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Weekend Track Roundup

As ekiden season gets into full swing, track time trials continue to be a staple of Japanese and Japan-based athletes from junior high school to the corporate leagues. This weekend's main results from across the country:


  • Just six days after running 8:54.27 to win the National Sports Festival junior women's 3000 m, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) won again, this time running a PB 15:32.34 to take the 5000 m A-heat at the Shizuoka Time Trials meet. Having led the national champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuen H.S. girls to the win at last weekend's Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden, Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu won the 3000 m A-heat in 9:10.53.
  • At Saturday's Chubu Jitsugyodan Autumn Championships, Rodgers Chumo Kemoi (Aisan Kogyo) ran 27:48.30 to win the men's 10000 m, leading James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) and Edward Waweru (NTN) under 28 minutes. Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) was the top Japanese man at 4th in 28:21.19.
  • Also Saturday, Yamanashi Gakuin University graduate Enock Omwamba (MHPS) ran 28:03.90 to win the Nagasaki Nighter Time Trials men's 10000 m with London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:52.16.
  •  In nearby Saga, Abraham Kipyatich (Asahi Kasei) had an easy run to win the Saga Time Trials men's 10000 m in 28:31.92. London 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Kyudenko) was only 4th in 28:48.91.
  • Japan-based Africans also dominated Sunday's Nittai University Time Trials meet A-heats. In the men's 5000 m, the 12 Africans in the race took the top 12 spots, with Ethiopian 17-year-old Yeneblo Biyazen (Yachiyo Kogyo) beating 2016 World U20 Championships 5000 m bronze medalist Wesley Ledama (Subaru) and 2017 World Cross Country Championships silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Nissin Shokuhin) to lead the top 7 under 13:30 in 13:23.51. Grace Kimanzi (Starts) won the women's 5000 m in 15:40.53.
© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

Two weeks to the day after running 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka International Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped his 2017 with a win, running one of the few negative splits of his career to win the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon for the third time in 2:10:03. Women's winner Misako Kato (Kyudenko), a 1:09:49 half marathon, soloed an almost perfectly paced 2:28:12 to take 3 minutes off her PB and 7 1/2 minutes off the course record. Further back, Rio Paralympics T12 marathon silver medalist Misato Michishita broke the own world record in her category with a time of 2:56:14.

Watch a complete replay of the race here.


Pacers Taiga Ito and Melaku Abera, both of whom ran Fukuoka alongside Kawauchi, were tasked with taking the field out in 3:06/km, 2:10:48 pace. Pre-race Kawauchi told JRN, "If they'd run 3:04 I ccoul definitely, 100%, go faster than I did in Fukuoka. In cold and windy conditions things went in his favor in the early going with 5 and 10 km splits of 15:19 …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2017 race results: Jan. 8: Ikinoshima Half Marathon, Nagasaki: 1:06:35 - 1st
Jan. 15: Okukuma Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:04:17 - 6th
Jan. 29: Okumusashi Ekiden Third Stage (4.3 km), Saitama: 13:16 - 9th
Feb. 5: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama: 36:59 - 3rd
Feb. 12: Ehime Marathon, Ehime: 2:09:54 - 1st - CR
Feb. 26: Soja Kibiji Half Marathon,  Okayama: 1:04:52 - 2nd
Mar. 5: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:03:19 - 3rd
Mar. 12: Tanegashima Rocket Half Marathon, Kagoshima: 1:04:43 - 1st - CR
Mar. 19: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:03 - 1st - CR
Mar. 26: Kamisato Machi Kenmu Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:33 - 1st - CR
Apr. 2: Daegu International Marathon, South Korea: 2:13:04 - 6th
Apr. 23: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:04:06 - 15th
Apr. 30: Kawauchi no Sato Kaeru Half Marathon, Fukushima: 1:05:31 - 1st - CR
May 7: Prague Marathon, Czech Republic: 2:10:13 - 6th
May 14: Sendai International Half Marathon, Miyagi: 1:03:29 - 11th
May 28:…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…