes, including aces Yoshihiro Wakamatsu and Tomohiro Shiiya, have quit TEPCO since the announcement that they would be sent to work on Fukushima cleanup efforts and have been hired by other teams.  Wakamatsu now runs for Team Nissin Shokuhin and Shiiya for Team Toyota Boshoku.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Long Weekend Track Roundup - Olympic B-Standards Abound

by Brett Larner

Fall track season continued over the National Sports Day long weekend with three large meets.  The National Sports Festival in Yamaguchi produced a women's 5000 m Olympic B-standard PB from this year's national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), who ran 15:23.80 to win by six seconds.  The junior women's 3000 m saw the top four high schoolers break 9:10, with Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) winning in 9:05.81 over rival Miki Sakakibara (Hamakita Nishi H.S.) after losing to Sakakibara in the heats.

The Niigata Time Trials meet also produced two Olympic B-standard performances.  2010 national 5000 m champion Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) ran a PB 28:03.46 to win the 10000 m and clear the London B-standard.  Five-time national 1500 m champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) continued her successful transition to longer distances this year by breaking 32 in a virtually solo 10000 m, qualifying for the Olympics with a time of 31:55.06.  The men's and women's 5000 m were literally solo runs, with 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) running 14:05.07 alone in the men's 5000 m and 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) a DNF with no other athletes in the race.

The Chubu Jitsugyodan Fall T&F Championships did not produce any Olympic-qualifying runs from Japanese athletes, but Kenyan Edward Waweru (Team NTN) just cleared the men's 5000 m B-standard with a 13:24.99 meet record.  John Thuo (Team Toyota) likewise set a meet record in the men's 3000 m, running 7:46.01.

National Sports Festival
Yamaguchi, 10/7-11/11
click here for complete results

Junior Women's 3000 m
1. Tomoka Kimura (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 9:05.81
2. Miki Sakakibara (Hamakita Nishi H.S.) - 9:07.31
3. Miyuki Gokan (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:08.46
4. Fuyuki Kimura (Yamagata Johoku H.S.) - 9:09.18
5. Eri Makikawa (Seiryo H.S.) - 9:11.30

Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:23.80 - PB
2. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 15:29.69 - PB
3. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:30.94
4. Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) - 15:32.92
5. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:33.54

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) - 14:04.49
2. Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:05.56
3. Yuta Katsumata (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:06.43
4. Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 14:07.62
5. Kaoru Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) - 14:17.13


Niigata Time Trials
Niigata, 10/10/11
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:03.46 - PB
2. Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) - 28:21.86
3. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 28:54.97
4. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 29:02.59
5. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 29:04.32

Women's 10000 m
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 31:55.06
2. Yoshie Kurisu (Team Tenmaya) - 33:05.43
DNF - Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshokki)


Chubu Jitsugyodan Fall Track & Field Championships
Gifu, 10/10/11
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:24.99 - CR
2. Samuel Ngungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:38.14
3. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:44.23
4. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:45.05
5. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 13:49.73

Men's 3000 m Heat 2
1. John Thuo (Team Toyota) - 7:46.01 - CR
2. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 8:15.10
3. Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 8:16.96

Women's 3000 m Heat 2
1. Mao Kuroda (Team Yutaka Giken) - 9:32.51
2. Anri Shibahara (Team Yutaka Giken) - 9:38.38
3. Akiko Matsunaga (Team Yutaka Giken) - 9:39.98

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, October 10, 2011

Toyo University Takes First-Ever Izumo Ekiden Win (updated)

by Brett Larner

Updated by request with top ten times per stage.


Keita Shitara anchors Toyo University in for its first-ever Izumo Ekiden win. Click photo to enlarge.

2009 and 2010 Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University, always weak in the early season in past years, came out swinging at the start of the university men's ekiden season to take down defending champion and course record holder Waseda University and top-ranked Komazawa University for its first-ever win at the Izumo Ekiden Oct. 10 in Izumo, Shimane.

With Waseda hampered by injuries and missing three members of last year's winning squad it was always near the front but never held a clear lead.  Komazawa spent the entire race digging itself out after star first-year Kenta Murayama blew his university ekiden debut and finished only 13th out of 21 on the 8.0 km First Stage.  Toyo ace Ryuji Kashiwabara's opening run was actually its weakest of the day as he finished only sixth.  Toyo Second Stage runner Ryohei Kawakami held position, then Third Stage sophomore Yuta Shitara became the hero of Toyo's squad as he unexpectedly outran Waseda's star new recruit Shuhei Yamamoto to take both the lead and the stage best.  Toyo's Fourth and Fifth Stage runners Takaaki Tanaka and Takanori Ichikawa strengthened Toyo's lead with stage best runs, leaving injured anchor Keita Shitara, the twin brother of Third Stage runner Yuta, a 30-second margin that he was able to maintain all the way to the finish.

Komazawa, the heavy pre-race favorite with its entire team having sub-14 minute 5000 m PBs and most members also holding sub-29 10000 m PBs, played catch-up throughout the race after the First Stage, with Second Stage runner Wataru Ueno one of four men to break the stage record.  Its next three runners advanced one position at a time, but Komazawa's anchor Shinobu Kubota had the team's biggest run as he surprised all by outrunning top men Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) for the stage best, catching Waseda anchor Shota Hiraga near the end of the stage for 2nd.  Murasawa and Maina advanced to put their teams into 4th and 5th, but neither managed to pull out the fireworks many expected.

Nittai University and Meiji University took 6th and 7th, Nittai with strong showings from Third and Fourth Stage runners Takumi Honda and Shoji Takada and Meiji with a new stage record from Olympic A-standard 27:44.30 senior Tetsuya Yoroizaka on the Second Stage.  Yoroizaka said in post-race interviews that he is less than 100% but that he was glad to start off the season with a stage record and looks forward to building back up to peak fitness later in the season.

U.S.A. team's Third through Sixth Stage runners at Sakuradamon, Tokyo, 10/12/11.

Rounding out the top eight with its best-ever performance was the U.S.A. University Select Team.  One of the four strongest teams in the field on paper, the American team spent the race hovering on the verge of top ten after First Stage runner Christo Landry finished 9th, but anchor Jon Grey ran an outstanding fourth-best on the stage and was able to run down Chuo University and Aoyama Gakuin University to move up into 8th, a surprise to many Japanese fans more accustomed to seeing the team finish near the rear of the field.  With just a moderate further improvement the team could challenge for the top five, a welcome development at Izumo.

Toyo's win, Komazawa's rockiness, Waseda's vulnerability after its unstoppable 2010-11 triple course record season, and the sheer number of flat or injured top-echelon runners makes the 2011-2012 season look far more unpredictable than expected.  Key upcoming races include next weekend's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km qualifying race for the Kanto-region schools that did not participate at Izumo, and November's Ageo City Half Marathon.  The next of the Big Three university ekidens, the National University Men's Ekiden Championships takes place Nov. 6.  If Toyo can maintain its uncharacteristic early-season strength its chances of regaining the Hakone Ekiden crown it lost to Waseda by only 21 seconds last season look very good.

2011 Izumo Ekiden
Izumo, Shimane, 10/10/11
click here for complete results

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (8.0 km): Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 22:48
Second Stage (5.8 km): Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 15:56 - CR
Third Stage (7.9 km): Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 23:08
Fourth Stage (6.2 km): Takaaki Tanaka (Toyo Univ.) - 18:36
Fifth Stage (6.4 km): Takanori Ichikawa (Toyo Univ.) - 19:02
Sixth Stage (10.2 km): Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:30

Top Team Performances - 44.5 km, 21 teams
1. Toyo Univ. - 2:10:43
2. Komazawa Univ. - 2:11:09
3. Waseda Univ. - 2:11:13
4. Tokai Univ. - 2:12:07
5. Takushoku Univ. - 2:12:55
6. Nittai Univ. - 2:13:09
7. Meiji Univ. - 2:13:26
8. U.S.A. Univ. Select Team - 2:14:33
9. Chuo Univ. - 2:14:46
10. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 2:14:49

Top Ten Performances by Stage
First Stage (8.0 km)
1. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 22:48
2. Kiragu Njuguna (Kenya Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 22:55
3. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 23:01
4. Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 23:04
5. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 23:10
6. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.)- 23:21
7. Kazuki Noda (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 23:25
8. Kei Fumimoto (Meiji Univ.) - 23:32
9. Christo Landry (U.S.A.) - 23:33
10. Shota Shinjo (Chuo Univ.) - 23:39
13. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 23:54

Second Stage (5.8 km)
1. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) - 15:56 - CR
2. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 16:12 (CR)
3. Ryohei Kawakami (Toyo Univ.) - 16:16 (CR)
4. Yutaro Fukushi (Nittai Univ.) - 16:18 (CR)
5. Shuhei Shirota (Chuo Univ.) - 16:31
6. Yo Yazawa (Waseda Univ.) - 16:32
7. Takuya Fujikawa (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 16:34
8. Hiroyuki Ishikawa (Tokai Univ.) - 16:44
9. Keiji Kuwabara (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 16:49
10. Takashi Maie (Takushoku Univ.) - 16:51
11. Scott Smith (U.S.A.) - 16:55

Third Stage (7.9 km)
1. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 23:08
2. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 23:09
3. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 23:23
4. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 23:28
5. Daiki Nomoto (Takushoku Univ.) - 23:29
6. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Komazawa Univ.) - 23:38
7. Kentaro Tone (Tokai Univ.) - 23:45
8. Hiroki Sugawa (Chuo Univ.) - 23:51
9. Kohei Ogino (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 23:56
10. Landon Peacock (U.S.A.) - 24:02

Fourth Stage (6.2 km)
1. Takaaki Tanaka (Toyo Univ.) - 18:36
2. Yusuke Mita (Waseda Univ.) - 18:42
3. Shoji Takada (Nittai Univ.) - 18:45
4. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 18:46
5. Ryo Nakagawa (Tokai Univ.) - 18:57
6. Andrew Bedford (U.S.A.) - 19:05
7. Yutaka Sasai (Kyoto Sango Univ.) - 19:20
8. Daiki Hirose (Meiji Univ.) - 19:26
8. Shuhei Nakayama (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 19:26
10. Yu Nishijima (Chuo Univ.) - 19:33

Fifth Stage (6.4 km)
1. Takanori Ichikawa (Toyo Univ.) - 19:02
2. Kazuhiro Kuga (Komazawa Univ.) - 19:09
3. Yuki Maeda (Waseda Univ.) - 19:24
4. Yuya Takayanagi (Nittai Univ.) - 19:41
5. Yuto Aiba (Chuo Univ.) - 19:50
6. Norihiro Komatsu (Tokai Univ.) - 19:51
6. Soji Takahashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 19:51
8. Toshiki Oshita (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 20:09
9. Yuto Kai (Takushoku Univ.) - 20:10
10. Yuya Fujii (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 20:13
14. Thomas Robbins (U.S.A.) - 20:44

Sixth Stage (10.2 km)
1. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:30
2. Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) - 29:40
3. John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:48
4. Jon Grey (U.S.A.) - 30:14
5. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 30:20
6. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 30:25
7. Masato Kikuchi (Meiji Univ.) - 30:43
8. Natsuki Terada (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 31:02
9. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 31:19
10. Junichi Shioya (Chuo Univ.) - 31:22

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fukushi 3rd at Chicago Marathon

by Brett Larner

Fukushi at 26 miles. Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter

Multiple national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran a solid performance at her second marathon, running a promising 2:24:38 for 3rd at the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  Fukushi ran the first half of the race shadowing eventual winner Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) at Japanese national record pace but faded after 25 km, slowing dramatically in the final kilometers.  Nevertheless she still finished with the fourth-best time of the year by a Japanese woman and the third-fastest time ever run by a Japanese woman within the United States..  In so doing she also became the 20th Japanese woman to break 2:25 and the 50th to break 2:27.

In post-race comments to Jiji.com Fukushi said, "It was a 2:24, so it was good.  I wanted to take it as far as I could.  I couldn't have done any better.  I was able to move my legs a bit after 30 km.  If I can run more comfortably than this [at the Olympic selection race next year] it would be nice."

Top Japanese man Gokaya at 26 miles. Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter

In the men's race top-ranked men Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) did not perform anywhere near potential, Sato dropping out after 30 km and Matsumiya running a PW 2:22:46.  Developmental Japanese athletes took 7th through 10th, the top Japanese man also being its youngest and least-experienced, Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) who was just off his PB in 2:12:15 after closing with the 3rd-fastest last 2.195 km split in the men's field, 6:55.  Gokaya told Jiji.com, "Even though I was falling off the pack from the faster runners I was able to really get into my running this time.  My legs were dead in the second half, so that's my mission for next time."

2011 Chicago Marathon Top Results
Chicago, IL, 10/9/11
click here for complete results

Women
1. Liliya Shobukhova (RUS) - 2:18:20 - PB
2. Ejegayehu Dibaba (ETH) - 2:22:09 - debut
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:24:38 - PB
4. Belainesh Gebre (ETH) - 2:26:17 - PB
5. Christelle Daunay (FRA) - 2:26:41
6. Claire Hallissey (GBR) - 2:29:27 - PB
7. Yue Chao (CHN) - 2:32:57
8. Askale Tafa (ETH) - 2:33:35
9. Cruz Nonata da Silva (BRA) - 2:35:35
10. Jeannette Faber (U.S.A.) - 2:36:58

Men
1. Moses Mosop (KEN) - 2:05:37 - CR
2. Wesley Korir (KEN) - 2:06:15 - PB
3. Bernard Kipyego (KEN) - 2:06:29
4. Bekana Daba (ETH) - 2:07:59
5. Ryan Hall (U.S.A.) - 2:08:04
6. Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) - 2:10:29
7. Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:12:15
8. Hironori Arai (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:13:17
9. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 2:14:48
10. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:17:49
-----
29. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:22:26
50. Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) - 2:27:33
DNF - Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kano Makes Debut Back in Shiseido Uniform

by Brett Larner

2010 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) ran her first race since leaving Second Wind AC and career-long coach Manabu Kawagoe at the end of the summer to return to her previous sponsor, Shiseido.  Wearing the new Shiseido uniform for the first time, Kano placed 4th in the women's 5000 m A-heat, at 15:57.80 the fastest Shiseido runner of the night ahead of marathoner Yoshiko Fujinaga who won the B-heat in 15:59.63.  Kano hopes to make Japan's marathon squad for next summer's London Olympics.

National champion Bukkyo University's Mai Ishibashi won the A-heat in a solid 15:37.56, with Bukkyo first-year Risa Shibuya likewise strong as she finished 3rd in 15:46.53.  The team's chances for defending its title at the upcoming National University Women's Ekiden Championships continue to look better and better.

In the men's and women's 10000 m A-heats both Tomomi Itakura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) had easy wins, Itakura clocking 28:36.49 to win by nearly 37 seconds and Ogura running 32:43.66 to win by almost 39 seconds.

Nighter Trial in Marugame
Marugame, Kagawa, 10/8/11
click here for ocmplete results

Women's 5000 m Heat 3
1. Mai Ishibashi (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:37.56
2. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 15:43.19
3. Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:46.53
4. Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) - 15:57.80
5. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 15:58.62

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 15:59.63
2. Yuri Umemura (Team Panasonic) - 16:01.36
3. Atsuko Muraoka (Team Shiseido) - 16:01.90

Women's 10000 m
1. Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:43.66
2. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:22.05
3. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 33:55.63

Men's 10000 m Heat 2
1. Tomomi Itakura (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:36.49
2. Yohei Nishiyama (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 29:13.46
3. Kosuke Murasashi (Team YKK) - 29:18.00

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reseverd

Izumo Ekiden: Komazawa vs. Waseda vs.....U.S.A.?

by Brett Larner

The first of this season's Big Three university men's ekidens, the Izumo Ekiden, takes place on the Oct. 10 National Sports Day public holiday.  With six stages covering 44.6 km, the longest stage only 10.2 km, Izumo is the shortest and fastest of the Big Three, lending itself to a different kind of race from November's National University Ekiden Championships and January's Hakone Ekiden.

Last year Waseda University set an Izumo course record to kick off an unprecedented season of victory.  Waseda returns a tough squad this year, with seven men holding sub-14 and/or sub-29 PBs led by sophomore Suguru Osako, the Asian junior area half marathon record holder, World University Games 10000 m champion and 1500 m national university champion.  Waseda is missing two of its key players from last year, senior Yuki Yagi and sophomore Fuminori Shikata, but while there are few cracks in the armor Waseda doesn't come in as the favorite.

Komazawa University has built up an incredible team this year, with nine men on its Izumo roster holding sub-14 minute 5000 m PBs, six of them also having sub-29 10000 m marks including sophomore Ikuto Yufu's 28:02.46 and junior Hiromitsu Kakuage's 28:03.27 from the spring track season.  The longer late-season ekidens may favor Waseda, but with its short stages Izumo plays to Komazawa's strengths and with better depth of reserves and reportedly a healthier lineup Komazawa looks to have an excellent chance for its first Izumo win in 13 years.

Toyo University, who along with Waseda had ten men on its roster with sub-29 PBs last year, also brings a strong squad with five men in the sub-14/sub-29 bracket led by sophomore Keita Shitara and Hakone uphill star senior Ryuji Kashiwabara, but in its most successful seasons Toyo has not put in a strong early-season effort at Izumo and so it may not be in contention with Komazawa and Waseda for the win.  In its place comes a potential unexpected challenge from the U.S.A. University Select Team.

Izumo has long invited a team made up of Ivy League alumni but the teams have rarely been competitive.  This year the Select Team's roster draws heavily from outside the Ivy League and looks to be intriguingly strong on paper, having six men at the sub-14/sub-29 level including Landon Peacock (U of Wisc.), Jon Grey (William & Mary) and Scott Smith (UCSB).  With good performances the Select Team has a realistic shot at top three, something nobody on any of the other teams would be expecting based on history and the lack of PB information for the Select Team on the Izumo website.  If the Americans bring their race the surprise will add a completely new element to this year's Izumo.

Although their teams are not likely to make the top three, standout individuals to watch for include the top two Japanese collegiate 10000 m runners, senior Tetsuya Yoroizaka (27:44.30, Meiji Univ.) and junior Akinobu Murasawa (28:00.78, Tokai Univ.).  Takushoku University features two Kenyan sophomore with sub-28 bests, John Maina and Duncan Muthee, and southern Japan's Daiichi Kogyo University returns Kenyan senior Kiragu Njuguna.

The Izumo Ekiden will be broadcast live on Fuji TV beginning at 1:00 p.m. Japan time on Oct. 10.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free via Keyhole TV.  JRN will be doing live English-language commentary via Twitter @JRNLive.

The top teams at the 2011 Izumo Ekiden. Click chart to enlarge.  Click here for complete entry lists.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'Fukushi Puts Faith in Coach for Chicago Marathon'

Half-marathon national record holders Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) at the 2011 Chicago Marathon press conference. 


Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter

http://www.letsrun.com/2011/fukushi-1006.php

A good piece on Kayoko Fukushi by Race Results Weekly's David Monti ahead of Fukushi's highly anticipated run at Sunday's Chicago Marathon.  Here's hoping we don't see this again:

Before:


After:


Click here for a documentary on Fukushi's debut at the 2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon.

Nishihara With Another Big Win at National Sports Festival 5000 m

by Brett Larner

2011 national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) continued her unbeaten streak in her first year on the pro circuit, winning the National Sports Festival senior women's 5000 m Oct. 7 in Yamaguchi.  Nishihara ran in a tight pack that included collegiate 10000 m national record holder and former teammate Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) and Japan's top woman at the Daegu World Championships 5000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) before surging away in the last km to take the win in a new PB of 15:23.80.  Also continuing a strong season, Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) outran the rest of the pack for 2nd in 15:29.69, with Yoshimoto 3rd in 15:30.94.

The junior men's 5000 m was a closer race, the top four finishing within roughly three seconds of each other with a gap of ten seconds over the rest of the field.  Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) took the win in 14:04.49 over three members of top-ranked high schools, Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.), Yuta Katsumata (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) and Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.), the son of former Saku Chosei H.S. and current Tokai Univ. head coach Hayashi Morozumi.

The athletics program at the National Sports Festival continues through Oct. 11.  The next distance events take place on the Oct. 10 National Sports Day holiday with the junior women's 3000 m heats.

2011 National Sports Festival
Yamaguchi, 10/7/11
click here for complete results

Senior Women's 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:23.80 - PB
2. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 15:29.69 - PB
3. Hikari Yoshimoto (Bukkyo Univ.) - 15:30.94
4. Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) - 15:32.92
5. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:33.54
6. Chinami Mori (Bukkyo Univ.)  15:35.54
7. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 15:40.60
8. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:44.31
9. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 15:52.16
10. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex ) - 15:58.00

Junior Men's 5000 m
1. Ken Yokote (Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) - 14:04.49
2. Kazuma Kubota (Kyushu Gakuin H.S.) - 14:05.56
3. Yuta Katsumata (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 14:06.43
4. Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 14:07.62
5. Kaoru Hirosue (Kobayashi H.S.) - 14:17.13

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, October 7, 2011

Eight Japanese Runners Lining Up at Chicago Marathon

by Brett Larner

Half-marathon national record holders Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) at the 2011 Chicago Marathon press conference. 


Photo (c) 2011 Dr. Helmut Winter




Since Toshihiko Seko's 2:08:27 win in 1986 the Chicago Marathon has been kind to Japan's elite marathoners, with four of the five sub-2:10s by Japanese men in the U.S. and three of the five fastest Japanese women's performances in the U.S. run on the Chicago course.  This year sees a large contingent of one woman and seven men lining up to go for strong times ahead of the winter Olympic selection race cycle.

The biggest news is the return to the marathon of multiple women's national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), her first marathon since her spectacularly failed debut in 2008. Fukushi has had a difficult year, going through both the Christchurch and Tohoku earthquakes and having foot surgery and minor injury troubles in the summer, but this is offset by an outstanding 10000 m in May and a strong half marathon win earlier in the year.  In pre-race comments she says that she will be aiming for around 2:20 in Chicago, a time that should put her in contention and which would break Shibui's mark of 2:21:22 from Chicago '02 as the fastest-ever by a Japanese woman on U.S. soil.

The deep Japanese men's contingent is led by half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta).  Sato, who spent the summer training in his native Fukushima prefecture, is making a return to the marathon for the first time since finishing 3rd in strong winds and sleet at last year's Tokyo Marathon but has largely been out of competition since then.  His only noteworthy result since then has been a win in the 8 km race at August's Hiroshima Cross-Country Meet, making him a large question mark.  In pre-race comments he said he hopes to run 2:08-2:09.  On paper Matsumiya should be national record material, but in five marathons so far he has not yet broken 2:10.  He ran 1:03:40 at the Sept. 25 Hakodate Half Marathon, but his pre-race statement that he is aiming for 2:07 suggest this may have been simply a marathon pace run.

The other five men in the field hold PBs of 2:12 and are coming to Chicago looking for PBs, the more ambitious among them aiming to join the four Japanese men to have broken 2:10 this year.  Sato's teammate Hironori Arai (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Matsumiya's teammate Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) are the best-credentialed among them, Arai looking to have the best potential and Shimoju being the only runner in the Japanese contingent to have won a marathon.  Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) is coached by Kiyoshi Akimoto, also the coach of 10000 m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia), and is the fastest of the five second-tier men, with the young Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) running only two seconds off Horiguchi's best in his debut this year.  Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) rounds out the group as its most prolific racer, Chicago being his fifteenth race of the year.

With no Japanese television broadcast this year despite the larger than usual size of the country's contingent live coverage will be available through the worldwide webcast offered by www.nbcchicago.com beginning Oct. 9 at 7 a.m. local time, 9 p.m. in Japan.

More detailed profiles and year summaries of each Japanese athlete follow below.

Women

Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal)
3000 m Jr., 3000 m, 5000 m Jr., 5000 m, 15 km, 20 km & half-marathon NR holder; former 15 km WR holder
PBs
Marathon: 2:40:54 – 19th, Osaka Int’l Women’s Marathon, 2008 (not listed on team website)
Half-marathon: 1:07:26 (AR)     10000 m: 30:51.81 (all-time Japanese #2)     5000 m: 14:53.22 (NR)
2011 Performances
1:17:19 – 10th, Shibetsu Half Marathon, Shibetsu, 7/24/11 (not listed on team website)
30:54.29 – 3rd, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10000 m, Stanford, 5/1/11 (career 2nd-best, all-time 3rd-fastest 10000 m by a Japanese woman)
1:09:00 – 1st, Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon, Marugame, 2/6/11
31:53 – 1st, National Women’s Ekiden Ninth Stage (10 km), Kyoto, 1/16/11

Men

Hironori Arai (Chugoku Denryoku)
PBs
Marathon: 2:12:27 – 11th, Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, 2011
Half-Marathon: 1:01:53              10000 m: 28:37.32                      5000 m: 13:45.74
2011 Performances
1:04:32 – 8th, Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, U.S.A., 9/4/11
24:28 – 4th, Hiroshima Cross-Country Meet, Hiroshima, 8/20/11
13:56.70 – 10th, Oda Memorial T&F Meet 5000 m A-Heat, Hiroshima, 4/29/11
2:12:27 (PB) – 11th, Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Otsu, 3/6/11
47:39 – 3rd, Himejijo 10-Mile Road Race, Himeji, 2/11/11
30:19 – 1st, Chugoku Yamaguchi Ekiden Fourth Stage (10.4 km), Yamaguchi, 1/30/11
47:21 – 11th, New Year Ekiden Seventh Stage (15.5 km), Maebashi, 1/1/11

Koji Gokaya (JR East Japan)
PBs
Marathon: 2:12:07 – 10th, Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, 2011
Half-Marathon: 1:02:52              10000 m: 28:58.84                      5000 m: 14:18.64
2011 Performances
48:53 – 6th, Hachiman Towada Ekiden Third Stage (16.3 km), Kazuno, 8/7/11
1:05:46 – 33rd, Sapporo Int’l Half Marathon, Sapporo, 7/3/11
14:30.37 – 18th, Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet 5000 m C-Heat, Abashiri, 6/22/11
14:39.70 – 12th, Nittai Univ. Time Trials 5000 m Heat 25, Nittai Univ., Yokohama, 6/12/11
2:12:07 (debut) – 10th, Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Otsu, 3/6/11
1:03:18 – 19th, Kagawa Marugame Int’l Half Marathon, Marugama, 2/6/11

Takashi Horiguchi (Honda)
PBs
Marathon: 2:12:05 – 10th, Tokyo Marathon, 2011
Half-Marathon: 1:02:33              10000 m: 28:07.57                      5000 m: 13:52.56
2011 Performances
29:46 – 15th, East Japan Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m Heat 2, 5/21/11
2:12:05 (PB) - 10th, Tokyo Marathon, 2/27/11
47:06 – 6th, New Year Ekiden Fifth Stage (15.8 km), Maebashi, 1/1/11

Takayuki Matsumiya (Konica Minolta)
5000 m, 25 km, 30 km NR holder, former 30 km WR holder
PBs
Marathon: 2:10:04 – 2nd, Rotterdam, 2007
Half-Marathon: 1:01:32              10000 m: 27:41.75                      5000 m: 13:13.20 (NR)
2011 Performances
1:03:40 – 4th, Hakodate Half Marathon, Hakodate, 9/25/11
28:14.43 – 24th, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, Stanford, 5/1/11
14:01.21 – 10th, Oregon Relays 5000 m, 4/22/11
30:13 – 20th, Fukuoka Int’l Cross-Country Meet, Fukuoka, 2/26/11
38:48 – 4th, New Year Ekiden Third Stage (13.6 km), Maebashi, 1/1/11

Yuki Moriwaki (JFE Steel)
PBs
Marathon: 2:12:34 – 6th, Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon 2011
Half-Marathon: 1:03:21              10000 m: 28:42.69                      5000 m: 13:58.74
2011 Performances
29:01.62 – 24th, National Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m, Naruto, 9/23/11
14:29.37 – Chugoku Corporate Long Distance Time Trials 5000 m, Hiroshima, 9/17/11
1:07:05 – 61st, Sapporo Int’l Half Marathon, Sapporo, 7/3/11
14:16.41 – 9th, Hiroshima Corporate T&F Championships 5000 m, 6/4/11
4:08.18 – 8th, Hiroshima Corporate T&F Championships 1500 m, 6/4/11
29:19.61 – 10th, Chugoku Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m, 5/14/11
14:23.00 – Chugoku Corporate T&F Championships 5000 m, 5/7/11
8:33.33 – 4th, East Hiroshima Time Trials 3000 m, 4/24/11
14:12.70 – 3rd, Okayama Time Trials 5000 m, 4/17/11
14:37.87 – 9th, Kanaguri Memorial T&F Meet 5000 m Heat 1, Kumamoto, 4/9/11
2:12:34 (PB) – 6th, Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Oita, 2/6/11
36:25 – 4th, Chugoku Yamaguchi Ekiden Third Stage (11.9 km), Yamaguchi, 1/30/11
47:04 – 4th, Asahi Ekiden Fifth Stage (15.9 km), Fukuoka, 1/10/11
1:05:45 – 21st, New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.0 km), Maebashi, 1/1/11

Atsushi Sato (Chugoku Denryoku)
10 km, 15 km, 20 km, half-marathon NR holder
PBs
Marathon: 2:07:13 – 3rd, Fukuoka International Marathon, 2007
Half-Marathon: 1:00:25 (AR)                       10000 m: 27:56.86                      5000 m: 13:33.62
2011 Performances
14:05.76 – 3rd, Chugoku Corporate Long-Distance Time Trials 5000 m, Hiroshima, 10/1/11
24:03 – 1st, Hiroshima Cross-Country Meet 8 km, Hiroshima, 8/20/11
1:07:40 – 77th, Sapporo Int’l Half Marathon, Sapporo, 7/3/11
29:34.76 – 18th, Chugoku Corporate T&F Championships 10000 m, Hiroshima, 5/14/11

Masaki Shimoju (Konica Minolta)
PBs
Marathon: 2:12:18 – 1st, Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon, 2010
Half-Marathon: 1:02:35              10000 m: 28:51.34                      5000 m: 13:56.69
2011 Performances
1:05:50 – 35th, Sapporo Int’l Half Marathon, Sapporo, 7/3/11
29:09.95 – 11th, Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet 10000 m A-Heat, Kitami, 6/19/11
2:13:07 – 7th, Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, Oita, 2/6/11
47:11 – 8th, New Year Ekiden Fifth Stage (15.8 km), Maebashi, 1/1/11

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved