A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.
Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.
Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…
At the end of athletics competition Japan's total was two medals and two top eight finishes, a total exceeding the JAAF's target one medal but falling short of its goal of five top eight finishes. JAAF strengthening committee chairman Kazunori Asaba (55) announced that he intends to resign his position following the Rio Olympics. Strengthening committee vice-chairman Katsumi Sakai (56) and director of men's marathoning Takeshi Soh (63) are also expected to join the exodus of resignations. Japanese athletics will be forced to make a fresh start before the Tokyo Olympics.
Running his first race of any distance since finishing 9th at last month's London World Championships, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) won Saturday's BMW Oslo Marathon in the fastest time in Oslo since before he was born.
Pre-race Kawauchi's goal was to take a shot at the 2:12:58 Norwegian all-comers record, the fastest time ever run on Norwegian soil. With a new two-loop course featuring a pair of tough hills interspersed by a flat seaside section on each loop his game plan was to try to run 3:10/km until midway through the second lap, then try to push it on the climb and descent of the last hill to make up whatever seconds he needed.
15 km into the first lap he was 10 seconds ahead of schedule in 47:20 and 90 seconds clear of 2nd place, but the steep hill starting a kilometer later took its toll and by 20 km he was 24 seconds behind. Over the second lap the strong sunlight and warmer than usual temperatures and the two weeks he took off after London also began …