Monday, September 29, 2014

Kawauchi Arrives in South Korea for Friday's Asian Games Marathon (updated)

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/09/29/kiji/K20140929009015030.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140929-00000559-san-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) arrived by plane at Seoul International Airport on Sept. 27.  The gold medal-aspiring civil servant runner had a stony expression as he showed confidence in his condition, saying, "I've built up for this."  On his arrival it was raining lightly with cool temperatures around 20 degrees.  Averse to the heat of summer races, Kawauchi said, "These conditions are great.  I hope it's like this on the big day."

Regularly incorporating trail and mountain running into his training, Kawauchi was shocked and dismayed by the serious damage caused by the eruption of Mt. Ontake a few days ago.  "I've never been there, but Ontake is a well-established center for distance running [training].  I can't believe something like that happened."

If Kawauchi wins the gold medal, he will earn a guaranteed spot on the team for next year's Beijing World Championships.  Finishing in the top eight there as the top Japanese would earn him a guaranteed spot on the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.  In that respect, the Asian Games Marathon are a major step toward realizing his Olympic dreams.  With 2:06 Ethiopian Shumi Dechasa having recently acquired Bahrain citizenship, Kawauchi said warily, "There has probably never been [an Asian Games marathon] this high-level."

The men's marathon takes place the morning of Friday, Oct. 3.  Having made the last two World Championships teams Kawauchi has experience wearing the Rising Sun, but both races ended in defeat.  At the Asian Games, Kawauchi said, "Third time's a charm."

Enter JRN's Asian Games marathon prediction contest for a chance to win a custom-made stainless steel finisher's medal wall display with Kawauchi's motto "Genjou Daha" ["Make a Breakthrough"], an issue of Like the Wind magazine, or a limited edition Kawauchi uchiwa fan produced for the Asian Games by broadcaster TBS.  Entries must be received before the start of the women's marathon on Oct. 2.

Weekend Racing Roundup - University Ekiden Season Gets Going

by Brett Larner

Along with the Berlin Marathon, where Moscow World Championships bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) turned in the fastest Japanese women's performance overseas so far this year at 2:26:25 for 6th and 2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) cracked the top ten with a 2:11:25 PB, the fall season got underway for real all across Japan.

The university ekiden circuit kicked off with the Kansai Region University Women's Ekiden on Saturday, where for the second year in a row Osaka Gakuin University beat national champion Ritsumeikan University.  The two schools traded the lead for the first four of the race's six stages before Osaka Gakuin got free on the Fifth Stage, ultimately winning by 7 seconds in 1:38:53.  The Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden followed on Sunday, with Daito Bunka University taking the lead on the Second Stage to run unchallenged all the way to the finish in a course record 1:38:22.  Early leader Tokyo Nogyo University and Nittai University ran the entire way within 7 seconds of each other before Nittai anchor Hiromi Hikida outkicked Tokyo Nogyo's Natsuno Furuya by 2 seconds for 2nd place in 1:41:46.

In preparation for next month's Izumo Ekiden the Daito Bunka University men were in action on the track, hosting the Saitama Jitsugyodan Long Distance Time Trials meet.  DBU's star twins Takashi Ichida and Hiroshi Ichida took the top two spots in the 10000 m, Takashi running 28:57.69 and Hiroshi 2nd in 29:14.99.  Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University had its Izumo lineup focus on 5000 m, where junior Kazuma Watanabe led in 14:01.81.

A half dozen other areas had minor meets at about the same level as Saitama's but the biggest track results of the weekend came at the season's first edition of the Nittai University Time Trials meet.  In her first pro season, Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post) got things started in a big way with the first Japanese women's sub-9 minute 3000 m in over six years as she soloed an 8:58.08 PB to win the A-heat.  Ritsumeikan grad Michi Numata turned in a good 15:32.41 to top the 5000 m A-heat, while in the men's races Kenyans Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Bernard Kimanyi (Team Yakult) won the 5000 m and 10000 m in 13:25.39 and 27:50.66.

Back on the roads, another Japan-based Kenyan, John Maina (Team Toho Refine) won the Ichinoseki International Half Marathon in 1:03:29, with Hawaiian resident Polina Carlson (Russia) winning the women's race in 1:16:48.  Maina told reporters, "I'm very happy to win a race here in my hometown."  A little further north, Tomohiro Tanigawa of 2014 New Year Ekiden winner Team Konica Minolta won the Hakodate Half Marathon in 1:03:20.  Much further south, Toyo grad Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) was a surprise winner in the Fukuoka Prefecture 10-Mile Championships, outrunning defending champion Ryuji Watanabe and marathoner Masato Imai (both Team Team Toyota Kyushu) by over a minute for the win in 48:24.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
top Fukushi photo by Victah Sailer, c/o Horst Milde
other photos by Werner Philipp and Hannes Uhtoffs, c/o Dr. Helmut Winter

2013 Tokyo Marathon winner Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) shook the world with his incredible 2:02:57 world record at today's Berlin Marathon, running a 1:01:12 second half that brought the concept of a low-2:02 marathon into the realm of possibility.  2014 Tokyo Marathon women's winner Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia) added another World Marathon Majors title to her resume, outrunning three compatriots, the U.S.A.'s Shalane Flanagan and Moscow World Championships bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) for the win in 2:20:18.  Less well-noticed was Fukuoka Marathon course record holder Tsegaye Kebede's 2:10:27 for 9th, his 18th career sub-2:11 and tying Korean great Lee Bong Ju's world record for most times sub-2:11.

Fukushi, quietly coming to Berlin in search of a time closer to the three Japanese women who have run 2:19 there than her current 2:24:21 PB, ran craftily behind Flanagan for the first half looking solid, but right at halfway she locked up and began to move backward through the field.  Just holding off German favorite Anna Hahner, Fukushi ended up 6th in 2:26:25.  It's a sign of the current state of Japanese women's marathoning that this was still the 5th-fastest marathon of the year by a Japanese woman, and with only Thursday's Asian Games and November's Yokohama International Women's Marathon really left on the calendar for the top Japanese there is a possibility that there may not even be ten women sub-2:30 by year's end.

On the men's side, 2013's top Japanese man Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), 2:08:00 at last year's Tokyo Marathon, went out with the second group on low-2:08 pace, while London Olympian Ryo Yamamoto (Team SGH Group Sagawa), 2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) and semi-retired former 5000 m national champion Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Monteroza) went out on low-2:11 pace in group three.

Maeda's group steadily slowed while the group behind them steadily accelerated, and by halfway it was clear that the vectors were going to cross.  Running with American Fernando Cabada, Tomaru was the first Japanese man across the line, 10th in a PB 2:11:25.  Yamamoto, sub-2:11 in Vienna in the spring, was 13th in 2:12:49, while the 35-year-old Tokumoto ran down National Marathon Team member Maeda for 15th in 2:14:35.  About which Yuki Kawauchi will no doubt have something to say.

Tomaru's PB run was solid, but you can't help but feel that Berlin wasn't the right race for it, that he and the other Japanese runners would have been better served going to races where they could be competing for the win, not for top ten.  Winning a second-tier domestic race in 2:11:43 in your debut is great, but it doesn't mean you should jump straight to the big leagues.  No matter what your pride says.  It's clear why Japan sends its 2:08-2:12 men to Berlin and Chicago, because those were the races where Takayuki Inubushi and Toshinari Takaoka ran 2:06 Japanese national records.  But the way of thinking of those making that decision is out of date.  When Inubushi and Takaoka ran those times in Berlin and Chicago they were challenging for the win at or near world record pace.  That hasn't been a possibility at those speeds at those races for years, but in the meantime countless other good races have come up to and beyond the level of Berlin and Chicago in Inubushi and Takaoka's era.  Wouldn't it be better to run one of those instead?  To go for the time while racing to win and come out thinking, "I can beat them!" instead of running alone a kilometer (or two, these days) behind the leaders and having the message, "The rest of the world is a thousand times better than we are" drilled into you?  That was what Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) did in Ottawa in 2010 and it led him to run 2:07 two years later.  The rest of Japan's men and the powers that be could stand to learn from that example if they are really serious about becoming the best they can be for Tokyo 2020.

Berlin Marathon
Berlin, Germany, 9/28/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) - 2:02:57 - WR
2. Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 2:03:13 (WR)
3. Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) - 2:05:56
4. Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) - 2:06:39
5. Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:07:28
6. Frankline Chepkwony (Kenya) - 2:07:35
7. Levy Matebo (Kenya) - 2:08:33
8. Maswai Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:10:18
9. Tsegaye Kebede (Ethipia) - 2:10:27
10. Kazuki Tomaru (Japan/Team Toyota) - 2:11:25 - PB
-----
13. Ryo Yamamoto (Japan/Team SGH Group Sagawa) - 2:12:49
15. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Japan/Team Monteroza) - 2:14:35 - PB
16. Kazuhiro Maeda (Japan/Team Kyudenko) - 2:15:18

Women
1. Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia) - 2:20:18
2. Feyse Tadese (Ethiopia) - 2:20:27
3. Shalane Flanagan (U.S.A.) - 2:21:14
4. Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:23:02
5. Abedech Afework (Ethiopia) - 2:25:02
6. Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Team Wacoal) - 2:26:25
7. Anna Hahner (Germany) - 2:26:44
8. Ines Melchor (Peru) - 2:26:48
9. Rene Kalmer (South Africa) - 2:29:27
10. Adriana Da Silva (Brazil) - 2:38:05
-----
15. Toshiko Yoshikawa (Japan/NRF) - 2:49:46

(c) text 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved 
top Fukushi photo (c) 2014 Photo Run, Inc., all rights reserved
other photos (c) 2014 Werner Philipp/Hannes Uhtoffs, all rights reserved

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Asian Games Athletics Day One - Japanese Results (updated)

by Brett Larner

Athletics competition at the 2014 Asian Games got rolling today with medals handed out in three distance events.  The women's 10000 m started conservatively but ground steadily down to a pack of three, Alia Mohammed Saeed Mohammed (U.A.E.), Changqin Ding (China) and this year's #1-ranked Japanese woman, Ayumi Hagiwara.  Mohammed led much of the way except for a brief challenge from Ding late in the race, Hagiwara staying right behind them until Mohammed's bell lap kick got away from her.  All three broke 32 minutes, Mohammed winning in a PB 31:51.86.  2014 national champion Kasumi Nishihara never looked comfortable, struggling to keep herself at the rear of the lead pack before sinking to 8th in 32:41.49.

The men's 5000 m likewise started slow until India's Suresh Kumar got impatient and took off at 800 m.  Leading on PB pace for the next 3000 m, Kumar took things from 2:49 to 2:42/km before the two pairs of Qatari and Bahraini men got to work.  All the while, Japan's Kota Murayama and Yuki Sato stayed in contact, university 10000 m champion Murayama making a few sorties toward the front.  At the bell Murayama lost touch while Sato, the 10000 m national champion, tried to go with them.  Qatar's Mohamad Al Garni had another gear in store, dropping a kick with 200 m to go that gave him enough of a margin over the three African-born rivals left up front to ease up and jump over the finish line in celebration of the win and a new 13:26.13 meet record.  Bahrain's Alemu Bekele Gebre and Albert Kibichii Rop took 2nd and 3rd, they and everyone through 7th place breaking the great Toshinari Takaoka's 13:38.37 Asian Games meet record.  Murayama also had a gear in store, running down Sato to take 5th in a PB 13:34.57, Sato just behind in 6th in 13:34.97.  Kumar paid for the pace he laid down most of the way but was rewarded with a new PB of 13:42.28 in 9th.

The women's 3000 mSC also saw a mass improvement on the meet record, with the top six clearing the old mark of 9:55.67 set four years ago in Guangzhou by India's Sudha Singh.  Singh was back and cleared that time by over 20 seconds in a PB 9:35.64 but finished out of the medals as favorite Ruth Jebet (Bahrain) told first in a new record of 9:31.36.  Li Zhenzhu (China) and Lalita Shivaji Babar (India) were right there with Singh in a three-way battle for the remaining two medals, but it was Zhenzhu who took 2nd in 9:35.23 with Babar shutting Singh out in a PB 9:35.37 for 3rd.  Japan's Misaki Sango and Mayuko Nakamura took 6th and 7th, Sango the last athlete to break Singh's old record as she finished in 9:52.26. 

In post-race interviews Jebet was clear about her goals for next year.  "I am very happy to win gold here," she said, "and I promise the people of Bahrain that I will win the World Championships next year."  However, just before the start of the medal ceremony it was announced that she had been disqualified for stepping inside the track after losing her balance.  The step had no impact on her win, but rules being rules she was stricken from the results and the gold and meet record went to Li, the Indian pair taking home silver and bronze.

2014 Asian Games - Athletics Day One
Incheon, South Korea, 9/27/14
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Alia Mohammed Saeed Mohammed (U.A.E.) - 31:51.86 - PB
2. Changqin Ding (China) - 31:53.09 - PB
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Japan) - 31:55.67
4. Sitora Khamidova (Uzbekistan) - 32:12.54 - PB
5. Chaofeng Jia (China) - 32:21.74
6. Eunice Chumba (Bahrain) - 32:27.69 - PB
7. Preeja Sreedharan (India) - 32:29.17
8. Kasumi Nishihara (Japan) - 32:41.49
9. Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (Mongolia) - 33:31.11 - PB
10. Doyeon Kim (South Korea) - 34:47.31
11. Seoyong Hyun (South Korea) - 35:06.35
DNF - Tejitu Daba Chalchissa (Bahrain)

Men's 5000 m
1. Mohamad Al Garni (Qatar) - 13:26.13 - MR
2. Alemu Bekele Gebre (Bahrain) - 13:27.98 (MR)
3. Albert Kibichii Rop (Bahrain) - 13:28.08 (MR)
4. Abubaker Ali Kamal (Qatar) - 13:28.59 (MR)
5. Kota Murayama (Japan) - 13:34.57 - PB (MR)
6. Yuki Sato (Japan) - 13:34.97 (MR)
7. Kheta Ram (India) - 13:37.40 - PB (MR)
8. Tariq Ahmed Alamri (Saudi Arabia) - 13:38.40
9. Suresh Kumar (India) - 13:42.28 - PB
10. Suengho Baek (South Korea) - 14:06.76

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Zhenzhu Li (China) - 9:35.23 MR
2. Lalita Shivaji Babar (India) - 9:35.37 - PB (MR)
3. Sudha Singh (India) - 9:35.64 - PB (MR)
4. Rini Budiarti (Indonesia) - 9:49.46 - PB (MR)
5. Misaki Sango (Japan) - 9:52.26 (MR)
6. Mayuko Nakamura (Japan) - 10:08.67
7. Irina Moroz (Uzbekistan) - 10:32.89
8. Sejung Lee (South Korea) - 10:35.78
9. Rosemary Mumo Katua (Bahrain) - 10:45.69
DQ - Ruth Jebet (Bahrain) - 9:31.36 - (MR)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekend Preview: Asian Games, Berlin Marathon, Nittaidai and the Start of Ekiden Season

by Brett Larner

There is a truckload of action just waiting to dump on fans of Japanese distance around the world this weekend.  Along with the Incheon Asian Games, where athletics kick off Saturday with the women's 10000 m and 3000 mSC and the men's 5000 m, Sunday's Berlin Marathon offers more international exposure to the stealthy Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) in the women's race and the solid trio of 2:08 men Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Ryo Yamamoto (Team SGH Group Sagawa) and 2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota).

Back home of familiar shores where laundry facilities are guaranteed to be close at hand, fall gets into full swing with the first two significant ekidens of the season, Saturday's Kansai Region University Women's Ekiden and Sunday's Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden.  Both qualify top-placing teams in the two highly competitive regions for October's National University Women's Ekiden Championships, one of two peak races of the season for collegiate women.

Non-ekiden road action is capped by the Fukuoka Prefecture 10-Mile Championships which this year feature the last four winners, all from the Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita-coached Toyota Kyushu team.  Most noteworthy among them is Masato Imai, using the race as a final tuneup for his return to the TCS New York City Marathon in November.  The Hakodate Half Marathon also features a healthy number of corporate league runners and collegiates, along with Iwate's Ichinoseki International Half Marathon the same day.

Down the road from Fukuoka, the Nagasaki Nighter Time Trials track meet will host many of the corporate runners based in other parts of Kyushu while northwest of Tokyo Saitama has the East Japan Corporate Long Distance Time Trials , but the main domestic track meet of the weekend is the fall's first edition of the Nittai University Time Trials series in Yokohama.  The two-day meet with everyone from amateurs to Olympians features a grab-bag of distances from 800 m to 10000 m on Saturday before focusing exclusively on 5000 m on Sunday, with 40 heats of around 30 athletes each scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. sharp and wrap up by 8:35 p.m. at the latest.

Look for as much coverage of each of these races as is humanly possible throughout the weekend right here on JRN.  And don't forget to enter JRN's Asian Games marathon prediction contest for a chance to win great limited-edition prizes.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Moscow Bronze Medalist Fukushi "Going for the Time and the Win" at Berlin Marathon (updated)

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201409/CN2014092501001746.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the Sept. 25 press conference ahead of the Sept. 28 Berlin Marathon, 2013 Moscow World Championships women's marathon bronze medalist and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) was confident as she said, "I got all my training in and I'm feeling good.  I'm going for the time and the win."

Berlin will be Fukushi's first marathon in over a year, her last being her medal-winning run in Moscow.  The site of a new men's world record last year and all three sub-2:20 Japanese women's marks to date including Mizuki Noguchi's national and course record 2:19:12, Fukushi's absolute minimum goal on Berlin's speed course is to significantly better her 2:24:21 PB.  "The other athletes here say they're going to try to break 2:20.  If I go out with them I think the time I'm looking for will be in the cards."  Berlin represents the first step toward Rio two years down the line, but Fukushi looked relaxed as she said, "If I run the time then everything else will follow.  I want to have some fun."

Translator's note: The official press release on the women's race describes it as a "trio" looking to run sub-2:20, a trio made up of Ethiopians Tirfi Tsegaye and Feyse Tadese and American Shalane Flanagan.  Fukushi receives passing mention at the end.  Flanagan's IAAF-recognized PB is 2:25:38 rather than the aided mark given in the press release.

Update: Fukushi's agent Brendan Reilly tweeted the following re:Fukushi in Berlin:

Incheon Asian Games - Long Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

Click here to enter JRN's Asian Games marathon prediction contest for a chance to win some quality limited-edition prizes.


With over half the world's population represented making it the biggest of the world's regional championships, track and field events kick off September 27 at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.  It's a reality of the region that Bahrain and Qatar field distance teams virtually entirely made up of Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes who duly take home most of the medals, but with Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics it is not screwing around, sending its best talent to what Japanese broadcaster TBS is hyping as "The Asian Olympics."

Saturday, Sept. 27: Women's 10000 m, Men's 5000 m, Women's 3000 mSC

The women's 10000 m, men's 5000 m and women's 30000 m steeplechase get things moving on the 27th.  Complete start lists are as yet unavailable, meaning updates to this preview in coming days, but in the absence of Moscow World Championships women's 10000 m 6th-place Shitaye Eshete (Bahrain), Japan's sub-32 pair of Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) and Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), the only two women in the field to have run under 32 this year,  should be in it for medals against Bahrain's Eunice Chumba and Tejitu Daba, China's Chaofeng Jia and India's Preeja Sreedharan.

The men's 5000 m should be a blowout for sub-13 Bahraini Kenyan Albert Rop, with Japanese national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) a potential medal candidate on paper against Bahrain's Alemu Bekele, Qatari Abubaker Ali Kamal and Saudi Arabia's Tariq Ahmed Al-Amri. Likable Kanto Region University 10000 m champion Kota Murayama (Josai University) will need a slow race to factor in, but with a brand-new 3:39.56 best for 1500 m to his name don't expect him not to go for it.

Japan's young pair of Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) represent in the women's steeple, where they are ranked 2nd and 4th on the all-time Japanese list.  Bahrain's Ruth Jebet is the heavy favorite, all-time #2 in Asia with a 9:20.55 season best almost 30 seconds better than Sango's PB.  India's Lalita Shivaji Babar and Sudha Singh, both with season bests between Sango and Nakamura's time, should also have a chance at breaking into the medals.  China's Zhenzhu Li has the second-best PB in the field at 9:32.35, but with no mark this season her fitness remains to be seen.

Monday, Sept. 29: Men's 3000 mSC

Men's steeple national champion Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), a stage record holder at the prestigious Hakone Ekiden, races on Sept. 29.  He'll be hard-pressed to be in contention for a medal if Qatar's Abubaker Ali Kamal starts alongside Bahrain's John Kibet Koech, both sub-8:20 this season to Shinoto's 8:32.89 best, the outcome largely depending on the fitness of Bahrain's two-time Asian Games gold medalist Tarek Mubarak Taher who has not raced this season.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Women's Marathon, Women's 5000 m, Men's 10000 m

Japan's best chance for a distance gold medal comes the morning of Oct. 2, when Moscow World Championships women's marathon 4th-placer Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) goes up against Bahrain's Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa, the ink on whose transfer of nationality is still drying.  Kizaki ran 2:23:34 last year to make the Moscow team and comes to Incheon with a 2:25:26 in Nagoya this year, while Kirwa, with a 2:21:53 best, has not broken 2:30 yet this year.  It's hard to see Kizaki not medalling, and if Kirwa is fit it should be a great head-to-head.  Japan's Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) will have her hands full in getting into the medals with up to four athletes from North Korea, South Korea and China within two minutes of the 2:25:31 best she set behind Kizaki in Nagoya in April.

The action doesn't stop there on the 2nd, with the women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m highlighting the evening.  The Japanese women's 5000 m lineup features two-time national champion Misaki Onishi and her Sekisui Kagaku corporate teammate Riko Matsuzaki.  Bahrain's Asian Games gold medalists Maryam Yusuf Jamal and Mimi Belete are their toughest competition, with China's Changqin Ding also a solid threat.

All-time Japanese #3 and #4 Yuki Sato and Suguru Osako, both graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. and teammates at the Nissin Shokuhin corporate team as of April, line up beside each other once again in the men's 10000 m.  Sato has made a cottage industry of sitting on Osako and outkicking him in the last 100 m at the National Championships for the last three years, but with Osako fresh from a 3000 m national record in Italy earlier this month off a period training with Olympic gold and silver medalists Mo Farah (U.K.) and Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) hopefully he won't just hand the reins to the older Sato again this time.  Both have bests of 27:38 that put them in good position against Bahrain's El Hassan El Abassi (27:32.96) and Isaac Korir (28:05.46), the primary variable being who, if anyone, Qatar has up its sleeve.

Friday, Oct. 3: Men's Marathon

Athletics events wrap up the morning of Oct. 3 with the race most non-Japanese distance fans will probably be looking forward to most, the men's marathon.  There is no question that Bahrain's Shumi Dechasa, another brand-new nationality transfer, is the heavy favorite, having won May's Hamburg Marathon in a PB 2:06:44 and bringing a handful of 2:07s along with that.  Even at their best Japan's Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) would need Dechasa to run a relatively slow race to compete against him; Dechasa easily beat Kawauchi both in Hamburg and in Kawauchi's 2:08:14 PB run in Seoul last year.  Japan-based Mongolian Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, who ran his 2:09:00 PB while beating Kawauchi for the win at last year's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, is also in the field along with Bahraini wildcard Mahboob Ali Hassan Mahboob, who seems to be debuting at the marathon, and if Qatar sends its current best two Yaser Belan Mansour and Essa Ismail Rashed it could be a very solid sub-2:10 pack up front.  Despite the challenges foreign and domestic, Kawauchi remains dead-set on gold, and if both he and Kizaki, or their teammates Matsumura and Hayakawa, succeed it will be a major boost for the six years to come.

Look for extensive coverage of the Incheon Asian Games on JRN throughout the week, and be sure to enter the marathon prediction contest by the Oct. 2 deadline for the chance to a custom marathon medal wall display made by Runners' Wall bearing Kawauchi's motto "Genjou Daha," "Make a Breakthrough," and other great prizes.

2014 Asian Games Japanese Long Distance Teams
Incheon, South Korea, Sept. 27 - Oct. 3, 2014
click here for complete Japanese team lineup

Men

3000 m steeplechase
Jun Shinoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko)
PBs: 1500 m: 3:45.52     3000mSC: 8:32.89     5000 m: 14:03.36
10000 m: 28:33.36     half-marathon: 1:02:48

5000 m
Kota Murayama (Josai University)
PBs: 1500 m: 3:39.56     5000 m: 13:38.87     10000 m: 28:45.66

Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin)
PBs: 1500 m: 3:43.94    3000 m: 7:44.63     5000 m: 13:13.60
10000 m: 27:38.25     marathon: 2:16:31

10000 m
Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin)
PBs: 1500 m: 3:42.68     3000 m: 7:40.09     5000 m: 13:20.80
10000 m: 27:38.31     half-marathon: 1:01:47

Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin)
PBs: 1500 m: 3:43.94    3000 m: 7:44.63     5000 m: 13:13.60
10000 m: 27:38.25     marathon: 2:16:31

Marathon
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Prefectural Government)
PBs: 5000 m: 13:58.62     10000 m: 29:02.33     half-marathon: 1:02:18
marathon: 2:08:14

Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki)
PBs: 5000 m: 13:48.14     10000 m: 28:27.04     half-marathon: 1:03:21
marathon: 2:08:09

Women

3000 m steeplechase
Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba University)
PBs: 1500 m: 4:21.35     3000 mSC: 9:53.87

Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)
PBs: 1500 m: 4:20.75     3000 mSC: 9:49.85     5000 m: 15:45.84

5000 m
Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku)
PBs: 1500 m: 4:22.64     3000 m: 9:06.95     5000 m: 15:22.67

Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku)
PBs: 1500 m: 4:17.78     3000 m: 9:05.45     5000 m: 15:21.73

10000 m
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo)
PBs: 5000 m: 15:33.71     10000 m: 31:45.29     half-marathon: 1:10:17

Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki)
PBs: 5000 m: 15:25.50     10000 m: 31:53.69     half-marathon: 1:11:58

Marathon
Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto)
PBs: 5000 m: 15:51.63     10000 m: 32:40.89     half-marathon: 1:10:13
marathon: 2:25:31

Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu)
PBs: 5000 m: 15:35.12     10000 m: 31:38.71     half-marathon: 1:10:16
marathon: 2:23:34

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Osaka Marathon Announces Elite Field

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/running/feature/20140919-OYT8T50064.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner


The official 2014 Osaka Marathon theme song "42.195 km" by Kobukuro.

The organizing committee of the 4th Osaka Marathon on Oct. 26 have announced this year's 23-member elite field.  The men's race features all three champions crowned so far in race history led by last year's winner Jackson Limo (Kenya), who improved his PB to 2:09:06 at this year's Paris Marathon.  Seeking to stop him from become the first man in Osaka history to defend his title are Osaka's first winner Elijah Sang (Kenya) and second winner Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN), who won last year's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in a PB 2:09:00.

Japan's hopes lie with Satoshi Osaki (NTT Nishi Nihon), holder of a 2:08:36 best, and 2012 runner-up Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  2009 World Championships marathon 7th-place finisher Yuri Kano (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) leads the women's field.  Her main competition comes from Kumi Ogura (Kochi T&F Assoc.), who ran a PB 2:34:01 at this year's Nagoya Women's Marathon, and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall), whose best of 2:28:49 is the second-fastest in the field.

Aiming to help develop and cultivate upcoming talent, the "Hope Program" features two men and one woman led by Toshiyuki Fujimatsu (Crest AC).  Guest runners include 1964 Tokyo Olympics marathoner Toru Terasawa and 1991 Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Mari Tanigawa.

4th Osaka Marathon Elite Field
Osaka, 10/26/14
click here for complete field listing

Men
Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:08:36 (2008 Biwako)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN) - 2:09:00 (2013 Hofu Yomiuri)
Jackson Limo (Kenya) - 2:09:06 (2014 Paris)
Elijah Sang (Kenya) - 2:10:13 (2007 Frankfurt)
Stepan Kiselev (Russia) - 2:11:28 (2014 Zurich)
Kota Noguchi (Tahara AC) -- 2:12:24 (2012 Fukuoka Int'l)
Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business Service) - 2:13:38 (2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon)
Shingo Igarashi (Team Subaru) - 2:13:46 (2011 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon)
Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:14:41 (2013 Tokyo)
Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:14:43 (2009 Tokyo)
Yasushi Yamamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:15:15 (2013 Biwako)
Kenichi Jiromaru (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:15:24 (2014 Biwako)
Kazuyoshi Shimozato (Team Komori Corp.) - 2:16:23 (2012 Tokyo)
Toshiyuki Fujimatsu (Crest AC) - 2:18:36 (2014 Tokyo)

Women
Yuri Kano (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) - 2:24:27 (2008 Tokyo Int'l Women's)
Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) - 2:28:49 (2002 Hokkaido)
Maryna Damantsevich (Belarus) - 2:31:29 (2012 Kosice)
Kumi Ogura (Kochi T&F Assoc.) - 2:34:01 (2013 Nagoya Women's)
Chika Tawara (Fukuoka T&F Assoc.) - 2:40:00 (2013 Hofu Yomiuri)
Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) - 2:41:56 (2014 Beppu-Oita Mainichi)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yamagata Looking to Stay Calm Carrying Japan's Sprinting Hopes at Asian Games

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/asia/2014/news/f-sp-tp0-20140923-1371425.html

translated by Brett Larner

The first group of Japanese men's and women's sprinters left from Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Sept. 23 for the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea.  Track and field events begin on the 27th.  Carrying expectations that he will be crowned the fastest man in Asia, sprinter Ryota Yamagata (22, Keio Univ. senior) has built up well toward his season peaking at the Asian Games despite a busy schedule this month that has seen him pick up National University 100 m and 4x400 m titles as well as winning the 100 m at the Sept. 14th Waseda-Keio dual meet.  "This week I haven't been doing much fine-tuning in training, but things have come along," he said confidently.  "I'm going to make the most of the remaining days to finish getting ready."

Favorite Yoshihide Kiryu (1st yr, Toyo Univ.), with a 10.01 best, has withdrawn from the Asian Games due to injury.  There is also hope that Yamagata will clear the 10.0 mark, but, he said of his plans for the Games, "I'm not focused on that.  I just want stay calm and collected all the way to the end.  If I do that then the placing and time will follow."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

50,000 Sign Petition to Change Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon to Mass-Participation Format

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/oita/article/115175

translated by Brett Larner

An organization seeking to change one of Japan's oldest elite marathons, the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon held each February in the cities of Oita and Beppu, delivered a petition with 50,000 signatures to the Oita Prefectural Government on Sept. 19.  After delivering the petition the group held a press conference at the Government headquarters, saying, "We call on race organizers to do their part to promote tourism and increase the number of people coming to the prefecture by making it possible for more amateur runners to participate in the race."

The group submitting the petition was the "Beppu-Oita Mainichi Mass Participation Marathon Citizens' Council" organized by members of the Beppu city tourism board.  Among the requests on the petition they delivered to Governor Katsusada Hirose were calls to relax the current sub-3:30 time requirement for participation and course changes involving a start in front of Beppu Station and a finish on Oita's main Chuo Dori street in front of Oita Station.

At the press conference, Citizens' Council chairman Katsumi Takamiya commented, "If the race opens the door to the average amateur it will have a tremendous impact on local tourism.  Road closures and many other issues remain challenges to be faced, but the benefits of developing Oita Prefecture's image as "Home of the Hot Spring" are tremendous."

Translator's note: The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon relaxed its long-standing elite and sub-elite-only format in 2011 to allow amateurs up to the sub-3:30 level, including women, to run.  A wave of other historic elite-only races across the country have also moved to mass-participation formats in the last few years, some abandoning their elite components and others finding ways to incorporate them into the mass-participation event.  Oita Prefecture, and in particular the town of Beppu, is one of Japan's biggest hot spring hot spots.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sydney Marathon, Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half and Dam tot Damloop - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Races in Australia, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands on Sunday featured Japanese corporate league athletes.  At the Sydney Marathon, both the men's and women's races saw the top two broke the existing records for a challenging course full of hills and turns.  In the men's race, Ethiopia's Gebo Gameda shook free of compatriot Seboka Dibaba Tola to break Yuki Kawauchi's 2:11:52 course record, Gameda getting the new record in 2:11:18 with Tola just squeezing under Kawauchi's time in 2:11:48.  Kenyan Benjamin Koloum Kiptoo likewise shook off track and half marathon star Tsuyoshi Ugachi of two-time New Year Ekiden national champion team Konica Minolta for 3rd in 2:12:08. 

Ugachi ran a PB of around a minute for 4th in 2:12:18, a decent time given the course and one that puts him 22nd among Japanese men for the year.  It is widely thought in Japan that Ugachi's dynamic and aggressive form will make it hard for him to find the marathon success to match his all-time Japanese top five 10000 m and half marathon bests of 27:40.69 and 1:00:58, but his Sydney performance is a step in the right direction and at least moves him up to solidly national class.  Whether he goes further remains to be seen.

In the women's race, course record holder Beruktait Eshetu of Ethiopia soloed a three minute+ improvement on her own mark, winning in 2:29:42 despite stomach trouble that caught up with her immediately after finishing.  Kenyan Jane Jepkogei Kiptoo faded from Eshetu relatively early but held on the clear Eshetu's old record by over 30 seconds for 2nd in 2:32:08.  Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu), winner of February's inaugural Kitakyushu Marathon, was about the same distance off the old record, making the podium in 3rd in 2:33:19.

Hours later at the U.S.A.'s Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Tokyo-based DeNA RC ringer Bedan Karoki (Kenya) continued the buildup to his not-too-distant marathon debut with a 59:23 PB for the win, the second-best winning time in event history.  Women's winner Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) had a relatively easy time of it, taking 1st by nearly a minute over Caroline Rotich (Kenya) in 1:08:39.

Japanese performances in Philly almost perfectly mirrored the results at last weekend's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon and the U.K.'s Great North Run a week earlier.  As in both of those races, the women performed well-to-decently, Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) coming through in 5th just a second off her best in 1:11:03, well ahead of two-time National Corporate Champion Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), 7th in 1:12:05, and teammate Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku).

And again, as at GNR and UNL, it was not clear why the men were even there.  The phenomenon was even more extreme in Philadelphia, where Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei), Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) and Yuki Yagi (Team Asahi Kasei), all with sub-1:02 PBs, ran 1:06:19, 1:06:44 and 1:09:03 respectively.  As at the Great North Run, one of them was beaten by the women's winner.  A bad race happens here or there, but put the results of the eleven athletes at the three races together.  Four had PBs in the 1:01 range, five had 1:02 and two had 1:03.  In these three races one ran 1:03, one ran 1:04, six ran 1:05, two 1:06 and one 1:09.  The lone Japanese athlete at the Netherlands' Dam tot Damloop 10-miler, low-62 half marathoner Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team NTN) performed on about the same lackluster level, taking 14th in 49:00 in a race won in 45:45 by John Mwangangi (Kenya).  When there is a consistent pattern of over 80% of your athletes performing this badly it's time to raise questions about the professionalism and motivations of the people involved.  And not just the athletes.

Sydney Marathon
Sydney, Australia, 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Gebo Gameda (Ethiopia) - 2:11:18 - CR
2. Seboka Dibaba Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:11:48 (CR)
3. Benjamin Koloum Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:12:08
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi  (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18
5. Abdellah Tagharrafet (Morocco) - 2:16:56
-----
6. Atsushi Hasegawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:19:08

Women
1. Beruktait Eshetu (Ethiopia) - 2:29:42 - CR
2. Jane Jepkogei Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:32:08 (CR)
3. Yuka Yano (Japan/Team Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:33:19
4. Zemzem Ahmed Deko (Ethiopia) - 2:39:46
5. Yumi Sato (Japan/Tsuruoka T&F Assoc.) - 2:55:20

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon
Philadelphia, U.S.A., 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Women
1. Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 1:08:39
2. Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 1:09:21
3. Deena Kastor (U.S.A.) - 1:09:36
4. Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 1:11:01
5. Miho Ihara (Japan/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:11:03
6. Kara Goucher (U.S.A.) - 1:11:39
7. Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:12:05
8. Adriana Nelson (U.S.A.) - 1:12:45
9. Yuko Shimizu (Japan/Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:13:20
10. Aliphine Tuliamuk Bolton (Kenya) - 1:13:20

Men
1. Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 59:23
2. Cybrian Kotut (Kenya) - 59:58
3. Geoffrey Bundi (Kenya) - 1:01:25
4. Wilfred Kimitei (Kenya) - 1:02:08
5. Dejen Gebremeskel (Ethiopia) - 1:02:34
6. Yonas Mebrahtu (Eritrea) - 1:02:58
7. Sam Chelanga (Kenya) - 1:02:58
8. Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 1:03:00
9. Gabe Proctor (U.S.A.) - 1:03:03
10. Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 1:03:12
-----
19. Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:06:19
20. Masato Kihara (Japan/Team Kanebo) - 1:06:44
32. Yuki Yagi (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:09:03

Dam tot Damloop 10 Miler
Zaandam, Netherlands, 9/21/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. John Mwangangi (Kenya) - 45:45
2. Nguse Amlosom (Eritera) - 45:47
3. Kinde Atelaw (Ethiopia) - 45:52
4. Josphat Bett (Kenya) - 46:22
5. Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 46:33
-----
14. Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Japan/Team NTN) - 49:00

Women
1. Linet Masai (Kenya) - 53:09
2. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 53:57
3. Hilda Kibet (Netherlands) - 54:25
4. Almensch Belete (Belgium) - 56:14
5. Adero Nyakisi (Uganda) - 56:32

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Osaka International Women's Marathon Establishes New Development Program

http://daily.co.jp/newsflash/general/2014/09/17/0007338574.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

The Osaka International Women's Marathon organizing committee announced on Sept. 17 that it has established a new "Next Heroine" program for the race's next edition on Jan. 25, 2015.  Targeting high-potential university runners and young corporate league women, the "Next" program will differ from Osaka's conventional elite athlete program in providing a training framework for the race itself.

In the past the Osaka International Women's Marathon served as the site for the marathon debuts of 1992 Barcelona Olympics silver medalist and 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medalist Yuko Arimori, 2000 Sydney Olympics gold medalist Naoko Takahashi, and many other top-level athletes who went on to make Olympics and World Championships teams also started their marathon careers in Osaka.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Köln Marathon and Usti nad Labem Half Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Following up on a disappointing showing at last weekend's Great North Run and Prague Grand Prix 10 km, Japan's corporate league runners underwhelmed again at Sunday's Köln Marathon and Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.  In a race won by Kenya's Anthony Maritim in 2:10:26 in Köln, 2:09:18 marathoner Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), the twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), could do no better than 2:18:41 for 3rd.  2:15:05 man Kenta Iinuma (Team Sagawa Group) fell well below the professional level, running only 2:23:12 for 4th.  Formerly Japan-based Kenyan Julia Mumbi took the women's race in 2:28:00.

Further east, Japanese results at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem mirrored those at the Great North Run, with 1:02 half marathoners Yuya Ito (Team Toyota) and Masamichi Yasuda (Team Aichi Seiko) and their 1:03 counterpart Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) all clocked leisurely 1:05 times nearly 5 minutes behind winner Adugna Takele (Ethiopia) a week after running around the 30:00 level at the Prague Grand Prix 10 km.  As at the Great North Run the Japanese women in the race performed slightly more seriously, 1:10:26 woman Misato Horie (Team Noritz) running 1:12:29 for 5th and Ayaka Inoue (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) making her European debut in 1:14:59 for 8th.

But taken altogether the results of the four races over the last two weekends show evidence of a troubling attitude in the corporate leagues, particularly among the men, that it's enough to just show up at an overseas race, that how you run when you race internationally doesn't matter in the slightest and that races outside Japan are simply for getting experience, doing laundry, and sightseeing.  Consistent amateur-quality performances certainly don't do much for your country's reputation.  Times have changed, but some things are slow to adapt. 

Köln Marathon
Köln, Germany, 9/14/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Anthony Maritim (Kenya) - 2:10:26
2. Marcel Brautigam (Germany) - 2:17:55
3. Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:18:41
4. Kenta Iinuma (Japan/Team Sagawa Group) - 2:23:12
5. David Cherop (Uganda) - 2:24:20

Women
1. Julia Mumbi (Kenya) - 2:28:00
2. Shasho Insermu (Ethiopia) - 2:35:36
3. Simret Restle-Apel (Germany) - 2:50:19

Usti nad Labem Half Marathon
Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, 9/14/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Adugna Takele (Ethiopia) - 1:00:45
2. Azmeraw Bekele (Ethiopia) - 1:00:58
3. Gefrey Kusuro (Uganda) - 1:01:04
4. Richard Kiprop Mengich (Kenya) - 1:01:19
5. Festus Talam (Kenya) - 1:01:47
-----
8. Yuya Ito (Japan/Team Toyota) - 1:05:13
9. Masamichi Yasuda (Japan/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:05:27
11. Atsushi Yamazaki (Japan/Team Subaru) - 1:05:44

Women
1. Correti Jepkoech (Kenya) - 1:09:35
2. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) - 1:10:48
3. Esther Chemtai Ndiema (Kenya) - 1:10:51
4. Flomena Chepchirchir (Kenya) - 1:11:14
5. Misato Horie (Japan/Team Noritz) - 1:12:29
-----
8. Ayaka Inoue (Japan/Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:14:59

Prague Grand Prix 10 km
Prague, Czech Republic, 9/6/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 27:28
2. Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 27:32
3. Nicholas Kipchirchir Bor (Kenya) - 27:38
4. Simon Cheprot (Kenya) - 27:41
5. Richard Kiprop Mengich (Kenya) - 27:48
-----
14. Masamichi Yasuda (Japan/Team Aichi Seiko) - 29:44
16. Atsushi Yamazaki (Japan/Team Subaru) - 29:58
17. Yuya Ito (Japan/Team Toyota) - 30:04
18. Yuta Shitara (Japan/Team Honda) - 30:09
19. Shota Hattori (Japan/Team Honda) - 30:20

Women
1. Correti Jepkoech (Kenya) - 31:05
2. Esther Chemtai Ndiema (Kenya) - 31:51
3. Flomena Chepchirchir (Kenya) - 32:30
4. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) - 32:33
5. Lucy Liavoga (Kenya) - 33:12

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Forced to Do Federation 40 km Run Nine Days After Perth Marathon, Kawauchi Furious as Half of National Team Skips it

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140910-OHT1T50076.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140909-OHT1T50166.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games men's marathon team member and civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran in a 40 km time trial and biometric measurement run in Shibetsu, Hokkaido on Sept. 9 as part of the Marathon National Team's official training camp.  The Japanese Federation launched the National Team project in April, naming twelve men to the team.  The 40 km run, designed so that Federation officials could measure each member's biometric data before and after a race and examine the changes, was the climax of the National Team's first group training camp which has gone on since late August in Hokkaido. 

On Aug. 31 Kawauchi ran the Perth Marathon in Australia, winning in a course record 2:12:55 before returning to Japan and joining the National Team training camp on Sept. 6.  "The Federation people told me, 'You're damn well going to run this 40 km, whether you just ran Perth or anywhere else!'" he said.  Despite it being only nine days since he ran a full marathon, Kawauchi finished 2nd in the 40 km run in 2:14:52, running with the others in the lead group through 35 km before dropping his 5 km split 1:40~1:50 for the final 5 km.  His fellow Asian Games marathoner Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) ran 2:15:32, saying, "There's less than a month left, so I'd like to use the momentum from this run to pick up the pace."

However, of the twelve members of the National Team, only seven ran.  Kawauchi expected the elite members of the team to be honored to have been chosen and to work hard while coping with the pressure of selection, but he was shocked and disappointed to see nearly half of them skip the 40 km run because they weren't feeling good or had recently run marathons.  "I want to see the media really hit these shameless people hard.  'Is that really good enough?  Is that all you've got?'  'Next year your neck should be on the chopping block,' that sort of thing." Kawauchi said, calling for directly critical articles unusual in the Japanese media and urging greater overall awareness.  "Please, question this, bring the power of the pen into play to prod our athletes into becoming stronger.  If only half can coordinate their training to be ready for an important measurement race like this then there is a major problem.  People like that will have disappeared by next year."

At the 2011 and 2013 World Championships Kawauchi struggled to deal with the pressure of running under the weight of the Rising Sun.  "There was a lot of attention, and the criticism of me was very direct," he said.  "I had problems with depression, but in the end it toughened me mentally.  The pressure of being on the National Team is just a little bit less than that, but I know it will end up being a positive, stimulating experience."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Asian Games Marathoner Hayakawa Hoping to "Bring Back Good News"

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/asia/2014/news/f-sp-tp0-20140911-1365110.html

translated by Brett Larner

Sanitary and housing equipment manufacturer Toto held a sendoff meeting Sept. 11 at its offices in Shiodome, Tokyo for company workers to voice their support for Incheon Asian Games women's marathon team member Eri Hayakawa, 32, and other Toto-sponsored athletes.  Three athletes were feted including members of the Asian Paralympics team.  Hayakawa vowed to supporters that she would go for the gold medal, telling them, "As a national representative I am aware of my responsibility, and I will do my best to produce results that will let me finish with the best kind of smile and bring you all back good news."

The Toto-sponsored athletes competing in the Paralympics are women's wheelchair basketball player Chihiro Kitada, 25, and women's wheelchair tennis player Miho Nijo, 33.  Using language chock full of Kansai slang, Takada made the full house laugh as she said, "I'm totally surprised to see the place packed like this.  Sometimes I get caramels at work too, so Toto is really the best place to work.  I didn't end up here by accident."  Nijo commented, "I've been lucky to have been sponsored by Toto for the last seven years.  I believe I can bring home a medal."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

'International Distance-Running Greats to Challenge Defending Champions at 2014 TCS New York City Marathon'

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) return to New York this November for the TCS New York City Marathon.  Kawauchi appears with support from JRN.

http://www.nyrr.org/media-center/press-releases/international-distance-running-greats-to-challenge-defending-champions-at-2014-tcs-new-york-city-marathon

2014 TCS New York City Marathon Elite Men's Field
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) -  2:03:23
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 2:04:15 (2:03:02a)
Stanley Biwott (Kenya) - 2:04:55
Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 2:06:31
Michael Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:06:48
Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 2:06:56
Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:07:20
Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco) - 2:07:33
Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia) - 2:08:00 (2:04:53a)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14
Lusapho April (South Africa) - 2:08:32
Meb Keflezighi (U.S.A.) - 2:09:08 (2:08:37a)
Urige Buta (Norway) - 2:09:27
Masato Imai (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:09:30
Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 2:10:57
Nick Arciniaga (U.S.A.) - 2:11:30
Josphat Boit (U.S.A.) - 2:13:14 (2:12:52a)
Tim Ritchie (U.S.A.) - 2:14:50
Zac Hine (U.S.A.) - 2:16:40
Stephan Shay (U.S.A.) - 2:16:48
Chris Siemers (U.S.A.) - 2:18:48
Ted Callinan (U.S.A.) - 2:21:22
Alistair Cragg (Ireland) - 2:23:05
Luke Puskedra (U.S.A.) - debut - 1:01:36 (half)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Osako Sets 3000 m National Record in Rieti

by Brett Larner



Already on the edge of national records for 3000 m, 2 miles, 5000 m and 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) stepped up in his last race on the summer European circuit, the 3000 m at Italy's Rieti Meeting 2014.  Partially based in the U.S. since graduating from Waseda University this spring, Osako has been training with the Alberto Salazar-coached Nike Oregon Project.  Before the race NOP assistant coach Pete Julian told JRN, "He's been hitting all the workouts with Mo Farah and Galen Rupp, so he's pretty worn out at this point.  With a couple weeks of rest he'll be stronger but we don't expect much for this race."

Despite the fatigue Osako went with the 2:29.24 opening 1000 m in Rieti, hanging on to the leaders through some ups and downs in the pacing and crossing the line in 7:40.09 to break marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka's 15-year-old 3000 m record by almost two seconds.  Among distances officially recorded by the JAAF it was the first Japanese men's long distance national record since Takayuki Matsumiya and Atsushi Sato set 5000 m and half marathon records in 2007, and with Osako already ranked all-time Japanese #6 for 5000 m and #4 for 10000 m it was an encouraging sign of good things to come in the next couple of years.  In the short term he now returns to Japan to get ready for the Incheon Asian Games 10000 m later this month.

Rieti Meeting 2014
Rieti, Italy, 9/7/2014
click here for complete results

Men's 3000 m
1. Abdelaati Iguider (Morocco) - 7:34.99
2. Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (Kenya) - 7:35.28
3. Lawi Lalang (Kenya) - 7:36.44
4. Ryan Hill (U.S.A.) - 7:38.64
5. Lopez Lomong (U.S.A.) - 7:39.81
6. Suguru Osako (Japan/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 7:40.09 - NR
7. Imane Merga (Ethiopia) - 7:43.59
8. Cornelius Kangogo (Kenya) - 7:44.17
9. Florian Orth (Germany) - 7:44.65
10. Jesus Espana (Spain) - 7:45.06

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keitany, Farah and Cramond Make History at Great North Run

by Brett Larner


The Great North Run celebrated three-part history Sunday, with the great Mary Keitany breaking marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe's course record and Mo Farah bringing home the first British men's win in 29 years to set the stage for the millionth finisher in GNR history, the first race in the world to hit that mark.


In beautiful conditions with a comfortable tailwind heavy favorite Keitany soloed the race the entire way on track for Radcliffe's 1:05:40 record, only appearing to falter near the end.  Bearing down in the home straight she looked to hit the line dead on, but when official results were posted it was announced that she had made it by a second with a new record of 1:05:39.  Nearly a kilometer back, the U.K.'s Gemma Steel was shockingly strong, going head-to-head with London Olympics gold medalist Tiki Gelana, Commonwealth Games silver medalist Caroline Kilel and two-time World Championships gold medalist Edna Kiplagat before dropping them all to beat her legal course best by over two minutes for 2nd in 1:08:13.  Gelana took 3rd in 1:08:45 with Kilel, Kiplagat and Polline Wanjiku spread out over the two minutes behind her.

Former Ritsumeikan University captain Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) ran close behind the lead pack through the first half of the race before falling off, taking 7th in 1:11:11.  In her international debut Haruna Takada (Team Yamada Denki) ran much of the way against the U.K.'s Charlotte Purdue and Susan Partridge, finishing 9th not far off her PB in 1:12:20.


The men's race saw a large lead pack led by the field's two fastest men, Mike Kigen and Farah, run through the first mile before splintering.  On the Tyne Bridge the pack split again, with a small group consisting of Brazil's Paulo Paula and Japanese runners Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu), Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corp.) and Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) peeling off the back.  Japan's top man Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) was the next to lose contact at 3 km, followed shortly by British Euro medalist Andy Vernon to leave a pack of seven going through 5 km in 14:04, 59:21 pace through the toughest part of the course.

As Kigen, the only sub-60 man in the field, pushed the pace, the pack dwindled one by one, first Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) losing touch, then Tariku Bekele and Ezrah Sang, and finally Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich to leave only Kigen, Farah and Kiprotich's fellow Ugandan Thomas Ayeko in the front.  Early dropoff Vernon continued on a strong and steady pace, tightly running the tangents to quickly overtake Sano and shortly Sang, who later dropped out.

Kigen's relentless frontrunning was too much for Ayeko, who fell back from the lead in the second half and ultimately dropped to 5th.  Farah lost ground more than once, but with his untouchable-except-by-Ethiopians last kick in store he never got far enough out first to be in real danger of losing.  Doing the Mobot just before the line he crossed in 1:00:00 to renew the Great North Run's British legacy.  Closer than Farah may have realized as he showboated, Kigen also clocked 1:00:00 for 2nd.  Kiprotich, only a 1:01:15 runner, hung on for 3rd in 1:01:35 just ahead of Bekele who was clearly suffering after arriving near midnight the night before the race due to a flight delay.

Vernon and Sano moved up through the field in the second half with an almost steady gap between them, Vernon beating his best by two minutes in 1:02:46 for 6th and Sano 15 seconds back in 7th.  From the early chase pack Paula dropped all three Japanese runners and moved up to overtake Kikuchi for 8th.  Kikuchi, likewise run down by the U.K.'s Jonny Hay, was a disappointing 10th in 1:04:18.  Tanaka, Hashimoto and Matsueda all unperformed, finishing down the field in the 65-minute range.  Although slower than hoped, Sano, a former Hakone Ekiden teammate of Yuki Kawauchi, was still faster than his Honda teammates Shota Hattori and Yuta Shitara, who jogged the Prague Grand Prix 10 km together a day earlier in over 30 minutes.

Many of the elites were on-hand for the celebrations around the Great North Run's millionth finisher two hours later.  A countdown clock built the moment up, and when it ticked over the million mark confetti and cheers shot over the mass of amateur runners finishing in over three hours.  A group of around twenty who finished as the 1,000,000 sign lit up were pulled aside, and after consultation of their timing chips Tracy Cramond was plucked from their midst for recognition alongside greats Brendan Foster and Sebastian Coe.  With historic marks on three levels and major success at both the elite and mass races, the 2014 Great North Run both marked one of the biggest days in British distance running history and demonstrated its health for the years to come.

2014 Great North Run
Newcastle-South Shields, U.K., 9/7/14
click here for complete results

Women
1. Mary Keitany (Kenya) - 1:05:39 - CR
2. Gemma Steel (Great Britain) - 1:08:13
3. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 108:45
4. Caroline Kilel (Kenya) - 1:09:10
5. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:10:37
6. Polline Wanjiku (Kenya) - 1:10:46
7. Risa Takenaka (Japan/Team Shiseido) - 1:11:11
8. Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) - 1:11:43
9. Haruna Takada (Japan/Yamada Denki) - 1:12:20
10. Susan Partridge (Great Britain) - 1:12:28

Men
1. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:00:00
2. Mike Kigen (Kenya) - 1:00:00
3. Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 1:01:35
4. Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia) - 1:01:39
5. Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) - 1:02:13
6. Andy Vernon (Great Britain) - 1:02:46
7. Hiroaki Sano (Japan/Team Honda) - 1:03:01
8. Paulo Paula (Brazil) - 1:03:58
9. Jonny Hay (Great Britain) - 1:04:09
10. Masato Kikuchi (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:18
-----
13. Keisuke Tanaka (Japan/Team Fujitsu) - 1:05:11
14. Takamitsu Hashimoto (Japan/Team Komori Corporation) - 1:05:24
17. Sho Matsueda (Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 1:05:55

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

Omwamba Over Kitonyi for National University Track and Field Championships Distance Double

by Brett Larner
videos by aoshin0507 and ekiden news



The 2014 Japanese National University Track and Field Championships wrapped up Sunday with a pair of new meet records and some great races.  The day started with early morning men's and women's 5000 m postponed from Saturday after a thunderstorm hit the area.  1500 m champion Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) faced off against 10000 m champ Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) in the men's race, battling each other all the way to the end with Omwamba getting the double by less than a second in 13:40.21.



The women's 5000 m was equally close, Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) winning in 15:46.94 with both Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) and Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) within a second of her.



Daito Bunka University had better luck in the women's 3000 mSC, where it took three of the top four places and its top runner Chikako Mori beat national university record holder Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) and outran Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) by 0.30 seconds to win in a meet record 10:00.69.



The other meet record of the day came in the men's 10000 m race walk, where Eiki Takahashi of the relatively minor Iwate Univ. clocked 39:44.78 to win by a comfortable margin.



Star first-year sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) won his first national university title, winning the 200 m in 20.59 (-0.1) after skipping the 100 m.  In the men's 800 m, national record holder Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ.) faltered badly, finishing only 4th in 1:51.97 behind Daisuke Sakurai (Kyoto Univ.), the winner in 1:51.34.  The race of the day, however, came in the men's 4x400 m, where 100 m National University Champion and London Olympian Ryota Yamagata ran a fantastic second leg that put Keio University's team into the lead over favorite Waseda University.  Waseda looked set to pick them off on the anchor leg, but Keio anchor and 200 m specialist Yuki Koike somehow summoned up the strength to hold off Waseda's 2014 World Junior Championships 400 m silver medalist Nobuya Kato, falling across the line to win by 0.04 in 3:04.58.

2014 National University Track and Field Championships Day Three
Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/7/14
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m
1. Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 13:40.21
2. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) - 13:40.91
3. Shota Shinjo (Chuo Univ.) - 13:52.40
4. Yuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 13:53.84
5. Shinnosuke Ogino (Nihon Univ.) - 13:54.20
6. Hikaru Kato (Nittai Univ.) - 13:54.35
7. Makoto Mitsunobu (Waseda Univ.) - 13:54.46
8. Daiki Taguchi (Waseda Univ.) - 13:54.71
9. Yusuke Nishiyama (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:57.04
10. Kenya Sonota (Komazawa Univ.) - 14:02.64

Women's 5000 m
1. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:46.94
2. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) -15:47.88
3. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 15:47.90
4. Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 15:50.68
5. Yuko Kikuchi (Hakuoh Univ.) - 15:52.41
6. Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 15:55.12
7. Manaka Kobori (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 15:55.52
8. Sayaka Sato (Toyo Univ.) - 15:58.85
9. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:00.57
10. Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 16:09.97

Men's 800 m Final
1. Daisuke Sakurai (Kyoto Univ.) - 1:51.34
2. Yota Mizuma (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 1:51.79
3. Tomonori Tanaka (Kinki Univ.) - 1:51.82
4. Sho Kawamoto (Nihon Univ) - 1:51.97
5. Koki Murakami (Keio Univ.) - 1:52.07
6. Ryunosuke Okada (Nihon Univ.) - 1:52.14
7. Shota Arakawa (Nittai Univ.) - 1:52.89
8. Noriaki Kaida (Kansai Univ.) - 1:53.13

Women's 800 m Final
1. Fumika Omori (Nihon Univ.) - 2:08.22
2. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 2:08.45
3. Mariko Takeuchi (Chukyo Univ.) - 2:08.55
4. Hana Yamada (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 2:08.62
5. Miho Shingu (Fukushima Univ.) - 2:09.13
6. Rina Ono (Fukushima Univ.) - 2:09.66
7. Akiho Fukuzato (Yokohama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 2:09.82
8. Mayuka Kitane (Juntendo Univ.) - 2:11.52

Men's 200 m Final (-0.1)
1. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 20.59
2. Shota Hara (Jobu Univ.) - 20.71
3. Akiyuki Hashimoto (Waseda Univ.) - 20.82
4. Yuki Koike (Keio Univ.) - 20.91
5. Kotaro Tanguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 21.02
6. Yushi Terada (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 21.05
7. Shoichi Kobayashi (Toyo Univ.) - 21.16
8. Kento Terada (Chukyo Univ.) - 21.94

Women's 200 m Final (+2.8)
1. Tomoka Tsuchihashi (Iwate Univ.) - 24.12
2. Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 24.30
3. Arisa Niwa (Chukyo Univ.) - 24.38
4. Akira Koyama (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 24.40
5. Yuki Jinbo (Tsukuba Univ.) - 24.53
6. Saya Kitazawa (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 24.71
7. Mizuki Nakamura (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 24.81
8. Aimi Yamashita (Fukushima Univ.) - 27.31

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Shuya Tsuda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 8:49.71
2. Hiroshi Yanokura (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 8:52.45
3. Kazuma Watanabe (Toyo Univ.) - 8:54.77
4. Takumi Murashima (Juntendo Univ.) - 8:57.15
5. Takuma Imai (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 8:57.21

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:00.69 - MR
2. Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 10:00.99 (MR)
3. Atsumi Miyamoto (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:11.89
4. Soyoka Segawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 10:12.14
5. Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 10:12.51

Men's 400 mH Final
1. Takaoki Hashimoto (Nihon Univ.) - 50.72
2. Seiya Kato (Tsukuba Univ.) - 50.91
3. Atsushi Yamada (Tokai Univ.) - 51.11
 
Women's 400 mH Final
1. Misa Yamada (Higashi Osaka Univ.) - 58.81
2. Ayaka Nishida (Kobe Univ.) - 58.95
3. Manaho Sugiyama (Fukuoka Univ.) - 59.28

Men's 110 mH Final (-1.3)
1. Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 14.10
2. Hiroki Fudaba (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 14.12
3. Gen Yada (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 14.24

Women's 100 mH Final (-0.3)
1. Miku Fujiwara (Mukogawa Joshi Univ.) - 13.66
2. Masumi Aoki (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 13.67
3. Aya Ito (Fukushima Univ.) - 13.75

Men's 4x400 m Final
1. Keio Univ. - 3:04.58
2. Waseda Univ. - 3:04.62
3. Nihon Univ. - 3:04.93
4. Chukyo Univ. - 3:05.57
5. Chuo Univ. - 3:06.25
6. Nittai Univ. - 3:07.51
7. Tsukuba Univ. - 3:08.14
8. Int'l Pacific Univ. - 3:08.63

Women's 4x400 m Final
1. Tsukuba Univ. - 3:40.73
2. Higashi Osaka Univ. - 3:40.92
3. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 3:41.40
4. Konan Univ. - 3:41.41
5. Fukushima Univ. - 3:42.11
6. Nittai Univ. - 3:42.94
7. Tokyo Gakugei Univ. - 3:43.45
8. Tsuru Bunka Univ. - 3:44.53

Men's 10000 m Race Walk
1. Eiki Takahashi (Iwate Univ.) - 39:44.78 - MR
2. Kai Kobayashi (Waseda Univ.) - 40:22.77
3. Daisuke Matsunaga (Toyo Univ.) - 40:56.35
4. Yuga Yamashita (Toyo Univ.) - 41:09.29
5. Yosuke Kimura (Juntendo Univ.) - 41:12.45

Men's High Jump
1. Takashi Eto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 2.22 m
2. Kazuhiro Ota (Kanazawa Seiryo Univ.) - 2.16 m
3. Daisuke Nakajima (Nihon Univ.) - 2.13 m

Women's Long Jump
1. Hitomi Nakano (Tsukuba Univ.) - 6.08 m
2. Mao Igarashi (Fukushima Univ.) - 6.07 m
3. Kaede Miyasaka (Yokohama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 6.07 m

Men's Pole Vault
1. Ryohei Yamakata (Setsunan Univ.) - 5.30 m
2. Shota Enoki (Chukyo Univ.) - 5.20 m
3. Fumitaka Ishikawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 5.10 m

Men's Shot Put
1. Ikuhiro Miyauchi (Nittai Univ.) - 17.48 m
2. Daichi Nakamura (Kokushikan Univ.) - 16.52 m
3. Hiroki Nishimiya (Nihon Univ.) - 16.50 m

Women's Shot Put
1. Erina Fukutomi (Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ.) - 15.13 m
2. Shoko Matsuda (Kokushikan Univ.) - 14.99 m
3. Eriko Saga (Tokai Univ.) - 14.59 m

Men's Discus Throw
1. Kengo Anbo (Tokai Univ.) - 53.73 m
2. Hiroya Kobayashi (Juntendo Univ.) - 52.94 m
3. Masateru Yugami (Chukyo Univ.) - 52.56 m

Women's Discus Throw
1. Eriko Nakata (Chukyo Univ.) - 49.10 m
2. Maho Taira (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 47.90 m
3. Natsumi Fujimori (Juntendo Univ.) - 47.67 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

National University Track and Field Championships Day Two Results

by Brett Larner
videos by 陸上競技動画集
click here for day one report

An intense thunderstorm hit the second day of the 2014 Japanese National University Track and Field Championships, impacting events across the board increasingly heavily before causing the postponement of both the men's and women's 5000 m races until the next day.  Of the events that did go down, the performance of the day came in the women's hammer throw, where Hitomi Katsuyama (Tsukuba Univ.) threw 60.70 m for the win, missing the championships record by just 8 cm but beating her own best by over a meter.



Sprints led the day's other highlights, with 100 m London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) ran 10.20 into a -0.4 m/s headwind for the win in the absence of rival Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), who led the 200 m qualifying heats in 20.60 (-1.0) but expressed dissatisfaction with his ability to cope with the rising wind.



Yamagata also led Keio to a 5th-place finish in the men's 4x100 m, where Chuo University upset sub-39 qualifying round leader Waseda University with a big run from anchor Yu Onabuta to take the national title in 39.03 by a margin of just 0.07 seconds.



Anna Fujimori did double duty for Aoyama Gakuin University, leading the women's 100 m in 11.83 (-1.3) before returning less than two hours later to anchor Aoyama Gakuin to the 4x100 win in 45.63.



The National University Championships wrap up Sunday, with the early morning addition of the rescheduled men's and women's 5000 m making for a long and packed day.

2014 National University Track and Field Championships Day Two Results
Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/6/14
click here for complete results

Men's 100 m Final (-0.4)
1. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) - 10.20
2. Kento Terada (Chukyo Univ.) - 10.37
3. Takumi Kuki (Waseda Univ.) - 10.38
4. Yu Onabuta (Chuo Univ.) - 10.39
5. Tatsuya Yamaguchi (Josai Univ.) - 10.49
6. Yuki Takeshita (Waseda Univ.) - 10.50
7. Hayato Suda (Waseda Univ.) - 10.53
8. Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 10.55

Women's 100 m Final (-1.3)
1. Anna Fujimori (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 11.83
2. Yuki Miyazawa (Toyama Univ.) - 11.85
3. Arisa Niwa (Chukyo Univ.) - 11.88
4. Sayako Matsumoto (Tsuru Bunka Univ.) - 11.94
5. Akira Koyama (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 11.97
6. Kaori Oki (Aichi Kyoiku Univ.) - 11.97
7. Masumi Aoki (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 12.08
8. Hiromi Shioya (Tsurugadai Univ.) - 12.11

Men's 4x100 m Final
1. Chuo Univ. - 39.03
2. Waseda Univ. - 39.10
3. Chukyo Univ. - 39.26
4. Josai Univ. - 39.60
5. Keio Univ. - 39.69
6. Hosei Univ. - 39.81
7. Daito Bunka Univ. - 40.04
8. Kwansei Gakuin Univ. - 40.19

Women's 4x100 m Final
1. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 45.63
2. International Pacific Univ. - 45.90
3. Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ. - 46.10
4. Fukuoka Univ. - 46.29
5. Tsukuba Univ. - 46.30
6. Osaka Seikei Univ. - 46.38
7. Tsuru Bunka Univ. - 46.57
DQ - Iwate Univ.

Women's High Jump
1. Emika Aoki (Chuo Univ.) - 1.73 m
2. Ai Tsuji (Konan Univ.) - 1.73 m
3. Kanako Hara (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 1.73 m

Men's Long Jump
1. Kota Minemura (Tsukuba Univ.) - 7.90 m (+2.1)
2. Yasuhiro Moro (Juntendo Univ.) - 7.83 m (+2.0)
3. Mizuki Matsubara (Gifu Keizai Univ.) - 7.69 m (+2.2)

Women's Triple Jump
1. Kaede Miyasaka (Yokohama Kokuritsu Univ.) - 12.91 m
2. Risa Ichimura (Denki Tsushin Univ.) - 12.67 m
3. Chika Uchiumi (Tokai Univ.) - 12.46 m

Men's Hammer Throw
1. Yushiro Hosaka (Tsukuba Univ.) - 66.00 m
2. Kunihiro Sumi (Chukyo Univ.) - 64.57 m
3. Naoto Kurata (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 62.86 m

Women's Hammer Throw
1. Hitomi Katsuyama (Tsukuba Univ.) - 60.70 m
2. Karin Motomura (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 57.43 m
3. Shiroi Ikawa (Shikoku Univ.) - 57.11 m

Men's Decathlon
1. Kazuya Kawasaki (Juntendo Univ.) - 7449
2. Takayoshi Shinohara (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 7397
3. Tsuyoshi Shimizu (Chukyo Univ.) - 7358

Women's Heptathlon
1. Megumi Matsubara (Tsukuba Univ.) - 5302
2. Akiko Ito (Tsukuba Univ.) - 5223
3. Eri Utsunomiya (Sonoda Gakuen Joshi Univ.) - 5216

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, September 5, 2014

Omwamba and Murayama Top First Day of National University Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by komazawaOB and 陸上競技動画集
click here for day two report

It's an idiosyncrasy of the Japanese racing calendar that both the National University Track and Field Championships and National Corporate Track and Field Championships take place in the fall well over three months after the more competitive regional meets and just after heavy summer mileage training.  That didn't seem to matter on the first day of the National University meet.



Continuing his return from the stress fracture that knocked both him and Yamanashi Gakuin University out of this year's Hakone Ekiden, 2014 Kanto Region double 1500 m and 5000 m champion Enock Omwamba and Kanto 10000 m champion Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), the identical twin brother of #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), stole the show in the 1500 m with a brilliant head-to-head battle to the line far out in front of the rest of the field.  Coming off the last corner it looked like the strong-kicking Murayama might pull off a miracle, but Omwamba got the better of him in the final meters as he crossed the line in 3:39.01, a PB by 0.15 seconds, with Murayama a few strides behind in a four-second-plus PB of 3:39.56.  Both broke the meet record, dating back to 1993, by more than four seconds.

Sub-3:40 times are a rarity in Japan, let alone at the collegiate level, and both Omwamba and Murayama made the record books.  Omwamba's time was good for all-time #4 among Japanese collegiates and Murayama's for #5, with Murayama also coming in at all-time #2 among Japanese-born collegiates and all-time #9 among Japanese men.  Kanto Region D2 1500 m champ Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.) was a distant 3rd in 3:44.89 after running much of the race with Omwamba and Murayama but looked happy with a five-second PB in his first season in Japan.



The men's 10000 m also delivered some great action, with defending champion Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) taking things out at 27:30 pace and burning off all but self-coached Kansai Region 10000 m champ Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) and 2013 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) in the early going.  Things slowed across the board as the race progressed, but Ichida and Hirai still lost touch midway through.  Down as far as 20 seconds behind Kitonyi, Hirai clawed his way back over the last 2000 m and bore down on Kitonyi in the home straight.  It looked like Hirai might steal the win, but he ran out of ground as Kitonyi held on in 28:35.88 with Hirai less than a second behind in 28:36.72, a PB by over 20 seconds and making good on his vow in July to beat all the Kanto Region Hakone Ekiden stars and be the top Japanese man in the National University 10000 m.  Ichida, one of those stars, held on to 3rd in 28:50.98.



Women's distance action was more conservative on the first day of the meet.  Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) won the 1500 m in 4:24.69, a fraction of a second over top- ranked Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) and Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) but nearly ten seconds off the meet record.  In the 10000 m, Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) outkicked teammate Eri Fujita and favorite Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) to win a tactical race in 33:52.91 by just over a second.



Self-coached like 10000 m runner-up Hirai, London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) delivered a season best 10.14 (+0.1), just 0.03 off the meet record, to lead the men's 100 m semi-finals in a solid return from a season of injuries.  His first-year rival Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) gave his specialty event the miss, instead choosing to give the 200 m a go later in the weekend.  Kiryu did anchor Toyo's 4x100 m relay team, finishing 2nd in its heat in 39.76 but failing to advance to the final.  Waseda University led the qualifying heats with a solid 38.90.  In the women's 100 m Olympian Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) was a scratch after a muscle pull, following up with an announcement that the injury was bad enough that she was withdrawing from this month's Asian Games.  In her absence Yuki Miyazawa (Toyama Univ.) led the semi-finals in 11.68 (+1.3), Asari Niwa (Chukyo Univ.) taking the other semi in 11.68 (+1.6).  The day's other big result came in the women's javelin throw, where Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) continued Japan's ongoing javelin renaissance with a new meet record of 57.97 m on her first throw.

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

2014 National University Track and Field Championships Day One
Kumagaya, Saitama, 9/5/14
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Daniel Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) - 28:35.88
2. Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 28:36.72
3. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:50.98
4. Yuki Matsumura (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:05.80
5. Toshiyuki Yanagi (Waseda Univ.) - 29:06.86
6. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:08.13
7. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:16.15
8. Shuhei Yamamoto (Waseda Univ.) - 29:17.47
9. Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:18.94
10. Ryohei Nishyama (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:30.95

Women's 10000 m
1. Rina Nabeshima (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 33:52.91
2. Rie Fujita (Kanoya Taiiku Univ.) - 33:54.38
3. Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 33:57.87
4. Mio Muraoka (Meijo Univ.) - 33:59.49
5. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Buna Univ.) - 34:01.93

Men's 1500 m Final
1. Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:39.01 - MR
2. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 3:39.56 (MR)
3. Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.) - 3:44.89
4. Hikaru Kato (Nittai Univ.) - 3:47.92
5. Ryota Matono (Juntendo Univ.) - 3:48.25

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Miho Ito (Juntendo Univ.) - 4:24.69
2. Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 4:24.92
3. Chikako Mori (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 4:25.31
4. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:25.40
5. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:29.25

Men's 400 m Final
1. Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 45.88
2. Tomoya Tamura (Chukyo Univ.) - 46.10
3. Kazushi Kimura (Int'l Pacific Univ.) - 46.57
4. Kenta Kimura (Waseda Univ.) - 46.90
5. Takahiro Kondo (Tsukuba Univ.) - 47.25

Women's 400 m Final
1. Misato Hasegawa (Nittai Univ.) - 54.45
2. Kaede Kashiyama (Shigakkan Univ.) - 55.00
3. Ayaka Nishida (Kobe Univ.) - 55.10
4. Nahoko Otsuki (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - 55.26
5. Misaki Ueyama (Higashi Osako Univ.) - 55.78

Women's 10000 m Race Walk
1. Rena Goto (Chubu Gakuin Univ.) - 47:19.04
2. Kaori Kawazoe (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 47:42.93
3. Sae Matsumoto (Kokushikan Univ.) - 49:03.56
4. Fumiko Okabe (Saitama Medical Univ.) - 49:38.96
5. Saki Maeda (Nagoya Univ.) - 49:53.73

Men's Triple Jump
1. Ryoma Yamamoto (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.28 m (+0.0)
2. Shu Tomura (Juntendo Univ.) - 16.20 m (+0.7)
3. Naoyuki Okada (Nihon Univ.) - 16.05 m (+0.6)

Women's High Jump
1. Yuko Enomoto (Tsukuba Univ.) - 3.85 m
2. Kimika Saito (Chukyo Univ.) - 3.80 m
3. Rina Aya (Hiroshima Univ.) - 3.75 m

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Homare Mori (Chuo Univ.) - 75.59 m
2. Yoshihiro Nakajima (Tsukuba Univ.) - 73.72 m
3. Kenta Sonoda (Tsukuba Univ.) - 72.77 m

Women's Javelin Throw
1. Kiho Kuze (Tsukuba Univ.) - 57.97 m - MR
2. Ai Yamauchi (Osaka Keisei Univ.) - 56.55 m
3. Marina Saito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 54.82 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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