Thursday, May 30, 2013

'Marathon Runner Yoshida Gets One-Year Doping Ban'

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2013/05/24/more-sports/marathon-runner-yoshida-gets-one-year-doping-ban/#.UadN_xyRMYE

Thank you to reader Robert McKenzie for bringing this unfortunate article, which I missed while in Manchester last weekend, to my attention.  Very sad news of a positive EPO test by Kaori Yoshida (Puma RC) at last December's Honolulu Marathon.  As far as I am aware this is the first time an elite-level Japanese marathoner has had a positive test.  Anyone with knowledge of any previous Japanese positive tests please feel free to post factual details in the comments section.

Yoshida won the 2006 Hokkaido Marathon, 2008 Casablanca Marathon and 2012 Gold Coast Marathon, setting her 2:29:45 PB at the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

photo (c) 2010 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Akaba and Kawauchi Top Japanese Entries for Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo courtesy of Gold Coast Airport Marathon

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon has announced that it has recruited its best-ever lineup of elite Japanese athletes for this year's running on July 7.  Passed over for the Moscow World Championships despite running 2:24:43 for 3rd at April's London Marathon, Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) is a coup for organizers and should make short work of Eriko Asai's twenty-year-old course record of 2:29:29.  Hoping to join her is Sydney Marathon course record holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 4th in last year's race in 2:13:26 and looking to improve on both his placing and the 2:10:01 men's record in his last marathon before the World Championships.  If both are successful it will be the first Japanese sweep since 2007.

Eri Okubo set her best of 2:26:08 at last year's Tokyo Marathon and will be making her first major appearance since quitting the Second Wind AC team earlier this spring.  Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) ran a then-PB of 2:13:16 at the 2011 Gold Coast Airport Marathon before improving that to 2:11:15 in Tokyo this year.  With quality performances Okubo and Ito could provide Akaba and Kawauchi with challenges up front.

Also in the field are a number of athletes running on invites thanks to winning sister races within Japan. The best of these are Kobe Marathon course record holders Yui Ouchi (Team Noritz) and former Team Toyota member Kensuke Takahashi.  Ouchi's best of 2:39:06 came at the 2011 Ohtawara Marathon and she has hovered right around that mark in the year and a half since, including her 2:39:52 record on the more difficult Kobe Marathon course. Takahashi ran his best of 2:11:25 at the 2009 Tokyo Marathon to earn a spot as the alternate for the Berlin World Championships marathon team, his most recent mark being his 2:21:14 course record in Kobe.  Age 59+ world record Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) will also be in the field as he works toward a bid for the age 64 record of 2:42:44.

JRN will be on-site at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon to cover the Japanese angle on the race and more.  Check back closer to race date for more on the elite field, online viewing, and original interviews with the Japanese elites.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

National University Women's Invitational Ekiden to Return After Three-Year Absence Dec. 23 at Mt. Fuji

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news/130528/szk13052802030003-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

National University Athletics Federation director Kosuke Hori, 78, appeared at a press conference on May 27 together with Shizuoka prefecture governor Heita Kawakatsu, to announce that the towns of Fuji and Fujinomiya at the base of Mt. Fuji will be the new hosts of the National University Women's Invitational Ekiden this Dec. 23.  The ekiden was held in Tsukuba, Ibaraki for three years beginning in 2007, but has been suspended indefinitely since 2010.  Its return on a new course around Mt. Fuji will be its first running since then.

Governor Kawakatsu smiled broadly as he told reporters, "Dec. 23 is the Emperor's birthday, so it is going to be a very wonderful day.  His Majesty was gracious enough to send a message saying, "I am looking forward to seeing our collegiate women run in the foothills of Mount Fuji."

According to race organizers, the ekiden will be run on a 44-km course starting at Fujisan Hongu Segen shrine, passing by Fujinomiya City Hall, Fuji City Hall, Tagonoura Port and other well-known local sites before finishing at Fuji Sports Park Field in Nakano, Fuji.  The field is expected to be made up of twenty-five teams including the top ten from October's National University Women's Ekiden in Sendai and around ten regional school and select teams.  Fuji TV will broadcast the race live and nationwide.

With Mt. Fuji achieving World Heritage Site status in the four years since the ekiden's last running, organizers are also examining attaching "Mt. Fuji" to the event's official name.  Director Hori commented, "As Mt. Fuji earns recognition as a World Heritage Site, the cities of Fuji and Fujinomiya have come together to help stage this race.  With Mt. Fuji forming the backdrop for a fantastic course, we hope to generate a wave of excitement for this race all across the country.  It is absolutely essential that we continue to hold our important competitions like this one."  With the cooperation of the police department and other local bodies, organizers look forward to the National University Women's Invitational Ekiden continuing strong in years to come.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

'Farah V Bekele Brothers 10000 m Duel is Eugene Distance Delight'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/news/farah-v-bekele-brothers-10000m-duel-is-eugene

London Olympics 10000 m 5th-place finisher Bedan Karoki runs for the Tokyo-based and Toshihiko Seko-coached DeNA Running Club.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Omwamba Secures Triple Title; More World-Class Sprinting at Kanto Regionals

by Brett Larner

After doubling in the 1500 m and 10000 m last weekend, Yamanashi Gakuin University sophomore Enock Omwamba took his third title of this year's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, outrunning #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and fellow Kenyan Daniel Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) for the win in the Div. I 5000 m, clocking a solid 13:31.54.  Kosei Yamaguchi (Josai Univ.), 6th in 13:55.85, deserves special mention for running the 5000 m just after winning his fourth-straight Kanto Div. I steelechase title.  The Div. II 5000 m was a nearly perfect replica of the Div. I race, Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) outkicking Yudai Okamoto (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) and Ethiopian Leul Gebrselassie (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) for the win in 13:56.22.

Earlier the same morning, Takumi Honda of 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University took the honors in the Div. I half marathon, running 1:04:25 just ahead of a 1:04:38 photo finish between Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) and Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.).  Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.), whose identical twin Takashi Ichida impressed in last week's 10000 m, was the top in the Div. II half marathon in 1:05:43.

Sprint action continued the momentum among Japan's younger set over the last month with a 20.41 (-0.5) win by London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) in the Div. I men's 200 m final, a sizeable PB and well under the World Championships A-standard.  Yamagata is now the third Japanese man to get the A-standard this season, all collegiates.  One of those other collegiates, 2010 World Junior 200 m gold medalist Shota Iizuka of Chuo University, led an incredible Div. I 4x100 m relay final, with Iizuka anchoring Chuo to the win in 38.75 just ahead of rival Waseda University in 38.81.  Chuo's time was just short of its own 38.54 national collegiate record from Iizuka's first year at Chuo in 2010, but with a thrilling near photo-finish and two teams under 39 nobody was complaining.  With the three star collegiates and high school star Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) Japan has the makings of a pretty impressive relay team for August's World Championships even without any of the established names.

92nd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships Pt II
Nissan Stadium and environs, 5/25-26/13
click here for complete results

Men's Div. I 200 m Final (-0.5 wind)
1. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 20.41 - PB
2. Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) - 20.73
3. Masafumi Naoki (Chuo Univ.) - 20.81
4. Kotaro Taniguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 20.87
5. Keisuke Nakamura (Juntendo Univ.) - 20.89

Men's Div. I 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Chuo University - 38.75
2. Waseda University - 38.81
3. Hosei University - 39.31
4. Keio University - 39.34
5. Nihon University - 39.35

Men's Div. I 5000 m
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 13:31.54
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:34.30
3. Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:35.21
4. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 13:50.01
5. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 13:50.13
6. Kosei Yamaguchi (Josai Univ.) - 13:55.85
7. Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:56.69
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 13:59.20
9. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 14:06.95
10. Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.) - 14:09.72

Men's Div. II 5000 m
1. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 13:56.22
2. Yudai Okamoto (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 13:58.29
3. Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13:58.76
4. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 14:00.23
5. Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 14:01.30

Men's Div. I Half Marathon
1. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:25
2. Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) - 1:04:38
3. Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:38
4. Yusuke Suzuki (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:39
5. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:47
6. Masaya Taguchi (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:55
7. Yoshiki Takenouchi (Nihon Univ.) - 1:05:03
8. Shota Kai (Nittai Univ.) - 1:05:13
9. Koki Takada (Waseda Univ.) - 1:05:45
10. Yuma Morii (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:54

Men's Div. II Half Marathon
1. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:05:43
2. Keita Shioya (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:51
3. Junji Katakawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:06:01
4. Kota Kakinuma (Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:16
5. Yusei Tsutsumi (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:06:25

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kawauchi Gets Kurobe CR in Payback for Last Year's Runner-up Finish

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130526-OHT1T00149.htm

translated by Brett Larner

6098 people completed the May 26 Kurobe Meisui Half Marathon.  First among them was the race's star invited athlete, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't), who set a new course record of 1:03:58 in taking the win.  In 26-degree temperatures Kawauchi ran head-to-head against locally-based corporate team YKK's ace, Naohiro Yamada, 28.  Suddenly taking off at the 13 km point, Kawauchi shot away from Yamada and ran all-out for the final 8 km to secure the win and record.

The race was Kawauchi's fifth half marathon this month, but despite the accumulated fatigue and the 26-degree heat he obliterated the 1:04:46 record set in 2010 by YKK's Tetsuo Nishikawa.  "It was really hot out there," Kawauchi said afterward.  "I drank at every water station."  After finishing he poured cups of water over his head, thirstily gulping down Kurobe's famous local spring water.

YKK's "assassin" Yamada was thoroughly beaten.  "At this kind of race, the local corporate team will usually put in one or two of its best ekiden runners," Kawauchi said.  "YKK was playing for real this time, putting their best runner in."  Last year Kawauchi finished 2nd to YKK's Nishikawa in Kurobe, and from long before this year's race he was itching for payback.  At the 2007 Hakone Ekiden Kawauchi and Yamada were teammates on the Kanto Region University Select Team, Kawauchi representing Gakushuin University and Yamada running for Yamanashi Gakuin University.  Lining up against each other this year in Kurobe it was a head-to-head race from the start.

The decisive move came at the 13 km water station.  "After 12 km I could see that his upper body was starting to weave, so I took advantage of an uphill at the water station to hit him hard," Kawauchi said of his race-making surge.  Instantly opening a lead, he kept up the attack and ran full-speed the rest of the way.  "Nobody heckled me this time*, and I really appreciated hearing all the enthusiastic cheering from the people along the course.  Once I had the lead I never looked back."

In the last 23 days Kawauchi has run five half marathons including Kurobe.  "After my marathons in March and April I had a minor injury, but that's all sorted out now and there aren't any lingering problems.  The Federation is leaving me alone and letting me do what I want, so that's nice too."

Having used his serial half marathons to develop his speed, next month Kawauchi will jump back into marathons starting with the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon. "Thanks to the athletes from YKK I was able to run a good time here in Kurobe," he said. "More than worrying about time, my goal next month will be to get comfortable with the marathon distance again."  Everything is geared toward August's Moscow World Championships, where Kawauchi will run the marathon for the Japanese national team.

After finishing Kurobe Kawauchi was taken to the medical tent suffering from overheating, but once he recovered he was inundated with crowds of fans outside the entrance to the tent.  Smiling, he posed for pictures and shook fans' hands, thanking them for their support.  "I'm a much stronger athlete for having run this race," he told them.  "I will definitely be back in Kurobe every year that my schedule lets me."  Even as he stands on the brink of racing the best in the world Kawauchi is still thinking of the local races and people who helped him get there.

*Translator's note: Kawauchi has been heckled by a few people along the course in several recent races where he has underperformed.

Ishikawa and Fujiwara Crack Top Ten in Manchester

by Brett Larner

Running in their first road race since clocking 2:08:51 and 2:09:10 at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, teammates Suehiro Ishikawa and Masakazu Fujiwara of the Honda corporate team both cleared the top eight at the May 26 Great Manchester Run, Ishikawa improving on his 8th-place finish at last year's race with a 28:56 clocking for 6th but Fujiwara, a member of Japan's marathon squad for August's World Championships, running 29:32 for 8th after coming down with a cough on race morning.  Double Commonwealth Games gold medalist Moses Kipsiro (Uganda) won in 27:52 in a tight sprint finish over London Olympics marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) and multi-world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), who set a 40+ world record of 28:00.  Unusually for a gold label race, athletes from nine different countries placed in the top ten.

Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) soloed a course record of 30:49 in the women's race, running a stunning 15:40/15:09 negative split to clear the rest of the field by over a minute and a half.  2003 Honolulu Marathon winner Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) took 8th in 34:12.

2013 Great Manchester Run
Manchester, U.K., 5/26/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Moses Kipsiro (Uganda) - 27:52
2. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 27:53
3. Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 28:00
4. Stephen Mokoka (South Africa) - 28:12
5. Sergiy Lebid (Ukraine) - 28:28
6. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda/Japan) - 28:56
7. Jonny Mellor (England) - 29:21
8. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda/Japan) - 29:32
9. Stephen Scullion (Ireland) - 29:48
10. Meles Okbazghi (Eritrea) - 29:48

Women
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 30:49 - CR
2. Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) - 32:21
3. Christelly Daunay (France) - 32:33
4. Gemma Steel (England) - 33:02
5. Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) - 33:03
6. Helen Clitheroe (England) - 33:14
7. Katie Brough (England) - 34:03
8. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto/Japan) - 34:12
9. Susan Partridge (England) - 34:20
10. Amanda Crook (England) - 34:23

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fujiwara and Ishikawa Face Gebrselassie and Kipsang at Sunday's Great Manchester Run

by Brett Larner

Moscow World Championships men's marathon squad member Masakazu Fujiwara and his Honda teammate Suehiro Ishikawa will make a return to the roads at Sunday's Bupa Great Manchester Run 10 km for the first time since running 2:08:51 and 2:09:10 at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.  Appearing through the support of JRN, the two Japanese athletes will face a field including former marathon world record holder and four-time defending champion Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), London Olympics marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) and more.  The great Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) leads the women's field along with home-soil tops Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain) and Gemma Steel (Great Britain) and marathoners Jelena Procopcuka (Latvia) and Christelle Daunay (France).

Fujiwara, the Japanese debut marathon and collegiate marathon national record holder at 2:08:12, will be making his debut on U.K. soil, while Ishikawa will be seeking to improve on his 28:47 finish for 8th place at last year's Bupa Great Manchester Run.  Fujiwara heads to Moscow to practice on the World Championships course along with fellow national team members Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) following Sunday's race.

2013 Great Manchester Run Elite Field Highlights
Manchester, 5/26/13

Men
Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda/Japan)
Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia)
Yared Hagos (Ethiopia)
Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda/Japan)
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya)
Moses Kipsiro (Uganda)
Sergey Lebid (Ukraine)
Jonny Mellor (Great Britain)
Stephen Mokoka (South Africa)
James Walsh (Great Britain)

Women
Alessandra Aguilar (Spain)
Helen Clitheroe (Great Britain)
Christelle Daunay (France)
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia)
Susan Partridge (Great Britain)
Jelena Procopcuka (Latvia)
Gemma Steel (Great Britain)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Noguchi Leaves for Altitude Training in U.S.

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130522-OHT1T00091.htm

translated by Brett Larner

2004 Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (34, Team Sysmex) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on May 22 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado. Interviewed prior to her departure, she said that she is aiming to make the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Following her withdrawal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics Noguchi struggled with injuries for years, but after a 3rd-place finish at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon she made her first national team in ten years, qualifying for the Moscow World Championships marathon squad and signaling that she is well on her way to a complete return to form. "Last year I didn't have it in me [to make the Olympics], but since Nagoya I've felt the way I used to," she said. "My injury problems have finally gone away."

Noguchi will be training in Boulder together with the other Moscow World Championships women's team members until late June. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) is already there, with Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) scheduled to join them in early June. "I'm really excited, and it should give us all extra motivation," Noguchi said of the group training. "We will have the chance to build up a sense of teamwork that we can bring into play in the big race."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Omwamba Dominates First Weekend of Kanto Regionals With 1500 m and 10000 m Double

by Brett Larner

For the second-straight year, Kenyan Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) pulled off the 1500 m - 10000 m double on the first weekend of the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 18-19 in Tokyo's National Stadium.  Despite high winds in Saturday's Division I 1500 m final, Omwamba went out hard with a 55-second opening lap, holding on alone to take a full 4 seconds off the meet record with a new best of 3:39.16.  Runner-up Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) was more than 10 seconds behind, narrowly beating Kazuki Miyake (Chuo Univ.) for 2nd with both cracking 3:50.  Division II winner Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) also got under 3:50 with the fastest Japanese time of the day, 3:49.52.

A day later, Omwamba won again against a tough field in the Division I 10000 m.  Facing Nihon University's new Kenyan ace Daniel Kitonyi, 2013 Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage winner Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.), Meiji University star Shuho Dairokuno and, fresh from both running sub-28 eight days ago at the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet, Toyo University twins Keita and Yuta Shitara.  Omwamba took the race out at 28-flat pace with immediate pressure from Hattori.  Kitonyi and Keita Shitara were close behind, but Yuta started in last place and took his time working his way up through the field.

Omwamba alternated the lead with Kitonyi, Hattori stepping up to keep things on pace any time it slowed, and just past a 14:15 split for halfway the lead pack was down to the main six athletes.  Yuta Shitara began to have trouble staying with the others, and near 7000 m Keita dropped back to chat with him and give him some encouragement, but at 8000 m a it was Keita who was had trouble answering a move from Hattori that also knocked Dairokuno out of the pack.  Yuta was next, and a surge by the Africans at 9000 m cut off Hattori's chances. Omwamba was too much for Kitonyi to handle over the last two laps, taking the win in a PB 28:15.80 with Kitonyi next in 28:21.30, also a PB.  Yuta Shitara put on a sensational kick to overtake Hattori for 3rd in 28:31.14, with Keita likewise outkicking Dairokuno who nevertheless pulled out a new best of 28:41.10.

The Division II 10000 m was a 1-2 for 2012 National University Ekiden champions Komazawa University.  Eight days after both running in the same Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m as the Shitara twins, 2013 National University Half Marathon champion Shogo Nakamura and senior teammate Shinobu Kubota tag-teamed the lead to grind down Africans Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) and Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.).  Nakamura, who ran 28:05.79 in Nobeoka to beat Kubota's best by just over a second, got the win in 28:39.52, Kubota next in 28:48.77. The most impressive performance of the race had to go to another identical twin, Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.), who came up to join the leaders after 7000 m and nearly succeeded in beating Kubota for 2nd, running 28:49.50 for 3rd.  Muthee, a sub-28 man, was 4th, with Gebreselassie dropping out shortly after a short stint in the lead.

Defending national collegiate champion Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) was a DNS in the women's 10000 m, leaving the race wide open for sub-33 rival Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.). Unfortunately for Izawa she was less than 100% on the day and never factored into the race which suffered in quality as a result. A slow early pace stayed that way, with Izawa's teammates Hiromi Hikida and Maki Ashi finally stepping up late in the race to push ahead for the win. Tamagawa University's Hitomi Suzuki unexpectedly answered, and on the bell lap it was Suzuki who had the fastest close, getting the win in 34:01.34, more than five seconds better than Hikida.

92nd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships
National Stadium, Tokyo, 5/18-19/13
click here for complete results

Div. I Men's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:39.16 - MR/PB
2. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:49.63
3. Kazuki Miyake (Chuo Univ.) - 3:49.67
4. Daiki Hirose (Meiji Univ.) - 3:50.07
5. Shinya Saito (Toyo Univ.) - 3:50.67

Div. II Men's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:49.52
2. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 3:50.01
3. Taketo Kumazaki (Teikyo Univ.) - 3:53.69

Div. I Men's 10000 m - 5/19
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:15.80 - PB
2. Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:21.30 - PB
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:31.14
4. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 28:36.03
5. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:40.44
6. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 28:41.10 - PB
7. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 28:59.35
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 29:00.02
9. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:01.94
10. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 29:03.45

Div. II Men's 10000 m - 5/19
1. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:39.52
2. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:48.77
3. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:49.50
4. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 29:09.73
5. Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) - 29:13.61
DNF - Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.)

Women's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) - 34:01.34
2. Hiromi Hikida (Nittai Univ.) - 34:07.36
3. Maki Ashi (Nittai Univ.) - 34:11.41
4. Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuoh Univ.) - 34:14.96
5. Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:15.18
6. Nami Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 34:15.40
7. Rika Saito (Chuo Univ.) - 34:19.08
8. Azusa Kurusu (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:20.09
9. Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 34:24.88
10. Chitose Shibata (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 34:27.53

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tanui Sets 10000 m World Leader at Kyushu Corporate Championships

by Brett Larner

2011 World Cross Country silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) delivered the biggest run of a weekend of regional corporate track and field championships, setting a meet record at the Kyushu region championships 10000 m in a world-leading 27:21.50. His teammate Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) likewise brought her best with a meet record 15:17.47 in the women's 5000 m.  Moscow World Championships marathon team members Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) both ran well behind Tanui to go sub-29, Nakamoto for only the second time in his career.

Less than an hour after Tanui's world leading run, London Olympics 10000 m 5th-place Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) flashed the flamboyant colors of the new DeNA uniform to win the East Japan region 10000 m in 27:30.65, the fastest time in the world this year behind Tanui.  Ethiopian Asmeraw Mengistu (Team Honda), hired as the Honda team's B-African behind 2011 world champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) and finding himself bumped to A-status with Jeilan's departure, just got under 28 for 2nd.  2013 World Cross Country junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) won the 5000 m over a field that included his 2010 World XC silver medalist predecessor Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru).  Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) won the women's 10000 m in a solid 32:17.35, leading ekiden ace Yurie Doi (Team Starts) to make a dent in the Japanese top ten lists for the year with a 32:26.89 clocking for 2nd, the only Japanese athlete of the weekend to do so.

Running reliably strong lately, Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) rounded out the list of men going sub-28 in the corporate regional meets, running 27:56.28 to win the Chubu region 10000 m.  Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) came close at the Hokuriku region meet, soloing a 28:11.32 for the win.  Former Sera H.S. ringer Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) ran only 28:27.67 to win the Chugoku region 10000 m but doubled with a 13:36.57 meet record in the 5000 m.  His teammate, 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau, was 3rd in 28:48.85 behind Team Mazda leader Akihiko Tsumurai.  The year's leading Japanese woman over 10000 m, Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), was unchallenged in the women's 10000 m, winning by well over a minute in 32:35.54. In Kansai, the only region not to allow non-Japanese athletes, winning times were slow, Yohei Nishiyama (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) winning the men's 10000 m in 29:10.75 and 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) the women's race in 33:07.29.

All three Moscow World Championships marathon women sat the weekend out.  Alongside Maeda and Nakamoto's good performances, men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran badly at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, 14th in 1:05:05.  Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) is scheduled to race next weekend's Great Manchester Run 10 km, but missing in action was 2:08:12 man Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), seen neither this weekend at the Kyushu region championships nor on home ground at last weekend's Golden Games in Nobeoka.

Kyushu Corporate Track and Field Championships
Fukuoka, 5/18-19/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 3 - 5/18
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 27:21.50 - WL, MR
2. Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Team Kurosaki Harima) - 28:18.57
3. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:26.68
4. Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:42.17
5. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:45.24
6. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 28:45.37
7. Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:46.34
8. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:47.37
9. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 28:52.97
10. Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 28:59.14

Men's 5000 m - 5/19
1. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:04.76
2. Kei Goto (Team Nishitetsu) - 14:30.07
3. Yuki Mori (Team Memoread) - 14:35.93

Men's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 3:48.46
2. Koki Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 3:49.57
3. Kenta Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 4:01.25

Women's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 33:10.83
2. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:11.05
3. Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 33:11.17

Women's 5000 m - 5/19
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:17.47 - MR
2. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 16:02.04
3. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 16:02.55

East Japan Corporate Track and Field Championships
Ibaraki, 5/18-19/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 2 - 5/18
1. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 27:30.65
2. Azmeraw Mengistu (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 27:59.96
3. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:01.87
4. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:21.42
5. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 28:30.25

Men's 5000 m Heat 4 - 5/19
1. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:34.65
2. Zewdie Million (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:41.19
3. Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru) - 13:42.32
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:49.21
5. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:57.31

Men's 1500 m Final - 5/18
1. Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 3:42.54
2. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:45.57
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 3:46.73
4. Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) - 3:48.33
5. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 3:50.48

Women's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 32:17.35
2. Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 32:26.89
3. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 32:41.69
4. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:52.57
5. Yuka Tokuda (Team Starts) - 32:54.03

Women's 5000 m - 5/19
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:52.18
2. Yuki Hidaka (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:55.64
3. Moeno Nakamura (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:57.59
4. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 15:57.84
5. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 16:00.53

Women's 3000 m - 5/19
1. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 9:29.46
2. Tomoyo Yamamoto (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:29.75
3. Sakiko Naito (Team Panasonic) - 9:29.75

Women's 1500 m - 5/18
1. Chihiro Sunaga (Team Shiseido) - 4:23.27
2. Madoka Mitsueda (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 4:23.79
3. Mika Nakagawa (Team Hokuren) - 4:27.02

Chubu Corporate Track and Field Championships
Gifu, 5/11-12/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m - 5/11
1. Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 27:56.28
2. Agato Yashin Hassan (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) - 28:39.77
3. Minato Oishi (Team Toyota) - 28:40.49
4. Takahiro Aso (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 28:42.55
5. Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 28:43.87

Men's 5000 m - 5/12
1. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:39.01
2. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:43.44
3. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:46.87
4. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 13:51.97
5. Chiharu Nakamura (Team Toenec) - 14:01.98

Men's 1500 m - 5/11
1. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 3:47.67
2. Hideyuki Tanaka (Team Toyota) - 3:48.23
3. Chiharu Nakamura (Team Toenec) - 3:50.45

Women's 10000 m - 5/11
1. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 33:09.70
2. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 33:37.94
3. Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki) - 34:19.36

Women's 5000 m - 5/12
1. Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Team Denso) - 16:15.32
2. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 16:19.52
3. Sayuri Sento (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:20.02

Hokuriku Corporate Track and Field Championships
Niigata, 5/11-12/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m - 5/12
1. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 28:11.32

Men's 5000 m - 5/12
1. Naohiro Yamada (Team YKK) - 14:34.97

Women's 10000 m - 5/12
1. Maiko Kushima (Niigata Albirex RC) - 36:06.95

Women's 5000 m - 5/12
1. Azusa Saito (Niigata Albirex RC) - 17:06.89

Chugoku Corporate Track and Field Championships
Hiroshima, 5/11, 18-19/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 28:27.67
2. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 28:43.62
3. Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 28:48.85

Men's 5000 m Heat 4 - 5/11
1. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:36.57 - MR
2. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 13:54.56
3. Kenji Yamamoto (Team Mazda) - 13:57.83

Women's 10000 m - 5/18
1. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 32:35.54
2. Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 33:50.20
3. Nanami Matsuura (Team Tenmaya) - 33:57.35

Women' 5000 m - 5/11
1. Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 15:58.59
2. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 15:58.95
3. Asahi Takeuchi (Team Uniqlo) - 16:00.66

Kansai Corporate Track and Field Championships
Hyogo, 5/17-19/13

Men's 10000 m Heat 2 - 5/17
1. Yohei Nishiyama (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 29:10.75
2. Yusuke Kawaminami (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:12.49
3. Kenta Iinuma (Team Sagawa Express) - 29:27.77

Men's 5000 m Heat 4 - 5/19
1. Shohei Morikawa (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 14:05.83
2. Masaki Sekido (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 14:06.49
3. Kentaro Masuda (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 14:06.76

Women's 10000 m - 5/17
1. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 33:07.29
2. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 33:09.04
3. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 33:10.25

Women's 5000 m - 5/18
1. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 16:02.95
2. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 16:02.98
3. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 16:04.94

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tadese Over Mathathi for Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon CR; Tufa Gets Women's CR in Close Race With Kirwa

by Brett Larner
video by Nick Ramsay



World record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) took down defending champion Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) at Sunday's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, getting away early to set a new course record of 1:00:31.  Leading a pack of six through a 14:14 opening 5 km split, Tadese dropped a 14:04 over the next 5 km to take the race out of the competition's comfort zones and go ahead alone.  With a 37-second lead over the chase group of Mathathi, Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) and Cyrus Njui (Kenya/ Team Hitachi Butsuryu) at 15 km Tadese backed off to a 14:34 split from 15 to 20 km, but despite Mathathi and Wanjuki picking it up and closing the gap they were too far away and had to settle for a duel for 2nd, Mathathi proving the stronger as he crossed the line in 1:00:54, two seconds ahead of Wanjuki.  Moscow World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), running just a week after going sub-64 at the Sendai International Half Marathon, struggled in to a 14th-place finish in 1:05:05.

The women's race was much closer, with Mestawet Tufa (Ethiopia) and Eunice Kirwa (Kenya) locked together through 20 km and pushing each other on to break the course record.  Tufa's last surge was too much for Kirwa to handle, the Ethiopia getting course record honors in 1:10:03.  Kirwa, 6 seconds back, also cleared the old record in 1:10:09, with Australian Lara Tamsett rounding out the top three in 1:13:33 after running the entire race alone.  Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) was the top Japanese finisher, 4th overall in 1:14:44.

3rd Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/19/13
complete results coming shortly

Men
1. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 1:00:31 - CR
2. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:00:54
3. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:55
4. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:01:08
5. Abayneh Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 1:01:43
6. Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:57
7. Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:38
8. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:45
9. Yoshiki Otsuka (Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:04:37
10. Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 1:04:52
-----
14. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:05:05

Women
1. Mestawet Tufa (Ethiopia) - 1:10:03 - CR
2. Eunice Kirwa (Kenya) - 1:10:09
3. Lara Tamsett (Australia) - 1:13:33
4. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:14:44
5. Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:15:47
6. Rina Asano (Team Yutaka Giken) - 1:16:07
7. Mayumi Nagai (Team Kojima Press) - 1:16:38
8. Shizuka Takatani (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:16:52
9. Maiko Murayama (Team T&F) - 1:17:28
10. Hitomi Ogata (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:17:37

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Japanese Federation Establishes Sexual Harassment and Abuse Counseling Service

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130517-OHT1T00127.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The Japanese Federation, Rikuren, announced on May 17 that it is establishing a new counseling service effective May 20 to help deal with the problems of sexual harassment and physical abuse.  Those in need of assistance and consultation can contact the service through a dedicated telephone hotline or the official website.

Within the track and field world, problems have recently arisen including a national champion-level high school coach who repeatedly employed corporal punishment against team members, and how punishment should be dealt with.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Million Times



Today JRN received its millionth visitor since it began in 2007.  Thank you.  A million times.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kanto-Region Collegiates Osako and the Shitara Twins Lead Push Into New Era of Japanese Men's Distance Running - Kanto Regionals Preview

by Brett Larner

This weekend is the first of two for the biggest meet in Japanese university athletics, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships. Thanks to the presence of the legendary Hakone Ekiden the Kanto region or KGRR is the center of Japanese university men’s distance running, and its regional championships are both deeper and higher-quality than the National meet where a limited number of KGRR schools compete with universally weaker schools from other parts of the country.

With a 27:38.31 by 21-year-old Waseda University senior Suguru Osako last month at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, sub-28 runs from identical twin Toyo University seniors Keita and Yuta Shitara, both 21, at last week’s Golden Games in Nobeoka and much more there has been a rush of activity by Japan’s 18-22 set recently. It’s time for an update of JRN’s ongoing comparison of the best of this group with their counterparts in the United States’ NCAA, a comparison to which additions and factual corrections are always welcome. I remain deeply indebted to Flotrack’s Mitch Kastoff for his tireless promotion of my four years of work on this topic.


Click to enlarge or open in a new window for full-sized version. From the data in this table, which uses equivalent performances determined using the McMillan calculator for the four major long distances, the relative strengths of the U.S. and Japanese athletes in this age group are fairly clear. On the American side, NCAA athletes generally remain focused on long-term development over distances 5000 m and shorter through their college careers, leading to both greater quality and greater quantity of athletes at those distances as they mature. Beginning at age 20, American athletes also begin to turn in equivalent quality 10000 m performances, the number of which roughly doubles within each single-year age group. The half marathon and marathon distances are not part of the vocabulary of American athletes in this age range.

Among Japanese athletes in the same age group, the majority of which are KGRR collegiates, there is little emphasis on distances 5000 m and shorter, and as a result, of the four distances compared the 5000 m sees the fewest quality performances. The 10000 m and half marathon, the same sorts of distances athletes face in the fall and winter ekiden season, are the main focus from the go, and the quantity and quality for both increase with age. At age 21 the marathon also enters the repertoire at a world-class level.

Comparing the two sets, overall Japan produces much larger numbers of athletes at the ages and performance levels in question than the U.S.  Although the U.S. consistently produces larger numbers of high-level 5000 m runners, there is no significant edge in quality at that distance until age 22. Over 10000 m, the very top American athletes have a slight and consistent edge in quality from age 20 on, countered by a greater quantity of high-level Japanese athletes. Luke Puskedra and Todd Williams’ sub-62 half marathons compare favorably with the best Japanese men in this age group and show that the potential would be there for NCAA athletes to excel at this distance if their system had that orientation. Similarly, the 5000 m performances of Kensuke Takezawa and Yuki Sato at age 19 and 20, a full 5 seconds faster than the likes of future sub-13 American Dathan Ritzenhein, suggest that KGRR runners and other Japanese men would have the potential to develop into equally capable track runners if that were a priority in their system.


What’s new and exciting is the rate of change in the KGRR over the last three to four years. Fifteen men, colored green on the table above, responsible for roughly half of the age 19 and 20 half marathon performances and age 20 and 21 10000 m performances to make the Japanese lists, are still under age 23 and setting new marks. Eleven are from the KGRR, with the remaining four from the corporate leagues and none from other university regions.   Eight of them have added nine performances to the list this year alone. When Osako, the Shitara twins, Chihiro Miyawaki and others turn 22 the numbers and lists for that age are bound to be rewritten the same way the age 19, 20 and 21 lists have been over the last few years. In the NCAA, only three athletes under 23, the superb Chris Derrick along with wunderkind German Fernandez and recent addition Eric Jenkins, are performing at this level, with only Derrick and Jenkins making contributions so far this year. Even eliminating the half marathon, the KGRR maintains an advantage. It is safe to say that at this point in history the rate of progress is far greater in the KGRR than in the NCAA and that despite its achievements over shorter distances, when it comes to men’s long distance it’s clear the that the NCAA is rapidly taking a back seat as the world’s leading collegiate system.

A simple counter-argument is that the NCAA is more focused on long-term development while the KGRR approach may lead to early burnout, and to be sure whether this early move to longer distances is going to pay off in the future is the million-dollar question. But look at the simultaneous re-development of Japanese men’s marathoning over the last three years, extrapolate these young athletes’ performances forward and you can see the signs of critical things that Americans have had in abundance and Japan has been missing in recent years: positivity and momentum.  It certainly looks like we’re on the cusp of an exciting era of Japanese men’s distance running. What’s still missing is the sharp edge, the peak athletes like Ritzenhein, Galen RuppChris Solinsky and hopefully Derrick who can go on to a higher level of individual accomplishment, but the question of whether a system that produces a small number of super-elite within a wider poverty is necessarily healthier than one producing an overall high level is something that touches on social-economic issues and cultural values. Either way, athletes like Osako are working on it. He just beat Ritzenhein's best time at the same age. Rio and beyond should be interesting.

Most of these top-level under-23 Japanese men will be racing at the Kanto Regionals meet, with the 1500 m and 10000 m scheduled for this weekend and the 5000 m and half marathon next week.  Along with a host of strong Japan-based Africans, the 1500 m includes Osako and Ikuto Yufu of 2012 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University, while the 10000 m features Yufu's teammate Shinobu Kubota, 2012 National University Half Marathon champion Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.), both Shitara twins, Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) and Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.).

The half marathon doesn't have any top-level men on the entry list, but notable names include two-time New York City Half Marathon runner Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) and Yuki Kawauchi's younger brother Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.). The 5000 m looks like the event of the meet, with Dairokuno, Osako, the Shitara twins, Yamamoto and Yufu all returning for more up against a fresh Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.).

Sprints are also looking good, with London Olympian men Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) and Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) facing off over 100 m, while their Olympic teammate Genki Dean (Waseda Univ.) will be the main draw on the field in the men's javelin.  JRN will be covering the meet in detail over the next two weekends.  Stay tuned.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1:01:16 Half Marathoner Tsubota Takes Over as Ekiden Head Coach at Hosei University

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130515-OHT1T00093.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Hosei University announced on May 15 that ekiden assistant coach Tomoo Tsubota, 35, has been promoted to the team's head coach position. Previous head coach Michihiko Narita, 56, moved to the assistant director's office in April.

Tsubota joined the Konica Minolta team in 2000 after graduating from Hosei, running the 10000 m at the 2003 World Championships.  Since 2010 he has been acting as assistant coach at Hosei on special assignment from the Konica Minolta corporation.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fujiwara Not Planning to Race Until At Least Autumn; "I Just Have to Take My Time Recovering"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/05/13/kiji/K20130513005793500.html

translated by Brett Larner

London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara (31, Miki House), working through a slow recovery from an injury, said at a Tokyo-area event on May 12 that he is not planning to race next until the fall at the earliest.  "I just have to take my time recovering.  There's nothing else I can do," he said.

Fujiwara pulled out of February's Tokyo Marathon after developing problems in his left leg.  He took time off in March before starting to jog again in April.  "There is still time before the next Olympics, so now I am targeting a time goal.  I want to get to 2:06," he said, confirming that he is targeting Toshinari Takaoka's Japanese national record of 2:06:16.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mogusu and Noguchi Win Sendai International Half Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner

Past greats returned to the top of the 23rd Sendai International Half Marathon on May 11, as Moscow World Championships marathon team member Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) won the women's race in a virtually solo 1:10:36 and sub-60 Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Nissin Shokuhin) took a hard-earned 1:01:54 win over 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) and defending Sendai champion Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu).

Noguchi easily outdistanced 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) for her third Sendai title and first win since 2008, one of her last races before the injury that knocked her out of the Beijing Olympics and far beyond.  Coming on the heels of her strong 2:24:05 for 3rd at March's Nagoya Women's Marathon her win suggests that Noguchi is still on the way back up to her former greatness leading on to Moscow.

For Mogusu, winner of most of Japan's other top-level half marathons during his college career including Marugame, Sapporo International and Ichinoseki, Sendai was an elusive goal, a race where he had never managed to finish better than 2nd.  The title marked the first of his pro career, his last half marathon victory coming at the 2009 Marugame International Half Marathon just before his graduation from Yamanashi Gakuin University.  Having beaten Gitau and Maina to get there the likeable Mogusu may also be on the way back to living up to his own past.

Further back in the men's race, Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru), one of the most promising new Japanese marathoners of 2012 with a 2:10:40 PB in Chicago at age 23 in only his second marathon, took the top Japanese men's position at 4th overall in 1:03:13 ahead of a dense pack.  Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was near the tail of that pack, taking 10th overall in 1:03:30.  Kawauchi will double up at next week's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon before continuing his World Championships preparations at the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon.

Update, 5/14/13: JRN reader Jeff Cate, who ran Sendai as part of its sister city relationship with Riverside, CA, U.S.A., wrote with his impressions of his experience:

The race was amazing. The weather was cool and breezy which was perfect... really glad low misty clouds rolled in from the ocean because it was sunny & warm when we loaded the bus about 7:30am.

The race was great. Loved the course. I had run parts of it for 3 days prior to get a feel of the inclines, turns, and sights. The crowds were fantastic... very thick the entire way... it was like running a parade route. I've run races for years in the US and the only race that I've run that has similar crowds is the Boston Marathon. And I loved how they would spot my jersey which read "Riverside" in Japanese (which the city of Sendai provided) and cheer for me... and I'd wave... and they loved it.

And I loved being in such a competitive race... I ran a slight PR by only 9 seconds so I was surprised (due to my training interruptions) and pleased... PR's are harder to come by at age 45... :-) I didn't want to run a disappointing race in such a big event for both our cities. I still only finished 269th of the 811 seeded men. Sheesh, 1:10 was only 48th place. Very deep field. I don't know of a half marathon in the US that is half this competitive and deep. But I love a competitive race... makes you want to dig deeper and run faster.

And the city of Sendai has treated us sister-cities delegates like royalty. We are all very grateful for such generous hospitality with the transportation, the Koyo Grand Hotel, the meals, the excursion to Matsushima, the tour of the course, meeting madame mayor at city hall, the accommodations at the track pre-race... everything.

I wanted to mention all this to you so you could hear first hand how great all this is. I've thoroughly enjoyed Sendai and the good people here. We toured the tsunami devastation yesterday. It's heart-breaking to see, but the resiliency of these people to never give up is so inspiring.

23rd Sendai International Half Marathon
Sendai, Miyagi, 5/12/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 1:10:36
2. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:28
3. Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:12:05
4. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:25
5. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:12:36
6. Asami Furuse (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:13
7. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:34
8. Aiko Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:13:49
9. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:14:03
10. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 1:14:19

Men
1. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:01:54
2. Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:02:07
3. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:53
4. Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) - 1:03:13
5. Kenya Sonota (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:19 - debut
6. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:03:23
7. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:03:23
8. Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) - 1:03:24
9. Masanori Ishida (Team Sagawa Express) - 1:03:26
10. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:30

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, May 11, 2013

21-Year-Old Shitara Twins Sub-28 at Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m

by Brett Larner
photo by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
video by Ekiden News

Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University's identical twin stars Keita Shitara and Yuta Shitara delivered a piece of history Saturday in the men's 10000 m at Japan's best spring meet, the Golden Games in Nobeoka.  Running steadily, patiently and under control behind 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and grinding down all other competition, Keita, who earlier this season set the Japanese collegiate 30 km record of 1:29:55 in Kumamoto, kicked away from Mathathi with 200 m to go to win in a meet record 27:51.54, breaking the legendary Toshihiko Seko's age 21 best of 27:51.61. Mathathi also cleared the old record in 27:52.65.  Right with them until the last surge, Yuta, who last year set a stage record at the Hakone Ekiden, outkicked World Half Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.) at the New York City Half Marathon for the fastest-ever half marathon by a Japanese man on U.S. soil and won silver at the World University XC Championships, took third in 27:54.82 to achieve what greats including Shigeru and Takeshi Soh and Takayuki and Yuko Matsumiya could not: Japan's first-ever sub-28 clockings by identical twins, as of this writing apparently only the second time the feat has been accomplished in world history behind Portugal's Castro twins in 1988.  Post-race the twins' coach Toshiyuki Sakai, himself part of a set of identical twins, told JRN, "Twins running 27 minutes has a profound meaning.  They were great."


The men's 10000 m starts at 50:15.  See 18:45 for the women's 5000 m A-heat.

So great that the other results of the day seem distant in comparison.  2013 National Collegiate Half Marathon champion and World University Games half marathon squad leader Shogo Nakamura of National University Ekiden course record holder Komazawa University ran a strong 28:05.79 PB for 4th, just missing the World Championships B-standard but beating past 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC), who recorded a best of 28:09.56 for 5th.  Nakamura's teammate Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), 10th at this year's New York City Half Marathon and likewise bound for the World University Games in the 10000 m, faltered from joining the Shitaras under 28 and faded to 6th in 28:21.53.

The men's 5000 m D-Heat begins at 35:00.

Alongside the Shitaras and Mathathi, two other events saw athletes hit Moscow World Championships B-standard marks.  In the women's 5000 m A-heat, Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) ran a sizeable PB of 15:21.41 for the win and the B-standard.  #1-ranked Japanese high schooler Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) was next across the line in a solid best of 15:33.21 a breath ahead of pro Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura), 3rd in 15:33.25.  In the men's 5000 m D-heat, the designated event for the majority of the Japan-based Africans, Toshinari Takaoka-coached steepler Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) ran a best of 13:18.72 to win with the B-standard.  2013 World XC Jr. silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran a PB of 13:26.21 but could do no better than 5th.  In other men's 5000 m heats, Moscow World Championships marathon team members Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) continued their buildup with 13:52.66 and 14:03.76 shakeouts.

2013 Golden Games in Nobeoka
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, May 11, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 27:51.54 - MR, PB
2. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:52.65 (MR)
3. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 27:54.82 - PB
4. Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:05.79 - PB
5. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 28:09.56 - PB
6. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:21.53
7. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:54.95
8. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:55.65
9. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 29:08.99
10. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 29:27.62

Women's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:21.41 - PB
2. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 15:33.21 - PB
3. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 15:33.25 - PB
4. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:34.40
5. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Team Toto) - 15:36.07 - PB
6. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:36.90 - PB
7. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:37.30 - PB
8. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 15:42.65
9. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 15:51.63
10. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei)- 15:51.79

Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Wataru Ueno (Team Honda) - 13:46.86
2. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 13:47.60
3. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 13:49.35
4. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:55.19
5. Hiroyuki Ono (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:58.54

Men's 5000 m B-Heat
1. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:49.59 - PB
2. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:51.14
3. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 13:52.66
4. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:53.67
5. Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:55.08

Men's 5000 m C-Heat
1. Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:56.75
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:57.63
3. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:58.47
4. Noriaki Takahashi (DeNA RC) - 13:58.67
5. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:58.69
-----
9. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 14:03.76

Men's 5000 m D-Heat
1. Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 13:18.72 - PB
2. Zewdie Million (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:20.73 - PB
3. Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 13:22.15 - debut
4. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:24.50 - PB
5. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:26.21 - PB

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

Friday, May 10, 2013

Golden Games in Nobeoka Lead Off Three Straight Weeks of Track Action

by Brett Larner


Ekiden News is scheduled to live stream the Golden Games in Nobeoka Meet, with the major events beginning at 7:00 p.m. Japan time on May 11. Watch live here.

This weekend marks the start of three straight weeks of regional championship track action in the lead-up to the June 7-9 National Championships.  The biggest meet of the weekend is Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka, where the focus will be on the men's 10000 m.  2007 Osaka World Championships bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/ Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) leads a field of thirteen, many collegiate men, looking to get under 28 and hopefully closer to joining Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) under the Moscow World Championships A-standard of 27:40.00.  From Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University are Keita and Yuta Shitara, looking to become the first Japanese twins to both go sub-28, and from National University Ekiden course record holder are Komazawa half marathon record holder Kenta Murayama, #2 Shinobu Kubota and 2013 National University Half Marathon champion Shogo Nakamura.  Corporate men include former Toyo superstar Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) and former Toyo captain Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei), 2012 national 5000 m champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) and his teammate Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei), who went under 27:45 as a university senior.

The A-heat of the men's 5000 m is also packed with talent including 2011 World XC Championships silver medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), 2010 national 5000 m champion Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and national 10000 m champion Kensuke Takezawa (Himeji T&F Assoc.), JRN's top-ranked Japanese man of 2012 Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo), Komazawa 10000 m record holder Ikuto Yufu and many more.  The deceptively-labelled D-heat is likely to be the fastest, with twelve Japan-based Africans led by 2013 World XC Jr. silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and two-time World Jr. steeplechase champion Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu), #1-ranked collegiate Osako and Murayama's identical twin brother Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.).  The women's 5000 m is thinner but features 2011 national 5000 m champion Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno AC), 2011 national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), Kenyans Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) and Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto), former Ritsumeikan University ace Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) and others.

Three corporate league regions will also hold the first halves of their regional track and field championships, with the remaining regions squeezing everything into next weekend. 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) is on the list for the Chugoku region's 5000 m along with talented teammate Charles Ndirangu, but with Gitau also scheduled to run Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon it's a question mark as to which race he will start.  Likewise for Payton Jordan women's 10000 m 3rd-placer Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), who will face 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon 3rd-placer Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) and 2013 Osaka International Women's Marathon 3rd-placer Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) if she starts in Chugoku.  Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), all-time Japanese #3 for the half marathon and #7 over 10000 m, tops the list at the Chubu region meet after a failed run in the Payton Jordan 10000 m.

Lastly, Japan's biggest series of track time trials, the Nittai University Time Trials, continues with its second, somewhat impoverished, edition of the season. 2012 African XC champion Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru) is virtually the only top-level name on the list, but also noteworthy in the 10000 m is independent Sho Matsumoto (Nichizei Business), a full-time worker who ran 2:13:38 at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon and will race next month's Grandma's Marathon.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moscow World Championships Marathoners Kawauchi and Noguchi Headline Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

In its second edition since being cancelled after the 2011 tsunami, the May 12 Sendai International Half Marathon plays host to Moscow World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex). Having moved to a mass-participation format with a scaled-back elite field that has largely moved to the new Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon a week later, Sendai nevertheless still presents Kawauchi with tough competition.  Defending champion Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) returns after improving his PB at Feburary's Marugame International Half Marathon.  Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya) has run sub-60 to win the Marugame, Sapporo International and Ichinoseki half marathons but has never finished better than 2nd in Sendai and will be looking to remedy that situation.  2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) and Mogusu's college-era rival Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) round out the international end of the race.

National record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon team member Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) and sub-62 man Yuta Igarashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) make up the top-seeded Japanese list, while a large number of men to have run sub-2:12 marathons in the last two years will also be looking to improve their half bests.  Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda), Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult), Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) and Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) are the best of this bunch, but look out also for Horiguchi's teammate Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) who pulled out a incredibly fast finish for a surprise 2:12:14 win in his marathon debut in Nobeoka in February.

Two-time Sendai winner Noguchi, should she start, has no real competition in the women's race, with identical twins Hiroko and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) the only other sub-70 Japanese women in the race and no world-class foreign competitors.  One potential challenge could come from debuting Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), who just missed the World Championships 10000 m A-standard as she finished 3rd at last month's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in 31:45.29.  2010 Sendai Half and 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) also returns.

23rd Sendai International Half Marathon
Sendai, 5/12/13
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 59:48
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:00:25
Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:01
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:01:19
Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:28
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 1:01:41
Yuta Igarashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:01:46
Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:03
Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:08
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:02:16
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 1:02:17
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:22
Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:26
Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) - 1:02:29
Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:02:32
Kazuki Ikenaga (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:33
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:35
Shoji Akutsu (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:38
Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:40
Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:41
Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) - 1:02:49
Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 1:02:58
Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) - 1:03:02
Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) - 1:03:16

Women
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 1:07:43
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:09:23
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:09:54
Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:10:26
Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:10:48
Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:10:52
Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:16
Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:29
Sachi Tanaka (Sports Yamagata 21 AC) - 1:12:42
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - debut - 31:45.29

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Top Hakone Ekiden Coaches to Speak at Tohoku H.S. Incoming Student Event

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130508-OHT1T00165.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Tohoku High School will hold a welcoming event for incoming students on May 11 in Sendai.  Together with their friend and Tohoku head coach Takehiko Shibuya, 53, a number of coaches from top-finishing teams at this year's Hakone Ekiden will appear to take part in a panel discussion, including Kenji Beppu, 47, who led Nittai University to its first Hakone win in 30 years, runner-up Toyo University's Nao Sato, 60, and Takayuki Nakano of Teikyo University, whose 4th-place finish was its best showing since 2000.  Tohoku H.S. alumnus Hatsuo Okubo, 58, who won the Hakone Ekiden's uphill Fifth Stage all four years of his university career, will also appear.  The discussion of Hakone's run up the mountain should be a good one.

This year Tohoku's hopes are high with two superb athletes who ran well for Miyagi in last summer's National Junior High School Championships 3000 m entering the school.  Both are also looking forward to the event.  Taisei Nakamura commented, "As part of my mental preparations I want to learn about the main points of how to run the mountain." Koichiro Sasaki excitedly added, "I can't wait to meet some of the Hakone legends!"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Atsushi Sato Aiming for Fukuoka in Second Year Based Back in Fukushima

http://www.minyu-net.com/sport/sport/0502/sport2.html

translated by Brett Larner

On leave from the Hiroshima-based Chugoku Denryoku company team, this month half marathon national record holder and Beijing Olympian Atsushi Sato, 34, marks two years since relocating his training base back to his native Fukushima.  "I want to do my part in helping rebuild Fukushima," he said of his move back to his hometown of Aizubange-machi.  For the last year Sato has been busy, coaching training sessions and giving lectures for local athletes, studying as a research fellow at Fukushima University, and getting coaching advice from Fukushima University head coach Kazuhisa Kawamoto.

Last November Sato finished 3rd at the Osaka Marathon, but after developing problems with his right leg he was unable to race at 100% and missed his goal of making this year's World Championships marathon team.  He is now focused on being ready to race December's Fukuoka International Marathon.

As part of his mission to communicate to Fukushima's children the importance of not giving up, on May 1 Sato held a training seminar and gave a lecture in Mishima-machi for local elementary and junior high school students together with his wife, 800 m and 1000 m national record holder Miho Sugimori, 35.  "These days the spirits of children in this area have been very low," said Sato.  "How can we help them not lose hope and give up, help them get over their difficulties?  I think running is one way, and that is something I can help them with."  In celebrating his second year back in Fukushima, Sato can take pride in having balanced his life as an athlete and as a leader and educator.

Monday, May 6, 2013

'Japan Teen Sprinter Targets 9.96 Seconds'

http://www.supersport.com//athletics/international/news/130506/Japan_teen_sprinter_targets_996_seconds

Kawauchi Declines Prizes After Winning Toyohiragawa Half Marathon: "I'm Here for the People"

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130505-OHT1T00169.htm
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/05/06/kiji/K20130506005745840.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) won the 25th anniversary Toyohiragawa Half Marathon in Sapporo on May 5, running a solo 1:05:45.  A day earlier, Kawauchi also ran the May 4 Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon at home in Saitama.  "That's a first even for me," he said.  After finishing Toyohiragawa, he declined to be named winner and turned down the prizes.  With no top-level corporate or university competition in the race, Kawauchi said, "It wouldn't be right to accept prizes.  I'm here for the people, and if that helps make the race more popular then I've accomplished my mission."  He then went out into the crowds to greet fans, smiling and talking to them one by one. Appearing onstage as a presenter at the award ceremony, he was greeted by an ovation of cheers.  "I've never done back-to-back half marathon races before, but in training I do that kind of distance all the time," he said onstage.  "It was a good experience."

Toyohiragawa was Kawauchi's first time back in Hokkaido since winning last August's Hokkaido Marathon.  "The conditions were good [9 degrees], so I ran at a good pace."  He was scheduled to head home the afternoon of the 6th, but, he said, "I want to go to Koganeyu hot springs so I can relax and fully recover."  Even with only a few hours on his hands Kawauchi planned to get the most out of his time in Hokkaido.  Before August's World Championships marathon he plans to run three more races in Hokkaido, including the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon.  "I want to use Chitose to help myself visualize the World Championships marathon," he said, indicating how important a role Hokkaido plays in his preparations to take on the best in the world.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

'World Lead for Melich in Tokyo - IAAF World Challenge'



http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/rodgers-breaks-japanese-hearts-world-lead-for

Click here for complete results from the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet.

Kiryu Confident Ahead of Shot at First Japanese Sub-10: "I Want to Go Out There and Have Some Fun"

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130504-00000224-sph-spo

translated by Brett Larner

At a Tokyo-area press conference on May 4 promoting the May 5 Seiko Golden Grand Prix Tokyo track and field meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, the new star of the men's 100 m, Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.), appeared confident before his shot at the first Japanese men's sub-10 clocking, revealing that his mental keywords ahead of the race are "fun" and "second half."

At the April 29 Oda Memorial Meet Kiryu ran 10.01, the all-time second-fastest Japanese men's time and both tying the world junior record and clearing the Japanese Federation's criteria for the Moscow World Championships team.  "That time surprised me too," said Kiryu.  "but I've gotten myself together mentally and I'm ready to take on this race."

Having reviewed videos of his race at home he feels that he now understands what he needs to do to achieve a 9-second clocking.  The first point he brought up was improving the second half of his race.  "The start and the middle part of the race were good, but in the second half I lost power in my stride," he said.  "I was too conscious of the finish line and leaned 10 meters too soon.  My goal this time is to stay focused straight ahead."  By raising his line of focus he plans to run through the line and believes that will allow him to hit his time goal.

Kiryu also places importance on his mental state.  "I always enjoy my running and get good times as a result, so this time I want to go out there and have some fun when I run," he said.  "If I stay relaxed I think I'll run a fast time."  Tokyo will be his first time racing foreign competition, but even so Kiryu was confident and self-composed at the press conference, without stress, anxiety or aggression but hopeful and looking forward to the main event.  Asked about what foreign athletes he would most like to race, the high school senior brought up 9.58 world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica.  Joining Bolt sub-10 is only the first step on the road to Kiryu achieving his dreams.  "I want to run a faster time than I did at the Oda Memorial Meet," he said.  "I'm ready to put myself into making that happen."

Yoshihide Kiryu: Born Dec. 15, 1995 in Hikone, Shiga.  17 years old.  Senior at Rakunan H.S. in Kyoto.  Played goalkeeper on his elementary school's soccer team but began running as a first-year at Rakunan J.H.S.  At last October's Gifu National Sports Festival 100 m set a world youth record of 10.21, then improved that to 10.19 in November.  175 cm, 68 kg.  Lives with his parents and older brother.

Click here for the IAAF's preview of the the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet.  TBS will broadcast the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet live from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch online via Keyhole TV.  Oscar Fernandez reports that there will be overseas streams available here and here as well.

A Year and a Day



Adam Yauch, 8/5/64-5/4/12. R.I.P.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kawauchi Meets Kawauchi Impersonator

http://daily.co.jp/newsflash/general/2013/05/04/0005961064.shtml
http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/7648800/

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for a photo of Kawauchi reluctantly posing with his impersonator

Moscow World Championships marathon team member and civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) made a special guest appearance at the 25th anniversary running of his local Kasukabe Odako Half Marathon on May 4.  Starting at the absolute rear, he passed almost the entire field of 5755 to cross the finish line in 10th.

Kawauchi also had a run-in with an imitation Kawauchi.  In the men's 10 km division, professional impersonator Takashi M. ran wearing a uniform identical to Kawauchi's emblazoned across the chest with "Saitama Prefectural Government," finishing in 34:46.  After the race Takashi M. met the real item and the two posed for a dream (nightmare?) picture together, but the real Kawauchi had a somewhat offended expression on his face.  "I've met him many times, but there's nothing else I can really say," said Kawauchi.  "When there's something real there are going to be knockoff copies.  I guess that's the kind of situation I'm in now."

2010 World Jr. 200 m Champion Iizuka Runs World-Leading 20.21 for All-Time Japanese #3, 18-Year-Old Hashimoto 2nd in 20.35

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130503-1121751.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130503-1121759.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for complete results
videos by naoki620



At the May 3 Shizuoka International Track and Field Meet men's 200 m, 2010 World Junior Championships gold medalist and London Olympian Shota Iizuka (21, Chuo Univ.) won Heat Four in a world-leading meet record time of 20.21 (+1.4 m/s).  A PB by 0.24 seconds, Iizuka's time was enough to put him at all-time #3 on the Japanese lists and would have been good for 7th in the London final.  He easily cleared the Japanese Federation's specified time for Moscow World Championships qualification, 20.29.  "The first time I saw it in print I thought it was really fast," said Iizuka, "but if you can't run that kind of time then you can't be internationally competitive."

Iizuka spent the winter training at warmer locations in the United States and Australia.  If he makes the podium at June's National Track and Field Championships he will be guaranteed a place on the Moscow team.  "Yeah, at Nationals I want to run perfectly and make the team without any questions about it," he said with determination.



In the Shizuoka men's 200 m Heat Three, a shiny brand new first-year university runner wowed the crowd, 18-year-old Akiyuki Hashimoto (Waseda Univ.) winning in 20.35 with a 0.3 m/s headwind, a PB by almost half a second and the third-best mark in the world this year at the time, bumped down to fourth by Iizuka's 20.21 in Heat 4.  Faster than any other runner of the day except Iizuka, Hashimoto also cleared the meet record.  Clearing the 20.52 World Championships A-standard in a virtual Cinderella story, Hashimoto said, "I was trying to make the team for the World University Games, but since things turned out this way I'm going to have to change gears and go for Worlds," the excitement in his voice bursting through his smile.

As a senior at Kagoshima's Sensatsu Seishukan H.S. Hashimoto won last summer's National High School Championships 200 m.  In high school he had many explosive clashes with Yoshihide Kiryu, one year his junior at rival Rakunan H.S. in Kyoto.  Asked about Kiryu tying the 100 m world junior record earlier this week at the Oda Memorial Meet, Hashimoto replied firmly, "That's an incredible time, but it doesn't mean I'm going to lose the next time we line up against each other."