Skip to main content

Shitara Chasing 10 Mile National Record Sunday in Karatsu - Weekend Preview



At least five major races fill the calendar this weekend across Japan. Potentially the biggest is the Karatsu 10-Miler, where half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) is slated to run in what many hope will be a shot at the antique national record. Over 30 seconds faster than the American national record, Hisatoshi Shintaku's 45:40,has stood since 1984 and survived  over three decades of assaults including Shitara's 45:58 at December's Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. It translates to 42:34 for 15 km; at last weekend's Marugame Half Shitara went through 15 km in 42:39. Just two weeks out from a shot at the Japanese national record for the marathon will Shitara try to add another national record to his resume en route to Tokyo?

Many of his corporate league brethren and sistren will be lining up at the National Corporate Half Marathon and 10 km Championships. Historically the world's deepest competitive men's half marathon and second-deepest women's half, the National Championships are a race that the powers that be use to choose the few corporate league athletes they will allow to compete overseas at the half marathon distance later in the year. This year that includes spots on the Valencia World Half Marathon team. Most notable on the men's side is 10000 m national record holder Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) who has yet to run a serious half despite his twin brother and teammate Kenta Murayama's success at that distance. The women's race has been somewhat diluted by the addition a few years back of a road 10 km division, but it still produces fast times up front. Yukiko Akaba's 2013 winning time of 1:08:59 was the last time a Japanese woman has broken 1:09. TBS will broadcast the National Corporate Half on delay at 2:00 p.m. Sunday Japan time.

Record-breaking snow has hammered much of Japan's west coast this winter, but Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) is still set to run the Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon in Izumo, Shimane armed with fresh cold weather experience. Izumo will be a tuneup for his second marathon of 2018, next weekend's Kitakyushu Marathon.

The Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon is Sunday's major elite-level marathon. Defending champs Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) and Noriko Sato (First Dream AC) return, Matsuo looking to become only the second man in Nobeoka's 56 years to win three straight titles and Sato the first in the short four years of history in the women's race to repeat. Takumi Honda (Asahi Kasei) and Yusei Tsutsumi (JFE Steel) are especially interesting among the first timers in the men's race.

Formerly one of Japan's three big 10-milers, the mass-participation Himejijo Marathon will also happen Sunday. JRN will be on-site to film the first episode of our new TV show to be broadcast worldwide on NHK World in mid-March.

Championship ekiden season is three weeks gone but there's still no shortage of post-season road relay action. The biggest is Sunday's Chugoku Women's Ekiden, held in Hiroshima.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the …

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…