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Fifteen Straight Marathon Wins At Age 24 - Meet Tomomi Sawahata

Yuki Kawauchi is the undisputed heavyweight champ of high volume marathoning, but there's a new contender on the horizon already blowing minds in Kawauchi's home of Saitama. Meet Tomomi Sawahata.

In sixteen days this month Sawahata, 24, won three marathons, all in course record time, all under 2:42 and two in PBs, to give her a streak of fifteen marathon wins since April, 2015, undefeated after a tentative first step at the 2014 Honolulu Marathon. According to the ARRS database, it's one of greatest marathon win streaks at the elite or sub-elite level in history, male or female. Who in the world is she?

Born in 1993, Sawahata was an ordinary high school runner at Tokorozawa Kita H.S., favoring the 3000 m on the track and finishing 15th on her stage at the Saitama qualifying race for the National High School Ekiden Championships her senior year. After graduating she enrolled at Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University to study veterinary nursing, following in the foot…

Fujiwara Vs. Kawauchi in Hofu Dec. 17

2015 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon winner Arata Fujiwara (Toyama T&F Assoc.) and 2012 / 2014 winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) return to lead the field for the Dec. 17 edition of the race. Fujiwara comes in three weeks after a win at the Tsukuba Marathon, which itself came just four weeks after a course record win at the Toyama Marathon. Kawauchi cuts it even closer, running both Fukuoka and Hofu as usual but adding a third marathon, the Jan. 1 Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, just two weeks later.

The pair's main competition comes from the Toshinari Takaoka-coached Hiroki Kadota (Kanebo) and former Hakone Ekiden star Tadashi Isshiki (GMO). At least three other members of the elite field will be emulating the past champs' high-volume racing, Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) having run the Oct. 15 Buenos Aires Marathon in Argentina, Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) the Nov. 26 Asian Marathon Championships in Dongguan, China, and Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki Cit…

'Yuki Kawauchi, l'incroyable Monsieur K'

In October and November France's beIN SPORTS channel filmed a documentary on Japanese marathoner Yuki Kawauchi in Saitama, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Paris and Nice. The program was broadcast on Saturday, Nov. 25. Watch it in its entirety above. Kawauchi next races at Sunday's Fukuoka International Marathon.

Arata Fujiwara Wins Tsukuba Marathon Four Weeks After Breaking Toyama Marathon CR

Priding itself on having one of the flattest courses in the country, the 37th Tsukuba Marathon took place Nov. 26 at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki. Just four weeks after a course record-setting win at the Toyama Marathon, 2012 London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara, 36, won the men's race in 2:18:08.

With a 4th-place finish on the anchor stage of last year's Hakone Ekiden to his name, Akihiro Kaneko led a group of six through 30 km before the action began. "I didn't want to fall apart mid-race, so I was careful to keep it conservative and stay in the group," Fujiwara said post-race. At 39 km he suddenly took off without warning, running alone the rest of the way to the finish line. "I think my last kilometer was about 2:50," he said. His experience showed in the ease with which he put away the 23-year-old Kaneko and other younger athletes. "The time wasn't great, but it gives me hope for the future," Fujiwara smiled.

With regard to the…

Osaka Geijutsu University Takes Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden

13 teams from 12 universities raced the 4th edition of the all-uphill Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden Nov. 26 in Nikko, Tochigi. Osaka Geijutsu University took the top spot for the first time in 1:32:53, with Hakuoh University the top-finishing Tochigi school at 5th.

The first runners in the ekiden started in Nikko's Daiyagawa Park. Running around the Nikkonoshaji UNESCO World Heritage Site, the women in the race handed off the tasuki on the sharp curves leading up the mountain to the finish at Nikko Futarasan Shrine on the shores of Lake Chuzenji. All together the six women on each teach covered 23.4 km with 875 m of net climb, local residents and each school's supporters cheering them on from the roadside the entire way.

Starting the Fourth Stage in 3rd, Osaka Geijutsu fourth-year Riri Shiraishi moved up to 1st, and on the Fifth and Sixth Stages the team increased its lead over the rest of the field. First-year anchor Yumika Nagahama smiled and raised both arms in the ai…

Ghilagabr and Kinoshita Win Osaka Marathon, Cancer Survivor Kasuya Sub-2:20

#1-ranked Kaleab Ghilagabr became the first Eritrean winner in the Osaka Marathon's short seven-year history, leading 29,359 finishers across the line Sunday in a PB 2:12:03, while club runner Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) had to run a minute-plus PB 2:34:38 to win an exciting battle between Japan's six best amateur women by 1 second.

Ghilagabr set off accompanied by unsponsored amateur Hideyuki Ikegami, an unusual independent who got attention by beating Yuki Kawauchi in a half marathon in 2014 and went on to be mentored by 2:07:48 Olympian Arata Fujiwara. In April this year Ikegami made his marathon debut at the Hannover Marathon but finished in a disappointing 2:30:15 that didn't reflect the quality suggested by his 1:03:09 half best and 1:31:53 PB for 30 km. 
The pair ran 2:10:30 pace through 15 km, PB pace for both, before Ikegami began to slip. Ghilagabr pushed on alone, holding on to 2:10 pace until well into the second half before beginning to slow. Ikegami was caught b…

Universal Entertainment Scores First National Corporate Women's Ekiden Title Since 2012

2012 national champions Universal Entertainment returned to the top Sunday in Sendai, running down breakaway leader Panasonic late in the race to win the 2017 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

Panasonic was an unexpected highlight, winning the first three stages and building a 42-second lead by the start of the 3.6 km Fourth Stage, the race's shortest leg. There Panasonic's Chiaki Tobe struggled, losing ground to Universal Entertainment, defending national champ Japan Post, and Shiseido, who drew within 10 seconds.

On the 10.0 km Fifth Stage Universal's Moeno Nakamura, a member of its 2012 national champion squad, took her time closing on Panasonic's Shiori Morita, not fully closing the gap until exactly halfway through the stage and then pushing ahead to open a 12-second lead of her own. Behind her, marathon university national record holder Sairi Maeda of the Daihatsu team delivered what was no doubt the run of the day, making a superb comeback fr…

17-Year-Old Biyazen Bests Hachioji in 10000 m Debut

Credited as being only 17 years old, Ethiopian Yeneblo Biyazen (Yachiyo Kogyo) made a big splash in his 10000 m debut, running an under-18 world-leading 27:32.51 to lead 12 men under 28 minutes at Hosei University's Hachioji Long Distance Meet. Biyazen and compatriot teammate Abiyot Abinet ran together throughout the race before Biyazen dropped an incredible kick over the last lap. Abinet couldn't match it, running a PB 27:37.62 to outlast Kenyan Muthoni Muiru (Soka Univ.) for 2nd. Muiru's 27:38.05 PB run ranked him at all-time #3 among sutdent athletes at Japanese universities.

With an overall slow opening pace,  half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), decked out in Nike's Vaporfly 4%, did his share of the heavy lifting up front but was never on for a shot at the 27:29.69 national record set in Hachioji two years ago. Riding the ebbs and flows of the race before losing touch with the lead trio over the last lap he snipped one second off his PB to t…

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.) …