Monday, September 30, 2013

20-Year-Old Genki Yagisawa Breaks Through to Sub-13:30 at Nittai Time Trials

by Brett Larner
photos by Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
videos by Ekiden News



The 232nd edition of 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University's regular time trial meet series was the biggest on record.  After a Saturday dedicated to distances ranging from 800 m to 10000 m, Sunday dawned early for 45 heats of 5000 m, 42 for men and 3 for women, the first starting at 7:30 a.m. and the last at 9:20 p.m.  Mass-producing quality, the 5000 m heats averaged 42 runners each with the two largest having 48 finishers.  Late in the day the heats were beginning every 15 minutes like clockwork.  Performances were equally deep, with the women's 5000 m A-heat seeing the most women ever under 16:30, 38, and the men's 5000 m A-heat with 30 under 14:05 falling just short of the record of 33.

The performance of the weekend went to 20-year-old Meiji University junior Genki Yagisawa, a former high school star who has so far struggled to live up to expectations on the university ekiden circuit.  Running in the 5000 m A-heat Yagisawa scored a massive 27-second PB of 13:28.79 for 2nd behind a PB run from Sendai Ikuei H.S. ace Hiram Ngatia (Kenya) and ahead of the likes of 2010 World XC junior silver medalist Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru), his time making him only the second Japanese 20-year-old to ever go sub-13:30.  For comparison, current #1 under-23 American Chris Derrick's best at the same age was one second slower, 13:29.74, with only four American 20-year-olds including Alberto Salazar ever clocking better times.

Meiji runners as a whole had an outstanding night, three others clocking sub-14 PBs between the A and B-heats led by sophomore Yuki Muta's 13:47.58 win in the B-heat. Meiji has shown early-season strength in past years only to fade by the time of January's Hakone main event, but with this many men breaking through to the next level they could be a challenger for the win in Japan's biggest sports event.

Hakone rivals Aoyama Gakuin University, Chuo Gakuin University, Hosei University, Nihon University and Tokai University also scored big with multiple runners running new sub-14 or sub-29 bests.  Tokai's results were the most noteworthy, three of its runners going sub-29 for the first time.  Tokai has long relied on one or two aces to carry the team's weight, a strategy that has rarely pulled it through.  In 2011 Hayashi Morozumi, who guided Saku Chosei H.S. to become one of Japan's best teams and cultivated most of Japan's top current young men including Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC), took over as Tokai's head coach. The team struggled for its first two years under his leadership, but the breakthrough en masse at this weekend's Nittai meet could be the first sign that his methods are starting to take effect.

Along with Ngatia, Yagisawa and the Meiji performances, other noteworthy runs on the men's side included:

  • A 27:48.55 PB win by the Honda corporate team's new Kenyan William Malel, the team's replacement for 2011 world 10000 m champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia).
  • A 13:36.79 breakthrough PB by Aritaka Kajiwara of the minor Press Kogyo team. Kajiwara is a graduate of the equally-minor Shoin University and ran the Hakone Ekiden on the Kanto Region Select Team, receiving the tasuki from future great Yuki Kawauchi on the Seventh Stage at the 2009 Hakone.
  • A 13:37.93 PB by 2010 Youth Olympics 3000 m 4th-placer Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.).
  • 18-year-old Kenta Ueda of Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S., 2000 m junior high school national record holder and the son of Yamanashi Gakuin University head coach Masahito Ueda, broke 14 for the first time with a best of 13:58.85.



Kenyan Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto) and 2010 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champion Team Tenmaya's next rising star Akari Ota led the way in the record-setting women's 5000 m A-heat, both running 15:30 PB marks with Kamulu getting the win.  All ten of the women in the top ten scored PBs, special mention going to Kureha Seki of 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan Uji H.S., 7th in a PB of 15:42.36.  38 women cleared 16:30, eclipsing the previous record of 36 set at Nittai last December.  The women's 3000 m was more subdued, with corporate team Shimamura's Yukari Abe running 9:13.29 to win over a virtually all-high school top ten.

The Nittai University Time Trials series continues Oct. 26-27 with its 233rd edition.

232nd Nittai University Time Trials
Nittai University, Yokohama, 9/28~29/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 12
1. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 27:48.55 - PB
2. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 28:11.81
3. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 28:13.34
4. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Nanyu City Hall) - 28:20.57
5. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:33.66
6. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:39.08 - PB
7. Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 28:41.24
8. Keita Akiba (Team Komori Corp.) - 28:44.30
9. Yuki Hirota (Tokai Univ.) - 28:44.34 - PB
10. Soji Ikeda (Team Yakult) - 28:47.91

Men's 5000 m Heat 42
1. Hiram Ngatia (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 13:26.73 - PB
2. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 13:28.79 - PB
3. Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru) - 13:31.10
4. Leul Gebreselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13:31.19 - PB
5. Daniel Mwiba (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:35.45 - PB
6. Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:36.79 - PB
7. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:37.46
8. Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.) - 13:37.93 - PB
9. David Njuguna (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 13:44.21 - PB
10. Cyrus Kingori (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 13:44.41 - PB

Men's 5000 m Heat 41
1. Yuki Muta (Meiji Univ.) - 13:47.58 - PB
2. Kazuya Namera (Team Subaru) - 13:50.65 - PB
3. Takuya Fujikawa (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:51.40 - PB
4. Yoshihiro Wakamatsu (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:52.70
5. Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:54.22 - PB
6. Shin Kimura (Meiji Univ.) - 13:54.27 - PB
7. Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:54.35
8. Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corp.) - 13:55.25 - PB
9. Shinichiro Tai (Hosei Univ.) - 13:56.35 - PB
10. Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:56.48 - PB

Women's 5000 m Heat 3
1. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Team Toto) - 15:30.46 - PB
2. Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 15:30.82 - PB
3. Rina Yamasaki (Team Panasonic) - 15:40.23 - PB
4. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:40.78 - PB
5. Mao Kuroda (Team Wacoal) - 15:41.49 - PB
6. Yuki Hidaka (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:41.98 - PB
7. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 15:42.36 - PB
8. Yuko Aoki (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:42.62 - PB
9. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:44.40 - PB
10. Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) - 15:46.50 - PB

Women's 3000 m Heat 8
1. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 9:13.29
2. Megumi Aoba (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:16.53 - PB
3. Kaori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 9:18.31
4. Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:18.77
5. Kanna Tamaki (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 9:20.52 - PB
6. Kayo Asaba (Team Denso) - 9:21.86
7. Shiori Morita (Eda H.S.) - 9:24.12
8. Kaho Morino (Mishima Kita H.S.) - 9:24.51
9. Yuki Maehata (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:24.66 - PB
10. Mako Sakaguchi (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:25.41

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photos (c) 2013 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fujiwara and Watanabe Win on the Roads At Opposite Ends of Japan

by Brett Larner

Two weeks after finishing 4th and 6th in 1:02:44 and 1:02:58 at the Great North Run half marathon, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and the Koichi Morishita-coached Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) scored wins on the roads at opposite ends of Japan.

Running at Hokkaido's Hakodate Half Marathon against a strong domestic field including perennial rival Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) who was 8th at the Great North Run, Fujiwara bided his time in hot conditions before attacking 2008 World Half Marathon 5th-placer Yusei Nakao and Taiga Ito of Suzuki Hamamatsu AC with 1.5 km to go and taking the win in 1:04:19.  "It was quite hot out there, so it ended up being a slow day," Fujiwara told JRN post-race.  After not having raced domestically since last December, though, he added, "Everyone made it a great race and I'm really happy to have gotten the win."  It was only the third road race victory of Fujiwara's career.

Kawauchi was 4th in 1:04:51.  "The athletes around me, Fujiwara included, had their craft down," he commented.  "That was pretty disappointing."  Fujiwara and Kawauchi will next square off at December's Fukuoka International Marathon.

In the women's race, fresh from a 10000 m title at last weekend's National Corporate Track and Field Championships, Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) won easily in 1:13:06 over 2010 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido), 2nd in 1:15:44 in her first race in recent memory.  Click here for a nice collection of photos from Hakodate.

Far to the south in Kyushu, Watanabe continued his recent hot streak with his first win at the Fukuoka Prefecture Road Championships 10-Miler.  With two runner-up finishes to his name Watanabe applied pressure punctuated with surges to get rid of his teammates, defending champion Yuya Konishi and last year's 3rd-place finisher Yuki Oshikawa. Unchallenged over the last stretch of the race, he won in 48:34 with Oshikawa well back in 48:52 for 2nd.  Konishi dropped out near 11 km after losing touch with the two leaders. Both Watanabe and Oshikawa scored places on the defending champion Fukuoka team for the final running of the prestigious Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden late next month and on into November.

23rd Hakodate Half Marathon
Hakodate, Hokkaido, 9/29/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:04:19
2. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:04:24
3. Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:04:38
4. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:51
5. Kenya Sonota (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:29

Women
1. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 1:13:06
2. Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) - 1:15:44
3. Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 1:17:47

67th Fukuoka Prefecture Road Championships
Omuta, Fukuoka, 9/29/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10 Miles
1. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 48:34
2. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 48:52
3. Shinnosuke Ogura (Team Kurosaki Harima) - 49:04
4. Tsubasa Akagi (Team Nishitetsu) - 49:06
5. Kaoru Hirosue (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 49:11
DNF - Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu)

High School Boys' 10 km
1. Yuki Ueda (Tamana Kogyo H.S.) - 31:14
2. Koki Tokunaga (Omuta H.S.) - 31:24
3. Tomotaka Yasuda (Omuta H.S.) - 31:37

Women's 5 km
1. Maki Saito (Fukuoka Univ.) - 16:39
2. Wakana Itsuki (Fukuoka Univ.) - 16:40
3. Hitomi Sakaguchi (Fukuoka Univ.) - 16:44

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter

Behind Wilson Kipsang's brilliantly self-controlled world record run at the 40th Berlin Marathon, 2:09:10 man Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) and last year's fastest Japanese man overseas, 24-year-old Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) with a 2:10:40 best from the 2012 Chicago Marathon, spent the race sparring with Brazilian great Marilson dos Santos in the second pack.  Keying off dos Santos through 10 km, Ishikawa fell back three seconds between 10 and 15 km with Kobayashi staying at his side before deciding to stay in the race and regain direct contact.

In a virtual replay of his run against Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.) in Chicago last year, Kobayashi stayed glued to dos Santos on low-2:07 pace until 35 km before starting to lose ground and then fading badly.  As dos Santos went ahead to take 6th in 2:09:24 Ishikawa, who had fallen as much as a minute behind, closed hard to retake Kobayashi in the final 2 km.  Ishikawa crossed the line 7th in 2:10:24, Kobayashi staggering in for 8th in 2:11:31. Further back, Norio Kamijo (Team Yachiyo Kogyo), hoping for an improvement on his 2:13:37 best, started off at a reasonable pace just sub-2:10 but slowed progressively to 2:13 pace before crashing to a 26th-place finish in 2:19:20.

The women's race was largely a bust for the Japanese as domestic favorite Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) was nowhere to be found. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto), with a 2:26:17 best from Nagoya this year, started the race well, on track for a 2:25 best, but abruptly ran into trouble after 15 km and plummeted to a 2:37:45 finish in 7th.



40th Berlin Marathon
Berlin, Germany, 9/29/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:03:23 - WR
2. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) - 2:04:05 - PB
3. Geoffrey Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:06:26
4. Stephen Kwelio Chemlany (Kenya) - 2:07:44 - PB
5. Maswai Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:08:52 - PB
6. Marilson dos Santos (Brazil) - 2:09:24
7. Suehiro Ishikawa (Japan/Team Honda) - 2:10:24
8. Koji Kobayashi (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:11:31
9. Rui Silva (Portugal) - 2:12:16
10. Sisay Jisa (Ethiopia) - 2:12:17
-----
26. Norio Kamijo (Japan/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 2:19:20

Women
1. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:21:13
2. Sharon Cherop (Kenya) - 2:22:28
3. Irina Mikitenko (Germany) - 2:24:54
4. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) - 2:28:02
5. Desiree Davila (U.S.A.) - 2:29:15
6. Vianey de la Rosa (Mexico) - 2:32:35
7. Eri Hayakawa (Japan/Team Toto) - 2:37:45
8. Nina Stocker (Germany) - 2:37:46
9. Lizzi Lee (Ireland) - 2:38:09
10. Maria Yolanda Gutierrez (Spain) - 2:38:18

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

all photos (c) 2013 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 28, 2013

'Yoshihisa Hosaka Drawn to STWM by Prospect of Another World Record and Meeting Ed-san!'

http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/blog/2013/09/yoshihisa-hosaka-drawn-to-stwm-by-prospect-of-another-world-record-and-meeting-ed-san/

Men's 59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC), 2:34:23 at age 59, 2:36:30 at age 60, 2:38:12 at age 61, 2:46:30 at age 63 and 2:46:17 in July at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at age 64, will be running next month's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with support from JRN in pursuit of the 2:42:44 age 64 world record.  Hosaka will also meet 68+ world record holder Ed Whitlock in Toronto for a panel discussion at the race expo.  Look for coverage of the two greats' meeting in Courir and Running Times magazines later this fall.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kiryu in Action (updated)

Update, 9/27: The videos are live again, so I'm bumping this post back up to the top.

Update, 9/24: The video poster has made the videos of Kiryu running at his high school festival private, unfortunately.  I'll leave the links here on the off chance they ever revert.


Teen sprint sensation Yoshihide Kiryu was in action over the weekend at his high school's sports festival.  Running around a dirt field on the Rakunan H.S. grounds, he started the second leg of the senior class relay fourth out of five teams.  The result was predictable.

Kiryu also cleaned up in the 200 m.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

World Championships Marathoner Maeda Named Police Chief for A Day

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/saga/news/20130925-OYT8T01531.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On September 25th the Shiroishi police department appointed 2013 Moscow World Championships marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (32, Team Kyudenko) and former National Sports Festival 5000 m champion Tomoka Inadomi (27), both natives of Shiroishi, honorary police chiefs for the day.  The nominations came as part of a fall road safety campaign across Saga prefecture.  Receiving the letter of appointment from police chief Kazuhiro Shinohara, Maeda greeted the assembled crowd saying, "Let's all work together to raise awareness and eliminate accidents from our streets."  Inadomi added, "I hope that everyone will carry a personal sense of the importance of road safety."

After the ceremony Maeda, who is suffering from a leg injury, rode in a loudspeaker car promoting road safety to local residents.  Wearing a tasuki emblazoned with a road safety slogan, Inadomi ran 2 km from police headquarters to Shiroishi J.H.S., from which she graduated, to remind drivers to drive safely.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Akari Ota Holds Off Kenyan Sweep of Distance Titles at National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Following the 10000 m victories of Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) and Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) a day earlier, two-time world junior steeplechase champion Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) added to the Kenyan haul with 5000 m wins on the second day of the 2013 National Corporate Track and Field Championships.  In the men's race, 2010 World Cross-Country silver medalist Clement Langat (Team Subaru) took things out at a desultory pace, splitting 2:48 and 2:51 for the first two km, trailed by Ndiku, fellow Kenyans Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel), Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) and Patrick Muwaka (Team Aisan Kogyo) and just one Japanese man, Meiji University graduate Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei).

Former Sera H.S. standout Ndirangu quickly lost patience with the state of things and took over with a 2:39 split for the third km, dropping all but Ndiku.  Ndirangu kept up the pressure with a 2:37 fourth km, but over the last lap he could not match Ndiku's closing speed as Ndiku hammered down to win in 13:29.08.  Ndirangu essentially gave up, losing a full ten seconds over the last lap and was very nearly caught by Langat and Yoroizaka who battled for 3rd, Langat landing on the podium in 13:41.66 with Yoroizaka just over a second behind him.

A day later Ndiku was back in the 3000 m steeplechase, easily winning by a margin of almost 20 seconds in 8:27.89.  Gitau also returned to take the 1500 m in 3:44.10, giving Kenyan men the sweep of every distance event from 1500 m up.

In the women's 5000 m Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) led start to finish, pushing an initial lead pack of five including Kenyans Susan Wairimu (Team Denso) and Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) with Japanese runners Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) and Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki).  After a slow 3:07 opening split Kimanzi took things down with a 3:02, killing off Wanjugu who dropped out of the race.  Kikuchi and Takechi could not stay with her and fell back together, leaving Wairimu to take a shot at the win. Several times she tried to pass Kimanzi, but each time Kimanzi refused to let her pass.  A 2:58 closing split was too much for Wairimu to handle, and Kimanzi was free in front as she crossed the line in 15:17.43.  Wairimu was three seconds back in 15:20.49.  In the second pair Kikuchi continued to do much of the leading, but late in the race Takechi took over and pulled away to score 3rd in 15:33.60.

The junior women's 3000 m final saw the lone Japanese winner in the distance events at this year's National Corporate meet.  Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) continued to add to her resume as she soloed a 9:03.52 win, more than 9 seconds ahead of nearest competition Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki).  Close behind Murugi, Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) took 3rd in 9:15.13.  All told, the top nine junior women all cleared 9:30.  National record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) won the 3000 mSC in 10:00.75, with Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) easily claiming the women's 1500 m title in 4:18.11.

61st National Corporate Track and Field Championships
Kumagaya Sports Park Field, Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/20~22/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Final
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:17.43
2. Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Team Denso) - 15:20.49
3. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:33.60
4. Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) - 15:36.28
5. Eina Yokosawa (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:43.14
6. Chiaki Morikawa (Team Starts) - 15:43.81
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 15:52.53
8. Yuko Aoki (Canon AC Kyushu) - 15:53.29
9. Madoka Mitsueda (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:54.02
10. Kaho Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:55.29
DNF - Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.)

Men's 5000 m Final
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 13:29.08
2. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:39.06
3. Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru) - 13:41.66
4. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:42.99
5. Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:43.73
6. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 13:44.77
7. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:54.58
8. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:54.72
9. Ryo Kiname (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:54.84
10. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:56.17

Junior Women's 3000 m Final
1. Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 9:03.52
2. Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 9:12.55
3. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 9:15.13
4. Nene Kawanishi (Team Wacoal) - 9:17.64
5. Tomoyo Yamamoto (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:20.77
6. Sakiko Naito (Team Panasonic) - 9:22.67
7. Misato Okubo (Team Sysmex) - 9:22.87
8. Sayaka Murakami (Team Daihatsu) - 9:24.60
9. Asahi Takeuchi (Team Uniqlo) - 9:25.96
10. Miyuki Oka (Team Denso) - 9:30.19

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 8:27.89
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:47.52
3. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:48.83
4. Kota Otani (Team JFE Steel) - 8:49.96
5. Shun Yamaryo (Team Nishitetsu) - 8:51.96

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 10:00.75
2. Kanako Ushirogawa (Team Shiseido) - 10:05.57
3. Kumiko Kamei (Team Denso) - 10:21.74
4. Mayumi Nagai (Team Kojima Press) - 10:48.70
5. Aiko Katori (Team Aichi Denki) - 10:51.54

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 3:44.10
2. Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 3:45.00
3. Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) - 3:47.27
4. Yasunari Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 3:49.15
5. Tatsuro Okazaki (Team Osaka Gas) - 3:49.38

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 4:18.11
2. Haruka Mochizuki (Team Yutaka Giken) - 4:21.45
3. Ayano Ikemitsu (Team Kagoshima Ginko) - 4:23.95
4. Chihiro Sunaga (Team Shiseido) - 4:24.81
5. Machiko Iwakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 4:25.46

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tanui and Obare Win National Corporate 10000 m Titles

by Brett Larner

The 61st National Corporate Track and Field Championships got underway the evening of Sept. 20 in Kumagaya, Saitama with five rounds of 10000 m.  Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) outran fellow Japan-based Kenyan Edward Waweru (Team NTN) for the A-heat win in 27:26.43 to 27:30.51, pushing the pace relentlessly to make it a two-man race before kicking away over the final lap.  Ethiopian Mulaku Abera (Team Kurosaki Harima) went sub-28 for the first time, running a solo 27:54.74 for 3rd.  2012 national corporate half marathon champion Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), relatively flat this year since a strong 30 km debut in February, was the top Japanese finisher, 4th inonly 28:06.52.

In the women's A-heat, longtime Japan resident Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) got the better of Moscow 7th-place finisher Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko), pulling away to win in 32:02.78 over the last km.  Chepyego in turn barely held off the charging Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu), a training partner of Moscow marathon 4th-placer Ryoko Kizaki. Oka ran in the chase pack behind the two leading Kenyans until making a move late in the race, closing to even with Chepyego but finishing a step behind as Chepyego took 2nd in 32:06.14 to Oka's new PB 32:06.79.

The men's B and C heats were steady and relatively uneventful, former Meiji University captain Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) running a one-second PB of 28:42.61 to win the B-heat and steepler Ryosuke Maki (Team Osaka Gas) a surprise win in the C-heat in 29:03.58.

The women's B-heat may have been the most interesting race of the evening, with the top four all running large PBs and 5th just off hers.  Running just five days after a solid 1:10:44 half marathon debut at England's Great North Run, Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) did most of the work in ensuring that the race stayed on track for a sub-33 time.  19-year-old Katsuki Suga, like Moscow 10000 m 5th-place Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) a star of ekiden powerhouse Kojokan H.S. who went on to Team Toyota Jidoshokki post-graduation, sat behind Kato until late in the race before surging away to win in a best of well over 30 seconds 32:42.96.  Just behind her, Kato likewise took nearly 30 seconds off her best for 2nd in 32:44.13.  Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex), a teammate of marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi, rounded out the top three with a best of 32:45.67.

The National Corporate Track and Field Championships continue throughout the weekend.

61st National Corporate Track and Field Championships
Kumagaya Sports Park Field, Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/20~22/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat Three
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 27:26.43
2. Edward Waweru (Kenya/NTN) - 27:30.51
3. Mulaku Abera (Ethiopia/Team Kurosaki Harima) - 27:54.74 - PB
4. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 28:06.52
5. Agato Yashin Hasen (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) - 28:23.67
6. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:23.95
7. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 28:28.72
8. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:31.23
9. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 28:43.68
10. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) - 28:46.73

Women's 10000 m Heat Two
1. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 32:02.78
2. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 32:06.14
3. Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) - 32:06.79 - PB
4. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 32:09.16
5. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 32:09.80
6. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 32:10.66 - PB
7. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 32:11.82
8. Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 32:16.05 - PB
9. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:24:42
10. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 32:24.85 - PB

Men's 10000 m Heat Two
1. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:42.61 - PB
2. Yuji Osuda (Team Mazda) - 28:54.84
3. Keita Baba (Team Honda) - 28:55.28
4. Shota Hiraga (Team Fujitsu) - 28:57.52
5. Takuya Noguchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:59.80

Women's 10000 m Heat One
1. Katsuki Suga (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:42.96 - PB
2. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 32:44.13 - PB
3. Misato Tanaka (Team Sysmex) - 32:45.67 - PB
4. Kotomi Takayama (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 32:49.12 - PB
5. Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 32:52.93

Men's 10000 m Heat One
1. Ryosuke Maki (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:03.58
2. Kazuyoshi Shimozato (Team Komori Corp.) - 29:13.87
3. Yuji Sasanuma (Team NTN) - 29:16.51
4. Takuya Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 29:29.63
5. Yuki Moriwaki (Team JFE Steel) - 29:32.63

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 20, 2013

'Beyond the Stats: Yuki Kawauchi'

http://www.nyrr.org/newsroom/nyrr-news-service/beyond-the-stats-yuki-kawauchi

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) is running November's ING New York City Marathon with support from JRN along with Hakone Ekiden mountain stage great Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), who he memorably beat in a battle of surges at the 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon, and London Olympian Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya), who was 13th in 2:51:55 four weeks ago at the Hokkaido Marathon. 

'Defending Champions Lead International Field for 2013 ING New York City Marathon'

http://www.nyrr.org/newsroom/press-release/defending-champions-lead-international-field-for-2013-ing-new-york-city-marathon

2013 ING New York City Marathon Elite Field
New York, Nov. 3, 2013

Men
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 2:04:15 (Berlin 2012) / 2:03:02a (Boston 2011)
Stanley Biwott (Kenya) - 2:05:12 (Paris 2012)
Wesley Korir (Kenya) - 2:06:13 (Chicago 2012)
Ryan Hall (U.S.A.) - 2:06:17 (London 2008) / 2:04:58a (Boston 2011)
Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 2:06:31 (Frankfurt 2011)
Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:07:20 (Enschede 2011)
Jose Manuel Martinez (Spain) - 2:08:09 (Rotterdam 2003)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul Int'l 2013)
Mebrahtom Keflezighi (U.S.A.) - 2:09:08 (Houston 2012)
Masato Imai (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:10:29 (Tokyo 2013)
Jason Hartmann (U.S.A.) - 2:11:06 (Chicago 2010)
Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 2:11:45 (Fukuoka Int'l 2012)
Jeff Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 2:12:03 (Chicago 2012)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 2:13:49 (Rome 2010)
Bouabdellah Tahri (France) - debut

Women
Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:19:50 (London 2012)
Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:20:14 (London 2012)
Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) - 2:22:56 (Osaka Int'l 2005)
Firehiwot Dado (Ethiopia) - 2:23:15 (New York 2007)
Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) - 2:23:19 (New York 2011)
Risa Shigetomo (Japan/Team Tenmaya) - 2:23:23 (Osaka Int'l 2012)
Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko (Ukraine) - 2:23:58 (Osaka Int'l 2013)
Christelle Daunay (France) - 2:24:22 (Paris 2012)
Kim Smith (New Zealand) - 2:25:21 (London 2010)
Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal) - 2:25:40 (New York 2011)
Lisa Stublic (Croatia) - 2:25:44 (Zurich 2013)
Sabrina Mockenhaupt (Germany) - 2:26:21 (Berlin 2010)
Amy Hastings (U.S.A.) - 2:27:17 (Houston 2012)
Adriana Nelson (U.S.A.) - 2:28:52 (London 2008)
Adriana Da Silva (Brazil) - 2:29:17 (Tokyo 2012)
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (U.S.A.) - 2:29:45 (Houston 2012)
Diane Nukuri-Johnson (Burundi) - 2:30:13 (London 2012)
Alisha Williams (U.S.A.) - 2:35:09 (Houston 2012) / 2:34:58a (California Int'l 2012)
Yolanda Caballero (Colombia) - 2:35:10a (Boston 2013)
Mattie Suver (U.S.A.) - 2:50:23 (Houston 2012)
Julie Culley (U.S.A.) - debut

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kawauchi by Fujiwara - A Photo Essay

A portrait of 2:08:14 marathoner Yuki Kawauchi by 2:07:48 marathoner Arata Fujiwara.











All photos taken by Arata Fujiwara 
in Newcastle, U.K., 9/15/13.

all photos (c) 2013 Arata Fujiwara
all rights reserved

'Ed Whitlock – Reluctant Hero to Return to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon'

http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/blog/2013/09/ed-whitlock-reluctant-hero-to-return-to-scotiabank-toronto-waterfront-marathon-by-paul-gains/

National Corporate Track and Field Championships Kick Off Friday in Kumagaya

http://www.saitama-np.co.jp/news/2013/09/19/07.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Held in Saitama for the first time, the 61st National Corporate Track and Field Championships get underway Friday, Sept. 20 at Kumagaya Sports Park Field bringing three days of hot action featuring many of the country's best athletes direct to local fans. The opening ceremonies will be on the 21st, but the meet actually gets underway on the 20th with the men's and women's 10000 m races, the main action following over the next two days.

Athletes scheduled to appear on the 21st include Moscow World Championships marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and 4x100 m relay finalist Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zenrin), a graduate of Saitama's Urawa H.S.  Fujimitsu is scheduled to double in the 100 m and 200 m, with his fellow Urawa graduate Yuji Ohashi (Mizuno) entered in the men's 110 m hurdles.  Among other Saitama athletes, having competed on three national teams including at the London Oympics and in Moscow, Seibu Gakuen Bunri H.S. graduate Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu) will compete in the women's 10000 m race walk in her final race before retiring.  Saitama Sakae H.S. graduate Momoko Takahashi (Team Fujitsu) is entered in both the women's 100 m and 200 m.

Translator's note: Complete entry lists are available here.  Other noteworthy athletes scheduled to compete include Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin), Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), Bitan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC), Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru), Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko).

Soejima and Yamamoto Join ING New York City Marathon Wheelchair Field

For Immediate Release

NEW YORK, September 18, 2013 - A quartet of past champions— Kurt Fearnley of Australia, Edith Wolf-Hunkeler of Switzerland, Ernst van Dyk of South Africa and returning men's champion, Masazumi Soejima of Japan —will lead a powerhouse field of international stars at the ING New York City Marathon wheelchair race, it was announced today by NYRR officials.  Also announced were Canadian star and marathon all-conditions world record-holder Josh Cassidy, 2013 Boston Marathon men's champion Hiroyuki Yamamoto of Japan and women’s wheelchair pioneer Louise Sauvage of Australia.

They join a formidable lineup of previously announced USA contenders for the November 3 race, including reigning Boston and Virgin London champion Tatyana McFadden, London Paralympic marathon gold medalist Shirley Reilly and two-time New York City Marathon champion and course record-holder Amanda McGrory. On the men's side, Josh George, Ryan Chalmers and Adam Bleakney lead the USA contenders.

The ING New York City Marathon wheelchair race offers a total prize purse of $103,000 plus time bonuses, with $15,000 prizes for the men'’s and women’'s champions.

Athlete backgrounds and notable performances

Fearnley, 32, is a four-time New York champion who swept to consecutive victories in 2006 to 2009. His 2006 winning time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 22 seconds is still the course record. This year, Fearnley won his second Virgin London crown and finished fifth in Boston. The three-time Paralympian is the ambassador for the Day of Difference Foundation and International Day of People with a Disability. This will be his eighth appearance in New York.

Cassidy, 28, has won three of the four World Marathon Majors crowns in his career: Virgin London in 2010; Boston and Bank of America Chicago in 2012. This will be his sixth appearance in New York. He set the all-conditions world record of 1:18:25 in Boston in 2012. He was second in the Great North Run on September 15 with a time of 45:21. The holder of the Canadian national records for every distance from 1500m to the marathon, Cassidy is also a professional illustrator.

Soejima, 43, is the returning New York champion from 2011, when he became the first Japanese winner of any division of the New York City Marathon. His career best of 1:18:50, set in winning Boston in 2011, is the third-fastest time ever. “Soey” has thrived in NYC, with three more top-five finishes in addition to his win. He is also a five-time Tokyo Marathon winner.

Wolf-Hunkeler, 41, is the grande dame of New York, with a record five titles: 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009. She has set the New York course record twice and has won in Boston twice. Wolf-Hunkeler is the 2008 Beijing Paralympic marathon gold medalist. She has a young daughter, Elin.

Van Dyk, 40, has won a record nine Boston Marathon titles and was the 2005 New York winner. This year, he was runner-up in Boston and third at in London. His all-conditions world record was lowered by two seconds last year by Josh Cassidy in Boston. In 2006, Van Dyk was named the Laureus World Sports Awards Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and has represented South Africa in every Paralympics since 1992.

Yamamoto, 47, won the 2013 Boston Marathon in 1:25:33 and came back a week later to finish eighth at the Virgin London Marathon.

Sauvage, 40, is an Australian national hero. She won two gold medals and a silver at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. She has been honored many times in Australia for her athletic achievements, including four-time Australian Paralympian of the Year awards. Sauvage is a four-time Boston Marathon champion (1997-–99, 2001); her battles with Jean Driscoll in Boston through the 1990s are legendary.

Nationally, the ING New York City Marathon will be presented on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes+ from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. The race will also be available via WatchESPN for those who have video subscriptions from affiliated providers. Locally, New Yorkers can watch the race on ABC7 or 7online.com from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or via WatchABC on mobile devices. Additionally, a national highlights show will air from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on ABC. For the latest Marathon news, updates, features, and media information, please visit NYRR's online media room at media.nyrr.org or follow us on Twitter @nyrrnews.

NYRR's premier event, the ING New York City Marathon is the most loved and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting elite athletes and recreational runners alike for the challenge and thrill of a lifetime. The race has grown tremendously since it began in 1970 with just 127 runners racing four laps of Central Park. Now, more than 48,000 participants from all over the globe flock to New York City every November for an adrenaline-filled road tour of all five boroughs, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and ending in Central Park.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2014 National Championships To Be Held In Fukushima

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130918-OHT1T00105.htm

translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 18 to set the schedule for the 2014 season, the Japanese athletics federation Rikuren voted to hold the 2014 National Championships June 6-8 at Fukushima's Toho Minna no Stadium, with mixed events to be staged May 31 and June 1 at the Nagano Municipal Track and Field Grounds.  The Golden Grand Prix meet featuring a range of top international athletes is planned for May 11 pending coordination with the IAAF.  Final details will be announced at a later date following securing of the meet venue.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Best-Ever Japanese Results at Great North Run (updated)

by Brett Larner

The 2013 Great North Run lived up to expectations with thrilling races up front on both the men's and women's sides.  Battling strong crosswinds through the first half of the race and benefitting from an equally strong tailwind through the middle stages, 5000 m and 10000 m world record holder Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) made a successful transition to longer distances with a 1:00:09 win by one second over favorite Mo Farah (Great Britain) and the great Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) who took nearly two minutes off the existing 40+ world record in 1:00:41, while London Marathon winner Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) mopped the soaking wet roads with Moscow World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m gold medalists Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) and Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) to win in a smoking 1:05:45.  The JRN-supported Japanese contingent brought its A-game, six of the seven of them making the top eight led by Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) who scored the best-ever Japanese men's finish at the Great North Run at 4th in 1:02:44 in his first race of 2013, and relative unknown Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) who debuted in 1:10:44 in her first race outside Japan.

In the men's race Bekele went straight to the front, throwing down a surge on a downhill into a tunnel at 2 km that shook things down to a pack of around ten. In short order it was down to the big three and 1:01:06 Italian Daniele Meucci, with a gap back to 2013 Marugame Half winner Collis Birmingham (Australia), another gap to Fujiwara, another to Tomohiro Tanigawa of 2013 national champions Team Konica Minolta, and yet another to a pack led by the Koichi Morishita-coached Ryuji Watanabe (Toyota Kyushu) and independent Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) in his U.K. debut.  As Meucci lost touch with the leaders Fujiwara overtook Birmingham, and as the pair closed on the Italian first Tanigawa and then a surging Watanabe caught up to make a chase pack of five.  Meucci soon faded, and another surge from Watanabe at 10 km broke Birmingham to cut the chase pack down to the three Japanese men.

Up front Bekele ran into trouble mid-race when a jogger bandit cut in and tried to run with him, Bekele slipping 30~40 m behind Farah and Gebrselassie for several kilometers before abruptly returning.  Running as a trio until the steep downhill to seaside just before the 12 mile mark, Bekele and Gebrselassie jointly attacked on the descent to try to crack Farah. Although a gap momentarily appeared Farah was soon back, and as Bekele went into long-surge mode Gebrselassie proved unable to match the two younger runners' closing speed.  Bekele likewise opened up on Farah, but in the last 200 m Farah returned for what looked like might become a replay of last year's last-second from-behind win by Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) over Micah Kogo (Kenya).  He closed to within one second, but it was Bekele who crossed the line first to the satisfaction of taking down the man who has replaced him as the dominant track runner of our time.

Further back, Watanabe, Fujiwara and Tanigawa ran as a trio until 15 km when Tanigawa, a younger graduate of Takushoku University, the alma mater of both Fujiwara and Moscow World Championships 5th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), made a move that shook off Watanabe. Fujiwara and Tanigawa ran side-by-side until 20 km when Fujiwara threw in a decisive move that gave him an unbreakable lead.  Tanigawa crossed the line four seconds behind, 5th in 1:02:48.  Close behind, Watanabe cleared 64 minutes for the first time with a time of 1:02:58 for 6th. Kawauchi, hoping to break 64 as he rebuilds from the Moscow World Championships marathon, duelled with Ireland's Mark Kenneally before losing out in the last stretch to take 8th in 1:04:08.  Making an international debut, 1:03:15 man Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) was the only Japanese runner to falter, 19th in 1:06:12.

In the women's race, Jeptoo, who came in with a best of 1:06:11 that was over a minute faster than Defar and Dibaba's best times, made payback for being given short shrift in a race billed by organizers as a duel between the two Ethiopians.  After a relatively fast-paced first five miles Dibaba pushed ahead with a 4:59 fifth mile that assured it was to be a race of three.  Jeptoo then surged, delivering a 15:03 five km split from 10 to 15 km and an incredible 4:34 tenth mile to make the race all hers.  Granted, that mile benefitted from some downhill and tailwind, but it was nevertheless on a par with the pace of the top men over the same stretch.  Following up the 15:03 with a 15:04 split from 15 km to 20 km she soloed her way on to cross the line in 1:05:45, 24 seconds ahead of Defar and more than a minute better than Dibaba.  Although the rolling Great North Run course is admittedly a downhill point-to-point course, all three of the top women cleared their PB marks by wide margins, an indication of the high quality of the race.  France's Christelle Daunay was the only other athlete to go under 70 minutes, 4th in 1:09:49.

Kato, in not only her first race but also first time outside Japan, came to the Great North Run off a 33:10.83 PB win at May's Kyushu Corporate Track and Field Championshps 10000 m.  Running mostly alone, she made a strong debut in 6th with a 1:10:44, just outside the Japanese top ten for 2013.  Ayaka Hitomi (Team Shimamura), also making an international debut, spent much of the race battling Croatian national record holder Lisa Stublic and 2009 Great North Run winner Jessica Augusto (Portugal).  Fading slightly over the final kilometers, she succeeded in holding on for a PB of over one minute as she took 8th ahead of Augusto in 1:13:09.

Quotes from the Japanese athletes at this year's Great North Run:

Arata Fujiwara (4th, 1:02:44): "This was my first time losing to Haile in four races against each other, so I'm a little disappointed. (laughs) But in terms of a comeback race, I'm very satisfied with this.  I was aiming to run 1:02 and that's what I did.  Looking back now it has been a long time away."

Tomohiro Tanigawa (5th, 1:02:48): "This was only my second race outside Japan. Boston in April was the first time and that was mostly just a test run to see how I could handle the jet lag and unfamiliar conditions.  This was my first time really racing overseas. I wasn't strong enough to beat Fujiwara at the end, but overall it was a big step forward."

Ryuji Watanabe (6th, 1:02:58 - PB): "I ran the kind of time I wanted.  It was a great experience."

Yuki Kawauchi (8th, 1:04:08): "I've taken it too easy since the World Championships and have put on some weight.  This just goes to show that you can't be lazy.  I thought I could run 63 this time, but this reflects my current condition pretty reasonably.  I'm kicking myself for losing out in the last sprint, though."

Ryota Matoba (19th, 1:06:12): "I didn't really have any specific problems, I just couldn't get into my stride.  I was alone pretty quickly and thought I could even out and catch people but it didn't work out."

Misaki Kato (6th, 1:10:44 - debut): "The start was really fast.  I kept trying to catch the tall white woman ahead of me [Jelena Procopcuka] but couldn't get her.  It was awesome to get run in a race like this for my first half marathon.  I'll be 29 for the Tokyo Olympics.  I can't imagine trying to run the same pace for twice as far, but this is the first time I feel like I can really think about the marathon there as a goal."

Ayaka Hitomi (8th, 1:13:09 - PB): "It was really cold out there and the course was pretty tough.  I wanted to run 72 but at least I PB'd."


Update: Also on Sunday, Keiji Akutsu (Team Subaru) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) ran 1:05:23 and 1:06:16 for 10th and 12th at the Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon in the Czech Republic.  Philemon Limo (Kenya) won in 1:00:38.  Click here for complete results.  At the Rock 'n' Roll Philadephia Half Marathon, Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) ran 1:10:02 for 3rd, 2012 National Corporate Champion Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) 1:10:03 for 4th, and Asami Kato (Team Panasonic) a 1:10:21 PB for 5th. Click here for full results.

2013 Great North Run Top Results
Newcastle-South Shields, 9/15/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - 1:00:09 - debut
2. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:00:10 - PB
3. Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 1:00:41
4. Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 1:02:44
5. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:48
6. Ryuji Watanabe (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:58 - PB
7. Mark Kenneally (Ireland) - 1:04:06 - PB
8. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:04:08
9. Yared Hagos (Ethiopia) - 1:04:14
10. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:04:28
-----
19. Ryota Matoba (Japan/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:06:12

Women
1. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 1:05:45 - PB
2. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) - 1:06:09 - PB
3. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 1:06:56 - PB
4. Christelle Daunay (France) - 1:09:49
5. Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia) - 1:10:14
6. Misaki Kato (Japan/Team Kyudenko) - 1:10:44 - debut
7. Lisa Stublic (Croatia) - 1:13:00
8. Ayaka Hitomi (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 1:13:09 - PB
9. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:13:51
10. Jilly Woodthorpe (Great Britain) - 1:14:31 - PB


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

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Great North Run Start Lists

by Brett Larner

Scratches from the upper end of the entry lists for tomorrow's Great North Run include Koen Raymaekers (Netherlands) and Andy Vernon (Great Britain) in the men's race and #1-ranked Brit Gemma Steel, Irene Jerotich (Kenya), Jen Rhines (U.S.A.), Laura Whittle (Great Britain) and Abigail Bayley (Great Britain) in the women's race.

2013 Great North Run Start List Highlights
Newcastle-South Shields, U.K., 9/15/13

Men
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - debut
Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 58:55 (Phoenix, 2006)
Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:00:22 (New York 2011)
Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:00:56 (Marugame 2013)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 1:01:06 (New York 2013)
Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 1:01:34 (Marugame 2012)
Tomohiro Tanigawa (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:17 (Marugame 2013)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18 (Marugame 2012)
Jonathan Mellor (Great Britain) - 1:02:59 (New York 2012)
Ryota Matoba (Japan/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:15 (Nat'l Corporate Championships 2013)
Yared Hagos (Ethiopia) - 1:03:31 (Great North Run 2011)
Ryuji Watanabe (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:01 (Shibetsu 2013)
Jonny Hay (Great Britain) - 1:04:45 (Great North Run 2012)
Neil Renault (Great Britain) - 1:04:47 (Den Haag 2011)
Mark Kenneally (Ireland) - 2:13:55 (Amsterdam Marathon 2011)

Women
Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 1:06:11 (Ras Al Khaimah 2013)
Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) - 1:07:25 (New Orleans 2013)
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 1:07:35 (Great North Run 2012)
Jelena Prokopcuka (Lativa) - 1:08:09 (Great North Run 2012)
Christelle Daunay (France) - 1:08:34 (Reims 2010)
Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:09:08 (Great North Run 2009)
Lisa Stublic (Croatia) - 1:09:18 (New York 2013)
Alyson Dixon (Great Britain) - 1:11:21 (Bath 2013)
Rebecca Robinson (Great Britain) - 1:13:11 (Bristol 2009)
Julie Briscoe (Great Britain) - 1:13:29 (Wilmslow 2011)
Ayaka Hitomi (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 1:14:23 (Nat'l Corporate Championships 2013)
Misaki Kato (Japan/Team Kyudenko) - 33:10.83 (Kitakyushu 2013)

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fujiwara and Kawauchi Lead Seven-Strong Japanese Contingent at Great North Run

by Brett Larner

Sunday's Great North Run features men's and women's races bound to go down in history, with the winners of the last five Olympic 10000 m gold medals, Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia), Mo Farah (Great Britain) and now-veteran Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) slated to go head-to-head in the men's race and London Olympics marathon silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) going after Moscow World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m gold medalists Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) and Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia).  Even though there may be doubts as to whether Bekele will really start what would be his half marathon debut, what more could you ask for?

But beyond the big stars both races feature deep quality fields.  The men's race features 2013 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon winner Collis Birmingham (Australia), top Europeans Daniele Meucci (Italy) and Koen Raymaekers (Netherlands), and five Japanese men appearing with support from JRN.  London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) leads the Japanese contingent with a 1:01:34 best, making his 2013 racing debut after a long injury following last December's Fukuoka International Marathon. Fujiwara's rival and sometimes training partner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) is also set to make his U.K. debut in his second race his a disappointing marathon at the Moscow World Championships.  Independents Fujiwara and Kawauchi have been the story of Japanese men's marathoning since 2008, and their head-to-head matchup at the Great North Run will be their first time racing each other outside Japan.

But the corporate leagues are not to be left behind, sending three young runners led by Tomohiro Tanigawa, a member of 2013 New Year Ekiden national champion Team Konica Minolta.  Tanigawa ran the First Stage in Konica's national championship performance in January, then followed up with 1:02:17 and 1:02:19 half marathons, a 2nd-place finish at February's Ome 30 km Road Race, a marathon debut at Boston, and two 5000 m PBs over the summer.  Like Fujiwara a graduate of Takushoku University, Tanigawa's best is one second faster than Kawauchi's and he is reportedly in excellent shape, aiming for a sub-62 clocking.  Fujiwara and Kawauchi will have a hard time beating him.  The Koichi Morishita-coached Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) is the weakest Japanese man on the team on paper, but his 1:04:01 best in late July was a 2 1/2 minute PB in 28-degree temperatures, beating both Tanigawa and Kawauchi.  He could be poised for a breakthrough.  Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) rounds out the Japanese men with a 1:03:15 best at March's National Corporate Championships.

Beyond the three medalists, the women's race features four sub-70 Europeans, Jelena Prokopcuka (Lativa), Christelle Daunay (France), past Great North Run winner Jessica Augusto (Portugal) and Lisa Stublic (Croatia).  Running well lately, Gemma Steel is the top British entrant with a best of 1:10:46.  Two Japanese women are also in the race further down the field, Ayaka Hitomi (Team Shimamura) with a 1:14:23 best from this year's National Corporate Championships and Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) making her half marathon debut after running a 33:10.83 track 10000 m best earlier this season.

JRN will be on-hand at the Great North Run to cover the race and provide support to the Japanese athletes.  Check back for further coverage throughout the weekend.

2013 Great North Run Entry List Highlights
Newcastle-South Shields, U.K., 9/15/13

Men
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - debut
Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) - 58:55 (Phoenix, 2006)
Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:00:22 (New York 2011)
Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:00:56 (Marugame 2013)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 1:01:06 (New York 2013)
Arata Fujiwara (Japan/Miki House) - 1:01:34 (Marugame 2012)
Koen Raymaekers (Netherlands) - 1:02:09 (Den Haag 2011)
Tomohiro Tanigawa (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:17 (Marugame 2013)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18 (Marugame 2012)
Jonathan Mellor (Great Britain) - 1:02:59 (New York 2012)
Ryota Matoba (Japan/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:15 (Nat'l Corporate Championships 2013)
Yared Hagos (Ethiopia) - 1:03:31 (Great North Run 2011)
Ryuji Watanabe (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:01 (Shibetsu 2013)
Andy Vernon (Great Britain) - 1:04:43 (Bristol 2010)
Jonny Hay (Great Britain) - 1:04:45 (Great North Run 2012)
Neil Renault (Great Britain) - 1:04:47 (Den Haag 2011)
Mark Kenneally (Ireland) - 2:13:55 (Amsterdam Marathon 2011)

Women
Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 1:06:11 (Ras Al Khaimah 2013)
Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) - 1:07:25 (New Orleans 2013)
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 1:07:35 (Great North Run 2012)
Jelena Prokopcuka (Lativa) - 1:08:09 (Great North Run 2012)
Christelle Daunay (France) - 1:08:34 (Reims 2010)
Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 1:09:08 (Great North Run 2009)
Lisa Stublic (Croatia) - 1:09:18 (New York 2013)
Gemma Steel (Great Britain) - 1:10:46 (Great North Run 2012)
Irene Jerotich (Kenya) - 1:11:03 (Great North Run 2011)
Jen Rhines (U.S.A.) - 1:11:14 (Houston 2011)
Alyson Dixon (Great Britain) - 1:11:21 (Bath 2013)
Rebecca Robinson (Great Britain) - 1:13:11 (Bristol 2009)
Julie Briscoe (Great Britain) - 1:13:29 (Wilmslow 2011)
Abigail Bayley (Great Britain) - 1:13:40 (Brisbane 2011)
Ayaka Hitomi (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 1:14:23 (Nat'l Corporate Championships 2013)
Laura Whittle (Great Britain) - 32:48 (Eastleigh 10 km 2010)
Misaki Kato (Japan/Team Kyudenko) - 33:10.83 (Kitakyushu 2013)

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

Japan Post Announces New Women's Distance Team Targeting 2020 Tokyo Olympics

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201309/CN2013091001002070.html

translated by Brett Larner

Japan Post Holdings announced on Sept. 10 that it will launch a new women's corporate league team next April.  Made up of athletes who will join the company as new workers next spring, the team will focus on middle and long distances.  The goal behind the new team is to get an athlete onto the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team, thereby raising the profile and image of the national post corporation.

Japan Post Holdings president and C.E.O. Taizo Nishimuro is expected to make an official announcement on Sept. 11.  The athletes will be given reduced working hours and other allowances to help them place an emphasis on their training and racing.  Many of the nation's top coaches will be approached with offers to lead the team, which is expected to have roughly ten members.

Japan Post Holdings already sponsors tennis and other sports teams, but athletes are expected to train after working a regular work day.  The women's distance team will be its first to put a priority on training over work.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

'Horiguchi, Yoshitomi to Bring Strong Japanese Presence to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon'


http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/blog/2013/09/horiguchi-yoshitomi-bring-strong-japanese-presence-to-scotiabank-toronto-waterfront-marathon/

Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) and Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) will run the Oct. 20 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with support from JRN.  Horiguchi planned to run Toronto in 2010 before withdrawing shortly before the race with injury.  For Yoshitomi, the "female Kawauchi," it will be her international debut.

photos (c) 2013 Kazuyuki Sugimatsu
all rights reserved

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gebrehiwot Takes Over Five Minutes Off Muenster Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

Click here for Dr. Helmut Winter's German-language article on this year's Muenster Marathon including a large number of high-quality photos.

The day dawning with heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning, the 12th edition of the Volksbank Muenster Marathon saw the worst conditions in the race's history, but with radically opposing results in the men's and women's races the weather's impact on the race was hard to determine.  In the men's race things went out very slow on the twisting roads in the course's first 10 km, understandable given the slick cobblestone surface.  The designated Kenyan pacer was more than 10 seconds per km off the target pace of 3:06/km, but still the almost entirely Kenyan lead pack lagged behind.  Japanese runners Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and Yuya Shiokawa (Team Subaru), in Muenster with support from JRN, gestured for the pacer to run the designated splits but he repeatedly looked over his shoulder and slowed to let his countrymen catch up.

Going through 10 km just under 33 minutes and halfway just over 69, things didn't get moving until Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) threw in a surge around 25 km and another at 33 km.  The first broke up the ten-strong pack, while the second opened the race up as Taiget moved clear into the lead.  Running unchallenged to the finish, he crossed the line in 2:15:56 for the win, far off the anticipated sub-2:10:25 course record time.  Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) was next in 2:16:44.

Following a brief pit stop at 37 km followed by a sub-3-minute km to catch back up to the leaders, Matsumiya, the identical twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), dueled with Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) before inching away to take 3rd in 2:17:58. Shiokawa, a graduate of defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University, faded to 6th but rallied after 40 km to run down John Kyalo (Kenya) for 5th in 2:18:41. Matsumiya later endeared himself to the crowd at the award ceremony when he jumped from the stage to present his bouquet of flowers to a young woman in the audience to a roar of approval.

The women's race, on the other hand, was a far faster and more focused event.  Newly a German citizen, Eleni Gebrehiwot was dead set on a sub-2:30 clocking to get the qualifying standard for next year's European Championships.  Running with two male designated pacers, she went out on target and stayed there, grinding down the competition regardless of the conditions and knocking three minutes off her best and five and a half minutes off the course record as she won in 2:29:13.  Last year's winner Joan Rotich (Kenya) was also under her PB and the old CR but was a distant afterthought in 2nd, more than a kilometer behind in 2:33:57.  The top five all broke last year's winning time, with at least four of the top six setting new personal best marks.  Veteran Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) finished just out of the prize money in 7th in 2:43:19, 1st among 40+ women.

Winners Taiget and Gebrehiwot post-race.

The disparity between the men's and women's results was hard to figure as the men's results were understandable given the conditions, while the same handicap applied to the women's race would make it something truly remarkable.  If the overall women's results are taken as only good then the men's are very lackluster and suggest a lack of initiative given the number of sub-2:10 and sub-2:12 men in the field.  Chalk it up to poor pacing or the enigmatic flow of a race, and/or to the extra motivation Gebrehiwot brought that powered the rest of the women's field.  In any case, Gebrehiwot's performance helped elevate Muenster's profile and hopefully sets the stage for the men to follow suit next year with a sub-2:10 record.


12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon
Muenster, Germany, 9/8/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) - 2:15:56
2. Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) - 2:16:44
3. Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:17:58
4. Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) - 2:18:06
5. Yuya Shiokawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:18:41
6. John Kyalo (Kenya) - 2:19:37

Women
1. Eleni Gebrehiwot (Germany) - 2:29:13 - PB, CR
2. Joan Rotich (Kenya) - 2:33:57 - PB (CR)
3. Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka (Kenya) - 2:35:51
4. Mahlet Melese Behailu (Ethiopia) - 2:37:23 - PB
5. Gelane Senbete (Ethiopia) - 2:38:09
6. Meseret Eshetu Deme (Ethiopia) - 2:40:26 - PB
7. Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/AthleC AC) - 2:43:19

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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

'For 2020 Olympics, I.O.C. Picks Tokyo, Considered Safe Choice'

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/sports/olympics/tokyo-wins-bid-for-2020-olympics.html?ref=global&_r=1&

Daniel Muiva Kitonyi Breaks Through With 5000-10000 Double at National University Championships

by Brett Larner

In the absence of Kanto Region champion Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Nihon University's Daniel Muiva Kitonyi broke through to take the 5000 m and 10000 m double over two of Japan's best collegiate runners Sept. 6 and 7 at Tokyo's National Stadium.  In Friday's 10000 m he easily outdistanced the field to solo a 28:17.31 for the win, with 1:01:19 half marathoner Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) outkicking Hideto Yamanaka of 2013 Hakone Ekiden champions Nittai University for 2nd in 28:43.89.  A day later and Kitonyi was back to win the 5000 m in 13:46.19 over #1-ranked Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), fresh back from racing in Europe earlier this week.  Having won the 1500 m last year Kitonyi opted not to go for the triple, leaving the door open for Murayama's teammate Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) to take the national title in 3:46.29 by a margin of nearly two seconds.

In the women's distance events, Mai Tsuda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) won a close race against Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) to take the 10000 m title in 33:28.89 as defending champion Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) dropped out partway through the race.  Shinozuka's teammate Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) was superb in the 5000 m, more than six seconds ahead of top-ranked Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) in 15:40.34.  Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) was the lone Kanto-region woman to take a distance title as she won the 1500 m in 4:20.49.

In many ways the overall distance results at Nationals reflected the geographic divide in Japanese men's and women's collegiate running, with only one runner from outside the Tokyo-centric Kanto Region, Kyushu-based Kenyan John Kariuki (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) making the top ten in the 5000 m and 10000 m but only four Kanto women clearing the top ten over the same distances.  The relatively weak 1500 m was dominated by Kanto Region athletes for both men and women, but the overwhelming preponderance of Kanto men in the 5000 m and 10000 m indicates how strong an influence the Hakone Ekiden, open only to schools located in Kanto, exerts on collegiate athletics.  The relative absence of quality female athletes in the same region and their aggregation at schools without strong men suggests that a majority of the athletics budgets in Kanto go toward building men's teams that can compete at Hakone, while schools outside Kanto know that they cannot compete in attracting competitive men and instead focus their resources on women.  While there are a few exceptions, such as Josai University with strong men's and women's teams and Tsukuba University with a more dominant women's program, but the upcoming ekiden season will bear out the reality of the geographic distribution of budgets and talent in Japanese collegiate distance running.

82nd National University Track and Field Championships
National Stadium, Tokyo, 9/6-8/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:17.31
2. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:43.89
3. Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai Univ.) - 28:45.63
4. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 28:57.21
5. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:58.80
6. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Waseda Univ.) - 28:59.12
7. John Kariuki (Kenya/Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 28:59.59
8. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:00.28
9. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:03.53
10. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:05.60

Women's 10000 m
1. Mai Tsuda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:28.89
2. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 33:32.14
3. Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 33:34.61
4. Natsumi Fujiwara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 33:41.59
5. Chika Okazaki (Kansai Univ.) - 33:43.96
6. Ayame Takaki (Meijo Univ.) - 34:02.98
7. Rie Fujita (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 34:02.98
8. Aiko Sakata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 34:04.31
9. Nami Hashimoto (Josai Univ.) - 34:08.77
10. Miyu Motegi (Josai Univ.) - 34:11.76

Men's 5000 m
1. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:46.19
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:47.21
3. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:57.06
4. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 14:00.58
5. Jun Nobuto (Toyo Univ.) - 14:08.43
6. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 14:12.65
7. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 14:14.61
8. Shohei Kurata (Jobu Univ.) - 14:15.08
9. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 14:18.88
10. Rintaro Takeda (Waseda Univ.) - 14:22.21

Women's 5000 m
1. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:40.34
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:46.39
3. Ayano Ikeuchi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:55.39
4. Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 15:57.56
5. Rina Nabeshima (Kanaya Taiiku Univ.) - 15:59.02
6. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 15:59.50
7. Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 16:02.02
8. Sayaka Kuwahara (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:03.81
9. Honoka Yuzawa (Meijo Univ.) - 16:07.19
10. Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:10.01

Men's 1500 m
1. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 3:46.29
2. Shinya Saito (Toyo Univ.) - 3:48.13
3. Shinnosuke Tokai (Kanto Gakuin Univ.) - 3:49.83
4. Kenta Ikeyama (Waseda Univ.) - 3:50.19
5. Yuichi Nagahama (Toyo Univ.) - 3:50.55

Women's 1500 m
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:20.49
2. Miho Nakata (Nittai Univ.) - 4:21.12
3. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:21.31
4. Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 4:21.35
5. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:22.83

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Matsumiya and Tanaka Top Entry Lists at Volksbank Muenster Marathon

by Brett Larner

For the second year in a row, Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon features Japanese athletes in its elite field through the support of JRN.  Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), identical twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km Japanese national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), and veteran Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) are the fastest athletes in the field on paper, Matsumiya with a best of 2:09:18 and amateur Tanaka holding a 2:29:30.  But both ran these times several years ago and will face tough challenges from the best-quality fields Muenster has yet assembled.  Kenyans Bertram Kimutai Keter, Joel Kipsang Kositany and John Kyalo have all run under the course record of 2:10:25 within the last two years, and with favorable conditions forecast for Sunday it may well take a new course record to win.  Pre-race Matsumiya was optimistic, saying, "I'm here to win.  I'm not focused on a time, just whatever it takes to win." Komazawa University graduate Yuya Shiokawa (Team Subaru), in his European debut, said, "My training has been good, and I'm looking to go sub-2:12 for the first time."  In most years that would put him first in Muenster, but this year it may only be good enough for top five.

The ageless Tanaka has consistently run at the 2:37~2:40 level since 2007 but has yet to go under 2:40 this year, with a season best of 2:40:06 at February's Senshu International Marathon.  "I want to run about 2:38 this time," she told reporters pre-race, "and hopefully that will get me into the top three."  Top five may be more realistic, with last year's champion Joan Rotich (Kenya) returning and her countrywomen Frasiah Nyambura Waithaka and Valerie Chemeli Aiyabei and favorite Eleni Gebrehiwot, an Ethiopian who recently acquired German citizenship, all holding bests under the 2:34:58 course record.  Gebrehiwot in particular is hoping to make history with Muenster's first sub-2:30 women's clocking, the time set out by the German federation as the standard for next year's European Athletics Championships.  If the weather turns out right Muenster could move up substantially in the European marathon ranks with this year's race.  Check back for more exclusive coverage of the 12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon as the weekend progresses.

12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Muenster, Germany, 9/8/13

Men
Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:09:18 (Biwako 2005)
Bertram Kimutai Keter (Kenya) - 2:09:27 (Carpi 2011)
Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) - 2:09:50 (Tiberias 2012)
John Kyalo (Kenya) - 2:10:00 (Zurich 2011)
Kirui Kiprotich (Kenya) - 2:11:34 (Verona 2012)
Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) - 2:12:11 (Krakow 2012)
Tamrat Girma Elanso (Ethiopia) - 2:14:17 (Muenster 2011)
Yuya Shiokawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:14:49 (Tokyo 2013)
Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) - 2:14:53 (Bonn 2013)
Elijah Chelelgo Chebet (Kenya) - debut

Women
Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/AthleC AC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Int'l Women's 2002)
Eleni Gebrehiwot (Germany) - 2:32:31 (Carpi 2010)
Frasiah Nyambura Waithaka (Kenya) - 2:33:31 (Brighton 2013)
Valerie Chemeli Aiyabei (Kenya) - 2:33:40 (Kisumu 2012)
Joan Rotich (Kenya) - 2:35:37 (Linz 2013)
Meseret Eshetu Deme (Ethiopia) - 2:42:** (Abebe Bikila 2012)
Mahlet Melese Behailu (Ethiopia) - 2:44:43 (Toulouse 2011)
Christi Dorschel (Germany) - 2:45:34 (Essen 2012)

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