Friday, August 30, 2013

'Great North Run: "Citizen Runner" Yuki Kawauchi to Compete'

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/great-north-run-citizen-runner-5817853

Along with Kawauchi, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) will run his first race of 2013 at the Great North Run after recovering from a long injury following December's Fukuoka International Marathon.  Among the other Japanese men competing at the Great North Run, Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) and Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) both beat Kawauchi at July's Shibetsu Half Marathon, making for an interesting race-inside-a-race.  Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) and female athletes Ayaka Hitomi (Team Shimamura) and Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) round out the Japanese contingent appearing at the Great North Run with support from JRN.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gokaya and Watanabe Win 2013 Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner



With Japan's premier summer marathon bringing back its elite field this year, corporate league runners Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) scored their first marathon wins, taking the men's and women's Hokkaido Marathon titles in 2:14:26 and 2:29:13 on Aug. 25 in Sapporo.

Following an early break by Shingo Igarashi (Team Subaru) and by 2010 Nobeoka Marathon winner Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta), Gokaya, who finished 7th at the 2011 Chicago Marathon in 2:12:15, ran in a dense lead pack through 35 km before turning it on, grinding down Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to open a margin of 19 seconds before crossing the finish line.  Tsuji, the only runner to try to stay with Gokaya, was a comfortable 2nd in 2:14:45, 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack led by Shimoju, who held off past Gold Coast Marathon winner Dickson Marwa (Tanzania) in the last sprint for 3rd in 2:15:15.  Early leader Igarashi faded over the second half to a 2:18:22 finish in 14th after splitting 1:06:18 at halfway.  Men's 59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC), now age 64, ran a strong 2:49:08 ahead of a bid for the age 64 record at October's Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Watanabe, left off the Moscow World Championships marathon team despite a good run at the Osaka International Women's Marathon in January, ran against 2013 Gold Coast Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and 2013 Berlin Half Marathon 3rd-placer Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) until 25 km before moving ahead, slowing after a 1:13:30 first half but still scoring a rare sub-2:30 time in Hokkaido thanks in part to solid pacing support from two-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya/Lights AC).  Akaba, seemingly putting a training run effort, was 2nd in 2:32:10 with Ito within hailing range in 2:32:54 for 3rd. Defending champion Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) took more than a minute off her winning time from last year but could do no better than 5th in 2:37:56.  Following a sadly familiar pattern, London Olympian Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya), 2:23:23 a year and a half ago in Osaka, ran only 2:51:55.

2013 Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/25/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Koji Gokaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:14:26
2. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:14:45
3. Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:15:15
4. Dickson Marwa (Tanzania) - 2:15:17
5. Akinori Iida (Team Honda) - 2:15:20
6. Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) - 2:15:22
7. Satoshi Yoshii (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:15:50
8. Yu Chiba (Team Honda) - 2:16:17
9. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:16:31
10. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:16:42
-----
Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) - 2:49:08
DNF - Gezahegne Abera (Ethiopia)

Women
1. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:29:13
2. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:32:10
3. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:54
4. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:37:01
5. Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:37:56
6. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:41:40
7. Aki Otagiri - 2:41:49
8. Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 2:45:52
9. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:46:20
10. Akane Wakita - 2:48:20
11. Haruna Kira - 2:48:39
12. Tsegay Abebech (Ethiopia) - 2:50:10
13. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - 2:51:55
DNF - Gebregessese Roman (Ethiopia)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Marathon Talk 189 - Moscow 2013

http://marathontalk.com/podcast/episode_189_moscow_2013_part_two.php

JRN's Brett Larner returns to the popular Marathon Talk podcast to talk about the Japanese men's performance in the Moscow World Championships marathon.

Kaori Yoshida's Suspension for Positive Test at Honolulu Marathon Extended to Two Years

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/08/21/kiji/K20130821006458170.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Japan Sports Arbitration Agency announced on August 20 that it had approved an appeal from the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) to increase the suspension of marathoner Kaori Yoshida, 32, for a positive drug test at last December's Honolulu Marathon from one year to two years.  It is the first time arbitration of a case involving a doping violation has resulted in more severe punishment for the athlete.  Testing indicated that Yoshida had taken the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO) which acts to increase stamina, but accepting her explanation that the drug had unknowingly been part of a medicine she had been prescribed to treat anemia, the sentencing panel entrusted with handling JADA's findings gave her a shorter than usual suspension of only one year.  JADA appealed the sentence on the grounds that Yoshida did not exercise sufficient caution about what she was taking.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kawauchi Plans to Give Up On Rio Olympics If He Fails At Asian Games

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130820-OHT1T00180.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Japanese National Team for this year's Moscow World Championships returned to Tokyo's Narita Airport on August 20.  Having finished 6th in the world as part of the men's 4x100 m relay team, Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) said that he will not race again until the Oct. 4-8 National Sports Festival at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium, wishing to focus himself on building his basic strength.

After having finished 18th in the men's marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) signaled a potential retreat from pursuing future places on the National Team for summer championships depending on the outcome of the Dec. 1 Fukuoka International Marathon. A hardened expression never leaving his face, Kawauchi confirmed that he has established winning the marathon in the Sept.-Oct. 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, as the door that will open or close his "path to the world."  If he fails, Kawauchi confirmed that he intends to withdraw himself for consideration for the 2015 Beijing World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympics teams.  With regard to the first selection race for the Incheon team, December's Fukuoka International Marathon, Kawauchi said, "All I can do is run the kind of race that would put me into consideration for the team.  If I don't make it then.....Yes, that's it."

Moscow was an active, changing race, and it presented Kawauchi with a tough challenge. In terms of dealing with the heat, he said, "The race was about 26 degrees.  I knew I can cope with temperatures up to that.  But I should have kept my cool."  Despite a slow opening 5 km in 15:43, after 20 km he quickly stalled and fell as low as 25th before moving back up to 18th in 2:15:35.  "I went with all the pace changes after 5 km and moved up to 4th or 5th.  That was pointless," he said.  Post-race his hands shook and he suffered muscles spasms in both legs before being taken to the medical area for treatment.

In Moscow Kawauchi spent time listening to 5th-place Kentaro Nakamoto (30, Team Yasukawa Denki) and other corporate league runners.  "All of those guys regularly run 40 km training runs.  One of them even goes up to 60 km in a single run.  What I'm doing is insufficient.  I have to look at raising my volume."

Kawauchi will return to work at Kasukabe High School on August 21, but his plans for upcoming races have not changed.  At the beginning of September he will run a domestic race before heading to Newcastle to make his U.K. debut at the Sept. 15 Great North Run half marathon.  He will also run the Oct. 13 Melbourne Marathon and the Nov. 3 ING New York City Marathon before running Fukuoka.

At the 2011 edition of Fukuoka Kawauchi accomplished the feat of coming back late in the race to take 3rd as the top Japanese finisher after losing touch with the lead pack mid-race. 102 days remain until the race that determines which direction his career as an athlete will take in the future.  Whatever the "star amateur runner" says, not a single one of his races is pointless.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kawauchi to Run ING New York City Marathon

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNSSXKB0670_Z10C13A8000000/

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having finished 18th in the Moscow World Championships marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) announced prior to his departure from the Moscow airport on Aug. 19 that he has accepted an invitation to run November's New York City Marathon. "I wasted my race in Moscow," he said, "so it's important that I take on the international challenge again." In preparation for New York he will take part in the Melbourne Marathon in October. He also plans to run the Fukuoka International Marathon in December in a bid to make the Japanese team for next year's Asian Games.

Moscow 5th place finisher Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) said that his next marathon will be either Tokyo in February or Biwako Mainichi in March. "I've gotten to the point where a medal is in sight," he said. "Next it's 2:07 and the win."

Note: Kawauchi will run the ING New York City Marathon with support from JRN.  Although he raced once in Guam in college and ran the Tokyo Marathon prior to its entry into the World Marathon Majors, New York will be both his official U.S. marathon and World Marathon Majors debut.

Moscow World Championships Men's Marathon Broadcast Earns 26.9% Peak Viewership Rating

http://dogatch.jp/news/tbs/18712

translated by Brett Larner

As part of its nine-day broadcast of the Moscow World Championships beginning August 10, TBS' broadcast of the August 17 men's marathon earned an average viewership rating of 23.1%, with peak viewership logged at 26.9%.  The highest viewership ratings came at 8:59 p.m. near the 9 km point of the race with a shot of members of the Japanese team in the lead pack chasing after breakaway leader Tadese Tola (Ethiopia), at 10:24 p.m. near 36.8 km when Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) was running in 6th in pursuit of the lead group, and at 10:26 p.m. when Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) ran past a group of supporters from his hometown of Kuki near the 35 km point.

The Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team also earned good ratings on the August 18 broadcast.  With an overall average viewership of 13.0% for the broadcast slot from 9:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., viewership increased gradually from 10.2% at 9:46 p.m. for the team's preparation for its heat to 17.2% for the start of the race at 9:58 p.m.  The maximum ratings of 18.5% came just afterward when the team finished 2nd to qualify for the final and team members were awaiting confirmation.  The 10:15 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. slot including the final averaged 14.0% viewership, with 17.0% at the start of the race at 11:40 p.m. and the time slot's peak of 17.7% a minute later immediately after the finish.

'Japanese Runner Stands Tall at First Pikes Peak Marathon'

http://gazette.com/japanese-runner-stands-tall-at-first-pikes-peak-marathon/article/1504998

Monday, August 19, 2013

Seko and Others Discuss How Nakamoto's Run Shows the Way for Japan's Marathoners to Compete With the World

http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/sports/athletic/wc/2013/columndtl/201308180002-spnavi?page=1

translated by Brett Larner

On the 8th day of competition at the World Championships, August 17 in Moscow on a loop course starting and ending at Luzhniki Stadium, Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) ran 2:10:50 for 5th place.  Faced with the impossible task of following the Africans' wild pace changes, he pushed on steadily at his own pace to continue Japan's eight-championship streak of finishing in the top eight.  London Olympics champion Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) won in 2:09:51.  Among the other Japanese team members, Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) was 14th in 2:14:29, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) 17th in 2:15:25, and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) 18th in 2:15:35. Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) was a DNF.

We talked to three prominent members of the Japanese running industry, former marathon great and current DeNA Running Club executive head coach Toshihiko Seko, Nippon Runners director and marathon broadcast announcer Tetsuhiko Kin, and Tsukuba University sports physiology department researcher Yasushi Enomoto, and asked for their impressions of the Moscow men's marathon.

In the marathon racing skill will get you the win, not your PB. -- Toshihiko Seko

I was really impressed with Nakamoto's racing approach.  He had the experience from the Daegu World Championships and the London Olympics and was 6th in London, and I felt that he was running within himself, controlled and with a kind of dignity.  I could sense that he had learned about himself inside-out, how to allot his pacing over the 42.195 km distance, how to use his body, how to use his soul.  Right from the beginning he was up front and was clearly signaling that he was in it for a medal, but he still had some weakness at handling the changes of pace.  If he can't overcome that then while he can certainly continue to shoot for the top eight I don't think he will have what it takes to go for a medal.

The other Japanese athletes didn't have the kind of races that would make them top-eight contenders.  Kawauchi spent too much time running among the leaders too early and burned up too much of his energy.  If he doesn't learn to take better care of his pacing like Nakamoto then he's going to keep ending up red-lining it.  If you use energy unnecessarily like he did then you're just going to fade.  Summer races are different from winter races and you can't get away with doing pointless things.  Additionally, before the race Kawauchi himself was saying, "I'm not good in summertime races."  You can't let yourself slip into making those kinds of classifications.  Just having that sense that you have a weakness will make you lose your overall mental game.  Whether it's summer or winter, it's still a marathon all the same.

If you look at the athlete who won, you can see that the marathon is not only about what kind of PB you have.  If you compare him to the Ethiopian athletes there is a difference in their best times of over two minutes.  Among the Japanese athletes as well, it was the same.  Nakamoto had the slowest PB.  It just shows that when it comes to the marathon, the way you develop your race is critical.  Both of them kept themselves in good positions all the way.  Racing skill will get you the win.

But that said, I want Japan's marathoners to keep improving their times.  I don't think 2:08 is sufficient to compete internationally.  We can't be satisfied with anything less than 2:06. If you're too far behind you can't ever get the kind of composure you need.  You feel like you are just barely hanging on, and even in a slow race like this was it leaves you running from behind.  Falling off a pace of 15:10 per 5 km is just unacceptable.  So, in their winter races I want our marathoners to get as much experience as they can, to raise their games, and to seriously target competing against the rest of the world.

Proof that stability is the path to success. -- Tetsuhiko Kin

Nakamoto ran very well, to the point that you can legitimately feel that he's just a step away from a medal.  He himself knew that he was strong in the heat and that he had the perseverance and fortitude to earn himself a medal if he could just take that step, so in that respect he has to be feeling some regret.  There's still a gap in ability between him and the others up front, no doubt, but while you can't exactly be happy that he let it slip, the fact that he proved that even at this point in history Japanese runners are able to get  close enough to brush a medal with their fingertips is indeed cause to be happy.

Nakamoto ran with the most composure of anyone there.  More than the atmospheric temperature the strong sunlight was the key factor in making the conditions extremely hot, and he had carefully planned all the important details of his race right down to wearing a cap all the way to the finish.  He had to think he had a chance.  Rather than a high-speed race, this race developed as a survival race.  The only thing that was disappointing was that he couldn't handle the final surge.  It really felt like if he had one more chance he could finally get that medal.  He has demonstrated that he has an extremely high aptitude for running the marathon's 42.195 km and I think he is right on the very cusp of becoming a medalist.  It's only a question of whether he will be able to develop his closing speed.  By showing his strength in a survival race like this, he proved that Japanese men can be part of the battle too.

Fujiwara, Maeda and Kawauchi didn't place well, but all of them showed perseverance in running down athletes who had gone out faster and faded.  In that sense, overall it was roughly on the same level as last time in Daegu [where Japan won the team silver medal with Horibata, Nakamoto and Kawauchi scoring].  With regard to Horibata dropping out, that's very largely attributable to insufficient preparation time following his recovery from a stress fracture earlier this year.

Looking at the win, in terms of time the Ethiopian athletes were probably better, but in this kind of race your competitive instincts and drive are crucial and so in the end it was the Olympic champion who won.  He understands very well how to win.  He demonstrated that the deciding factor in a summer race is not speed but strength.  If Japanese athletes take that to heart, plan for that kind of race and bring their best running, I think they will be right there for the medals.

At this point winter season marathons are often 2:04~2:05 races, but if our athletes can show stability in their running no matter what the circumstances or conditions, then, like the winner this time, Kiprotich, they will have a real shot at winning too.  You might feel that speed and stability are mutually exclusive, but Nakamoto proved this time that stability is the path to success, and that was a great result for Japanese athletes to get out of these Championships.

We saw the true merits of the Japanese athlete. -- Yasushi Enomoto

This race showed the absolute best of the Japanese athlete.  We carefully considered what to do if it was hot, what to do if it was cold, gathered as much information as we could about as many different past races as we could, stuck right to the flow of the race, and that all contributed to the good results we saw.

I think the best part of 5th-place finisher Nakamoto's race was how he handled the elevation in pace between 10 and 15 km.  That's true of Kawauchi too, but when the pace increased Nakamoto went straight into a good position near the front of the pack and kept himself there for the rest of the race.  The key factor was the pace increases, and as Nakamoto handled those well I think his 5th-place finish flowed from that.

If you're too anxious before the race then you can't bring out the best of what you have to offer, so it wasn't just a question of how much Nakamoto trained.  He thoroughly understood himself and his own racing style, and he showed up on the starting line giving off an aura of self-confidence.  When the pace increased you could see his inner composure, and when the lead group's pace slowed between 20 and 30 km the perseverance and patience he showed that are unique to Japanese athletes were crucial to the final outcome.  Nakamoto said, "I can push through the second half," and that self-confidence helped him survive the final stages.

Temperatures at the start were reported as 24.4 degrees, and it's typically said that you can push the pace as long as it's under 25.  When I saw how slow the race went out I had the impression that it must have been significantly hotter than that, that the athletes were feeling heat beyond just the atmospheric temperature.  Heat is also determined by a sum total including humidity, sunlight and wind, and I plan to thoroughly study the data from this race to help develop counter-measures for the future.

We've identified some overlooked factors in handling the heat of a summer marathon, but with the late Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) having run 2:06 in the hot Beijing summer Olympics marathon pessimism has arisen about Japanese athletes' ability to excel versus such a high-speed world standard even in difficult conditions.  But with foreign athletes having struggled in this race, it allows us to revise our view and realize that they are not going to be unfailingly strong in a summer marathon.  A pace of 3:05/km like in this race allows Japanese athletes to utilize their strength to advantage.  I think it demonstrated that in a 2:09~2:10 race we can certainly be competitive.

In relation to the topic of coping with the summer marathon, in Japan there is an accumulation of knowledge of proper counter-measures for the heat.  For example, this time our athletes wore lightweight caps with mesh affixed to the sides and rear and freely shared knowhow and participated in research on the ideal method for taking drinks at aid stations.  If our athletes can approach 3 min/km pace in summer marathons, near the kinds of times they run in winter marathons, then I think their chances of winning medals will increase.  Nakamoto's performance indicated this clearly.

On the other hand, the subject of how to deal with world-class races at under 3 min/km is the next challenge facing us.  But looking at a range of research, I believe Japanese athletes can be competitive.  We have incredible depth in our long-distance running, and with the ability for our athletes to continue training in the type of environment provided by the jitsugyodan corporate team system with which we are blessed, we'll be able to tackle the challenge.  We definitely have a chance.  Like Nakamoto did this time, being right there with the best in the world is the best habit we could get into.

Moscow World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

With 100 m national champion Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) off the team with a hamstring injury few expected the young Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team to make the final on the last night of the Moscow World Championships, but strong runs and impeccable exchanges from high school star Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.), Yamagata's replacement Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin), third man Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) and 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) on anchor saw Japan leading the U.S. partway through the anchor leg of their heat before finishing 2nd in a season best 38.23 to advance.  Things went less smoothly in the final where alternate Fujimitsu started late, the choppy exchange from Kiryu that resulted putting Japan behind. Iizuka crossed the line 7th in 38.39, but the team was later elevated to 6th following Great Britain's disqualification.  For a young, inexperienced team without one of its strongest members or the pressure of expectations it was a good result that spoke to the continued development of Japanese sprinting.  Two more years for this team and they should be looking good.

Moscow World Championships Day Nine
Moscow, 8/18/13
click here for complete results

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1.  Jamaica - 37.36
2. U.S.A. - 37.66
3. Canada - 37.92
4. Germany - 38.04
5. Netherlands - 38.37
6. Japan - 38.39
7. Trinidad and Tobago - 38.57
DQ - Great Britain

Men's 4x100 m Relay Heat Two
1. U.S.A. - 38.06 - Q
2. Japan - 38.23 - Q
3. Ukraine - 38.57
4. Barbados - 38.94 - NR
5. China - 38.95
6. France - 38.97
7. Hong Kong - 39.10

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nakamoto 5th in Moscow World Championships Marathon

by Brett Larner



In his third-straight appearance on a World Championships or Olympic team, Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) confirmed his position as Japan's best marathoner, building on his 10th-place finish at the 2011 Daegu World Championships and 6th-place finish last summer at the London Olympics with a characteristically steady and relentless race for 5th in 2:10:50 in the Moscow World Championships marathon after spending most of the race in the leading pack with eventual medalists Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) and Tadese Tola (Ethiopia) and defending Chicago and London Marathon champion Tsegay Kebede (Ethiopia).

After a slow first 10 km the leading group settled onto a mid-2:10 pace where it stayed for the remainder of the day.  Nakamoto and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) were quick to position themselves near the front of the pack, with Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) hanging back at the rear.  With only two months of running in his legs after a stress fracture kept him out of training this spring, Daegu 7th-place finisher Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) lagged behind early, slipping back by 10 km and dropping out at 13 km.  By 20 km Kawauchi, who pre-race expressed fear about his ability in warm weather, was in trouble, already gritting his teeth as he faded back from Nakamoto.  Nakamoto went through halfway in 1:05:13 among the leaders, but Kawauchi had slipped 8 seconds and been overtaken by Maeda.  A short distance later Fujiwara caught up, but though Kawauchi tried to tuck in behind him by 25 km he was more than 15 seconds behind.

Around 25 km Nakamoto appeared to be itching to make a move, pulling to the front for the first time slightly wide of the pack and turning to look them up and down.  A series of feints by Tola, Kenyan Peter Some, Ugandan Jackson Kiprop and others shook many free of the leaders, but Nakamoto tenaciously stayed in contact through it all.  As he continued to run strong up front Maeda, who lost substantial training time this spring due to ankle surgery that required extensive rehabilitation, picked up places, advancing to 19th by 30 km.  Fujiwara was 12 second back in 21st, Kawauchi another 39 seconds behind in 23rd.

When the real move came just past 30 km with a hard surge from teammates Kiprotich and Kiprop the pack immediately splintered.  Nakamoto found himself in the third sub-group with 2:04 Ethiopian Yemane Tsegay and 2:06 Kenyan Bernard Kipyego. Keeping his head, he gradually picked up his pace to make  ground back up as the leaders settled down into something sustainable.  Nakamoto's gradually increasing pressure first broke Kipyego, then Tsegay.  Kiprop, fading from the lead group, was next at 34 km, and at 35.5 km Nakamoto rejoined the leaders to make it a pack of six.  Kiprotich's big move 700 m later was decisive, dropping Nakamoto and Kebede from contention and shortly putting Some to rest.  Nakamoto continued to push, and at 38.5 km he sailed past sinking 2:05 man Some into 5th.  Kebede came back into range, only 3 seconds ahead as they came onto the stadium grounds.

Olympic champion Kiprotich outgunned Boston marathon champion Desisa for the win in 2:09:51, both men recording modest negative splits.  Tola, who did much of the hard work to keep the pace throughout the race, was dead even at 2:10:23 after a 1:05:12 first half. Nakamoto, whose biggest weakness has been a lack of finishing speed in at least three key races, looked as though he would get Kebede on the track as he closed to within 1 second on the final curve, but the great Ethiopian had enough left to squeeze out what he needed in the last 100 m for 4th in 2:10:47.  Nakamoto was right behind in 2:10:50, achieving his minimum goal of improving on his London result.  "I placed better than in London last year, so I'm satisfied," he said teary-eyed post-race.  "I really wanted to catch one more person, though.  It was the hotter than I expected, so that played in my favor, but while I think my result was good I could tell that there is still a big gap to becoming a medalist or world-class.  I didn't have enough after 35 km and that's something I still need to work on. Thanks to everyone who came to cheer for me here and to the people back home, and I'll try to do better next time."

Fujiwara, having overtaken Maeda just before 35 km, was the next Japanese man in, running down Spain's Javier Guerra and Eritrea's Samuel Tsegay for 14th in 2:14:29, bringing to a close ten years of unfinished business since his DNS at the 2003 Paris World Championships.  "We were all shooting for top 8, so I'm so sorry about only finishing 14th," he said. "I lost touch with the pack earlier than I thought, so I had to keep going by myself for a lot of it.  I would have liked to do better, but this was what I could do with what I have now.  Ten years was a long time to get to this finish line, but I'll try to improve on this result two years from now."

2:08:00 man Maeda, with insufficient training in his legs post-surgery, was heavy and slow-moving as he came to the line in 17th in 2:15:25, but he had the satisfaction of being within the sight of his fast-closing bitter rival Kawauchi, a disappointing 18th in 2:15:35 and was taken straight to receive medical assistance.  "I couldn't really run like myself," Maeda said.  "I lost touch early and felt like I was just plodding along.  I couldn't hang on in the second half either.  I was hoping for top 8 too, but I didn't have the strength."

After receiving medical treatment Kawauchi told reporters, "I did a lot of different things to get ready for this, but I couldn't cope at all.  I have to rethink many things."  Pre-race Kawauchi had said that he would quit running summer marathons if Moscow did not go well.  "Next year at the Asian Games [Incheon, South Korea, Sept. 2014] I'll give it one last chance.  Maybe I can get the gold medal there.  If not....."

Moscow World Championships Men's Marathon
Moscow, 8/17/13
click here for complete results

1. Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:09:51
2. Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:12
3. Tadese Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:10:23
4. Tsegay Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:10:47
5. Kentaro Nakamoto (Japan) - 2:10:50
6. Solonei Da Silva (Brazil) - 2:11:40
7. Paulo Roberto Paulo (Brazil) - 2:11:40
8. Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 2:11:43
9. Peter Kimeli Some (Kenya) - 2:11:47
10. Jackson Kiprop (Uganda) - 2:12:12
-----
14. Masakazu Fujiwara (Japan) - 2:14:29
17. Kazuhiro Maeda (Japan) - 2:15:25
18. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:15:35
DNF - Hiroyuki Horibata

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Moscow World Championships - Day Seven Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

On the seventh day of competition at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, national champions Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) and Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) were both eliminated in the opening rounds of the women's 100 m hurdles and women's javelin.  200 m men Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) and Yuichi Kobayashi (Team NTN) were likewise cut out in the heats, Kobayashi run down in the final meters of Heat Four after running virtually even with world record holder Usain Bolt (Jamaica) coming off the curve.  2010 world junior champion Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) took 3rd in Heat Six to advance to the semi-finals, but with only a slight improvement there he was unable to advance to the final.  Iizuka remains the anchor of the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay team, but the team's hopes have been dimmed by the withdrawal of ace Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) with a hamstring injury sustained in the 100 m heats.

Moscow World Championships Day Seven
Moscow, 8/16/13
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Semi-Final Two +0.0 m/s
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 20.12 - Q
2. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 20.13 - Q
3. Isiah Young (U.S.A.) - 20.36
4. James Ellingotn (Great Britain) - 20.44
5. Jason Livermore (Jamaica) - 20.46
6. Antoine Adams (Saint Kitts and Nevis) - 20.47
7. Shota Iizuka (Japan) - 20.61
8. Karol Zalewski (Poland) - 20.66

Men's 200 m Heat Three +0.0 m/s
1. Warren Weir (Jamaica) - 20.34 - Q
2. Bruno Hortelano (Spain) - 20.47 - NR - Q
3. Jimmy Vicaut (France) - 20.50 - Q
4. Bruno De Barros (Brazil) - 20.60
5. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.96
6. Lestrod Roland (Saint Kitts and Nevis) - 21.37
7. Mitchel Davis (Dominica) - 21.99
8. Bernardo Baloyes (Colombia) - 22.37

1. Adam Gemili (Great Britain) - 20.17 - PB - Q
2. Isiah Young (U.S.A.) - 20.70 - Q
3. Shota Iizuka (Japan) - 20.71 - Q
4. Winston George (Guyana) - 20.88
5. Sergio Ruiz (Spain) - 20.88
6. Enrico Demonte (Italy) - 21.13
7. Ayman Mohamed Ahmed Said (Egypt) - 22.27
8. Jerai Torres (Gibraltar) - 22.98

1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 20.66 - Q
2. DeLanno Williams (Great Britain) - 20.72 - Q
3. LaLonde Gordon (Trinidad and Tobago) - 20.85 - Q
4. Yuichi Kobayashi (Japan) - 20.97
5. Alex Wilson (Switzerland) - 21.11
6. Jan Zumer (Slovakia) - 21.35
7. Jamial Rolle (Bahamas) - 21.40
8. Didier Kiki (Benin) - 22.01 - PB

Women's 100 m Hurdles Heat One -0.5 m/s
1. Angela Whyte (Canada) - 12.93 - Q
2. Marzia Caravelli (Italy) - 13.07 - Q
3. Nadine Hildebrand (Germany) - 13.16 - Q
4. Nia Ali (U.S.A.) - 13.19 - Q
5. Lucie Skrobakova (Czech Republic) - 13.24
6. Shujiao Wu (China) - 13.29
7. Hitomi Shimura (Japan) - 13.72

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Round
1. Maria Abakumova (Russia) - 69.09 - Q
2. Kimberley Mickle (Australia) - 65.73 - PB - Q
3. Sunette Viljouen (South Africa) - 64.51 - Q
3. Linda Stahl (Germany) - 64.51 - Q
5. Kathryn Mitchell (Australia) - 62.80 - Q
6. Tatjana Jelaca (Serbia) - 62.68 - Q
7. Christina Obergfoll (Germany) - 62.36 - Q
8 Viktoriya Sudarushkina (Russia) - 62.20 - Q
9. Sofi Flinck (Sweden) - 61.96 - NR - Q
10. Vira Rebryk (Ukraine) - 61.70 - Q
11. Lingwei Li (China) - 61.51 - Q
12. Nadeeka L. Babaranda Liyange (Sri Lanka) - 60.39 - q
-----
16. Yuki Ebihara (Japan) - 59.80

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, August 16, 2013

Japan's Five 2:08 Marathon Men Appear at Moscow Press Conference to Discuss World Championships Goals

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/130815/oth13081522110024-n1.htm
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130815-OHT1T00177.htm
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130815-00001096-yom-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Japanese men's marathon team for the ongoing Moscow World Championships appeared at a Moscow-area press conference on Aug. 15 to talk about their ambitions for the Aug. 17 race.  Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) all took part in the press conference.  With all five men having run 2:08 to earn a place on the team, talk of making the top eight on Saturday was the main topic.

Civil servant runner Kawauchi has taken his own unique approach to preparing for his second-straight World Championships, running a large number of races.  In the last World Championships in Daegu he finished 18th, but his goal this time is to make the top six. Asked about his chances of medaling he gave a faint-hearted reply, answering, "Even if I run my absolute best it's impossible unless other athletes blow up."  But, he added more firmly, "My training has been much better than two years ago, I'm feeling good, and I've built up a lot of overseas racing experience.  I want to make the best use of that experience here.  Last time was my first time and I didn't really know what I was doing, but as a member of the Japanese national team you have to have more self-awareness than that.  I've learned a lot since then and this time I know what I'm doing.  I think I can run a better race than two years ago, and with my goal of making the top six I hope I'm one of many Japanese men in the top eight.  Now that we're here my spirits are rising and I'm eager to do it."

6th in last summer's London Olympics marathon and 10th in the Daegu World Championships marathon, Nakamoto expressed his hopes for conditions like those for the women's marathon on Aug. 10, saying, "I like it when it's hot, so I think I can be competitive this time.  I hope it turns into a pure survival race."  Running on his third-straight national team, even just two days before the race he was calm and collected as he said, "I can feel that there's some pressure on me, but if I can live up to expectations then I'll be happy.  I've got experience and a little margin to spare as my training has been great and I'm in perfect shape.  That 6th place in London is sticking in my mind and I aim to improve on it.  I want to soak up the atmosphere here as I run and be the first Japanese man across the finish line."

Horibata, 7th in Daegu, suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in January and only began training a month and a half ago.  "I had a blank period there due to injury and only started running again at the beginning of June," he said.  "But I'm on the way up, getting better and feeling good.  My training right before we got here was about as good as it was before the last World Championships.  Within the limits of what's possible I want to run up front with the leaders."

Fujiwara, who made the 2003 Paris World Championships team off a 2:08:12 debut in college only to get injured and be unable to start the race, said, "Ten years ago I couldn't make it this far, so I'm feeling a little relieved in that respect.  Just seeing the Japanese uniform stirs deep feelings inside me, but if I can't deliver the results then it doesn't mean anything.  Basically I plan to run for the top eight and then take it from there and see how high up I can go.  If things are moving right from the start I'll go with it."

Maeda, 39th at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, said, "Now that the race is drawing near I'm getting excited and motivated.  I don't want this to end up like last time.  The only thing I can do to make up for that is to get into the top eight."

Moscow World Championships - Day Six Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Three Japanese national champions took part in opening-round competition on the sixth day of the Moscow World Championships.  All three crapped out.  Them's the breaks, unfortunately.

The men's 4x400 m relay team did better in its heat, delivering a season-best 3:02.43 for 4th but missing the cut to advance to the final on time, Brazil taking the slowest spot in 3:01.09.

Moscow World Championships Day Six
Moscow, 8/15/13
click here for complete results

Women's 200 m Heat Four
1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) - 22.78 - Q
2. Elyzaveta Bryzgina (Ukraine) - 22.84 - Q
3. Kai Selvon (Trinidad and Tobago) - 23.14 - Q
4. Franciela Krasucki (Brazil) - 23.20
5. Justine Palframan (South Africa) - 23.64
6. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 23.85
7. Melissa Breen (Australia) - 23.95

Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat One
1. Jamaica - 3:00.41 - Q
2. Great Britain - 3:00.50 - Q
3. Venezuela - 3:02.04
4. Japan - 3:02.43
5. Dominican Republic - 3:03.61
6. Spain - 3:04.07
7. Nigeria - 3:04.52
8. Botswana - 3:05.74

Men's Javelin Throw Qualification Round
1. Tero Pitkamaki (Finland) - 84.39 - Q
2. Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed (Egypt) - 83.62 - NR - Q
3. Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway) - 83.05 - Q
4. Ivan Zaytsev (Uzbekistan) - 81.53 - q
5. Vitezslav Vesely (Czech Republic) - 81.51 - q
6. Antti Ruuskanen (Finland) - 81.36 - q
7. Dmitri Tarabin (Russia) - 81.32 - q
8. Julius Yego (Kenya) - 80.88 - q
9. Kim Amb (Sweden) - 80.84 - q
10. Stuart Farquhar (New Zealand) - 80.73 - q
11. Roman Avramenko (Ukraine) - 80.37 - q
12. Risto Matas (Estonia) - 80.18 - q
-----
22. Yukifumi Murakami (Japan) - 77.75

Women's High Jump Qualification Round
1. Irene Gordeeva (Russia) - 1.92 - q
1. Anna Chicherova (Russia) - 1.92 - q
1. Alessia Trose (Italy) - 1.92 - q
1. Emma Green Tregaro (Sweden) - 1.92 - q
1. Svetlana Shkolina (Russia) - 1.92 - q
1. Airine Palsyte (Lithuania) - 1.92 - q
1. Ruth Beitia (Spain) - 1.92 - q
8. Brigetta Barret (U.S.A.) - 1.92 - q
8. Xingjuan Zheng (China) - 1.92 - q
10. Kamila Stepaniuk (Poland) - 1.92 - q
11. Justyna Kaspryzycka (Poland) - 1.92 - q
11. Levern Spencer (Saint Lucia) - 1.92 - q
11. Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch (Germany) - 1.92 - q
-----
27. Miyuki Fukumoto (Japan) - 1.78

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 15, 2013

All Smiles, Fukushi Returns to Japan, Saying of the Marathon, "I've Had Enough. I Won't Do Any More."

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/08/15/kiji/K20130815006422380.html

translated by Brett Larner

Moscow World Championships women's marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) returned to Japan on August 15 at Osaka's Kansai Airport, saying with a wide, ironic smile, "I guess I'm about to get buried by the consequences of this."  Fukushi ran on the track in four World Championships, but in her first appearance in the marathon she finally achieved what she has secretly wanted all along, a medal.  In the Kansai Airport arrival lobby she received an ovation from the crowds of Obon holiday travelers, never losing her smile as she dryly said, "A medal is pretty super awesome.  I'll be sure to tell my ancestors."

With regard to her plans for future marathons she said, "I might change my mind at some point, but I've had enough.  I won't do any more."  She plans to take an extended break, returning in time for December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

Moscow 4th-place finisher Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) who dropped out of the race partway, also returned to Japan at Tokyo's Narita Airport.  Showing her disappointment and missing out on the medals, Kizaki commented, "I met my absolute minimum goal, but there's an enormous difference between 3rd and 4th."  Her plans for her next marathon are not yet decided, but, she said, "To begin with, I have to start preparing to run the ekiden with everyone on my team."  Noguchi indicated that she intends to continue with her career as an athlete, saying firmly, "I'm not giving up and will keep trying my hardest."

'Kipyego Targets Even Higher Glory'

http://www.nation.co.ke/life-style/Kipyego-targets--even-higher-glory--/-/960656/1359246/-/pljeai/-/index.html

It seems as though this article on 2012 Tokyo Marathon winner Michael Kipyego (Kenya) is truncated, but it is still a good read ahead of Saturday's Moscow World Championships marathon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kawauchi Impersonator Takashi M. to Pray at Peak of Mt. Fuji for Real Item's World Championships Victory

http://www.47news.jp/topics/entertainment/oricon/culture/131790.html

translated by Brett Larner

Saitama Prefectural Government civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi professional impersonator athlete Takashi M. (28), has announced that he intends hold a special "Mt. Fuji Prayer Marathon" on Aug. 15 to pray at the peak of Mt. Fuji for a Kawauchi victory in Saturday's Moscow World Championships Marathon.  He intends to run up the World Heritage Site mountain to Fuji Sengen Shrine at its sacred summit to offer his prayers, saying that since he cannot cheer Kawauchi on in person he wants to send his voice westward from the peak of the mountain that is the envy of the rest of the world.

Takashi M. regularly appears as Kawauchi at marathons and ekidens across Japan, gaining a reputation as the country's leading "comedian runner."  A graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, where he was the team's manager while a student, he has long known both Kawauchi and marathon great Mari Tanigawa. With Kawauchi having earned his second-straight World Championships team placing, Takashi M. thought, "I have to do something to cheer him on in my own personal style."  After some thought, he settled on the run up the World Heritage Site Mt. Fuji.  "I will send Kawauchi all my support from atop Japan's greatest mountain," he said.

The World Championships marathon starts 3:30 p.m. local time on Aug. 17, 8:30 p.m. Japan time, from Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.  Takashi M.'s plan calls for him to start up Mt. Fuji early on the morning of Aug. 15 from Subashiri Sengen Shrine on the Subashiri Route on the mountain's Shizuoka side.  With the distance from there to the summit being around 20 km, the run will end up being exactly the same distance as a half marathon. With Subashiri Sengen Shrine and the Subashiri Route included in the mountain's World Heritage Site registration, Takashi M. said, "This is the best route for offering my prayers for victory."  At the peak, he will write his wishes for Kawauchi's success on a special votive made to commemorate Mt. Fuji's registration as a World Heritage Site, leaving the votive at Fuji Sengen Shrine.

Takashi M. is also involved in organizing the Akiba Entertainment Marathon around the Imperial Palace on Sept. 8, a charity event to raise funds for HIV/AIDS research and awareness among runners.  Kawauchi's younger brother Yoshiki Kawauchi will also run.

Moscow World Championships - Day Five Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Only two events saw Japanese competitors on the fifth day of the Moscow World Championships.  National champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) made zero impact in the women's 5000 m, finishing second from last in her heat nearly a minute slower than her winning time from Nationals in June.  The men's 50 km racewalk squad accorded itself better, with Takayuki Tanii (Team Sagawa Express) taking 9th for the second Championships in a row, and Hirooki Arai (SDF Academy) clocking a PB 3:45:56 for 11th.  10000 m racewalk national record holder Koichiro Morioka (Team Fujitsu) struggled at the longer distance, finishing only 23rd in 3:53:54.

Moscow World Championships Day Five
Moscow, 8/14/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Heat One
1. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:34.70 - Q
2. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 15:34.93 - Q
3. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 15:40.91 - Q
4. Shannon Rowbury (U.S.A.) - 15:50.41 - Q
5. Tejitu Daba (Bahrain) - 15:56.74 - Q
6. Almensh Belete (Belgium) - 16:03.03
7. Sopie Duarte (France) - 16:05.14
8. Betlhem Desalegn (U.A.E.) - 16:13.27
9. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 16:16.52
10. Carolina Tabares (Colombia) - 16:22.81
DNF - Margaret Wangari Muriuki (Kenya)

Men's 50 km Race Walk
1. Robert Heffernan (Ireland) - 3:37:56
2. Mikhail Ryzhov (Russia) - 3:38:58 - PB
3. Jared Tallent (Australia) - 3:40:03
4. Ihor Hlavan (Ukraine) - 3:40:39 - PB
5. Matej Toth (Slovakia) - 3:41:07
6. Grzegorz Sudol (Poland) - 3:41:20 - PB
7. Ivan Noskov (Russia) - 3:41:20 - PB
8. Lukasz Nowak (Poland) - 3:43:38
9. Takayuki Tanii (Japan) - 3:44:26
10. Yohann Diniz (France) - 3:45:18
-----
11. Hirooki Arai (Japan) - 3:45:56 - PB
23. Koichiro Morioka (Japan) - 3:53:54

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Moscow World Championships - Day Four Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Day Four of the 2013 Moscow World Championships was a slow one for the Japanese contingent.  In the men's 5000 m heats, all-time Japanese #3 Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) ran despite having twisted an ankle during the 10000 m, largely passive except for one move in the final kilometer before finishing 11th in 13:37.07.  He did not advance to the final.  400 m hurdler Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu), a strong prospect for the final, also did not advance after he false started.  In the women's 20 km race walk, national record holder Masumi Fuchise (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) went out fast and was in range of the bronze medal pack until the very last stage of the race when she faded to 29th in 1:33:13.  Among those who overtook her was teammate Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu), who took 26th in 1:32:44.

Moscow World Championships Day Four
Moscow, 8/13/14
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat Two
1. Muktar Edris (Ethiopia) - 13:20.82 - Q
2. Edwin Soi (Kenya) - 13:21.44 - Q
3. Isiah Koech (Kenya) - 13:22.19 - Q
4. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 13:23.91 - Q
5. Mohamed Farah (Great Britain) - 13:23.93 - Q
6. Dejena Regassa (Bahrain) - 13:25.21 - q
7. Othmane El Goumri (Morocco) - 13:31.08
8. Ben St. Lawrence (Australia) - 13:33.64
9. Aelemayehu Bezabeh (Spain) - 13:34.68
10. Bayron Piedra (Ecuador) - 13:35.38
-----
11. Yuki Sato (Japan) - 13:37.07

Women's 20 km Racewalk
1. Elena Lashimanova (Russia) - 1:27:08
2. Anisya Kirdyapkina (Russia) - 1:27:11
3. Hong Liu (China) - 1:28:10
4. Huanhuan Sun (China) - 1:28:32
5. Elisa Rigaudo (Italy) - 1:28:41
6. Beatriz Pascal (Spain) - 1:29:00
7. Anezka Drahotova (Czech Republic) - 1:29:05 - PB
8. Ana Cabecinha (Potugal) - 1:29:17
9. Julia Takacs (Spain) - 1:29:25
10. Eleonora Giorgi (Italy) - 1:30:01
-----
26. Kumi Otoshi (Japan) - 1:32:44
29. Masumi Fuchise (Japan) - 1:33:13

Men's 400 m Hurdles Semi-Final Two
1. Michael Tinsley (U.S.A.) - 48.31 - Q
2. Emir Bekric (Serbia) - 48.36 - NR - Q
3. Leford Green (Jamaica) - 48.88
4. Rhys Williams (Great Britain) - 49.29
5. Timofey Chalyy (Russia) - 50.06
6. Mahau Suguimati (Brazil) - 50.27
7. Mickael Francois (France) - 50.58
DQ - Takayuki Kishimoto (Japan)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Little Love for Hitomi Niiya, Please

by Brett Larner
photo by Mika Tokairin
split chart courtesy of Dr. Helmut Winter

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Hitomi Niiya.

She received little more than passing mention, if that, in most English-language coverage of Sunday's Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m, but she deserves a lot of credit for making the race regardless of its predicable outcome. Prefigured precisely by her meet record 31:06.67 win at June's National Championships, where she took the lead just past 3000 m and ran alone right on national record pace to lap the entire field, and by the London Olympics where she led a significant portion of the race to make the top ten in a PB of 30:59.19, a performance that you would think should have earned her enough respect to be called by her name rather than just "Japanese girl" by at least one prominent American outlet covering Moscow, Niiya took over from struggling American rabbit Shalane Flanagan after 3000 m and relentlessly pushed on at PB pace until she had ground the field down to just four competitors, two Ethiopian and two Kenyan.

Needless to say, all four outkicked her over the last lap, but it is worth a second look at Niiya's lap-by-lap splits to see just how great she ran.  Dr. Helmut Winter of German Road Races was kind enough to send the following split chart.  Click the chart to enlarge it.

It's easy to see that the second Flanagan was unable to sustain Niiya's target pace, Niiya was there ready to step up.  Except for a slightly rocky stretch between 6 and 7000 m she was incredibly steady, and take a look at the 400 m splits from 8000 to 9200 m. Three laps in a row at exactly the same speed, 1:14.15, with the next at 1:14.12.  Keep in mind that this was at PB pace while leading the late stages of a World Championships race, and that only three Japanese women including Niiya have ever broken 31 minutes. Yes, she didn't have the kick to cope with the likes of Tirunesh Dibaba, but it's hard to fault the way she strove to kill off as much competition as she could or her 30:56.70 finish in 5th.  A 2 1/2 second PB and four-place improvement over her London Olympics result, Moscow leaves her just 8 seconds off the Japanese national record and tantalizingly close to achieving what Flanagan did in Beijing and, earlier, Kara Goucher in Osaka.  With more development and more animal birth videos in her, Niiya's next two or three years should be pretty interesting.

In the meantime, give it up for what may end up as the purest guts performance of the Moscow World Championships.  Have fun in the pet shops, Hitomi.

text (c) 2013 Brett Larner / photos (c) 2013 Mika Tokairin / split chart (c) 2013 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Moscow World Championships - Day Three Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

On the third day of competition at the Moscow World Championships the biggest Japanese performances came in the men's 400 m hurdles and men's pole vault. Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) finished 3rd in his 400 m hurdles heat to gain an automatic qualifying spot for the semi-final, the only one of Japan's four male and female hurdlers to advance at this distance and with a realistic chance of making the final.  In the pole vault, national champion Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) cleared 5.75 m to take 6th, a PB by 4 cm that made him the only athlete in the top ten to set a new PB at the World Championships.  Hammer great Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) also took 6th, throwing a season best 78.03 m.  Along with hurdlers Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex AC), Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) and Takatoshi Abe (Chukyo Univ.), men's 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka) also missed out on advancing, finishing last in his semi-final heat in 46.28.

Moscow World Championships Day Three
Moscow, 8/12/13
click here for complete results

Men's 400 m Semi-Final One
1. Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia) - 44.61 - NR - Q
2. Tony McQuay (U.S.A.) - 44.66 - Q
3. Anderson Henriques (Brazil) - 44.95 - PB - q
4. Kevin Borlee (Belgium) - 45.03
5. Javon Francis (Jamaica) - 45.62
6. Nick Ekelund-Arenander (Denmark) - 45.89
7. Brian Gregan (Ireland) - 45.98
8. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 46.28

Men's 400 m Hurdles Heat Two
1. Omar Cisneros (Cuba) - 49.87 - Q
2. Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) - 49.91 - Q
3. Takayuki Kishimoto (Japan) - 49.96 - Q
4. Mickael Francois (France) - 50.02 - Q
5. L.J. Van Zyl (South Africa) - 50.05
6. Miloud Rahmani (Algeria) - 50.79
7. Maoulida Daroueche (Comoros) - 53.28
DNF - Jacques Frisch (Luxembourg)

Men's 400 m Hurdles Heat Four
1. Mamadou Kasse Hanne (Senegal) - 49.33 - Q
2. Leford Green (Jamaica) - 49.45 - Q
3. Bershawn Jackson (U.S.A.) - 49.76 - Q
4. Jeffery Gibson (Bahamas) - 50.25 - Q
5. Yasuhiro Fueki (Japan) - 50.66
6. Mowen Boino (Papua New Guinea) - 51.49
7. Eric Cray (Philippines) - 52.45

Men's 400 m Hurdles Heat Five
1. Jehue Gordon (Trinidad and Tobago) - 49.52 - Q
2. Isa Phillips (Jamaica) - 49.57 - Q
3. Rasmus Magi (Estonia) - 49.63 - Q
4. David Greene (Great Britain) - 49.79 - Q
5. Mahau Suguimati (Brazil) - 50.00 - q
6. Takatoshi Abe (Japan) - 51.41
DQ - Eric Alejandro (Puerto Rico)

Women's 400 m Hurdles Heat One
1. Denisa Rosolova (Czech Republic) - 55.44 - Q
2. Meghan Beesley (Great Britain) - 55.45 - Q
3. Vania Stambolova (Bulgaria) - 55.91 - Q
4. Satomi Kubokura (Japan) - 56.33
5. Axelle Dauwens (Belgium) - 56.85
6. Hayat Lambarki (Morocco) - 58.00
7. Georganne Moline (U.S.A.) - 59.05
DQ - Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica)

Men's Pole Vault Final
1. Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) - 5.89 m
2. Renaud Lavillenie (France) - 5.89 m
3. Bjorn Otto (Germany) - 5.82 m
4. Brad Walker (U.S.A.) - 5.82 m
5. Malte Mohr (Germany) - 5. 82 m
6. Seito Yamamoto (Japan) - 5.75 m - PB
7. Jan Kudlicka (Czech Republic) - 5.75 m
8. Sergey Kucheryanu (Russia) - 5.65 m
9. Alhaji Jeng (Sweden) - 5.65 m
10. Konstadinos Filippidis (Greece) - 5.65 m

Men's Hammer Throw Final
1. Pawel Fajdek (Poland) - 81.97 m
2. Krisztian Pars (Hungary) - 80.30 m
3. Lukas Melich (Czench Republic) - 79.36 m
4. Primoz Kozmus (Slovakia) - 79.22 m
5. Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) - 78.31 m
6. Koji Murofushi (Japan) - 78.03 m
7. Nicola Vizzoni (Italy) - 77.61 m
8. Marcel Lomnicky (Slovakia) - 77.57 m
9. Szymon Ziolkowski (Poland) - 76.84 m
10. Markus Esser (Germany) - 76.25 m

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, August 12, 2013

Yamagata Out of 4x100 m Relay Team With Pulled Muscle

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/130812/oth13081210240018-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Japan's sprint ace Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) has been removed from the 4x100 m relay team after suffering a pulled muscle in the rear of his left thigh.  The injury occurred during the men's 100 m heats on August 10.  It was diagnosed as a muscle pull on the 11th, and after consultation with the team doctor and trainers Yamagata was removed from the relay team.  According to Rikuren sprint director Koji Ito, "He can walk, but it is not a light injury."

Yamagata ran the same heat as world record holder Usain Bolt (Jamaica), his reaction time of 0.172 the ranking him fifth in the heat.  "Up to halfway I couldn't open up to top speed," Yamagata reflected of his race, where at halfway he quickly looked around and found he was in competition with four or five other athletes.  Dueling with a South African athlete in the lane to his right, Yamagata crossed the line 4th, just 0.01 seconds out of qualifying for the semi-final.  "Not bringing the results in the one place I had to bring them shows that I don't have enough experience," he said dejectedly.

According to Ito, after the race Yamagata reported having felt pain 70 m in.  Last fall he experienced an injury in the same place on the rear of his right thigh.  Ito commented, "Based on the information we have, I'd have to think that that injury has returned.  Yamagata has been careful but has carried it with him and experienced problems."

Moscow World Championships - Day Two Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

National champion Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Entertainment) ran exactly the race prefigured by her win at June's National Championships and in last year's London Olympics, going out right behind early rabbit Shalane Flanagan (U.S.A.) in the Moscow World Championships 10000 m, taking the lead after 3000 m and setting the pace all the way to the last lap before finishing 5th in a PB 30:56.70.  In a tearful post-race interview she said, "There's no reason to be at Worlds if you can't medal," but her fearlessness in setting her own pace and her improvement of her standing as all-time third-fastest Japanese for the second time at a major international championships did credit to both her and her coach Yoshio Koide.  Kyushu-based Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) also turned in a PB performance, taking 7th in 31:22.11.

In other events, 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) finished last in his qualifying heat but still slipped through to the semi-finals on time in 46.18.  Race walker Takumi Saito  (Toyo University) took 6th in the men's 20 km in 1:22:09, with his teammate Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) not far back in 12th in 1:23:20. Decathlon national champion Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) improved on his standing from the first day of competition, ending up in 22nd overall.

Moscow World Championships - Day Two
Moscow, 8/11/13
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 30:43.35
2. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) - 30:45.17
3. Belaynesh Oljira (Ethiopia) - 30:46.98
4. Emily Chebet (Kenya) - 30:47.02 - PB
5. Hitomi Niiya (Japan) - 30:56.70 - PB
6. Shitaye Eshete (Bahrain) - 31:13.79
7. Sally Chepyego (Kenya) - 31:22.11 - PB
8. Shalane Flanagan (U.S.A.) - 31:34.83
9. Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia) - 32:02.09
10. Christele Daunay (France) - 32:04.44

1. Luguelin Santos (Dominican Republic) - 45.23 - Q
2. Kevin Borlee (Belgium) - 45.32 - Q
3. Chris Brown (Bahamas) - 45.39 - Q
4. Nigel Levine (Great Britain) - 45.41 - Q
5. Omar Johnson (Jamaica) - 45.97 - q
6. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 46.18 - q
DNF - Daniel Aleman (Nicaragua)

Men's 20 km Race Walk
1. Aleksandr Ivanov (Russia) - 1:20:58 - PB
2. Ding Chen (China) - 1:21:09
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Spain) - 1:21:21
4. Joao Vieira (Portugal) - 1:22:05
5. Denis Strelkov (Russia) - 1:22:06
6. Takumi Saito (Japan) - 1:22:09
7. Ruslan Dmytrenko (Ukraine) - 1:22:14
8. Inaki Gomez (Canada) - 1:22:21
9. Christopher Linke (Germany) - 1:22:36
10. Hyunsub Kim (South Korea) - 1:22:50
-----
12. Yusuke Suzuki (Japan) - 1:23:20

Men's Decathlon
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 8809
2. Michael Schrader (Germany) - 8670 - PB
3. Damian Warner (Canada) - 8512 - PB
4. Kevin Mayer (France) - 8446 - PB
5. Eelco Sintnicolaas (Netherlands) - 8391
6. Carlos Chinin (Brazil) - 8388
7. Rico Freimuth (Germany) - 8382 - PB
8. Ilya Shkurenev (Russia) - 8370 - PB
9. Willem Coertzen (South Africa) - 8343 - AR
10. Leonel Suarez (Cuba) - 8317
-----
22. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 7751

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kawauchi and Men's Marathon Team Leave Narita for Moscow: "It's Do or Die. There is No Next Time."

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130811-00000019-nksports-spo
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130811-00000026-dal-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Promising a race of "action," Japan's strongest amateur, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) left Tokyo's Narita Airport with other members of the men's marathon and javelin squads on Aug. 11 for Moscow where he will run his second-straight World Championships marathon.  The day before, women's marathoner Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) won a bronze medal, raising spirits and creating great excitement in the Japanese athletics world. Kawauchi, who finished 18th in 2:16:11 two years ago in the Daegu World Championships, was upbeat but serious, saying with determination, "Last time I blew it.  This time is going to be full of action.  I'm in good shape, and I am going to bring everything I've done and learned up to now into play.  I'm ready to achieve my goal of finishing in the top six."  With two incredible years behind him since Daegu and more than 300 races in his career to date, Kawauchi has plenty of reason to be confident.

The biggest fear is the heat in Moscow, where temperatures as high as 37 degrees were recorded during the marathon despite expectations that the city would be cool.  Kawauchi, who has had trouble with hot conditions in the past and suggested he may quit running summer marathons depending on his results in Moscow, was airily fatalistic as he said, "It's do or die with all my heart, that's the only way to go into this.  If it goes over 30 degrees, if it's 32, 33, 36, 37 degrees, even 40 degrees, it doesn't change anything.  I'm nervous about collapsing and heatstroke and will be careful about drinking at the water stations, but no matter how painful it gets, even if I'm crawling, this one is to the death.  If I blow it this time, there is no next time."

The World Championships men's marathon is on August 17 at 8:30 p.m. Japan time.

Moscow World Championships - Day One Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

With the highlight of the first day of competition at the 2013 World Championships from the Japanese perspective having been Kayoko Fukushi's bronze medal in the women's marathon, five other events also saw Japanese athletes in the ranks.  In the men's 10000 m, all-time Japanese #5 Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) brought a season best 27:50.79 to take 15th, with #1-ranked collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) faltering in the late going and dropping to 21st in 28:19.50.  #3 Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) was a surprise DNF after falling off the pace early.  Japanese-trained Africans took three of the top six places including two medals, with former Honda athlete Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) missing a defense of his world title half a second behind rival Mohamed Farah (GBR) in 27:22.23 and Kyudenko runner Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) a step behind for bronze in 27:22.61.  Tokyo-based Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) took 6th in 27:27.17 after working with Tanui to push the pace through much of the race.

In the men's 100 m heats, both top collegiate Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) and high school sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.) took 4th in their heats, missing out on advancing to the semi-finals, Yamagata by only 0.01 seconds.  More success came in the field event qualifying rounds, where the great Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) advanced in the hammer throw and national champion Seito Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) made the cut in the pole vault.  In the decathlon, Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) ended the day ranked 27th, his biggest point gains coming in the jumps.

Moscow World Championships - Day One
Moscow, 8/10/13
click here for complete results

Women's Marathon
1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:25:44 - ACR
2. Valeria Straneo (Italy) - 2:25:58 (ACR)
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Japan) - 2:27:45 (ACR)
4. Ryoko Kizaki (Japan) - 2:31:28
5. Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) - 2:32:38
6. Emma Quaglia (Italy) - 2:34:16
7. Madai Perez (Mexico) - 2:34:23
8. Hye-Gyong Kim (North Korea) - 2:35:49
9. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 2:36:12
10. Susan Partridge (GBR) - 2:36:24
-----
DNF - Mizuki Noguchi (Japan)

Men's 10000 m
1. Mohamed Farah (Great Britain) - 27:21.71
2. Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) - 27:22.23
3. Paul Tanui (Kenya) - 27:22.61
4. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 27:24.39
5. Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) - 27:25.27
6. Bedan Karoki (Kenya) - 27:27.17
7. Kenneth Kipkemoi (Kenya) - 27:28.50
8. Nguse Amlosom (Eritrea) - 27:29.21
9. Mohammed Ahmed (Canada) - 27:35.76
10. Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.) - 27:37.90
-----
15. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan) - 27:50.79
21. Suguru Osako (Japan) - 28:19.50
DNF - Yuki Sato (Japan

Men's 100 m Heats
Heat Two -0.4 m/s
1. Nesta Carter (Jamaica) - 10.11 - Q
2. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) - 10.17 - Q
3. Gavin Smellie (Canada) - 10.30 - Q
4. Yoshihide Kiryu (Japan) - 10.31
5. Andrew Hinds (Barbados) - 10.38
6. Adam Zavacky (Slovakia) - 10.46
7. Alex Quinonez (Ecuador) - 10.50
DNF - Ifrish Alberg (Suriname)

Heat Seven -0.4 m/s
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 10.07 - Q
2. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 10.17 - Q
3. Ramon Gittens (Barbados) - 10.19 - Q
4. Ryota Yamagata (Japan) - 10.21
5. Rondel Sorrillo (Trinidad) - 10.25
6. Hua Wilfried Koffi (Ivory Coast) - 10.40
7. Sapwaturrahman (Indonesia) - 10.89
DQ - Kemar Hyman (Cayman Islands)

Men's Hammer Throw Qualification Round
1. Krisztian Pars (Hungary) - 79.06 m
2. Lukas Melich (Czech Republic) - 78.52 m
3. Primoz Kozmus (Slovakia) - 78.10 m
4. Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikistan) - 77.93 m
5. Sergej Litvinov (Russia) - 77.41 m
6. Marcel Lomnicky (Slovakia) - 76.97 m
7. Szymon Ziolkowski (Poland) - 76.85 m
8. Koji Murofushi (Japan) - 76.27 m
9. Pawel Fajdek (Poland) - 76.17 m
10. Markus Esser (Germany) - 75.90 m
11. Nicola Vizzoni (Italy) - 75.38 m
12. Yury Shayunou (Belarus) - 75.18 m

Men's Pole Vault Qualification Round
Group A
1. Jan Kudlicka (Czech Republic) - 5.65 m - q
2. Malte Mohr (Germany) - 5.55 m - q
3. Konstadinos Filippidis (Greece) - 5.55 m - q
4. Seito Yamamoto (Japan) - 5.55 m - q
4. Alhaji Jeng (Sweden) - 5.55 m - q
4. Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) - 5.55 m - q
7. Valentin Lavillenie (France) - 5.55 m - q
8. Chanrui Xue (China) - 5.55 m - q
9. Sergey Kucheryanu (Russia) - 5.55 m - q
-----
10. Daichi Sawano (Japan) - 5.40 m

Group B
1. Renaud Lavillenie (France) - 5.65 m - q
2. Brad Walker (U.S.A.) - 5.55 m - q
3. Augusto De Oliveira (Brazil) - 5.55 m - q
4. Bjorn Otto (Germany) - 5.55 m - q
-----
8. Hiroki Ogita (Japan) - 5.40 m

Men's Decathlon Day One
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 4502
2. Gunnar Nixon (U.S.A.) - 4493
3. Michael Schrader (Germany) - 4427
4. Damian Warner (Canada) - 4381
5. Eelco Sintnicolaas (Netherlands) - 4318
6. Rico Freimuth (Germany) - 4296
7. Pascal Behrenbruch (Germany) - 4258
8. Willem Coertzen (South Africa) - 4257
9. Mihail Dudas (Serbia) - 4256
10. Carlos Chinin (Brazil) - 4251
-----
27. Keisuke Ushiro (Japan) - 3746

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fukushi Bronze on First Day of Moscow World Championships

by Brett Larner

The day Japanese marathon fans have been waiting for for years finally arrived as half-marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) finally stepped up to inherit the legacy of Olympic gold medalists Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) with a bronze medal in the women's marathon on the hot opening day of the 2013 Moscow World Championships, tough in the heat as the favorites faded. Noguchi, making a long-awaited comeback to world-level competition, was a DNF in the rough conditions, but third team member Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) ran a solid and steady race to take 4th.

Both Fukushi and Noguchi went with the fast early pace set by Italy's Valeria Straneo, but by 10 km Noguchi, running her first world-level marathon since her 2004 gold in Athens, could not keep up.  Fukushi stayed at the back of the lead pack as the numbers dwindled from eight to seven to four.  Kizaki stayed in the second pack for the first quarter of the race before making a move with defending gold medalist Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) to join the lead group.  The pair passed Noguchi just past 12 km, but while Kiplagat went on to the front Kizaki stalled and was stuck running most of the race alone.  By 30 km Noguchi had slowed to a walk, alternating brief periods of running before stopping again, and ultimately dropping out near 33 km.  Kizaki continued to push on, picking up the casualties one by one and moving up to 5th place.

Back in the lead pack Fukushi was biding her time against Straneo, Kiplagat and Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu, but after 25 km she began to show the faintest signs of strain, at times falling a meter or two behind the rest of the group.  Just before 30 km a true gap suddenly appeared, and very quickly Fukushi was out of the lead trio and medal contention.

But, marathons are long and much can change.  As Straneo continued to apply pressure Melkamu dropped off at 33 km, making it a two-woman race for gold up front.  Fukushi could see Melkamu starting to come back and refocused, picking up the pace and catching her just past 35 km.  Melkamu tried to go with her, but after catching her breath a brief surge from Fukushi was all it took to put the Ethiopian away.  Seconds later, a defeated Melkamu dropped out of the race, leaving Fukushi free to run in alone for bronze and moving Kizaki up to 4th.

Fukushi ran strong over the final 5 km, losing some ground to Kiplagat and Straneo but continuing to wave to supporters and smile.  Kiplagat predictably had the finish she needed to become the first woman to defend a World Championships title, dropping Straneo to win by 14 seconds in a Russian all-comers' record 2:25:44.  Straneo and Fukushi, who came onto the track nearly two minutes back, also cleared the all-comers' record, Fukushi crossing the line in 2:27:45.

Fukushi earned Japan's first World Championships medal since Yoshimi Ozaki's silver in Berlin in 2009, showing strength over the final stages of the marathon for the first time in her five races to date.  In seventeen starts on Japanese national teams at the Olympics, World Championships, World XC Championships and World Road Running Championships it was also the first individual medal of her career.  It would have been hard to imagine her reaching this stage just after her now-legendary debut in 2008.  In a hilarious post-race interview she was all smiles and laughs, saying, "This was the first time in a long time that I felt like my old self.  I thought I had a shot at gold, but forget about it.  That's it for me and the marathon.  I'm done running them."  Combined with Kizaki's 4th the race hearkened back to the Japanese women's era of strength after five years of relative decline, and with Noguchi falling short of her dream of a successful comeback it feels like the transition from that era is complete.  It's now up to the Japanese men, with five sub-2:09 runners making up their marathon team, to follow Fukushi and Kizaki's examples next weekend.

Moscow World Championships Women's Marathon Top Results
Moscow, 8/10/13
click here for complete results

1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:25:44 - ACR
2. Valeria Straneo (Italy) - 2:25:58 (ACR)
3. Kayoko Fukushi (Japan) - 2:27:45 (ACR)
4. Ryoko Kizaki (Japan) - 2:31:28
5. Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) - 2:32:38
6. Emma Quaglia (Italy) - 2:34:16
7. Madai Perez (Mexico) - 2:34:23
8. Hye-Gyong Kim (North Korea) - 2:35:49
9. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 2:36:12
10. Susan Partridge (GBR) - 2:36:24
-----
DNF - Mizuki Noguchi (Japan)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Moscow World Championships Japanese Long Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

Click here for JRN's men's and women's marathon team previews.

Japan's long distance track squad for the Moscow World Championships is small but high on quality, by Japanese standards at least.  It's not likely many people outside Japan will pay much attention to the men's 10000 m team on Saturday, but with Japanese all-time #3 Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), all-time #4 Suguru Osako (Waseda University) and #5 Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) making up the team after finishing 1-2-3 at June's National Championships what's not to like?  Sato and Osako, both graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S., have had an intense rivalry going over the last two or three years with Osako beating the older Sato more often than not including at April's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational where both went under the 27:40.00 Moscow A-standard, but when it has mattered, i.e. both last year and this year's National Championships, Sato has come through with superior closing speed.  Sato has said his goal in Moscow is to break his PB and get into the single-digit placings.  Considering that his current PB is only 3 seconds off the national record, it could be an historic race for the Japanese, especially if Osako goes with him again.  Ugachi, who Osako displaced on the all-time rankings at Payton Jordan, has tended toward longer distances and holds the all-time Japanese #4 half marathon mark.  His track times over the last year and a half have not lived up to his 2011 performances, but anything approaching his best would help make Moscow one of the potentially greatest track races in Japanese men's history.

Last month Sato added the all-time Japanese #3 5000 m time of 13:13.60 to his portfolio to clear the A-standard and, with the 5000 m heats happening after the opening day's 10000 m, he is planning to double.  From all appearances, though, the 10000 m will be his main focus, so don't look for him to clear the heats.

As in the marathon the women's squad is smaller, with just one athlete each in the 10000 m and 5000 m.  Likably eccentric 10000 m national champion Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Etertainment) has had an unusual career, a high school star who tried to go straight to the marathon with a win at the first Tokyo Marathon at age 18 and spent several years smashing her head against it before giving up and returning to shorter distances. The star of the Toyota Jidoshokki team, she refused to leave Chiba and advising coach Yoshio Koide when the rest of the team moved to western Japan and was summarily fired, running as an independent for a time before being taken in by the Koide-coached Universal Entertainment team.  Doubling in the 5 and 10 in London, she made the all-time Japanese top ten over both distances including becoming only the third Japanese woman to break 31 minutes.  Undefeated this year except for a disastrous 82nd-place finish at the World XC Championships, she lapped the entire field at June's National Championships to set a meet record 31:06.67 off a slow first 3000 m.  With just a small step up the national record of 30:48.89 could be in range.

5000 m national champion Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) is also based in Chiba. A relative unknown, she has had a great 2013 so far with PBs for 3000 m, 5000 m, road 10 km and half marathon. She broke the Moscow B-standard in winning her national title to unexpectedly make the team.  With few expectations on her making it out of the heats would be a major accomplishment as she continues to develop into one of Japan's top current women.

Men's 10000 m and 5000 m

Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin)


Born: 11/26/86, Shizuoka
Graduated: Tokai University, Saku Chosei H.S.
Coach: Teruoki Shirouzu


PBs
1500 m: 3:44.80 (East Japan Corporate Championships 2011)
3000 m: 7:44.63 (Oordegem 2010) - all-time Japanese #2
5000 m: 13:13.60 (Heusden 2013) - all-time Japanese #3
10000 m: 27:38.25 (Stanford 2009) - all-time Japanese #3
half marathon: 1:06:47 (Shizuoka 2012)
marathon: 2:16:31 (Tokyo Marathon 2013)

Major performances in 2013
12th, Monaco Diamond League 5000 m, 7/19/13 - 13:34.18
8th, KBC Nacht 5000 m A-Heat, 7/13/13 - 13:13.60 - PB
1st, National Championships 10000 m, 6/8/13 - 28:24.94
3rd, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10000 m, 4/28/13 - 27:39.50
4th, Mount SAC Relays 5000 m, 4/19/13 - 13:30.57
31st, Tokyo Marathon, 2:16:31 - debut
10th, New Year Ekiden Sixth Stage (12.5 km) - 38:24

Men's 10000 m

Suguru Osako (Waseda University)


Born: 5/23/91, Tokyo
Graduated: Saku Chosei H.S.
Coach: Yasuyuki Watanabe


PBs
1500 m: 3:42.68 (Twilight Games, Tokyo 2012)
3000 m: 7:54.68 (Rieti 2012)
5000 m: 13:27.54 (Heusden 2013)
10000 m: 27:38.31 (Stanford 2013) - all-time Japanese #4, national collegiate record
half marathon: 1:01:47 (Ageo 2010)

Major performances in 2013
17th, KBC Nacht 5000 m A-heat, 7/13/13 - 13:27.54 - PB
2nd, National Championships 10000 m, 6/8/13 - 28:25.84
2nd, Kanto Regional University Championships 5000 m, 5/26/13 - 13:34.30
2nd, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10000 m, 4/28/13 - 27:38.31 - PB
2nd, Fukuoka International XC 10 km, 2/23/13 - 29:50
1st, National Men's Ekiden Third Stage (8.5 km), 1/2/13 - 23:39
2nd, Hakone Ekiden Third Stage (21.5 km), 1:04:44

Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta)


Born: 4/27/87, Tochigi
Graduated: Komazawa University, Sakushin Gakuin H.S.
Coach: Katsumi Sakai


PBs
5000 m: 13:29.50 (Kanaguri Memorial 2012)
10000 m: 27:40.69 (Hachioji Long Distance Time Trials 2011) - all-time Japanese #5
half marathon: 1:00:58 (Marugame 2011) - all-time Japanese #4
30 km: 1:30:01 (Kumanichi 2012)

Major performances in 2013
4th, Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet, 6/29/13 - 13:30.77
3rd, National Championships 10000 m, 6/8/13 - 28:27.00
12th, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10000 m, 4/28/13 - 27:55.27
1st, Oregon Relays 5000 m, 4/19/13 - 13:56.95
3rd, Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, 1:01:16
2nd, New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.0 km) - 1:03:20


Women's 10000 m



Born: 2/26/88, Okayama
Graduated: Kojokan H.S.
Coach: Yoshio Koide


PBs
1500 m: 4:22.75
3000 m: 9:08.86 (Okayama 2005)
5000 m: 15:10.20 (London Olympics 2012) - all-time Japanese #7
10000 m: 30:59.19 (London Olympics 2012) - all-time Japanese #3
half marathon: 1:11:41 (Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon 2008)
marathon: 2:30:58 (Nagoya International Women's Marathon 2009)

Major performances in 2013
1st, National Championships 10000 m, 7/7/13 - 31:06.67 - MR
82nd, World XC Championships 7.49 km, 3/24/13 - 27:20
1st, Fukuoka International XC 6 km, 2/23/13 - 20:00
1st, National Women's Ekiden Ninth Stage (10.0 km), 1/13/13 - 31:17

Women's 5000 m



Born: 2/24/85, Mie
Graduated: Uji Yamada Shogyo H.S.
Coach: Hidemori Noguchi


PBs
1500 m: 4:17.78 (Oita 2006)
3000 m: 9:10.13 (Kitami 2013)
5000 m: 15:21.73 (Tokyo 2013)
10 km: 32:58 (Yamaguchi 2013)
half marathon: 1:11:16 (Marugame 2013)

Major performances in 2013
1st, Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet 3000 m, 7/6/13 - 9:10.13 - PB
2nd, National Championships 5000 m, 6/9/13 - 15:21.73 - PB
5th, Golden Grand Prix, 5/5/13 - 15:38.30
6th, Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 5000 m, 4/28/13 - 15:27.84
3rd, National Corporate 10 km Road Championships, 3/17/13 - 32:58 - PB
10th, Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, 2/3/13 - 1:11:16 - PB
14th, National Women's Ekiden First Stage (6.0 km), 1/13/13 - 19:35

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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