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National Corporate Women's Championships, A Potential National Record and More - Weekend Preview

It's always a busy weekend of racing in Japan, this weekend as much as any. Saturday's main event is the Hachioji Long Distance meet at Tokyo's Hosei University. In the last few years Hachioji has become one of the world's premier track 10,000 m, the site of the current Japanese national record two years ago. The big question mark this year is half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) in the A-heat. After running the 1:00:17 national record and a 2:09:03 PB on back-to-back weekends at the end of September is he ready to tackle the 27:29.69 national record? It'll take a big improvement on his 27:42.71 best, but not as much as what he did in breaking the half marathon record.

Also up Saturday night is the Kanto Region University 10,000 m Time Trials meet at Kanagawa's Keio University. While the very top university men will turn up at Hachioji, most looking to sharpen their times ahead of their coaches' final team selections for the Hakone Eki…

’Yuki Kawauchi, l'OVNI du Marathon'

Deuxième numéro de #REC
➡️ 25 novembre @beinsports_FR 1
🏃🏻Yuki Kawauchi, l’OVNI du marathon #RECpic.twitter.com/2eh5VxbNcZ — REC (@beINREC) November 23, 2017
In October a camera crew from France's beIN Sports channel traveled to Japan to film Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) for a feature documentary. A month later they followed up at his French debut at the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes. The result airs this Saturday.

Additionally, Spain's Running magazine published an article on Kawauchi earlier this week. Spanish language readers check it out here.

Mitsubishi Overpowers National Champions Asahi Kasei at Kyushu Corporate Men's Ekiden

#九州実業団毎日駅伝
スタートしました。 pic.twitter.com/p1rKSJ3Rjq — 九州実業団陸上競技連盟 (@krikujo1) November 23, 2017
For the second year in a row, the Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems corporate team edged defending national champion Asahi Kasei to win the 54th Kyushu Corporate Men's Ekiden Championships, the final qualifying race for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships.

Fresh out of the blocks, London World Championships marathon team member Hiroto Inoue got Mitsubishi off to a good start with a win by 8 seconds over 2016 national XC champion Takashi Ichida of Asahi Kasei on the 12.4 km First Stage. Mitsubishi increased its lead over Asahi Kasei to 1:54 by the end of the Fourth Stage thanks to stage wins from 2nd and 4th men Enock Omwamba and Ryota Matono.

Over the second half Asahi Kasei fought back with its 5th and 6th runners Shuho Dairokuno and Takuya Fukatsu winning their stages, Fukatsu breaking the Sixth Stage record by 11 seconds to put Asahi Kasei into the lead by 4 seconds at th…

Nogami to Represent Japan at Asian Marathon Championships

Keiko Nogami, star runner of the Juhachi Ginko women's ekiden team, will represent Japan in the 16th Asian Marathon Championships Nov. 26 in Dongguan, China. Excited about her first time wearing the Japanese national colors, Nogami said, "I've been given a great opportunity. I'm really targeting a domestic race next year, but since I'm running this one I'll be aiming for the top."

Nogami's training this season has been going well and she is in good shape. At October's Ehime National Sports Festival she finished 3rd in the women's 5000 m, and later the same month at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships qualifying race she took 2nd on its toughest stage, the 10.7 km Third Stage, just 2 seconds from winning it.

Nogami was selected for the Asian Marathon Championships based on her results including August's Hokkaido Marathon, where she finished 2nd in 2:30:11 in just her fourth career marathon. The race takes place the same …

Toyota and Tanaka Drop New Course Records - Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Qualifying action for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships continued Sunday with the combined Chubu and Hokuriku regional ekidens. Running both an A and a B team with only the A team having a chance of going on to race on New Year's Day, Toyota destroyed the field as it took 1st and 3rd overall.

After a slow start the A-team's Chihiro Miyawaki broke the course record on the 11.5 km Third Stage, covering it in 32:55 to move into the lead. Toyota A-team runners won the last three of the race's seven stages, winning by more than three minutes over closest competition Aisan Kogyo as they broke the overall course record with a new mark of 4:05:35 for the 83.5 km event. Toyota's B-team finished just 16 seconds behind Aisan Kogyo, showing just how much of a stranglehold Toyota has on the Chubu Region. YKK was the top team from the tiny Hokuriku Region, finishing 9th overall in 4:13:34 but moving on to the New Year Ekiden.

In Kyoto, Kwansei Ga…

'Uganda’s Cheptegei Runs World’s 2nd Fastest 15km Race'

https://www.independent.co.ug/ugandas-cheptegei-runs-2nd-fastest-15km-race/
Zevenheuvelenloop 15 kmNijmegen, Netherlands, 11/19/17
click here for complete results

Men
1. Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) - 41:16
2. Amdework Walelegn (Ethiopia) - 42:40
3. Noah Kipkemboi (Kenya) - 42:43
4. Yenew Alamirew (Ethiopia) - 43:33
5. Mekonnen Gebremedhin (Ethiopia) - 43:35
6. Ryohei Sakaguchi (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 43:36
-----
12. Tomoki Ota (Japan/Waseda Univ.) - 44:48
16. Junnosuke Matsuo (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 45:30
33. Ryoji Tatezawa (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 48:00

Women
1. Birke Debele (Ethiopia) - 48:52
2. Mercyline Chelangat (Uganda) - 48:54
3. Evaline Chirchir (Kenya) - 48:54
4. Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia) - 48:56
5. Rose Chelimo (Bahrain) - 49:08
-----
7. Rika Kaseda (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 50:24
9. Rino Goshima (Japan/Chuo Univ.) - 52:13
12. Kanade Furuya (Japan/Matsuyama Univ.) - 53:46
14. Naruho Sato (Japan/Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 54:45
61. Yuki Munehisa (Japan/Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 1:01:36

Krifchin and Lemciyeh Win Kobe Marathon

The Kobe Marathon held its 7th running on Nov. 19.  19,709 runners took part in this year's race, with 600,000 people cheering them on along the course between the start at Kobe City Hall and the finish in the Kobe Harbor area which this year celebrates its 150th anniversary. American Maegan Krifchin, 29, won the women's race in a course record time of 2:33:14. Khalil Lemciyeh of Morocco also broke the men's course record, winning in 2:12:49.

The Kobe Marathon is organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government and the City of Kobe. 7,500 volunteers helped runners over the course of the three days of race weekend. This year the turnaround point moved 1.25 km to the west, taking runners under Akashi Kaikyo Bridge for the first time. The final section of the course on Port Island was shortened to make up the distance. At noon at the finish area temperatures were 12 degrees with 65% humidity. 18,949 people finished the race.

At the starting ceremony in front of City Hall, a mom…

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…

New Year Ekiden Fourth and Sixth Stages Changed After Course Found Slightly Short

Around 80 representatives of the National Corporate Track and Field Association, Gunma Prefectural Government and related media organizations met Nov. 15 at the prefectural government offices to discuss course changes and upcoming promotional efforts for the 62nd running of the New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships on Jan. 1. It was confirmed that two of the ekiden's seven stages, the Fourth Stage and Sixth Stage, will be changed for this season's race.

The New Year Ekiden has been run on a 100 km course since 2001, but it was recently found that its actual distance was slightly insufficient. The course changes are intended to increase the distance to make up for the overall shortfall as well as to improve the course's runnability. The Fourth Stage has traditionally headed east from the Shiyakusho-mae intersection in Imaizumi-cho in Isesaki, but its new course will instead send it south along Route 354 for a increase in length from 22.0 to 22.4 km. Th…

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Weekend Road Racing Preview

Sunday's Saitama International Marathon leads a busy weekend of women's racing across the country. 4th in August's London World Championships marathon, last year's winner Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) returns to lead the tiny elite field of six internationals and two domestic women. Cheyech's strongest competition is Japan's Reia Iwade (Dome), the former under-20 marathon record holder who abruptly quit the Noritz corporate team earlier this year to go the solo route. Whether her new situation finds her ready to go remains to be seen. Close behind and maybe a more likely bet to stay with Daniel is Shitaye Habtegebrel (Ethiopia). Iwade, Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and any other Japanese women in the general elite field will have the chance to qualify for Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials race if they go under 2:29:00.

Starting 30 minutes after the elite women, Saitama also features a coed mass participation field. Local poster boy Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov&#…

Kanagawa University Upsets Favorites to Win First National University Ekiden Title in 20 Years

Riding a wave of rapid improvement since the start of the season, Kanagawa University pulled off a perfect race to beat favorites Tokai University and Aoyama Gakuin University and win its first National University Men's Ekiden Championships title since 1997 in one of the fastest times in event history.

Tokai beat defending national champion AGU at last month's Izumo Ekiden, and today's race was expected to be another head-to-head. But on the opening stage both were far from the front-end action. Likewise for #3-ranked Yamanashi Gakuin University, still on the mend from injuries to many of its best runners. In the absence of the three favorites, #4 through #7-ranked teams Komazawa University, Kanagawa, Waseda University and Toyo University formed a leading group from which 2015 national champion Toyo emerged as the front runner.

Tokai and AGU spent the next three stages working up to the lead group before both lost ground on the Fifth Stage and had to try to regain their f…

Kawauchi 6th in French Debut at Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes

Returning to its regular starting point on the Promenade des Anglais this year for its tenth anniversary running, France's Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes experienced wild winds and rain for much of the race. Running in France for the first time, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) hoped to become the first non-African winner in event history. Staying in the middle of a lead pack of five Kenyans and two Ethiopians, Kawauchi and the rest of the group were just off the planned sub-2:10 pace through halfway as pacer Cosmas Birech struggled to deal with winds that shifted in every direction. Daniel Yator was the first casualty of the tough conditions.

At 22 km the course moved away from the open beachfront, blocking the wind enough for Birech to pick it up to the planned 3:04/km. But as he did Kawauchi found himself unable to respond, and within a kilometer he had dropped ten seconds off the lead sextet. From there it was a struggle for him to hold off Yator, who beat Ka…

Shitaraless Honda Wins East Japan Corporate Ekiden

Qualification for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships got underway on the Nov. 3 holiday in Japan's most competitive region, East Japan, with the 58th East Japan Corporate Men's Ekiden Championships. Running without half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 2015 winner Honda returned to the top with an exciting anchor stage win in 3:47:55 for the 7-stage, 77.5 km course.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team's leading man Yuki Muta got them off to a good start on the opening stage, but a 1-2 punch from DeNA's Kenta Murozuka and Bedan Karoki put DeNA 20 seconds ahead of the early leaders. 7th on the First Stage, Honda worked its way up to 3rd by the end of the Third Stage just a second behind Hitachi Butsuryu.

Honda moved into 2nd on the next stage, but its gap to leader DeNA stayed steady at 21 seconds. Fujitsu passed Hitachi Butsuryu for 3rd thanks to a stage win from Ken Yokote, and a new stage record of 22:52 for the 7.8 km Fifth Stag…

Kawauchi Headlines Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes NIce-Cannes Elite Field

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) makes his French racing debut this Sunday at the 10th Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes NIce-Cannes. Following wins at September's Oslo Marathon and October's Betsukai Pilot Marathon, Kawauchi hopes to achieve one goal that has eluded him so far in his career: joining the small group of just six Japanese men to have ever won a marathon outside Japan in a time under 2:10:00.

The only other man in the field to have broken 2:10 in his career is Kenyan Alfred Kering, whose closest time to that mark in the last three years was a 2:10:27 win at the 2016 Lisbon Marathon. No others in the field have run under 2:11, but times aren't everything. The slowest man in the field on paper with a best of just 2:13:13, Daniel Yator beat Kawauchi at June's Stockholm Marathon en route to that time and will be looking to do it again.

The women's field is small, with only three women who have broken 2:38 led by Ethiopian Tigist Shetu with a 2:34:37 bes…

Tokai and AGU Rematch - National University Men's Ekiden Championships Preview

Following October's season-opening Izumo Ekiden and world record-breaking Yosenkai 20 km, the university men's ekiden season continues Sunday with the National University Men's Ekiden Championships. 12 top regional teams from across the country will face off with the 15 best in the Tokyo-centric Kanto Region on an 8-stage course from Nagoya to Mie totalling 106.8 km. TV ASahi will broadcast the complete race starting at 7:00 local time on Sunday. International viewers can try mov3.co for streaming, with other options to be found here.

At Izumo the up-and-coming Tokai University squad took down defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University, head coach Hayashi Morozumi's cross-country-based methodology having overtaken the innovative systematic approach of AGU's Susumu Hara that had made AGU into the dominant team of the era. AGU is likewise the defending champion at Nationals, but the longer average stage lengths at Nationals play to Tokai's strengths and it will…

Ishida and Rakunan Break National Records at Junior Olympics

At the weekend's Junior Olympics in Yokohama's Nissan Stadium, Asakawa Junior High School 9th-grader Kosuke Ishida won in 8:17.84 to take almost 1.5 seconds off the 3000 m junior high school boys national record. A totally solo run in heavy rain, Ishida won by a margin of almost 16 seconds over his closest competition. The record followed his 1500 m junior high school national record of 3:49.72 at the Sept. 23 Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama, cementing his position at the top of next year's incoming high school class.



Held together with the Junior Olympics, the JAAF Relay Championships saw another record fall in the men's 4x100 m. In the first qualifying heat Kyoto's Rakunan High School, alma mater of Japan's first sub-10 man Yoshihide Kiryu, set a new high school national record of 39.57, the team of Ryo Wada, Daisuke Miyamoto, Yoshinobu Imoto and Kentaro Hiraga shaving 0.07 seconds off the record it had previously set in 2012 with Kiryu anchor…