Saturday, May 31, 2014

Prefontaine Classic 10000 m Results - Sub-27 PBs by Tanui and Karoki

by Brett Larner

Japan-based Kenyans Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) ran big at the U.S.' Prefontaine Classic 10000 m, both setting new sub-27 PBs for 2nd and 3rd behind winner Galen Rupp's new 26:44.36 American record.  Tanui, the Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist and fastest in the world going into the race with a 27:16.75 two weeks ago at the Kyushu Corporate Track and Field Championships, ran next to Rupp in the front pack for the entire race, twice going to the front in the late going before Rupp got away on the last lap.  Tanui first broke 27 at Prefontaine three years ago.  Today he took just over a second off his best from that race with a 26:49.41 PB.

Karoki, who runs for the Toshihiko Seko-coached DeNA corporate team in central Tokyo and set a 1:00:02 course record at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon less than two weeks ago, started more conservatively in the second pack before working his way up to join the leaders.  Even in the second pack he was on track to beat his 27:05.50 best, but joining the leaders helped pull him to a solid 26:52.36 and bringing the number of current sub-27 Japan-based Kenyans to three.

Waseda University graduate Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) has spent the last few months training with Rupp, Olympic and World champion Mo Farah (GBR) and others in the Nike Oregon Project under head coach Alberto Salazar and was at Hayward Field to watch Rupp's record shot.  Next weekend Osako will run the 10000 m at the Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Fukushima.  In a National Championship race he's not likely to have the competition to run a fast time, but if he can match Rupp's 3.64 improvement to his PB Osako will go from 27:38.31 to 27:34.67, just under Toshinari Takaoka's antique 27:35.09 national record.  He'll get it sooner or later, but sooner would be nice.

Prefontaine Classic Men's 10000 m
Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A., 5/30/14
click here for complete results

1. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 26:44.36 - AR
2. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 26:49.41 - PB
3. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 26:52.36 - PB
4. Stephen Sambu (Kenya) - 26:54.61 - PB
5. Emmanuel Bett (Kenya) - 27:21.61
6. Kenneth Kipkemboi (Kenya) - 27:30.94
7. El Hassan El Abbassi (Bahrain) - 27:32.96 - PB
8. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 27:38.83
9. Birhan Nebebew (Ethiopia) - 27:42.89
10. Timothy Toroitchi (Uganda) - 27:43.27

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nikko to Host New University Women's Ekiden on Tough Uphill Course

http://mainichi.jp/sports/news/20140529k0000m050113000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Nikko municipal government in Tochigi prefecture announced May 28 that women will soon be handing off the tasuki on Nikko's mountain roads at the first running of the Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden on Nov. 30.  The uphill course will feature six stages totalling 23.4 km, zigzagging its way up 700 m of climb.  A city spokesperson commented, "We want to develop this into a race that will make people say, 'The men have Hakone, and the women have Nikko.'"

The new race is being organized by the "'Nikko: The Runner's Paradise' Executive Committee," a joint project of the local tourism board, sports bureau and others.  To help the event grow into a major post-autumn foliage season draw, it will also feature a mass-participation race on Nikko's famous "Nikko Utsunomiya Doro" toll road a day earlier on Nov. 29.

Organizers are aiming for twenty university women's teams in the future, but in a survey sent to member schools of the Inter-University Athletics Union of Japan only nine programs committed to taking part.  By expanding the criteria to allow alumni teams and mixed undergrad/alumni teams they hope to reach their target of twenty for this year's inaugural race.

The course will start at a park in the city, running up the normally one-way downhill Daiichi Irohazaka road to a finish near Chugushi at Futarasan Shrine on the shore of Lake Chuzenji.  With 700 m of climb it will be one of the toughest ekiden courses in the country.  The Hakone Ekiden may have its "God of the Mountain," but a new "Goddess of the Mountain" will be born this autumn on the roads of Nikko.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

National Stadium's 50-Year Heritage to Go Nationwide as Seats and Other Equipment Distributed Free of Charge

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG5Q4FX5G5QUTQP01J.html

translated by Brett Larner

Set to be rebuilt for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the National Stadium's seats and other equipment are to find new life in sports facilities all across the country.  In response to requests from more than ten municipalities nationwide, the Japan Sports Promotion Center (JSC), managers and operators of the National Stadium, will donate the facility's equipment free of charge.  The list of recipients was announced on May 28.

The equipment to be distributed includes the National Stadium's signature orange plastic chairs, crowd control fencing, and lounge furniture.  The JSC is also looking at putting the soccer pitch's turf and the stadium's extra seats up for sale.  As the site of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the place where the drama of countless famous soccer and rugby matches unfolded, a JSC official commented, "We want to make sure the National Stadium's history survives in the future.  Our hope is to see as much as possible of what is reusable put to an effective use."

The city of Kitakami, Iwate has ordered 6500 seats from the National Stadium.  With its Kitakami Sports Park Field set to host the 2016 National Sports Festival, the city government plans to replace the aging facility's seating with the sturdy gear from the National Stadium.  Buying new seats would cost 150,000,000 yen (~$1,470,000 USD), but reusing the National Stadium's seats will cost Kitakami only 60,000,000 yen (~$590,000 USD).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Entry List Highlights

Fukushima, 6/6-8/14
click here for complete entry lists in Japanese
marks given are best within qualification period / PB

Men's 100 m
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) 10.01 / 10.01
Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.11 / 10.07
Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) - 10.19 / 10.19
Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) - 10.21 / 10.21
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 10.22 / 10.22
Masashi Eriguchi (Team Osaka Gas) - 10.24 / 10.07
Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) - 10.31 / 10.09

Men's 200 m
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.21 / 20.21
Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) - 20.34 / 20.34
Akiyuki Hashimoto (Waseda Univ.) - 20.35 / 20.35
Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) - 20.41 / 20.41
Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 20.41 / 20.41
Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Zeirin) - 20.48 / 20.38
Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - 20.50 / 20.22

Men's 400 m
Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 45.46 / 45.16
Hiroyuki Nakano (Aichi T&F Assoc.) - 45.62 / 45.62
Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.69 / 45.69
Kazuya Watanabe (Mizuno) - 45.71 / 45.71
Yusuke Ishitsuka (Mizuno) - 45.87 / 45.87

Men's 800 m
Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 1:45.75 / 1:45.75 - NR
Masato Yokote (Team Fujitsu) - 1:47.72 / 1:46.16
Yasuhiro Nakamura (A2H) - 1:47.83 / 1:47.83
Jun Mitake (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.67 / 1:48.62
Ryunosuke Okada (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.89 / 1:48.89

Men's 1500 m
Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) - 3:43.14 / 3:43.14
Toshihiro Kenmotsu (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 3:43.62 / 3:43.62
Daiki Hirose (Team Osaka Gas) - 3:44.67 / 3:44.67
Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:44.98 / 3:44.98
Yasunori Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 3:45.16 / 3:45.16
Ikuto Yufu (Team Fujitsu) - 3:46.29 / 3:42.37
Tatsuro Okazaki (Team Osaka Gas) - 3:46.72 / 3:42.58
Takahiko Onishi (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) - 3:49.45 / 3:43.67

Men's 5000 m
James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:16.06 / 13:16.06
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:13.60 / 13:13.60
Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 13:28.79 / 13:28.79
Hiromitsu Kakuage (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:32.22 / 13:32.22
Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:34.53 / 13:34.53
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:34.97 / 13:21.49
Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:35.18 / 13:35.18
Aritaka Kajiwara (Team Press Kogyo) - 13:36.79 / 13:36.79
Yuki Yagi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:37.25 / 13:37.25
Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:38.08 / 13:38.08
Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:38.87 / 13:38.87
Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 13:40.11 / 13:19.00
Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:42.54 / 13:33.34
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:42.99 / 13:29.11
Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:43.07 / 13:39.40
Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:43.97 / 13:39.76
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:44.56 / 13:37.71
Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:46.69 / 13:34.85
Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 13:46.85 / 13:43.66

Men's 10000 m
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:38.25 / 27:38.25
Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:38.31 / 27:38.31
Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 27:49.94 / 27:49.94
Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:51.54 / 27:51.54
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 27:53.34 / 27:44.30
Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) - 27:54.82 / 27:54.82
Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 27:57.90 / 27:41.57
Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:23.95 / 27:50.72
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 28:26.04 / 27:53.55
Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 28:27.72 / 27:45.59
Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 28:42.14 / 27:52.75
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 28:01.81 / 28:01.81
Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:05.79 / 28:05.79
Shinobu Kubota (Team Toyota) - 28:07.54 / 28:07.01
Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:17.74 / 28:09.49
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:24.26 / 28:05.84

Men's 110 mH
Hideki Omuro (Tsukuba Univ.) - 13.58 / 13.54
Wataru Yazawa (Descente) - 13.59 / 13.59
Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.61 / 13.61
Hiroyuki Sato (Team Hitachi Kasei) - 13.61 / 13.61
Yutaro Furukawa (Team Kojima Press) - 13.65 / 13.65
Yuji Ohashi (Teikyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13.90 / 13.55

Men's 400 mH
Takayuki Kishimoto (Team Fujitsu) - 49.08 / 48.41
Yasuhiro Fueki (Team Aima) - 49.31 / 49.31
Yuta Imazeki (Shibuya Makuhari H.S.) - 49.42 / 49.27
Takatoshi Abe (Descente) - 49.57 / 49.46
Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno) - 49.71  49.71

Men's 3000 mSC
Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 8:32.89 / 8:32.89
Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:33.48 / 8:33.48
Minato Yamashita (Team NTN) - 8:33.57 / 8:33.57
Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:33.82 / 8:30.49
Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) - 8:40.18 / 8:37.71
Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:42.99 / 8:34.96

Women's 100 m
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaio Hi-Tec AC) - 11.38 / 11.21 - NR
Mayumi Watanabe (Team Toho Ginko) - 11.49 / 11.44
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.57 / 11.43
Nodoka Seko (Team Crane) - 11.64 / 11.64
Sayaka Adachi (Oita Oginodai H.S.) - 11.66 / 11.66
Saori Kitakaze (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 11.71 / 11.42

Women's 200 m
Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 23.25 / 22.89 - NR
Mayumi Watanabe (Team Toho Ginko) - 23.35 / 23.35
Yuki Jinbo (Tsukuba Univ.) - 23.65 / 23.65
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 23.74 / 23.51
Seika Aoyama (Matsue Shogyo H.S.) - 23.78 / 23.78

Women's 400 m
Haruka Sugiura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 52.52 / 52.52
Seika Aoyama (Matsue Shogyo H.S.) - 53.40 / 53.40
Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) - 53.56 / 53.40
Asami Chiba (Team Toho Ginko) - 53.76 / 51.75
Aki Odagiri (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 53.79 / 53.79
Miho Shingu (Fukushima Univ.) - 54.17 / 53.66

Women's 800 m
Fumika Omori (Nihon Univ.) - 2:03.96 / 2:03.96
Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 2:04.27 / 2:04.27
Manami Mashita (Team Cerespo) - 2:04.61 / 2:03.52
Ruriko Kubo (Team Edion) - 2:05.32 / 2:01.90
Akari Kishikawa (Hasegawa AC) - 2:05.73 / 2:03.34

Women's 1500 m
Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 4:10.08 / 4:10.08
Saki Yoshimizu (Team Univ. Ent.) - 4:16.38 / 4:15.98
Misaki Tanabe (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 4:16.70 / 4:16.70
Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) - 4:17.49 / 4:17.49
Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:17.76 / 4:17.76

Women's 5000 m
Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Team Starts) - 15:17.43 / 15:17.43
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:21.57 / 15:15.27
Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) - 15:30.41 / 15:30.41
Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:21.73 / 15:21.73
Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:22.67 / 15:22.67
Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:26.61 / 15:23.80
Yuika Mori (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:26.80 / 15:26.80
Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:29.85 / 15:29.85
Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 15:30.82 / 15:30.82
Ayuko Suzuki (Team JP Post) - 15:31.45 / 15:31.45
Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) - 15:33.25 / 15:33.25
Natsuko Goto (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:34.85 / 15:34.85

Women's 10000 m
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 31:45.29 / 31:45.29
Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 31:53.69 / 31:53.69
Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:00.25 / 32:00.25
Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 32:06.70 / 32:06.70
Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) - 32:06.79 / 32:06.79
Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:07.70 / 31:43.25
Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 32:10.15 / 32:10.15
Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 32:10.66 / 32:10.66
Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:11.21 / 32:11.21
Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 32:12.27 / 32:12.27
Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 32:15.20 / 32:15.20
Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:15.42 / 32:15.42
Yurie Doi (Team Starts) - 32:16.05 / 32:16.05
Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 32:22.06 / 32:10.46

Women's 100 mH
Hitomi Shimura (Saga T&F Assoc.) - 13.02 / 13.02
Ayako Kimura (Team Edion) - 13.03 / 13.03
Eriko Soma (Team Starts) - 13.22 / 13.22
Airi Ito (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 13.27 / 13.27
Masumi Aoki (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 13.36 / 13.36
Mami Ishino (Hasegawa AC) - 13.71 / 13.08
Yuka Nomura (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 13.78 / 13.21

Women's 400 mH
Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) - 56.33 / 55.34 - NR
Manami Kira (Team Art Home) - 56.63 / 56.63
Sayaka Aoki (Team Toho Ginko) - 57.28 / 55.94
Haruka Shibata (Mizuno) - 57.95 / 57.68
Manaho Sugiyama (Fukuoka Univ.) - 58.02 / 58.02
Miyabi Tado (Nishi Sports) - 58.66 / 55.99
Makiko Yoshida (Team Toho Ginko) - 59.23 / 55.89

Women's 3000 mSC
Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:50.40 / 9:50.40
Yoshika Arai (SMTC) - 9:58.22 / 9:53.87
Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 9:58.98 / 9:58.98
Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 10:00.75 / 9:33.93 - NR
Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 10:04.07 / 10:02.24

Men's High Jump
Naoto Tobe (Chiba T&F Assoc.) - 2.31 m / 2.31 m
Takashi Eto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.28 m / 2.28 m
Hiromi Takahari (Hitachi ICT) - 2.25 m / 2.25 m
Taira Omata (Mizuno) - 2.22 m / 2.22 m
Ryo Sato (Tokai Univ.) - 2.21 m / 2.21 m
Hikaru Tsuchiya (Monteroza) - 2.17 m / 2.25 m

Men's Pole Vault
Seito Yamamoto (Team Toyota) - 5.75 m / 5.75 m
Daichi Sawano (Team Fujitsu) - 5.70 m / 5.83 m - NR
Hiroki Ogita (Mizuno) - 5.70 m / 5.70 m
Shota Doi (Mitoyo T&F Assoc.) - 5.41 m / 5.41 m
Tomoki Yamamoto (Nittai Univ.) - 5.40 m / 5.40 m
Hiroki Sasase (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 5.40 m / 5.50 m

Men's Long Jump
Yohei Sugai (Mizuno) - 7.98 m / 8.10 m
Kota Minemura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 7.93 m / 7.93 m
Rikiya Saruyama (Monteroza) - 7.87 m / 8.05 m
Yuhi Oiwa (Monteroza) - 7.86 m / 7.86 m
Shinichiro Shimono (Team Kyudenko) - 7.84 m / 8.08 m
Daisuke Arakawa (Noby) - 7.70 m / 8.09 m

Men's Triple Jump
Takayuki Tsunoyama (Monteroza) - 16.40 m / 16.40 m
Yohei Kajikawa (Hanshin Shuhan Group) - 16.36 m / 16.45 m
Daigo Hasegawa (Hitachi ICT) - 16.36 m / 16.36 m
Yuma Okabe (Team Kyudenko) - 16.30 m / 16.54 m
Shoichi Matsushita (Tsukuba Univ.) - 16.19 m / 16.25 m
Kazuyoshi Ishikawa (Life Message) - 16.01 m / 16.98 m

Men's Shot Put
Satoshi Hatase (Alsok) - 18.30 m / 18.56 m
Sotaro Yamada (Nishinomiya T&F Assoc.) - 17.89 m / 18.64 m
Ikuhiro Miyauchi (Nihon Univ.) - 17.82 m / 17.82 m
Hayato Yamamoto (Chukyo Univ.) - 17.68 m / 17.88 m
Masahira Sato (Kokushikan Univ.) - 17.21 m / 17.21 m
Takanao Suzuki (Okuwa) - 17.19 m / 17.25 m
Yohei Murakawa (Osaka Meiyu Club) - 16.68 m / 18.43 m
Tadashi Ohashi (Ishin Koen AC) - 16.46 m / 17.94 m

Men's Discus Throw
Yuji Tsutsumi (Alsok) - 59.21 m / 59.21 m
Shigeo Yatakeyama (Zeirin) - 56.90 m / 60.10 m
Kengo Anbo (Tokai Univ.) - 55.79 m / 55.79 m
Shigeyuki Maisawa (Tokai Univ.) - 55.18 m / 55.18 m
Shiro Kobayashi (Niigata Albirex RC) - 55.11 m / 57.18 m
Kazumasa Yomogida (Kokushikan Univ.) - 52.35 m / 56.83 m

Men's Hammer Throw
Koji Murofushi (Mizuno) - 78.03 m / 84.86 m - NR
Hiroshi Noguchi (Alsok) - 72.43 m / 72.43 m
Hiroki Ako (Tottori T&F Assoc.) - 68.96 m / 68.96 m
Toru Tanaka (Mizuno) - 68.59 m / 68.59 m
Hiroaki Doi (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 68.21 m / 74.08 m

Men's Javelin Throw
Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 85.96 m / 85.96 m
Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 85.48 m / 85.48 m
Genki Dean (Mizuno) - 80.15 m / 84.28 m
Yuya Koriki (Tottori T&F Assoc.) - 77.84 m / 77.84 m
Kohei Hasegawa (Osaka Taiiku Univ.) - 76.75 m / 76.75 m

Women's High Jump
Miyuki Fukumoto (Konan Gakuen H.S.) - 1.92 m / 1.92 m
Marina Munekane (Chukyo Univ.) - 1.82 m / 1.82 m
Yuki Watanabe (Mirai to Techno) - 1.80 m / 1.80 m
Azumi Maeda (Kobe Kotairen) - 1.78 m / 1.80 m
Moeko Kyoya (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 1.76 m / 1.76 m

Women's Pole Vault
Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Stars) - 4.33 m / 4.40 m - NR
Miho Imano (Toelle) - 4.15 m / 4.15 m
Megumi Nakada (Ibaraki Meiyu Club) - 4.10 m / 4.23 m
Kanae Tatsuta (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.) - 4.10 m / 4.10 m
Tomoko Sumiishi (NSSMC) - 4.01 m / 4.10 m

Women's Long Jump
Yurina Hiraka (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 6.45 m / 6.45 m
Hitomi Nakano (Tsukuba Univ.) - 6.39 m / 6.44 m
Mao Igarashi (Fukushima Univ.) - 6.32 m / 6.32 m
Kaede Miyasaka (Yokohama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 6.22 m / 6.22 m
Misa Tanaka (Chukyo Univ.) - 6.20 m / 6.20 m

Women's Triple Jump
Fumiyo Yoshida (Koriyama Joshi Univ.) - 13.26 m / 13.50 m
Eri Sakamoto (Hosei Univ.) - 13.17 m / 13.17 m
Mei Yamane (Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ.) - 13.07 m / 13.07 m
Waka Maeda (Peek) - 13.02 m / 13.10 m
Kaeda Miyasaka (Yokoyama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 13.02 m / 13.02 m
Sayuri Takeda (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) - 12.72 m / 13.25 m

Women's Shot Put
Yukiko Shirai (Shiga T&F Assoc.) - 15.65 m / 16.00 m
Chiaki Yokomizo (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 15.51 m / 15.51 m
Chihiro Shigeyama (Kokushikan Univ.) - 15.29 m / 15.29 m
Eriko Nakata (Chukyo Univ.) - 15.24 m / 15.24 m
Erina Fukutomi (Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ.) - 15.23 m / 15.23 m

Women's Discus Throw
Ayumi Takahashi (S.T.T.) - 54.17 m / 54.22 m
Ai Shikimoto (Kokushikan Univ.) - 53.48 m / 53.48 m
Eriko Nakata (Chukyo Univ.) - 51.31 m / 51.32 m
Marika Tokai (I Most) - 50.28 m / 50.28 m
Yukiko Ono (Kokushikan Univ.) - 49.55 m / 50.45 m
Nozomi Kusaka (Ibaraki Meiyu Club) - 48.57 m / 51.49 m

Women's Hammer Throw
Masumi Aya (Maruzen Kogyo) - 65.03 m / 67.26 m
Akane Watanabe (Momotaro) - 60.67 m / 60.67 m
Mika Takekawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 60.63 m / 60.63 m
Hitomi Katsuyama (Tsukuba Univ.) - 60.56 m / 60.56 m
Haruno Chinen (NTS) - 60.20 m / 60.20 m

Women's Javelin Throw
Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 62.82 m / 62.83 m - NR
Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) - 58.98 m / 58.98 m
Risa Miyashita (Osaka Taiiku Univ.) - 58.32 m / 60.08 m
Marina Saito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 56.76 m / 56.76 m
Minami Kajihara (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 56.01 m / 56.01 m
Yuka Sato (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 54.68 m / 59.22 m
Haruka Matoba (Osaka Taiiku Univ.) - 53.56 m / 58.93 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, May 26, 2014

2063 Run Record-Setting Kinshuko 30 km

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/tohokunews/201405/20140525_34027.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 34th running of the Kahoku Shinpo Kinshuko Road Race took place May 25 on a JAAF-certified 30 km course starting and finishing in front of the Yuda government offices in Nishiwaga-machi, Iwate.    2063 men and women from all six Tohoku prefectures and elsewhere took part, running through the fresh green of spring along the lakeside course.  Conditions were excellent, with the temperature 17.7 degrees and humidity 79.4% at the start as each runner set off for the finish line at their own individual pace.

First across the line was the civil servant runner and member of this fall's Asian Games marathon team, Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't).  Fans thronged the course for the chance of catching a glimpse of Kawauchi's running in person, and they were rewarded as he took more than two minutes off the course record, winning in a new record of 1:34:01.  "I was really happy to hear so many supporters calling out along the way," he said.

The race's oldest competitor, Kinjiro Kawamura, 86, of Kamaishi, Iwate, returned after a two-year absence.  "My own home was safe during the great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, but I hope that my running helps inspire or encourage those impacted by the disasters," he said after finishing, a broad and satisfied smile across his face.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mori With a National Collegiate Record as Fukuuchi and Omwamba Double at Kanto Regionals

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620 and 陸上競技動画集

With the rest of the world busy discovering the joy of the relay that makes the Hakone Ekiden, the Kanto Region university men's road relay championships, the most-watched annual running race in the world, Japan spent the weekend focused on Hakone's stars at the 93rd edition of it's most exciting track meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships.  Imagine an NCAA national championship held in a major stadium packed with ear-splitting cheering squads from each university and thousands of enthusiastic fans, average folk who actually care about "the sport," and you begin to approach the vibe at the Kanto Regionals.  Plus a half marathon.

Yes, the half marathon, the most entertaining event of the meet, D2 running with a 3-minute head start over D1 over nine loops of a course like this:


Child's play, or only in Japan? Either way, despite humid conditions both the D2 and D1 turned in exciting races.

In D2, former Izumo Ekiden course record holder Aoyama Gakuin University went head-to-head with the school that took the record away last fall, three-time defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University for the greater half of the podium.  Aoyama's Tadashi Isshiki, the 1:03:01 course-record setter at February's Kanagawa Half Marathon, and teammate Daichi Kamino pushed the pace in the second half, first dropping interloper Ryohei Nishiyama (Kanagawa Univ.), then Komazawa's Shoya Kurokawa, and finally 2014 World University XC team member Shota Baba (Komazawa Univ.) to make it an Aoyama one-on-one.  Surprisingly, it was Kamino who got away in the final kilometer for the win in 1:04:23, three seconds over Isshiki with Baba rounding out the podium in 1:04:52.

The D1 race quickly whittled down to a lead group of four, with 2014 Hakone winner Toyo University's three men Masaya Taguchi, Ryu Takaku and Genta Yodokawa trying to break down Japan's fastest-ever 21-year-old, 2014 World Half Marathon team member Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) with a best of 1:01:39.  Yodokawa was the first to fall off, with Takaku lasting until the penultimate lap before Taguchi upped the pace.  Heading into the stadium together, Inoue dropped a monster kick to open three seconds on Taguchi in the final straight for the win in 1:04:07.  Takaku was free and clear for 3rd in 1:04:23, with Yodokawa run down by Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) for 4th.



Inoue's teammate Enock Omwamba, who suffered a stress fracture at Hakone in January that knocked YGU out of the race, doubled on his comeback Kanto Regionals 1500 m title last weekend to defend his 2013 5000 m title in 13:36.96 in a tense and exciting D1 race against Meiji University's Shuho Dairokuno and 2013 National University 5000 m and 10000 m champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.).  Pushing each other to drop a field that included sub-13:30 collegiate Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.), last weekend's Kanto D1 10000 m winner Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) and more, Omwamba had little trouble dropping Dairokuno and Kitonyi late in the race for the win, but the surprise came when Dairokuno held off the better-credentialed Kitonyi to take silver.



The D2 race was more conservative, Kenyan John Maina (Takushoku Univ.) reluctantly leading a Japanese field afraid to pass him before 10000 m 3rd-placer Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) found the guts to go out front, ultimately dropping Maina for the win in 13:51.96.  Tsuetaki's teammate Yuta Oikawa didn't go with the pair initially but nearly ran Maina down, less than a second behind him in 3rd in 14:03.26.



Along with Omwamba's 1500 m - 5000 m double, the women's 5000 m saw another double with 10000 m winner Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) breaking 1999 World XC junior bronze medalist Yoshiko Fujinaga's 13-year-old meet record for the win in 15:43.14.  Runner-up first-year Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) also broke Fujinaga's record, barely, in 15:50.26, with Fukuuchi's teammate Fuyuka Kimura 3rd in 15:51.11.



Even bigger news came in the women's 3000 mSC, where Daito Bunka women swept the podium and winner Chikako Mori set a national university record 9:58.98, a rare sub-10 clocking for Japanese women.



Meet records fell in three other events, Nihon University middle-distance athletes leading the way.  Two weeks after setting a national record 1:45.75, Nihon's Sho Kawamura took more than a second off the men's 800 m meet record as he won in 1:46.97.  His teammates Ryunosuke Okada and Jun Mitake took 2nd and 3rd, while in the women's 800 m Nihon's Fumika Omori solidified their school's position as the leading force in Japanese middle distance with a meet record 2:03.96 for the win.



The final meet record of the day came in the D2 men's 200 m where Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) took nearly half a second off the D2 record to beat London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) for the win in 20.41 (+0.0) to come in at #10 on the all-time Japanese lists.  Yamagata's 20.62 was also well under the old record but Hara was just too strong, strong enough to beat D1 winner Masafumi Naoki (Chuo Univ.) by 0.11.



A meet's worth of drama came in the very final event, the D1 men's 4x400 m. Defending champion Daito Bunka University was running well until Toshitaka Otani faceplanted on the back curve, dropping the baton and sliding face-down across the track.  Otani got up and finished his leg, but the damage to DBU's chances seemed fatal.  Up front, favorite Chuo University seemed set for the win on the anchor stage, but underdog Tokai University anchor Ryo Furukawa had other ideas.  Closing the gap to Chuo's Shota Yabuuchi on the back straight Furukawa tried to go by into the lead on the second curve but could not get clear.  Drawing even on the home straight, Furukawa pulled ahead, lost ground to Yabuuchi, then pulled ahead again.  Yabuuchi closed just before the line with Nittai University coming up fast on the outside, but Furukawa got them both fair and square on the lean.

Except for one small thing.  Incredibly, on the lean, on the last backswing of his right arm, Furukawa lost the baton, flinging it backwards as he bent forward and claiming victory even as the baton bounced to the ground a few centimeters in front of the finish line.  His Tokai teammates piled on in victory as Chuo's collapsed in defeat and continued as race officials noticed the baton and frantically tried to point it out to him.  Not until after the fallen DBU crossed the line in last by more than 20 seconds did it dawn on Tokai what had happened, Furukawa vainly picking the baton up and crossing the line.  A slow-motion replay made it totally clear that Furukawa had somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but it was some time before race officials made the official announcement that Tokai would be bumped from first to last with no time recorded.  Chuo celebrated as all four Tokai athletes fell to their knees, head on the ground and hands on heads.  You couldn't ask for a wilder ending to a spectacular four-day championship meet.

93rd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships Highlights
Nissan Stadium, Yokohama, 5/24-25/14
click here for complete results

Men's Half Marathon Division 1
1. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:07
2. Masaya Taguchi (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:10
3. Ryu Takaku (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:23
4. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:04:56
5. Genta Yodokawa (Toyo Univ.) - 1:04:59

Men's Half Marathon Division 2
1. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:23
2. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:04:26
3. Shota Baba (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:04:52
4. Ryohei Nishiyama (Kanagawa Univ.)- 1:05:03
5. Shoya Kurokawa (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:33

Women's 5000 m
1. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 15:43.14 - MR
2. Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - 15:50.26
3. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 15:51.11
4. Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) - 15:58.34
5. Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuoh Univ.) - 16:02.29

Men's 5000 m Division 1
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 13:36.96
2. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 13:44.13
3. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:44.85
4. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 13:47.19
5. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:49.04
6. Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.) - 13:52.63
7. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 13:53.33
8. Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 13:55.47
9. Hikaru Kato (Nittai Univ.) - 13:57.54
10. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 13:58.31

Men's 5000 m Division 2
1. Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 13:51.96
2. John Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 14:02.34
3. Yuta Oikawa (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 14:03.26
4. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 14:03.81
5. Yuhi Akiyama (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:07.35

Women's 800 m
1. Fumika Omori (Nihon Univ.) - 2:03.96 - MR
2. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 2:04.27
3. Yukina Tanimoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2:06.87
4. Ryoko Hirano (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2:07.37
5. Hana Yamada (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 2:08.76

Men's 800 m Division 1
1. Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) - 1:46.97 - MR
2. Ryunosuke Okada (Nihon Univ.) - 1:48.89
3. Jun Mitake (Nihon Univ.) - 1:49.35
4. Gen Tanaka (Waseda Univ.) - 1:49.81
5. Yusuke Hiratsuka (Josai Univ.) - 1:49.98

Men's 200 m Division 2 +0.0 m/s
1. Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) - 20.41 - MR
2. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 20.62
3. Yuki Koike (Keio Univ.) - 20.90
4. Ishin Yagi (Keio Univ.) - 21.28
5. Ryuki Wada (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 21.41

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 9:58.98 - NUR
2. Soyoka Segawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:28.87
3. Atsumi Miyamoto (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:31.32
4. Naho Otsuka (Chuo Univ.) - 10:41.43
5. Nanami Niwa (Chuo Univ.) - 10:44.34

Men's 4x400 m Division 1
1. Chuo Univ. - 3:07.02
2. Nittai Univ. - 3:07.08
3. Nihon Univ. - 3:07.93
4. Waseda Univ. - 3:08.51
5. Toyo Univ. - 3:09.00
6. Meiji Univ. - 3:09.41
7. Daito Bunka Univ. - 3:30.00
NM - Tokai Univ.

text and photos (c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, May 24, 2014

50000 Enter to Run New Fukuoka Marathon

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_toshiken/article/90266

translated by Brett Larner

With the closure of entries, on May 23 the organizing committee of the new Fukuoka Marathon scheduled to be held Nov. 9 announced its final tally of applicants.  46547 people applied to run the event's full marathon, which has a field limit of 10000. 1000 of those places have already been assigned in a separate entry lottery for local residents.  The other 9000 runners will be selected from among the remaining 45547 applicants including locals not selected in that lottery, a 5.06:1 applicant-to-runner ratio.  Results of the lottery will be announced in mid-June.

3320 people also applied to run the event's 5 km fun run, which has a maximum field size of 2000.  4 people applied for the 5 km wheelchair division, which can accommodate up to 20.  Altogether the three divisions totalled 49871 applicants.

Translator's note: This is a completely separate event from the long-standing Fukuoka International Marathon held four weeks later.  The Fukuoka International Marathon's URL, confusingly enough, is http://www.fukuoka-marathon.com/, while the new Fukuoka Marathon's is http://f-marathon.jp/.  With police strict about issuing road closure permits the new event must put pressure on the venerable elite Fukuoka International Marathon.  Talk of a possible move to February for that event seems more likely in light of the new mass-participation race.

Olympic Marathoner Eri Yamaguchi Becomes Assistant Coach at International Pacific University

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2014052300819

translated by Brett Larner



On May 23 International Pacific University in Okayama announced that it has hired 2000 Sydney Olympics marathon 7th-place finisher Eri Yamaguchi, 41, as an assistant coach of its track and field team.  Yamaguchi will be responsible for the women's middle and long distance programs.

Yamaguchi was named to the Sydney Olympics team after winning the 1999 Tokyo International Women's Marathon in 2:22:12, then the 2nd-fastest time in Japanese women's marathoning history.  Since retiring in 2005 her activities have included coaching work with her former corporate team, Tenmaya.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kanto Regionals The Focus of the Weekend

by Brett Larner

While the corporate leagues take a breather after their regional track and field championships last week, Kanto-area university runners are bracing for the second weekend of Japan's best track meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships at Yokohama's Nissan Stadium.

The men's 800 m should be highlights of the meet, Nihon University senior Sho Kawamoto having set a national record of 1:45.75 two weeks ago at the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet in Tokyo's National Stadium.  His second-year teammate Jun Mitake is the next-best runner in the field with a 1:48.67 PB, so while another NR is probably too much to ask between the two of them they should have a good chance of taking the 1:48.06 meet record set in 2009 by Kenyan Daniel Gitau, another Nihon University runner.

It says a lot about the quality of Kanto university men's distance running that four of the five Japanese men in this week's ARRS world top 200 rankings are collegiates, three of them having run in last weekend's Kanto Regionals 10000 m where identical twins Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) and Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) won the D2 and D1 titles respectively.  Kenta sits this weekend out in preparation for a shot at a national title in two weeks at the National Track and Field Championships, but Kota, fresh off a 13:38.83 PB two weeks ago in Nobeoka, is returning to go for a double in the D1 5000 m.  His main competition includes sub-13:30 man Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.), defending champion Enock Omwamba (Kenya/ Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) back from the stress fracture he sustained at January's Hakone Ekiden to win last weekend's D1 1500 m, 2013 National University 5000 m champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) and the talented but injured-plagued Kazuto Nishiike (Hosei Univ.).

With a 13:37.09 best Kenyan John Maina (Takushoku Univ.) is the heavy favorite in the D2 race, his closest Japanese competitor, Masaki Toda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) coming in at 13:43.72.  Possible contenders in a slower race include Yuta Oikawa and Hironori Tsuetaki of Chuo Gakuin University and 1500 m specialist Taketo Kumazaki (Teikyo Univ.).

The men's half marathon, run on a criterium course through and around the stadium grounds, is always one of the highlights of the Kanto Regionals meet.  Second behind Kota Murayama in the 10000 m last weekend, 2014 World Half Marathon team member Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) leads the D1 field with his 1:01:39 best but should have plenty of competition from 62-minute half marathoners Tatsumi Abe (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), Koki Ido (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.), Shota Miyagami (Tokai Univ.), Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) and Daiki Taguchi (Waseda Univ.). At 28:41.09 for 10000 m Yuki Arimura (Meiji Univ.) could also be a factor.

The D2 half should be a showdown between 2014 World University XC team member Shota Baba (Komazawa Univ.) and Aoyama Gakuin University's leading pair Daichi Kamino and Tadashi Isshiki, with sub-63 man Keita Shioya (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) also a favorite.  Yuki Kawauchi's youngest brother Koki Kawauchi, now a senior at Takasaki Keizai University, will make his final Kanto Regionals appearance in the D2 half.

In the women's races, talented first-year Yuki Jinbo (Tsukuba Univ.) holds the promise of something good in the 200 m, her 23.65 PB faster than two-time World Championships team member Momoko Takahashi's meet record of 23.69.  The meet record is also up for grabs in the women's 5000 m, where Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.), Natsumi Ozawa (Hakuho Univ.), Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) and Haruka Wada (Josai Univ.) all come in with PBs better than World XC junior bronze medalist Yoshiko Fujinaga's antique record of 15:50.27 from 2001. With a PB of 15:38.22 as a first-year Izumida is the favorite, but front-running 10000 m winner Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) should give her a challenge for the title despite a best of only 15:53.09.

JRN will be on-site to cover the Kanto Regionals throughout the weekend.  Check back for the only English-language coverage of Japan's best university track and field meet.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Youth Olympics Asian Area Qualification - Japanese Results

Bangkok, Thailand, 5/21-22/14
click here for Day One results
click here for Day Two results

Girls' 3000 m
1. Fatuma Jewaro Chebsi (Bahrain) - 9:42.12
2. Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Japan) - 10:15.52
3. Nazarova Mekhrangez (Tajikistan) - 10:31.65
4. Nelia Martins (Timor-Leste) - 11:16.16
5. Aviuntungolog Enkhbayov (Mongolia) - 11:30.20

Girls' 1500 m
1. Dalila Abdulkadirgosa (Bahrain) - 4:21.61
2. Nana Kuraoka (Japan) - 4:22.01
3. Zipei Jiang (China) - 4:34.91
4. Aprilia Kartina (Indonedia) - 4:45.38
5. Nastaran Akbari (Iran) - 5:16.88

Girls' 800 m
1. Hina Takahashi (Japan) - 2:09.28
2. Desi Mokonin (Bahrain) - 2:11.39
3. Fernando K.N. Dilhani (Sri Lanka) - 2:11.55
4. Zipei Jiang (China) - 2:13.50
5. Thi Tham Tran (Vietnam) - 2:13.81

Girls' 200 m
1. Xiaojing Liang (China) - 24.08
2. Manqi Ge (China) - 24.30
3. Zion Corrales-Nelson (Philippines) - 24.30
4. Tomomi Kawamura (Japan) - 25.12
5. Shiori Kakegawa (Japan) - 25.26

Girls' 100 mH
1. Nana Fujimori (Japan) - 13.59
2. Jing Chen (China) - 13.89
3. Nur Izlyn Zani (Singapore) - 14.34
4. Yujin Song (South Korea) - 14.41
5. Yu-Hsuan Chen (Taiwan) - 14.48

Girls' 5000 mW
1. Zhenxia Ma (China) - 23:59.22
2. Sayori Matsumoto (Japan) - 24:13.13
3. Hailu Cun (China) - 24:29.29
4. K.T. Neena (India) - 26:14.78
5. Chaehyun Kim (South Korea) - 26:19.69

Girls' Pole Vault
1. Chaoqun Li (China) - 3.90 m
2. Yi-Ju Shen (Taiwan) - 3.80 m
3. Jelita Nara Idea (Indonesia) - 3.50 m
3. Misaki Morota (Japan) - 3.50 m
3. Tsai-Ying Lin (Taiwan) - 3.50 m

Girls' Javelin Throw
1. Lijuan Ge (China) - 49.91 m
2. Warwara Nazarova (Kazakhstan) - 49.33 m
3. Pushpa Jakhar (India) - 48.73 m
4. Nagisa Mori (Japan) - 47.85 m
5. Chu Chang (Taiwan) - 45.40 m

Boys' 3000 m
1. Abdi Ibrahim Abdo (Bahrain) - 8:26.39
2. Kisan Tadvi (India) - 8:27.87
3. Hongliang Liu (China) - 8:33.46
4. Shiki Shinsako (Japan) - 8:41.06
5. Ainikeerjiang Aihemaiti (China) - 8:56.07

Boys' 200 m
1. Jun Yamashita (Japan) - 21.23
2. Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan) - 21.37
3. Wataru Inuzuka (Japan) - 21.46
4. Naludol Asavaruengsri (Thailand) - 22.06
5. Grigoryev Vladislav (Kazakhstan) - 22.10

Boys' 100 m
1. Kenta Oshima (Japan) - 10.56
2. Meshaal Almutairi (Kuwait) - 10.65
3. Po-Yu Cheng (Taiwan) - 10.75
4. Zhe Li (China) - 10.75
5. U.G.A.I. Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka) - 10.81

Boys' 110 mH
1. Nao Kanai (Japan) - 13.77
2. Maymon Poulose (India) - 13.80
3. Parinya Munaek (Thailand) - 13.84
4. Mohd R.H. Muhammad (Malaysia) - 13.87
5. Gyeongtae Kim (South Korea) - 13.96

Boys' 10000 mW
1. Xianghong He (China) - 45:59.06
2. Minoru Onogawa (Japan) - 46:08.83
3. Wei-Lin Chang (Taiwan) - 46:25.69
4. Jianguo Zhao (China) - 46:46.35
5. Hyeonmyeong Joo (South Korea) - 47:23.82

Boys' High Jump
1. Yuji Hiramatsu (Japan) - 2.12 m - MR
2. Shah Norshafie Mohd (Malaysia) - 2.06 m
3. Aryan Zarekani (Iran) - 2.06 m
4. Yen-Hung Chen (Taiwan) - 2.03 m
4. Syazwan Bin Ahmed Muhammed (Malaysia) - 2.03 m

Boys' Pole Vault
1. Asim Al Hizam Hussain (Saudia Arabia) - 5.10 m
2. Muntadher Abdulwahid (Iraq) - 4.95 m
3. Hibiki Uehara (Japan) - 4.85 m
4. Muhammad Ahmad Alham (Malaysia) - 4.80 m
5. Patsapong Amsam-Ang (Thailand) - 4.55 m

Boys' Discus Throw
1. Yulong Cheng (China) - 63.66 m
2. Xiangnan Zhang (China) - 62.82 m
3. Yume Ando (Japan) - 59.48 m
4. Mithravarun (Indonesia) - 54.20 m
5. Lun-Chun Yang (Taiwan) - 53.96 m

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Paul Tanui World-Leading 27:16.75 - Weekend Corporate League Highlights

by Brett Larner

Alongside Bedan Karoki's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon course record, Murayama twins Kenta and Kota's Kanto Regional University Championships 10000 m double victory and Yoshihide Kiryu's 10.05 national university record, four of the six regional corporate leagues held their track and field championships over the weekend.  Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) fronted the corporate regionals' best race with a world-leading 27:16.75 to win the Kyushu region men's 10000 m over the Koichi Morishita-coached Kenyan Jeremiah Karemi (Team Toyota Kyushu), 2nd in 27:41.81, and Ethiopian Melaku Abera (Team Kurosaki Harima), 3rd in 27:42.35.

Four of the eight Japanese men to have run sub-2:10 marathons so far this year were also in the race, Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), 2nd in 2:09:30 at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, topping the group 5th overall in 28:34.75.  Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), the fastest Japanese marathoner this year with a 2:08:09 in Tokyo, took 7th in 28:38.80, with Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), 2:09:47 at Lake Biwa, 15th in 29:06.73 and Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko), 2:09:10 in Tokyo behind Matsumura, 21st in 29:30.41.

Tanui's teammate, 2014 World Half Marathon bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), had an easy win in the Kyushu women's 5000 m, running 15:37.92 to beat rival Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Team Toto) by 3 1/2 seconds.

Higher-level women's action came at the East Japan region meet, with Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) defending her 10000 m title in 31:58.71 and newcomer Rosemary Monica (Kenya/Team Starts) winning the 3000 m in 9:02.30 after also taking the 1500 m.  2011 National Corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) was the only one to stop a Kenyan sweep, outkicking 2013 National Corporate 5000 m winner Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) and Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) to win the 5000 m by less than a second in 15:32.55.

While Nishihara got in the way of the women, the Kenyan men did manage to pull off an East Japan sweep.  In his first season in Japan Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) took the 1500 m in 3:42.50, nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu).  Bernard Kimani (Team Honda) outran 2013 World XC junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin), last weekend's Sendai International Half Marathon winner Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) and others to win the 5000 m in 13:24.30.  The ascendant William Malel (Team Honda) rounded out the sweep with a 28:00.12 win in the 10000 m, which saw a moderately successful comeback run from almost two years of Achilles trouble by former Tokai University star Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin), 6th in 28:35.09.  Another Japanese man with a sub-2:10 to his name this season, 2:09:07 marathoner Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta), made an appearance in the 10000 m B-heat, 11th in 29:56.16, but the East Japan region's other two 2014 sub-2:10 men Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) and Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) were nowhere to be seen.

The Chugoku region split its track championships into two, the 5000 m held last week and only the 10000 m on the menu this weekend.  Things were relatively low-key, with former Sera H.S. standout Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) jogging the 10000 m in 28:30.82 for the win by more than 20 seconds over Yuji Osuda (Team Mazda).  The Kansai region, the only with a complete ban on foreign athletes, saw a meet record 3:44.67 win from Daiki Hirose (Team Osaka Gas) in the 1500 m but winning times of only 14:14.73 and 29:33.03 in the men's 5000 m and 10000 m. Women's times in Kansai were a little more advanced thanks to the Otsuka Seiyaku team, with its marathoner Mai Ito winning the 5000 m in 15:46.00 and teammate Ayaka Inoue the 10000 in 32:54.78.

A few corporate league runners even managed to sneak overseas over the weekend. Quasi-NOP member Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) continued his USA-based post-graduation season with a 13:39.10 for 7th at the USATF High Performance Distance Classic, while former Toyo University member Yu Chiba (Team Honda) ran 2:13:44 at the Riga Marathon in Latvia for a rare Japanese win in Europe.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Karoki Over Tadese, Jepkesho Over Kiplagat at Gifu Seiryu Half

by Brett Larner

Tokyo-based 2014 Lisbon Half Marathon winner Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) and little-known Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) upstaged big names Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) and Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) to take the men's and women's title at Sunday's fourth edition of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon.

Tadese led through 5 km in 14:17 with Karoki relaxing two seconds back at the rear of the lead pack of Africans.  From there Karoki moved to the front, pushing the pace to a 14:06 split until by 10 km only he, Tadese and Japan-based Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele (Team Mazda) remained.  Things slowed over the next 5 km, but despite the slackened pace Karoki picked up a slight lead.  Heading into the last 5 km as temperatures rose Karoki said goodbye for good, dropping a 14:03 split from 15 km and 20 km to open his lead over world record holder Tadese to 1:14.  Closing at near-world record speed, Karoki crossed the line in 1:00:02, taking the win and Tadese's course record.  Tadese was next in 1:01:34 and Ayele 3rd in 1:01:43, his gap to Tadese never changing after he initially lost touch.

In the Japanese chase pack, just a week after his season-best 1:03:23 at the Sendai Half, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) led 2008 World Half Marathon 5th-placer Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and sub-62 man Takahiro Yamanaka (Team Honda) at a steady sub-64 pace throughout the race.  Nakao, who dropped out of last weekend's Golden Games in Nobeoka 10000 m, craftily tailed Kawauchi before outkicking him in the final kilometer to take the top Japanese position at 10th in 1:03:46.  Kawauchi was two seconds back in 11th, Yamanaka another four seconds behind him.  "After last week I'm really relieved that things went OK," Nakao told JRN post-race.  "I'm excited to get into marathon training now."  For his part, Kawauchi commented, "I was looking to run 63 so everything went according to plan.  Now I focus on the Gold Coast Marathon."

In the women's race, two-time World Champion Kiplagat and the unknown Jepkesho were alone virtually from the gun, 42 seconds ahead of their nearest competition, Katie McGregor (U.S.A.) by 5 km and a minute and a half ahead by 10 km. Jepkesho, with a best of only 1:11:50 compared to Kiplagat's 1:08:48 official PB and aided 1:07:41, seemed to be untroubled by racing one of the greats at PB pace, but when the pair hit 20 km almost side-by-side she threw down a kick that put 25 seconds on Kiplagat by the time each hit the finish line.  Jepkesho recorded a 57-second PB of 1:10:53, Kiplagat next in 1:11:18.

McGregor faded badly after 10 km, dropping to 6th as she was run down by Japanese athletes Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso), Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) and Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki).  Mizuguchi was the first of the trio to finish, rounding out the podium in 3rd in 1:14:31.

4th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon
Gifu, 5/18/14

Men
1. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 1:00:02 - CR
2. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 1:01:34
3. Abayneh Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 1:01:43
4. Patrick Muendo Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:56 - PB
5. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 1:02:08 - debut
6. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 1:02:50
7. Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:02:54 - debut
8. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:08
9. Dishon Karukuwa Maina (Kenya/Team Omokawa Lumber) - 1:03:38
10. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:03:46
11. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:03:48

Women
1. Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) - 1:10:53 - PB
2. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:11:18
3. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:14:31
4. Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) - 1:15:31
5. Chika Nakama (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:16:05
6. Katie McGregor (U.S.A.) - 1:16:29
7. Marina Seki (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:16:33
8. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakugei Univ.) - 1:16:35
9. Rina Asano (Team Yutaka Giken) - 1:16:38
10. Mamiko Baba (Team Kojima Press) - 1:17:11

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kiryu 10.05 Meet Record for Kanto Regionals Win

by Brett Larner

After coming out on top of the 100 m qualifying heats and anchoring their 4x100 m teams to qualify for the finals yesterday, Japan's teen sprint sensations Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) returned for record-setting finals on the second day of the 2014 Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, May 17 in Kumagaya, Saitama.



Kiryu, ranked #1 in the D1 100 m after a 10.36 (-0.6) opening round on Friday, started Saturday with a 10.25 (+3.6) to lead the semifinals.  Three hours later he was back in more moderate wind for the final, where he dropped a 10.05 (+1.6) meet record to tie Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Shingo Tsuetsugu's national university record.  His time, sixth in the world so far this season, was the closest Kiryu has come to his name-making 10.01 just over a year ago, bringing him one step closer to his career goal of Japan's first sub-10 clocking.

Just over three hours later he was back again to anchor Toyo's 4x100 m in the final. Despite setting a new school record of 39.54 largely on the strength of Kiryu's run, Toyo could do no better than 3rd against national university record holder Chuo University, 1st in 39.12, and #1-ranked Hosei University, 2nd in 39.31.



Doi, a London Olympian while still at Saitama Sakae H.S. and like Kiryu now a Saitama-based university first-year, sailed through the semi-finals in a wind-aided 11.51 (+3.1), well ahead of the 11.67 meet record set by Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) in 2010, before returning to do it for real in the final with an 11.59 (+0.7) meet record for the win.  Mirroring Kiryu again in the relay, despite a solid anchor run Doi was short of powering Daito Bunka Univ. to the win as Aoyama Gakuin University, with three athletes in the 100 m final, took the win in 46.11 to DBU's 46.58.



Overshadowed by the success of Kiryu and Doi, Doi's London Olympics teammate Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) also had a big day in the men's D2 races.  In the 100 m Yamagata ran 10.23 (+1.5) to lead the top three under the D2 meet record.  In the 4x100 m he anchored Keio to another meet record, crushing Heisei Kokusai Univ.'s year-old record of 40.16 with a new mark of 39.96.  Yamagata, along with D1 runner-up Cambridge and others, added to Kiryu's success to give the development of Japanese sprinting added depth, and with Doi eclipsing marks set by Takahashi, the university-era rival of national record holder Chisato Fukushima, the same looks true for women's sprinting as well.  The buildup to the Rio and Tokyo Olympics continues to get more interesting.

93rd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships - Day Two Highlights
Kumagaya, Saitama, 5/17/14

Men's D1 100 m Final +1.6
1. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.05 - Univ. NRMR
2. Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) - 10.21
3. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.27
4. Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) - 10.30
5. Tatsuya Yamaguchi (Josai Univ.) - 10.34
6. Hayato Suda (Waseda Univ.) - 10.37
7. Yu Onabuta (Chuo Univ.) - 10.37
8. Masafumi Naoki (Chuo Univ.) - 10.40

Men's D2 100 m Final +1.5
1. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.23 - MR
2. Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) - 10.39
3. Yuki Koike (Keio Univ.) - 10.41
4. Chihiro Yoshida (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 10.68
5. Shota Matsuda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 10.75
6. Takahiro Iwami (Keio Univ.) - 10.76
7. Ryo Tsunashima (Seigakuin Univ.) - 10.77
8. Yuta Takeuchi (Saitama Ika Univ.) - 10.83

Women's 100 m Final +0.7
1. Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 11.59 - MR
2. Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 11.93
3. Sayaka Matsumoto (Tsuru Bunka Univ.) - 12.00
4. Maho Takamori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 12.04
5. Hiromi Shioya (Surugadai Univ.) - 12.10
6. Sae Shimada (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 12.12
7. Erika Ikeuchi (Tsuru Bunka Univ.) - 12.23
8. Kazumi Akashi (Josai Univ.) - 12.26

Men's DI 4x100 m Final
1. Chuo Univ. - 39.12
2. Hosei Univ. - 39.31
3. Toyo Univ. - 39.54
4. Josai Univ. - 39.91
5. Nittai Univ. - 40.01
6. Daito Bunka Univ. - 40.01
7. Juntendo Univ. - 40.47
8. Nihon Univ. - 41.18

Men's D2 4x100 m Final
1. Keio Univ - 39.96 - MR
2. Jobu Univ. - 40.52
3. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 41.11
4. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 41.20
5. Tokyo Gakugei Univ. - 41.24
6. Tokyo Keizai Univ. - 41.31
7. Sakushin Univ. - 41.48
8. Kanagawa Univ. - 42.05


Women's 4x100 m Final
1. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 46.11
2. Daito Bunka Univ. - 46.58
3. Tsuru Bunka Univ. - 46.85
4. Saitama Univ. - 47.49
5. Tokyo Gakugei Univ. - 47.67
6. Tokyo Joshi Taiiku Univ. - 47.93
7. Tsukuba Univ. - 59.79 

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Murayama Twins Dominate and Omwamba Returns on First Day of 2014 Kanto Regionals

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620


Train-stopping winds tore at what was left of the roof of the neighboring snow-damaged Kumagaya Dome, but the first day of Japan's biggest university meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships, plowed ahead as scheduled on Friday, May 16 northwest of Tokyo in Kumagaya, Saitama.  Because Kanto is home to Japan's biggest sporting event, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden university men's road relay championships,  the region is a national magnet for men's distance running talent to the extent that the Kanto Regionals meet is much more competitive than its national counterpart where Kanto distance men race others from weaker regions from across the country.



That being the case, it was no surprise that the highlight of the day came in its final two events, the D2 and D1 men's 10000 m.  A school's D1 or D2 standing depends on the combined scoring of its overall track and field team, meaning that distance specialty schools like three-time defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University are held back in D2 among lower-level schools instead of going up against the other major power in the D1 races.  Last weekend Komazawa senior Kenta Murayama and sophomore Keisuke Nakatani finished 1st and 3rd in the Golden Games in Nobeoka 5000 m A-heat, Murayama with a PB 13:34.53 and Nakatani also PBing in 13:38.08.  With Murayama having run 27:49.94 in April, over 30 seconds better than his nearest competition, there wasn't much doubt that he was going to win, the only question being whether Nakatani would make it a Komazawa double.

After the winds held them back in a slow first half just under 15:00 Murayama went to the front and dropped the field, only Nakatani and Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) going with him.  Nakatani took his turn up front to try to break Tsuetaki, a move that paid off as it was soon down to just the Komazawa teammates. With one lap to go Murayama said goodbye with the closing speed and final kick that have set him apart from other Japanese runners over the last year.  It looked like he might squeeze under 29:00, but the slow first half held him too far back and he crossed the line in 29:03.22 to add a second Kanto D2 10000 m title to his 2012 win. Nakatani completed the Komazawa double in 29:11.89, with Tsuetaki closing but coming up short of catching him as he took 3rd in 29:14.77.



Minutes later the D1 race got underway, with favorites including 2013 National University 10000 m champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.), 2014 World Half Marathon team member Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), 30 km national university record holder Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.), 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) and Murayama's identical twin brother Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.).  Kota has so far been completely overshadowed by Kenta's success, his only real claim to fame having been a faster 5000 m PB that Kenta beat last weekend in Nobeoka, where Kota was 4th in a new PB of 13:38.87.  This time it was clear he was there to make it his night.

When Ichida took the race out on 29-flat pace Kota hung back mid-pack, keying off Hattori.  When Kitonyi tired of the pace and went out front at 3000 m Kota followed Hattori toward the front but stayed behind him.  Kitonyi tired and Hattori went by him into the lead, Kota was there behind him.  When Kitonyi went back to the front Kota ignored him, staying right in Hattori's shadow.  Hattori again took the lead and again, there was Hota.  When it was Hattori's turn to tire Kota went to the outside of the lane and pulled almost even but refused to take the lead.  Kitonyi lost patience and took off, only Inoue following him.  Kota again ignored them to stay in Hattori's wake, but 200 m later when it was obvious that this was Kitonyi was not coming back, Kota sprinted down the back straight to regain contact.

Hattori, Ichida and Meiji University's sub-28:40 pair Kei Fumimoto and Ken Yokote tried to rejoin the leaders, but while it took a few laps for Fumimoto and Yokote to get there Hattori and Ichida never re-entered orbit.  The tension built as the laps ticked toward zero, and with 500 m to go Kota finally made his move, for the first time in memory really looking like his brother's twin as he ran.  The Meiji pair were gone instantly, then Kitonyi, only Inoue able to mount a challenge.  Inoue made two pushes to the front but Kota was not having any of it as he dropped the same last kick his brother has honed over the last year.  Crossing the line in 28:54.85 he earned his first major title to make it an all-Murayama might, and with a faster time than Kenta's D2 win it was the first time he had upstaged his brother too.  The twins' senior year looks like it's going to be an interesting one.

Inoue was a second back from Kota in 28:55.87, with Kitonyi rounding out the podium in 28:57.05.  Fumimoto almost closed the distance to Kitonyi but came up short in 4th in 29:00.93, Hattori and Ichida nearly catching Yokote for 5th but likewise running out of room as they took 6th and 7th.  One more pre-race favorite, first-year Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), dropped out in clear distress after just a few laps, lying just outside the back curve of the track as medical staff rushed to help him.



Another would-have-been-favorite, Ueda's teammate and defending Kanto D1 10000 m champion Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), sat the 10000 m out in favor of only defending his 1500 m Kanto title as he works back from the stress fracture that forced him to DNF in January's Hakone Ekiden.  Running at the peak of the windstorm, Omwamba ran solo start-to-finish ahead of the Japanese field to win easily in 3:48.66.  His nearest competition, 13:28.79 5000 m man Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.), was far back in 3:52.23.  Looking fit and healthy, Omwamba is scheduled to go for a defense of his 5000 m Kanto title next weekend on the final day of the meet.



The D2 1500 m saw the official arrival of a Kenyan newcomer, the Stephen Mayaka-coached Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.).  Just a first-year, Motanya had no trouble taking apart the Japanese field despite the powerful winds, winning in 3:49.84 by 2 1/2 seconds over Noriaki Oyama (Soka Univ.).  Mayaka, newly installed as head coach at the Obirin, hopes to build a Hakone-worthy team centered around Motanya over the next four years, and a Kanto title to start things off can only help.

Kanto university women's distance running lags behind both the Kansai region women and the Kanto region men in level and prestige, but the 10000 m saw most of the best the region has to offer in a close race.  Last year's Kanto 5000 m winner Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) controlled the race start-to-finish, her identical twin teammates Eri and Mari Tayama giving early support against a lead pack that included defending 10000 m champion Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.), 2011-12 10000 m winner Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) and last year's 4th-placer Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuho Univ.).



As the kilometers ground by the pack thinned until only Fukuuchi, Suzuki, Shinozuma and Kikuchi remained, and when the bell rang Fukuuchi still had the reserves to pull out a kick that put the others away.  All four finished within three seconds of each other, Fukuuchi getting the win in 33:44.72 and Kikuchi just outkicking defending champion Suzuki for 2nd in 33:46.87.  Daito Bunka's Chikako Mori just missed making it a DBU double in the women's 1500 m, less than a second behind winner Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) who took the title in 4:29.78.

The sprints brought the day's other major action, with Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) easily placing first in the opening heats in 10.36 (-0.6) and Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.), a London Olympian while in high school, likewise outclassing the competition to top the heats in 11.94 (-3.5).  Both Kiryu and Doi returned to anchor their schools' 4x100 m teams in the qualifying rounds, Kiryu bringing Toyo home in 2nd in their heat just behind national university record holder Chuo University and Doi running down Tsukubu University to put DBU at the top of the rankings going into the final.

The Kanto Regionals meet continues Saturday before moving to Kawasaki for its second half on May 24-25.  As always, JRN will be on-site to provide the only English-language coverage of Japan's best track meet.

93rd Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships - Day One Highlights
Kumagaya, Saitama, 5/16/14
click here for complete results

Men's D1 10000 m
1. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 28:54.85
2. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:55.87
3. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 28:57.05
4. Kei Fumimoto (Meiji Univ.) - 29:00.93
5. Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.) - 29:07.20
6. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 29:09.65
7. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:09.69
8. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Waseda Univ.) - 29:11.29
9. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:17.61
10. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:20.31

Men's D2 10000 m
1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:03.22
2. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:11.89
3. Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:14.77
4. Mitsunori Asaoka (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 29:17.32
5. Kenya Sonota (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:26.93
6. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:27.44
7. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:39.32
8. Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 29:39.97
9. Yuta Oikawa (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:44.02
10. Ryoma Takeuchi (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 29:45.32

Women's 10000 m
1. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:44.72
2. Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuho Univ.) - 33:46.87
3. Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.) - 33:46.99
4. Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.) - 33:47.16
5. Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:18.97
6. Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:29.21
7. Yuna Nihei (Toyo Univ.) - 34:57.45
8. Hiromi Hikida (Nittai Univ.) - 35:05.86
9. Shino Umehara (Josai Univ.) - 35:17.27
10. Ruka Nakamura (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 35:21.23

Men's D1 1500 m Final
1. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:48.66
2. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 3:52.23
3. Hikaru Kato (Nittai Univ.) - 3:52.54
4. Takayuki Maeno (Meiji Univ.) - 3:53.13
5. Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:53.34

Men's D2 1500 m Final
1. Lazarus Motanya (Kenya/Obirin Univ.) - 3:49.84
2. Noriaki Oyama (Soka Univ.) - 3:52.30
3. Taketo Kumazaki (Teikyo Univ.) - 3:52.35
4. Nozomi Ogoshi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:52.70
5. Yuki Nakamura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 3:53.18

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:29.78
2. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:30.11
3. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:30.68
4. Maki Izumida (Rissho Univ.) - 4:31.31
5. Yuri Takagi (Nittai Univ) - 4:32.29

Men's D1 100 m Heats Summary
Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) (1st, H.3) - 10.36 (-0.6)
Asuka Cambridge (Nihon Univ.) (1st, H4) - 10.42 (-0.7)
Masaharu Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) (2nd, H4) - 10.47 (-0.7)
Yuki Takeshita (Waseda Univ.) (3rd, H4) - 10.56 (-0.7)
Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) (1st, H2) - 10.58 (-2.2)
Tatsuro Suwa (Chuo Univ.) (2nd, H.3) - 10.58 (-0.6)
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) (1st, H1) - 10.60 (-4.7)
Masafumi Naoki (Chuo Univ.) (2nd, H.2) - 10.60 (-2.2)

Women's 100 m Heats Summary
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) (1st, H1) - 11.94 (-3.5)
Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) (1st, H2) - 12.12 (-3.4)
Maho Takamori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) (1st, H4) - 12.20 (-1.2)
Hiromi Shioya (Tsurugadai Univ.) (2nd, H4) - 12.27 (-1.2)
Sae Shimada (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) (2nd, H1) - 12.33 (-3.5)
Momoe Makino (Nittai Univ.) (3rd, H1) - 12.37 (-3.5)
Sayaka Matsumoto (Tsuru Univ.) (1st, H3) - 12.39 (-1.9)
Mio Fukushima (Tokyo Joshi Taiiku Univ.) (4th, H1) - 12.39 (-3.5)

Men's 4x100 m Heats Summary
Hosei Univ. (1st, H1) - 39.16
Chuo Univ. (1st, H2) - 39.60
Toyo Univ. (2nd, H2) - 39.68
Nihon Univ. (3rd, H2) - 39.77
Nittai Univ. (2nd, H1) - 39.79
Josai Univ. (3rd, H1) - 39.84
Daito Bunka Univ. (4th, H1) - 39.85
Juntendo Univ. (5th, H1) - 40.08

Women's 4x100 m Heats Summary
Daito Bunka Univ. (1st, H2) - 46.61
Tsuru Bunka Univ. (1st, H1) - 46.69
Aoyama Gakuin Univ. (1st, H3) - 46.80
Tsukuba Univ. (2nd, H2) - 46.98
Nittai Univ. (2nd, H1) - 47.05
Tokyo Joshi Taiiku Univ. (3rd, H1) - 47.41
Tokyo Gakugei Univ. (2nd, H3) - 47.49
Saitama Univ. (3rd, H2) - 47.56

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, May 16, 2014

Karoki vs. Tadese at Sunday's Gifu Half

by Brett Larner

The Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon leads this weekend’s Japanese road action, in just its fourth year already surpassing the long-running Sendai International Half Marathon as Japan’s leading late-spring half. With the withdrawal of 2011-2012 Gifu winner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), who sat out the London Marathon with an injury following his 1:00:11 win at February’s Marugame Half, last year’s winner and world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea), 4th at this year’s World Half Marathon Championships in 59:38, returns to face #1-ranked Japan-based Kenyan Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), winner of March’s Lisbon Half in 59:58 in his half marathon debut.  With the aggressive Karoki in the race and good weather the lead pack should have a good shot at bettering Tadese’s course record of 1:00:31.

Making up that lead pack are last year’s 3rd, 5th and 6th-placers Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko), Abayneh Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) and Patrick Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo).  #2-ranked Japan-based Kenyan Edward Waweru (Team NTN), a 27:13.94 track runner, will be running the half marathon distance for the first time and should also be a part of the action.

Sub-60 Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Nissin Shokuhin), indie Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) and Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN) took 3rd through 5th in Sendai last weekend and will be returning for the double, as will London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House). Other top Japanese competition includes sub-62 men Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo), Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and Takahiro Yamanaka (Team Honda) along with 2008 World Half Marathon Championships 5th-placer Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).

In the women’s race, with a best of 1:08:48 two-time marathon world champion Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) should have no trouble taking down the year-old course record of 1:10:03 for the win, the only sub-70 woman in the field. 2012 3rd-place Eri Okubo (Miki House) and last year’s 4th-placer Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) are the top domestic contenders along with 73-minute women Yuki Sakata (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki). Look for them to race for 2nd against international competitors Katie McGregor (U.S.A.), Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) and Miranda Boonstra (Netherlands).

4th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Gifu, 5/18/14
click here for complete elite field

Men
Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 58:23 (Lisbon 2010)
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) -59:48 (Marugame 2007)
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 59:58 (Lisbon 2014)
Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:32 (Nagoya 2010)
Abayneh Ayele (Ethiopia/Team Mazda) - 1:00:51 (Delhi Half 2010)
Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 1:01:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2012)
Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) - 1:01:34 (Marugame 2012)
Patrick Muendo Muwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:57 (Gifu Seiryu 2013)
Takahiro Yamanaka (Team Honda) - 1:01:57 (Marugame 2012)
Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:01:58 (Marugame 2012)
Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:00 (Sendai 2008)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18 (Marugame 2012)
Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - debut - 27:13.94 (Fukuroi 2010)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - debut - 27:59.11 (Fukagawa 2013)

Women
Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:48 (Lisbon 2013)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:10:16 (Miyazaki Women's 2006)
Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) - 1:10:48 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2010)
Eri Okubo (Miki House) - 1:11:22 (Ichinoseki 2011)
Katie McGregor (U.S.A.) - 1:11:45 (Las Vegas 2011)
Visiline Jepkesho (Kenya) - 1:11:50 (Darica 2013)
Miranda Boonstra (Netherlands) - 1:13:04 (Venlo 2010)
Yuki Sakata (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:13:14 (Marugame 2013)
Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 1:13:27 (Nat'l Univ. Women's Half 2008)
Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) - 1:13:43 (Marugame 2013)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kanto Regionals Lead Five Championship Meets This Weekend

by Brett Larner

This weekend is one of the busiest on the Japanese calendar, with no less than five regional track and field championship meets. Leading the way is the first half of Japan’s toughest university meet, the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships. Bumped from its traditional place at Tokyo’s National Stadium by a two-night stand of Paul McCartney concerts, this weekend’s half of the Kanto Regionals meet takes place far out in the wilds of Saitama in Kumagaya.

The big news of the meet is the return of 2013 triple 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m D1 champion Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) from a stress fracture that forced him to drop out of the Second Stage of the Hakone Ekiden in January, eliminating YGU from Japan’s most prestigious race. It’s a sign that he is taking the comeback easy that Omwamba is skipping the 10000 m, racing only the 1500 m, where he set a meet record 3:39.16 last year, this weekend and the 5000 m next weekend in Kawasaki. With the graduation of top Japanese collegiate 1500 m men Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) this spring Omwamba doesn’t have much competition for a 1500 defense if he is fit. If not, look for Tsukasa Anzai (Juntendo Univ.) or Omwamba's teammate Shogo Hata (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) to give him a run for it.

Bound to be a bigger race is the men’s 10000 m. With sub-29 and even sub-28 times now commonplace among Japanese university men there’s no shortage of contenders, especially if the race goes out relatively conservatively. In D1 the favorite is 2013 National University 10000 m champion Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.), right on the cusp of joining the 27-minute club. His top Japanese competitors are Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.), who set an all-time Japanese #3 mark and collegiate national record of 1:28:52 at February’s Kumanichi 30 km, and Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), the fastest-ever Japanese 21-year-old over the half marathon with a 1:01:39 for 3rd at this year’s Marugame Half, beating Kitonyi by 5 seconds.

It’s a regrettable quirk of the system that three-time defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University, all but unstoppable in long distance but without a healthy overall track and field program, is consigned to D2, especially this year with senior Kenta Murayama coming in with PBs marks of 13:34.97, 27:49.94 and 1:00:50 all set this season. Komazawa’s defending D2 champ Shogo Nakamura is sadly sitting the meet out after a breakdown at last weekend’s Golden Games in Nobeoka, but filling in is second-year Keisuke Nakatani hot off a 13:38.08 best in Nobeoka behind Murayama. It will be a shock if Murayama doesn’t walk away with the title, but Nakatani will have tough competition for 2nd from Aoyama Gakuin University’s Daichi Kamino and Yuki Kawasaki, Chuo Gakuin University’s Yuta Oikawa and Hironori Tsuetaki, and Kanagawa University’s Masaya Kakihara and Kazuma Ganaha, all better than or knocking right on 28:45. An interesting darkhorse is Shuhei Yamaguchi of the minor Soka University with a best of 28:46.92.

While Kanto is Japan’s dominant region for university men, Kansai plays that role for women. Nevertheless, the level has come up in the last few years among Kanto region women, and Friday’s women’s 10000 m features several of the top names in Japanese collegiate women’s distance running. 2012 National University 10000 m champion Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) has struggled with injury since winning the title, a DNS at last year’s Kanto Regionals and mostly absent since then, but with a place on the starting list she has to be considered a danger to defending Kanto champion Hitomi Suzuki (Tamagawa Univ.), who is back to go for a second-straight title. Hoping to stop her and pick up a third Kanto 10000 m crown is 2011-2012 winner Mai Shinozuka (Chuo Univ.). Last year’s 4th and 5th-placers Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuho Univ.) and Mari Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) and Tayama’s identical twin, 2012 runner-up Eri Tayama (Daito Bunka Univ.) are all in the race and should factor into the lead group.

Along with distance events, the Kanto Regionals meet will also feature brand-new 800 m national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.), teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) and many more. JRN will be onhand to cover the meet live, so check back throughout this weekend and next for results and reports.

Alongside the Kanto Regionals meet are four regional corporate league track and field championships scattered across the country. The East Japan meet, including Kanto-region corporate teams, may be the most competitive, featuring world-level medalists Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu), Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/ Team Nissin Shokuhin), Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru), sub-2:10 marathoners Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda), Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru), top-level Japanese track talent Sota Hoshi (Team Fujitsu), Akinobu Murasawa (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta), Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) and many more on the men’s side. One notable absence is Moscow 10000 m team member Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), largely out of sight since a passable 2:13:41 marathon debut in Dubai in January.

On the women’s side, Kenyans Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts), Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi), Rosemary Monica (Team Starts) and Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) lead the way for current #1-ranked track runner Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), 2011 national corporate 10000 m champion Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), 2014 World Half Marathon team member Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido), and others. Of special note is the presence of 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Mizuno) on the entry list for the 5000 m. If she starts it will be virtually her first race since missing out on her goal of making the 2012 London Olympic team.

The Kyushu region also features solid competition led by 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) and 2014 World Half Marathon bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko). Top Japanese entrants include marathoners Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko).  The Chugoku region, which held its 5000 m last weekend, has been weakened on the women’s side by the departure of the Uniqlo team for East Japan, but look for athletes from the Tenmaya team to dominate women’s competition.

In the Kansai region, the only with a total ban on foreign athletes, the men’s 5000 m looks set for a great matchup between collegiate national record holder Kensuke Takezawa (Team Sumitomo Denko) and 2010 national champion Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku). London Olympics marathoner Ryo Yamamoto (Team SGH Group Sagawa) is the favorite in the 10000 m as he builds back from a 2:10:59 at April’s Vienna Marathon. Moscow World Championships marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and 4th-place Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) are absent from the women’s races, but look for marathoners Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal), Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and, in her first major race since setting the marathon collegiate national record at January’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon, Sairi Maeda (Team Daihatsu) to challenge track and ekiden specialists Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), Mao Kuroda (Team Wacoal) and Yui Okada (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) in the 5000 m and 10000 m.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wanjiru in 2002



Samuel Wanjiru, Nov. 10, 1986 - May 15, 2011

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Marathoner Yuri Kano To Retire

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20140512-1299913.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On May 12, representatives of Shiseido announced that 2009 World Championships women's marathon 7th-placer Yuri Kano (35) will retire, leaving both the Shiseido team and company on May 31.  Following her departure she plans to be involved in outreach activities.  "I'd still like to be able to take part in marathons at my own pace," she said.

A native of Hyogo prefecture, Kano left the Second Wind AC team in 2011 to return to Shiseido, from which Second Wind had separated several years previously.  After her return, however, she was hit with repeated injuries and setbacks.  The May 11 Sendai International Half Marathon, where she finished 6th in 1:16:16, was her final race.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kawamoto Sets 800 m National Record at National Stadium's Final Meet

by Brett Larner

Organizers announced that 17,000 fans turned out on a spectacular spring day for the final track and field meet at Tokyo's 1964 Olympics National Stadium, Sunday's Golden Grand Prix Tokyo. Many were there to relive memories of Abebe and Tsuburaya, of Taniguchi and Yamashita's 1991 World Championships medals, and of Seko, Takahashi and Noguchi's wins at the old Tokyo International Marathon, but there's no question that the main draw was the meet-closing men's 100 m featuring Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) up against the likes of Justin Gatlin (U.S.A.), Christophe Lemaitre (France) and Mike Rodgers (U.S.A.). Strong winds precluded fast times as multiple medalist Gatlin duly took 1st in 10.02 (-3.5) over Rodgers and Lemaitre. Kiryu was just 5th in 10.46, but fans seemed happy to see him in action regardless of the outcome.

Along the way they were treated to a great men's high jump that saw Moscow World Championships gold medalist Moscow Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) set a new meet record of 2 m 40 to beat London Olympics gold medalist Ivan Ukhov (Russia) and Tsukuba University's Naoto Tobe, both of whom also cleared the previous 2 m 30 record, more meet records of 12.62 (+1.9) by women's 100 mH gold medalist Brianna Rollins (U.S.A.) and 6 m 88 (+2.0) from Russian star Darya Klishina in the women's long jump, London men's 400 m gold medalist Kirani James (Grenada) winning the 200 m in 20.63 (-1.2) by a margin of just 0.1, a 1500 m victory in 4:03.91 by Moscow silver medalist Jennifer Simpson (U.S.A.), women's hammer throw world record holder and London bronze medalist Betty Heidler (Germany) beating Moscow gold medalist Tatiana Lysenko (Russia), Berlin World Championships men's shot put gold medalist Christian Cantwell (U.S.A.) getting the win in 21 m 33, and the Japanese women's 4x100 m unexpectedly winning and clearing the World Relays B-standard despite the absence of 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC).  Click here for complete men's and women's results.

But the most unexpected highlight of the meet came in the men's 800 m.  Coming in with just the sixth-fastest PB in the field of eight, 2013 Japanese national champion and junior national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) started in last as teammate and 2013 junior national champion Takaaki Hosaka (Nihon Univ.) went up front for rabbiting duties.  Moving up to mid-pack on the second corner, Kawamoto stayed in position following Hosaka's departure just past 500 m before gunning it on the last curve and pulling past Giordani Benedetti (Italy), Erik Sowinski (U.S.A.) and Edwin Kiplagat Melly (Kenya) into the lead on the home straight.

Kawamoto's win was a big enough surprise but there was shock all around when the board read 1:45.75 for his time, a new national record by 0.41 and more than a second under his PB.  Yes, Japanese middle distance is still weak, especially among men, and 1:45.75 is still shy of even the B-standard for this fall's Asian Games, but a national record is a national record and doing it in style in the final meet on hallowed ground guarantees Kawamoto a place among the greats in the National Stadium's history books.



800 spectators were lucky enough to get to touch that history as part of the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo's closing ceremonies, given 30 minutes to run on its track one last time.  After speeches from Ethiopian dignitaries commemorating Abebe Bikila's Olympic marathon defense fifty years ago at the National Stadium, the Memorial Run participants circled the track under the light of the burning Olympic flame as the sun set, the digital clocks reading "Sayonara Kokuritsu," "Goodbye National."

Some ran to be a part of the track's history, some to recall the great races they witnessed there, some to relive their own races.  One man changed into spikes and blasted a fast 200 m, another ran a slow lap wearing an antique white singlet and shorts with his front and back bib numbers from the 1995 Tokyo International Men's Marathon pinned on just as they were nearly twenty years ago.



As we ran JRN associate editor Mika Tokairin talked about her five times running the Tokyo International Women's Marathon, and I couldn't help recalling my one race there, the 2007 Shinjuku City Half Marathon when I set my lifetime PB starting and finishing on the National Stadium track, starting next to Toshihiko Seko and being the only person on the track and screen for my final lap.

At the end of the 30 minutes there were as many tears as smiles as the Olympic flame was extinguished for the last time.  There is plenty of excitement for the 2020 stadium to come and all that it will bring with it, but the Kokuritsu Kyogijo will be dearly missed in the collective memories and hearts of Tokyo's running community.  Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section.








Along with my half marathon PB, some of my favorite memories of the National Stadium in no particular order:
  • Seeing South African Gert Thys's then-incredible 2:06:33 course record win at the 1999 Tokyo International Marathon my first time going there and Japhet Kosgei and Lee Bong Ju's low-2:07 battle a year later.
  • Going to cheer a clubmate around the same time who finished last at the Tokyo International Women's Marathon, clearing the cutoff time by seconds as the entire stadium roared for her last 100 m, blacking out and pitching face down after crossing the line to completely upstage the winner and make all the sports shows.


  • Standing outside the Marathon Gate waiting for Mika the first year I coached her and shouting "FASTER MIKA!" as she came in to a PB.
  • Eri Hayakawa at the old Tokyo 10 km outkicking a man on the track to take the overall win.



  • Getting to see Mizuki Noguchi finish her 2007 Tokyo International Women's Marathon course record win.


  • Shota Iizuka's otherworldly 4x100 m collegiate national record anchor run for Chuo University at the 2010 Kanto Regionals meet.
  • Just about every time I went to watch the Kanto Regionals meet's half marathon, run on a ten-loop course through and around the National Stadium.
  • A group of showoff young guys learn about human physiology at an amateur runner event where I was part of the coaching staff.  Participants had to run a 300 m, and this group of guys went all-out from the start until they hit right about 220 m.
And, of course, this immortal piece of greatness:



Goodbye, National Stadium.


(c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
Kawamoto photo (c) 2014 M.Kawaguchiall rights reserved
other photos (c) 2014 Mika Tokairin, all rights reserved