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46 Heats of 5000 m in 14 Hours This Sunday at Nittai University Time Trials

by Brett Larner

Yokohama's Nippon Taiiku University, Nittai for short, is the site of Japan's biggest long distance track time trial series.  Held eight or nine weekends a year, Saturdays typically feature everything except the men's 5000 m, sometimes including middle distance but usually men's and women's 3000 m, women's 5000 m and men's 10000 m races.  Sundays are usually devoted exclusively to the men's 5000 m, and this Sunday's 255th edition may set a new record for sheer organizational ability.

Heat 1 begins at 7:30 a.m. sharp.  Fourteen hours and four minutes later, the fastest heat, Heat 46, is scheduled to start at 9:34 p.m.  46 heats with 45~55 runners apiece finely graded by target time, starting under 19 minutes apart on average.  Near the end of the day that's down to 17 minutes apart.  There's zero room for error on the organizers' side, but you can be sure that it will go off with the same clockwork precision as the Tokyo …

Karemi Wins Third-Straight Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler, Kamino Over Imai and Kashiwabara for 2nd

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2016/11/28/0009704327.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

11/27 熊本甲佐10マイル

国際・一般男子10マイル(通過順)

カレミ ズク選手(トヨタ自動車九州)
神野大地選手(コニカミノルタ)
エドワード ワウエル選手(NTN) pic.twitter.com/WFUYrgjIFy — manamin (@kinokonoko0916) November 29, 2016
The 41st running of the Kumamoto Kosa 10 Mile Road Race took place Nov. 27 on a course starting and finishing in front of Kosa Town Hall.  Two-time winner Jeremiah Karemi Thuku (Team Toyota Kyushu) made it three-straight wins as he braved cold and rainy conditions to break the tape in 46:19.

All three of the Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage's superstar "Gods of the Mountain" raced, with the most recent of the troika, 2016 Aoyama Gakuin University graduate Daichi Kamino (Team Konica Minolta) outrunning the first runner to bear that title, Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), by 8 seconds for 2nd.  Toyo University graduate Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu) dropped out partway.

The showdown went to the youngest of the three.  In j…

Daito Bunka University Defends Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden Title

http://mainichi.jp/articles/20161128/ddl/k09/050/090000c

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 3rd edition of the Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden took place Nov. 27 in Nikko, Tochigi.  Fifteen teams from fourteen universities six stage, 23.4 km course with 875 m net elevation gain, with Daito Bunka University winning for the second year in a row in 1:32:41.  Hakuoh University was the top Tochigi team at 7th. Daito Bunka started slow, in 8th at the end of the First Stage but its second runner Kasumi Yamaguchi setting a new stage record. Daito Bunka moved up gradually through the field from there, finally going from 2nd to 1st on the anchor stage.  Osaka Geijutsu University was 2nd, with the Tokyo Nogyo University A-team taking 3rd.

The Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden is organized by local businesses and the Nikko city government, who together aim to earn a name for Nikko as "The runner's holy land."  The ekiden was established in 2014 with the hope of creating …

Yamauchi Wins IAU 100 km World Championships

by Brett Larner

@JRNHeadlinespic.twitter.com/uqE9UrqAYw — John O'Regan (@johnoregan777) November 29, 2016
Hideaki Yamauchi become the fourth Japanese man in the last ten years to win the IAU 100 km World Championships, coming from three minutes behind to outrun South Africa's Bongmusa Mthembu, Italian three-time world champion Giorgio Calcaterra and others to win Sunday's race in Los Alcazares, Spain by nearly six minutes.  Yamauchi's winning time of 6:18:22 was the fifth-fastest ever for the 100 km distance, making him the all-time #4 man worldwide just behind world record holder Takahiro Sunada.  Yamauchi's teammates Kaitaro Toike and Yoshiki Takada took 8th and 23rd, giving Japan the team silver medal by a slim margin behind South Africa.  The U.S.A. team took bronze on the strength of two top five finishes.

No Japanese women scored individual medals, but with a 5-6-7 finish separated by only 17 seconds the trio of Mikiko Ota, Aiko Kanematsu and Chiyuki Mochizuki

Double Olympian-Powered Japan Post Wins First National Corporate Women's Ekiden Title

by Brett Larner

【クイーンズ駅伝】

スタート!💨🏃👧💨🏃

上位8位までがシード権!
頑張れーーー💪(^o^) pic.twitter.com/8uhtPo7WIS — NOBUKI T&F (@hagechabin123) November 27, 2016
In just its third year of existence the Japan Post Group team swept to the top of Japan's corporate women's league, winning the 36th running of the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships Sunday in Sendai, Miyagi.  Featuring Rio track Olympians Ayuko Suzuki and Hanami Sekine, Japan Post was in it from the start.  Lead runner Kyoka Nakagawa got the team off in 4th as she covered the 7.0 km First Stage in 22:01, 11 seconds off leader Mao Ichiyama's 21:50 course record and 9 seconds under the old course record.  Still on the mend from the injury that hit her just before Rio, Suzuki was 5th on time on the 3.9 km Second Stage but still improved Japan Post's position to 3rd.  Sekine and fourth runner Rina Iwataka held steady in 3rd before fifth runner Rina Nabeshima got to work.

Covering 10.0 km on the Fifth Stage, Na…

Kwemoi Dominates 10000 m Debut in Hachioji

by Brett Larner
photo by Tsukasa Kawarai
video by Ekiden News

1500 m junior world record holder Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) made his claim to longer distances Saturday at western Tokyo's Hosei University, dominating his competition over the last lap to win his 10000 m debut in 27:33.94 at the Hachioji Long Distance meet.



Lacking some of the electricity of last year's Japanese national record shot, 24 athletes from four countries lined up in Hachioji's A-heat, some tuning up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships, others chasing the 27:45.00 standard for the 2017 London World Championships. Normally reliable as a pacer, despite a perfect 2:46.00 opening kilometer Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) struggled to keep it steady after just 3000 m. Some of the field went ahead of him for several laps before he rallied to take the field through 5000 m in 13:56.50, four seconds off target.

The pack stuck with him for another 2000 m before saying good…

Weekend Preview: Five Big Races in 48 Hours

by Brett Larner

A big weekend of racing on the track and roads lies ahead.

Saturday the Tokyo area hosts not one but two massive 10000 m time trial meets.  The Hachioji Long Distance meet at Hosei University has grown to become one of the world's leading races at that distance over the last few years, the site of a 27:29.69 Japanese national record by Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) last year.  The A-heat at this year's race will be targeting 27:45 ahead of next summer's London World Championships with pacing by Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) and features the tantalizing debut of Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.).

At the same time as Hachioji, many of Japan's best collegiate men who didn't race at last weekend's record-setting Ageo City Half Marathon will be taking on 10000 m at Keio University's Kanto Region University Time Trials. Last year Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University put eight of its men under 29 minutes in one heat at Keio.  This year seve…

Gunji, Yoshitomi, Kawauchi and Tokoro Win National Holiday Marathons

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/11/24/kiji/K20161124013780460.html
http://www.ryoutan.co.jp/news/2016/11/23/010999.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

4,544 people were entered in the 29th Ohtawara Marathon in Ohtawara, Tochigi on the Nov. 23 national holiday.  Takahiro Gunji (25, Team Komori Corp.) won the men's division in 2:22:56, with Hiroko Yoshitomi (32, Team Memolead) winning the women's division for the second year in a row in 2:37:20.  Both runners were awarded the Sponichi Cup.

Gunji came from far behind to score his first Ohtwara win in the last kilometer. Five minutes behind the leader at halfway, he left the chase pack near 30 km and began to pick up the pace.  Running into a strong headwind Gunji was discouraged by the distance to the leader, but, he said, "People on the side of the road kept shouting at me not to give up."  Doing exactly that, he drew closer and closer to the lead and around 41 km moved into the top position.  It was a…

Athletics New Zealand to Hold National Team Training Camp in Saga

http://www.saga-s.co.jp/news/saga/10105/379587

translated by Brett Larner

On Nov. 22 Athletics New Zealand signed an agreement with the Saga prefectural government to hold its national team training camp in Saga ahead of August's 29th World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan.  New Zealand has held pre-games camps in Saga since August last year.  Athletics New Zealand representatives were positive about the possibility of holding its pre-2020 Tokyo Olympics camp in Saga as well.

Athletics New Zealand athlete performance support manager Michelle Wood met with Saga governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi.  Before last year's Beijing World Championships the New Zealand national team trained in Saga, and Wood had previously visited Saga two years ago.  "I felt that Saga was not too big, quiet and with wonderful hospitality that made it feel like home," she told Governor Yamaguchi of the deciding factor in Athletics New Zealand's decision.

Looking toward the future she was positiv…

'Joshua Cheptegei Wins Netherlands Race'

https://www.kawowo.com/2016/11/20/joshua-cheptegei-wins-netherlands-race/

Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km Road Race
Netherlands, 11/20/16
click here for complete results

Women
1. Susan Krumins (Netherlands) - 49:30
2. Jip Vastenburg (Netherlands) - 50:42
3. Kanade Furuya (Japan) - 52:10
4. Yomogi Akasaka (Japan) - 52:23
5. Honoka Tanaike (Japan) - 52:41
-----
20. Misaki Ogata (Japan) - 57:03

Men
1. Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) - 42:08
2. Abrar Osman (Eritrea) - 43:04
3. Hiskel Tewelde (Eritrea) - 43:06
4. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 43:28
5. Abdallah Kibet Mande (Uganda) - 43:35
-----
8. Kengo Suzuki (Japan) - 44:18
11. Homare Morita (Japan) - 45:24
14. Yuki Nakamura (Japan) - 46:10
15. Akira Tomiyasu (Japan) - 46:14
20. Shiki Shinsako (Japan) - 47:38

Takeda Follows Osako as Fourth Man to Break 62 Minutes at Ageo City Half, Leading 197 Under 66

by Brett Larner
video by Ekiden News



Waseda University fourth-year Rintaro Takeda became just the fourth man and third Japanese collegiate runner in the 29-year history of the Ageo City Half Marathon to break 62 minutes on the Ageo course, running a PB of over a minute to win in 1:01:59 in a tight sprint finish on the track.

Just about the last major university race before the January 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, Ageo serves to help coaches of the twenty Hakone-bound schools sort out their final rosters for Japan's biggest race.  With most schools fielding around thirty runners apiece this has made Ageo into the deepest half marathon in the world, and over the last five years an invitation for the top two finishers to run March's United Airlines NYC Half Marathon has taken the front end of the race to another level.

Despite predicted hot weather the day dawned with thick fog and temperatures under 10 degrees.  Running his first half marathon, 18-year-old Chuo Gakuin University first-year

Izu Marathon Cancelled As Organizers Unable To Cope With Rapid Increase in Popularity

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20161117-00000011-at_s-l22

translated by Brett Larner

On Nov. 16 the organizers of the Izu Marathon, an event put on jointly by four local city governments, revealed that they are cancelling the race's tenth anniversary edition scheduled for February 2017.  The news came to light during an interview with a connected party.  The source said that organizers were unable to cope with the increased safety and security demands created by the event's rapid growth into a race with thousands of participants.

According to the source, while roughly 700 people ran the Izu Marathon's first edition, last year's ninth running saw 4000 entrants.  In the face of such an increase in the event's scale, organizers determined that they were unable to make adequate plans for dealing with problems like bad weather or injuries, resulting in their decision to cancel the race.  Organizers plan to review their operating methodology and the marathon's cour…

A Double Dose of 10000 m - Hachioji and Kanto Entry Lists

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620



Hosei University's Hachioji Long Distance meet has quickly risen to become one of the world's most competitive 10000 m events, its late November date out of season by most of the world's standards but a perfect tuneup for national championship ekiden season in Japan and a chance to knock out qualifying standards for whatever international championships come the next year.  Last year's meet was highlit by a double national records, teammates Kota Murayama and Tetsuya Yoroizaka of the Asahi Kasei powerhouse team both clearing 27:30 in a thrilling photo finish.  Murayama returns this year as the top placer from last year, winner William Malel (Team Honda) serving as pacer in the B-heat and runner-up Johana Maina (Team Fujitsu) having passed away unexpectedly earlier this year back home in Kenya.

With seven heats gradated from sub-29 to sub-27:45 on the program Kenyans James Mwangi (Team NTN) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Team Aisan Kogyo) and…

New JAAF Development Project Leader Toshihiko Seko After Saitama: "Our Marathoners Don't Train Enough. Toughen Up."

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/11/14/kiji/K20161114013722210.html

translated by Brett Larner

With the major corporate league women giving it a miss due to the conflict with ekiden season, Sunday's Saitama International Marathon had predictably disappointing results.  Newly appointed leader of the JAAF's long distance and marathon development project Toshihiko Seko commented, "You might call it old-fashioned, but they're simply not training enough.  We need people who can run tough in both the marathon and the ekiden."  Articulating the sense of crisis, development project director Tadasu Kawano warned, "We won't necessarily be filling all three spots [on the national team for next summer's London World Championships marathon]."

Translator's note: In an interview moderated by JRN, Takayuki Nishida, a former Seko-coached athlete who ran 2:08:45, told Finnish writer Tuomas Zacheus, "Seko is a great man. What should I say about hi…

Kuira and Karoki Top Road and Track Action

by Brett Larner
Karoki photo by Tsukasa Kawarai

世田谷246ハーフ

1. クイラ (コニカミノルタ) 1:02:27 大会新 pic.twitter.com/JUGqtXhD6z — EKIDEN_MANIA (@ekiden_mania) November 13, 2016
Marathons and ekidens aside, this weekend also saw high-level half marathon and track action.  At Tokyo's Setagaya 246 Half Marathon Japan based-Kenyan Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta) scored the third win in four half marathons in his career to date, setting a course record 1:02:27.  Kuira and university runners Takato Suzuki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) and Yusuke Nishiyama (Komazawa Univ.) went out fast, ahead of the pack within the first few km and staying together through 15 km before Kuira put them away.  For Kuira it was a solid tuneup for his marathon debut in three weeks at the Fukuoka International Marathon.  For Suzuki, 2nd in 1:02:55, it was his first time breaking 1:03 in the half marathon, a result sure to elevate his position on the deep roster of Hakone Ekiden favorite Aoyama Gakuin University.  Nishiyama, who ra…

A Four-Ekiden Day

by Brett Larner

中国実業団駅伝 優勝 マツダ アンカーは松岡選手 pic.twitter.com/3UZxCdy3YS — M.Kawaguchi (@rikujolove) November 13, 2016
The fall ekiden season continued with not one or two or three but four top-level races across the country Sunday.  With places at the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships on the line corporate teams in Chugoku and Kansai lined up in their regional championship races.  To the apparent surprise of everyone including anchor Koji Matsuoka, pictured above, the Mazda men broke the Chugoku Region course record to hold off perpetual powerhouse Chugoku Denryoku by 30 seconds for the win. Otsuka Seiyaku claimed the Kansai Region title, outrunning SGH Group by over a minute to take the top spot.

In women's action, Yamada Denki successfully defended its Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden title, taking the lead on the second of six stages and never threatened after that as its third through sixth runners, led by Kasumi Nishihara, won their individual stages.  With thre…

Cheyech Daniel Wins Saitama International Marathon in 2:23:18 Course Record

by Brett Larner

2010 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) negative split her way to the win in the second edition of the Saitama International Marathon.  The four invited Africans and two pacemakers in the race went out on track to go under 2:22:30, but without even a single top-level Japanese woman in the race the leading Japanese contenders were out of it within the first km.  A familiar face in Japan, Amane Gobena (Ethiopia) ground down compatriot Atsede Habtamu and Monica Jepkoech (Kenya) over the first 20 km before Daniel in turn said goodbye after the 24.6 km turnaround.  From there on in it was a race against the clock, Daniel on track to go close to her 2:22:46 PB at 35 km but unable to keep it up alone.  Her time of 2:23:18 was a sizable new course record and one of the better times in her career.  Gobena, Jepkoech and Habtamu trundled in over the next 6 1/2 minutes, the top four the only ones to clear 2:30.

Saitama counts as a selection ra…

Fukuoka International Marathon to Go Ahead As Planned After Road Collapse

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2016/11/09/0009652134.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

After a major sinkhole opened Nov. 8 on the road in front of Hakata Station, the organizers of the Dec. 4 Fukuoka International Marathon, a selection race for the men's marathon team for next year's London World Championships, commented on their official Twitter feed that, "Since yesterday's events we have received many inquiries about whether the Fukuoka International Marathon will be impacted by the sinkhole.  As the site is not on the marathon course the race will go ahead as planned."  However, as the location of the sinkhole is very close to the course the organizers said, "Since this accident occurred in the neighborhood of the course we will take all necessary precautions to ensure safety both on the course itself and for spectators along the course."  Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others are entered in the race.

Japan Sports Agency Final Report Finds Serious Shortage of Qualified Anti-Doping Personnel in Japan

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/11/09/kiji/K20161109013687370.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Nov. 8 the Japan Sports Agency issued the final report of a special investigative team.  The report revealed a serious shortage of anti-doping personnel within Japan who would be capable of performing the large volume of testing expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and pointed out the urgent need for training additional personnel.  The report also articulated the need for legislation governing the collection of information used to detect doping violations.  The bipartisan Sports Parliamentary Association will consider related bills and plans to submit them in an ordinary session of the Diet next year.

Translator's note: A possibly related Japanese state media story from earlier this year.

Yamamoto 4th at New York City Marathon, Kawauchi 2nd in Porto

by Brett Larner


Running just his second career marathon, Toyo University graduate Hiroyuki Yamamoto followed up on his 2:11:48 debut at Beppu-Oita last year with a 2:11:49 for 4th at the New York City Marathon.  Always in the lead pack until he wasn't, always looking smooth, confident and relaxed, Yamamoto's placing was the best-ever by a Japanese man in New York, his time also up near the top of the Japanese lists in New York.

2015 World Champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (Eritrea) smoked a 2:07:51 for the win, the third-fastsest winning time in NYC history, while this year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon winner Lucas Rotich (Kenya) was 2nd.  The perpetual Abdi Abdirahman (U.S.A.) held Yamamoto off for 3rd in 2:11:23.  In an admittedly weaker than usual field, Yamamoto's best-ever Japanese placing was also arguably the best performance by a Japanese man in any of the World Marathon Majors events since Kurao Umeki's 3rd-place finish at the 2006 Berlin Marathon.  In the …

Aoyama Gakuin Runs Down Waseda on Anchor Stage for First-Ever National University Ekiden Title

by Brett Larner

優勝 青山学院大学#全日本大学駅伝#二冠pic.twitter.com/i4445kvkTb — EKIDEN News (@EKIDEN_News) November 6, 2016
Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University went one step closer to becoming just the fourth school in Japanese history to win the Big Three University Ekiden triple crown, running down unexpected challenger Waseda University on the anchor stage to win its first-ever National University Men's Ekiden Championships title.

Defending champ Toyo University came out swinging, putting its best runner, Hazuma Hattori, on first.  Hattori put Toyo 11 seconds out front, but without the talent this year to follow that up Toyo fell to 6th on the Second Stage and spent the rest of the eight-stage race struggling to stay in the six-deep bracket of teams that would score places at next year's Nationals.

Waseda, the last team to pull off the triple crown back in the 2010-11 season, was the next team into the first exchange zone 11 seconds behind Toyo, while heavy favorite Aoyama Gakuin…