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2:07 Man Francis Kibiwott Headlines Nagano Marathon

2012 Nagano Marathon Elite Field
April 15, Nagano
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
1. Francis Kibiwott (Kenya) - 2:07:32 (Tiberias 2012)
2. Moses Kangogo (Kenya) - 2:08:58 (Dublin 2010)
3. Silas Sang (Kenya) - 2:10:58 (Ottawa 2011)
4. Alexey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:11:53 (Zurich 2011)
10. Norihiro Nomiya (Team Toyota) - 2:14:36 (Nobeoka 2010)
11. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:15:15 (Tokyo 2010)
12. Sohei Wada (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 2:15:19 (Kochi 2010)
13. Koji Matsuoka (Team Mazda) - debut - 1:02:55 (Nat'l Corp Half 2006)
14. Yu Chiba (Team Honda) - debut - 1:04:01 (Ageo City Half 2008)
20. Hiro Tonegawa (Alps Tools AC) - 2:19:34 (Tokyo 2011)
21. Satoshi Nishizawa (Yamani Spring AC) - 2:20:30 (Tokyo Int'l 2005)

Women
51. Belainesh Gebre (Ethiopia) - 2:26:17 (Chicago 2011)
52. Anastasia Ndereba (Kenya) - 2:29:03 (Venice 2002)
53. Rose Kerubo Nyangacha (Kenya) - 2:29:22 (Hamburg 2007)
54. Pauline Wangui (Kenya) - 2:38:05 (Madrid 2011)
60. Yumiko Hara…

Fujiwara and Kawauchi Run 12 km Workout Together

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20120331/ath12033112370002-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

Click here for a photo sequence of Fujiwara and Kawauchi working out together Mar. 31.

London Olympics marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (30, Tokyo T&F Assoc.) ran a workout Mar. 31 along the Arakawa River in Saitama Prefecture together with full-time working runner Yuki Kawauchi (25, Saitama Pref.), the pair pushing each other through a 12 km race-simulation workout in the midst of gale-force winds.  Kawauchi, who missed making the Olympic team, had wanted to run the workout, and the senior Fujiwara sent him an email saying that he could do it.

Neither athlete belonging to a corporate team, Fujiwara and Kawauchi each serve to stimulate and motivate the other.  Fujiwara commented, "It was really intimidating to run together.  He's very talented at making subtle pace changes.  I'm inspired by his aggressive running style."  Kawauchi smiled as he said, "It was hard…

Graduating Kashiwabara: "I Want to Run in the Olympics at Some Point"

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2012033000497

translated and edited by Brett Larner

A Tokyo subway ad for Fukushima recovery efforts featuring Kashiwabara and mountains.

Scheduled to join the Fujitsu corporate team following his graduation from Toyo University at the end of March, Ryuji Kashiwabara told reporters about his future ambitions at a March 30 press conference in Tokyo, saying, "At some point in my career as an athlete I want to run in the Olympics."  Kashiwabara won the Hakone Ekiden's 900 m-climb Fifth Stage all four years at Toyo, three of them in new stage records.  In January this year at the Hakone Ekiden he broke his own record a final time, leaving with a legacy as "The God of the Mountain."

With an eye toward his development as a marathoner in the future, Kashiwabara has set his sights on improving his junior-year 10000 m PB of 28:20.99.  "To start with, I want to get down around the 27 minute range," he said of his short-term…

Marathoner Fujiwara Throws Out First Pitch at Giants Game

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2012033001062

translated by Brett Larner

London Olympics marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) threw out the first pitch at the Mar. 30 Giants-Yakult baseball game.  Wearing the number 812, the date of the Olympic marathon, Fujiwara's no-bounce pitch drew a massive roar of approval.  "I could feel the energy from the crowd on my skin," he said, loving every minute of the stress.  "Athletes who can play in front of that are amazing."

Fujiwara Targeting 2:07 at Olympics "Without Worrying About What Place"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/03/30/kiji/K20120330002935440.html

translated by Brett Larner

Appearing at a press conference in his hometown of Isahaya, Nagasaki on Mar. 29, London Olympics marathon team member Arata Fujiwara (30, Tokyo T&F Assoc.) talked about his goals at the Olympics, saying, "If you can run 2:07 then you can compete with the Africans.  I'm going to train focusing on time without worrying about what place it gets me."

Before the press conference Fujiwara made an appearance at his alma mater, Isahaya H.S., receiving words of support and encouragement from his old coach Toshihiro Matsumoto, 55, and students.  "All of your support is a powerful encouragement," Fujiwara told them.  "I want to run the kind of race that will let me pay it back to you."

Translator's note: Although it seems likely to change in London, to date only Beijing Olympics gold and silver medalists Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) and Jaouad Gharib (Morocco…

Kenyan Hakone Ekiden Ace Ondiba Starts Work at Nanyo City Hall

http://news24.jp/nnn/news8872149.html

translated by Brett Larner

Click here for video of Ondiba meeting with Nanyo Mayor Shiota.

Getting off the JR Yamagata shinkansen at Akayu Station in Yamagata is 22-year-old Kenyan runner Cosmas Ondiba.  Having come to Japan after graduating from junior high school, Ondiba made his first appearance at the Hakone Ekiden as a second-year at Yamanashi Gakuin University.  Running the Third Stage three years in a row, this year as a senior he passed seven people on the way to setting a new course record to cap an outstanding 2011.  Hired by Nanyo City Hall, which features a track and field club, Ondiba will begin work this spring.

Meeting with Ondiba, Mayor Shiota told him, "We hope that you will give strength to our track and field club and show our children what it means to do their best."  Ondiba hopes to work with the other club members to earn Nanyo its coveted first-ever New Year Ekiden berth.  Watch for Ondiba to make his Yamagata debut…

Kunimitsu Ito Takes Over as Head Coach at Senshu University

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20120328-OHT1T00004.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Senshu University announced on Mar. 27 that former Team Kanebo head coach Kunimitsu Ito, 57,  will take over as head coach of its track and field program effective Apr. 1.  A legendary marathoner, Ito ran a best of 2:07:57 during his days as an athlete.  Athletes he has coached include marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka.  He retired from his position as head coach at Kanebo in October last year.

Translator's note: Senshu Univ. missed qualifying for the 2012 Hakone Ekiden.

"I Hope He Gets the Gold Medal!" - Olympic Marathoner Yamamoto Visits Kindergarten

http://mainichi.jp/area/shiga/news/20120327ddlk25050651000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

Late last week London Olympics marathon team member Ryo Yamamoto (27, Team Sagawa Express) visited Moriyama Kindergarten in his hometown of Moriyama to be feted by local kindergarteners, mayor Kazuhiro Miyamoto and others.  Wearing his team uniform, Yamamoto was greeted by a teeming swarm of 45 children from the 4-5-year-old class who excitedly shouted out "You're really fast!" and "I saw you on the news!"  Students placed a lei made of origami around Yamamoto's neck and gave him with a card saying, "Go for gold!" before singing for him as a chorus.  Mayor Miyamoto gave Yamamoto his encouragement, saying, "Let our support be a tailwind behind you," as he presented him with a bouquet of flowers.

On the school's playground Yamamoto ran with the kindergarten students at their speed.  "This is a little different from how I'll be running in…

Comedian Neko Tapped for Cambodian Olympic Team in Marathon; Official Announcement Due in April

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/entertainment/news/20120326-OHT1T00015.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having taken Cambodian citizenship in a bid to make the London Olympics, comedian Hiroshi Neko (Hiroshi Cat, 34, born Kuniaki Takizaki) was been named to the Cambodian Olympic team in the men's marathon according to a statement from Cambodian Olympic Committee managing director Vath Chamrouen on Mar. 25.  An official announcement will be made in April along with the lineup of the Cambodian Olympic team in other sports.  Neko's dream is coming true, but his participation in the Olympics after transferring citizenship has sparked debate.

Running headlong in pursuit of the Olympics, Neko's dream has come true.  After whittling down the candidates for the wildcard athletics berth to three men and one woman, the Cambodian Olympic Committee evaluated the candidates based on their performances and other criteria in accordance with IAAF procedures.  Director Chamrouen gave th…

Asian Cross Country Championships - Results

Story on African-born Bahraini athletes dominating senior races here: http://www.iaaf.org/news/newsid=64449.html

12th Asian Cross Country Championships
Quingzhen, China, 3/24/12
results via @athletekuma

Senior Men's 12 km
1. Alemu Bekele (Bahrain) - 35:33
2. Dejene Regassa (Bahrain) - 35:39
3. Bilisuma Shume (Bahrain) - 35:41
4. Hasan Mahboob Ali (Bahrain) - 36:18
-----
6. Hayato Saito (Team Honda) - 36:59
7. Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 37:06
8. Daichi Motomura (Tokai Univ.) - 37:13
10. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 37:44

Senior Women's 8 km
1. Shitaye Eshete (Bahrain) - 26:14
2. Tejitu Daba (Bahrain) - 26:50
3. Genzebe Shami (Bahrain) - 26:59
4. Hitomi Niiya (Sakura AC) - 27:03
-----
8. Sachi Tanaka (Sports Yamagata 21 AC) - 27:53
10. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 28:35
11. Toshika Tamura (Matsuyama Univ.) - 28:54

Junior Men's 8 km
1. Shota Baba (Kurashiki H.S.) - 25:07
2. Yudai Yamamoto (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 25:10
3. Taiga Machizawa (Kashiwa Civic H.S.) - 25:10
4. Kazuki …

The Land of the Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, National University Women's Half Marathon Championships and NYC Half Marathon bringing Japan's post-championship ekiden winter half marathon season to a close, yesterday I looked at the top 100 men's and women's performances by country so far this year and tweeted the results.  The totals have been making the rounds on Twitter since then, so although they will be out of date tomorrow as the European half marathon season rolls on here is the current breakdown using the results listed here.

Top 100 Men's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Kenya: 39
Japan: 31
Ethiopia: 15
Morocco: 4
U.S.A.: 4
Brazil: 2
England: 2
other: 3

Top 100 Women's Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Country
Japan: 40
Kenya: 23
Ethiopia: 10
U.S.A.: 4
Morocco: 3
Netherlands: 3
Poland: 2
Scotland: 2
other: 13

Combined Men's & Women's Top 100 Half Marathon Performances of 2012 by Countr…

Kasumigaura Marathon Sees Record 27,353 Entrants; Kawauchi to Pace Younger Brother

http://mainichi.jp/area/ibaraki/news/20120323ddlk08050128000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Cancelled last year in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disasters, the organizers of the 22nd Kasumigaura Marathon announced on Mar. 22 that a record 27,353 people have entered this year's race, scheduled for April 15.  The number makes it the third-largest marathon in Japan after the Tokyo Marathon and Osaka Marathon.

2011 World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) will appear as an invited athlete, pacing his younger brother Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.) through his marathon debut.  Past Olympic marathon greats Yuko Arimori, Kenji Kimihara, Akio Usami and Takeyuki Nakayama will run as guide runners in the International Blind Marathon Championships division.

Translator's note: Kasumigaura also features a competitive 10-miler, which Kawauchi won in 2010.  The race course was damaged in last year's disasters.

Marathoner Nojiri Leaves National Champion Team Daiichi Seimei

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120322-921519.html

translated by Brett Larner

A member of last summer's World Championships women's marathon team, Azusa Nojiri (29) is set to leave her sponsor Team Daiichi Seimei according to a statement from a connected party on Mar. 22.  Nojiri plans to leave the team at the end of March but will not retire from competition.

According to Daiichi Seimei, Nojiri told the team management, "Now that my shot at the Olympics is over I want to take some time off.  I need to change my environment to keep becoming a more competitive athlete."  The team office accepted her resignation.  Nojiri does not yet have a new sponsor lined up but is exploring her options including the possibility of running as an independent.

A native of Toyama prefecture, Nojiri was an international-level cross-country skiier who competed at the World University Games and a champion mountain runner before switching her focus to road racin…

'Toyo Duo Experiences NYC Half'

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/sports/T120319003652.htm

Yuta Shitara, Kento Otsu and coach Toshiyuki Sakai post-race at the 2012 NYC Half Marathon.

photo (c) 2012 Brett Larner

all rights reserved

Miyawaki 1:00:53 CR in Debut, Shitara 1:01:48 PB in New York - Weekend Half-Marathon Results

by Brett Larner

20-year-olds dominated the Japanese half-marathon news this weekend. 20-year-old Olympic 10000 m squad favorite Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) set a course record of 1:00:53 in his half-marathon at the National Corporate Half-Marathon Championships, outkicking Kenyan Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Seiko) on the final lap of the track after dueling with the talented Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) throughout the race. Miyawaki's time was the third-fastest ever by a Japanese man on an unaided course, with Kihara's 1:01:15 PB landing him at all-time #8. Tamagawa Univ. grad Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) won the women's race in 1:09:47, the first sub-70 by a Japanese woman this year, while past 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) won the women's 10 km in 32:59 by a second over Kenyan Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts).

A few hours and half a world away 20-year-old Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.), runner up at last year's Ageo City Half-Marathon, …

Toyo in New York - Kento Otsu, Yuta Shitara and Coach Sakai Talk Pre-NYC Half

http://ekiden-news.jp/?p=658

translated and edited by Brett Larner

As part of a new relationship set up by JRN between the New York City Half Marathon and the Ageo City Half Marathon, sophomores Yuta Shitara and Kento Otsu of Hakone Ekiden course record setters Toyo University were invited to run this year's NYC Half after finishing 2nd and 3rd at last year's Ageo.  Just before their departure for New York from Narita Airport on March 14, the Ekiden News website talked with Shitara, Otsu and Toyo head coach Toshiyuki Sakai.

How did you feel when you first heard about your invitation to run the New York City Half Marathon?
Shitara: I was totally surprised.
Otsu: I’ve never been so happy. It’s my first overseas race and I’m really looking forward to it.

What has been your main focus from the end of the Hakone Ekiden up until today?
Shitara: I took some time off after Hakone, then ran the National Men’s Ekiden, then cross-country, each time focusing on the next race.
Otsu: Hakone marked…

Watch the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships Online

by Brett Larner

The 2012 National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships take place this Sunday in Yamaguchi.  Cancelled last year following the Tohoku disasters, this year's race is the first selection race for the Japanese team for this fall's World Half Marathon Championships and also features the addition of a women's road 10 km division.  The elite fields are among the deepest of any Japanese road race, including sub-61 Kenyans Jacob Wanjuki (Team Aichi Seiko) and James Mwangi (Team NTN), five Japanese men with sub-62 PBs, the highly-anticipated debut of 20-year-old 27:41 man Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and many more.  Click here for complete entry lists.

Overseas viewers should be able to watch TBS' broadcast of the race online via Keyhole TV starting at 2:00 p.m. Japan time on Sunday, Mar. 18.  Later in the day the National University Women's Half Marathon Championships will also be broadcast on Fuji TV starting at 2:15 a.m. on Mar. 19.

(c) 2012 Brett Lar…

Japan Names London Olympics Men's and Women's Marathon Teams

by Brett Larner

At a live televised press conference the afternoon of Mar. 12, the Japanese federation announced the lineups of the men's and women's marathon teams for this summer's London Olympics along with brief rationales for each athlete's selection.  Daegu World Championships men's 7th-placer Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) and women's 5th-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) were named alternates after running sub-par at their final selection races.  In Horibata's case the federation officials specified that he had been picked for alternate over Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) because he had beaten Kawauchi by a wide margin in Daegu.

Below are profiles of the three members and alternate on each team.  Click any photo for more detailed profile info.  The men's team appears to be the stronger of the two, with one 2:07 runner and two 2:08 men, but the women's team is also solid, having two 2:23 runners, one a World Championships silver medalis…

Kawauchi Wins Saitama Half-Marathon

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20120312/ath12031205070010-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On the one-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, London Olympics marathon team candidate Yuki Kawauchi (25, Saitama Pref.) ran the Saitama Half-Marathon as a specially-invited guest, winning in 1:04:26.  After finishing 14th at the Tokyo Marathon two weeks ago Kawauchi said, "It's impossible for me to make the Olympics," but having been the top Japanese finisher at December's Fukuoka International Marathon selection race in a good time some chance remains of him making the team.  The Japanese federation will announce the men's and women's Olympic marathon team lineups at 3:30 p.m. on Mar. 12.

Kawauchi shaved his head in shame after running 2:12:51 for 4th in Tokyo.  He took three days off following the race and has only jogged since then.  He had also planned to just jog the Saitama Half, but once he was in the heat of the race his full s…

Russian Mayorova Wins Largest-Ever Women-Only Marathon, Ozaki Takes Top Japanese Spot in Nagoya

by Brett Larner

Transformed on the one-year anniversary of the Tohoku disasters from the small, elite-only format to the world's largest women-only marathon with 15,000 runners running a new course with an indoor finish unique in Japan, the Nagoya Women's Marathon marked the end of the Japanese Olympic team selection cycle.  Russian veteran Albina Mayorova ran a massive negative split of over two minutes to effortlessly blow by Japan's best in the final part of the race and take the win in 2:23:52, nearly two minutes better than her 8 1/2 year-old PB.  Tumbling in the turbulence behind her, 2009 World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) outkicked her 2011 World Championships teammate Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) to take the top Japanese spot, 2nd overall in 2:24:14, and put herself into the circle of contenders for the London team.  Nakazato was 3rd in 2:24:28, a PB by one second and good enough to give her a chance of joining Ozaki in London…

Nagoya Women's Marathon Preview - Watch Online

by Brett Larner

The Japanese selection races for the country's marathon teams for the London Olympics wrap up this Sunday with the new-and-improved Nagoya Women's Marathon.  Modernizing from a small, elite-only race to the world's largest women-only mass participation field of 15000 and an accompanying co-ed half-marathon, Nagoya retains its elite history with what may be the closest thing the country has seen to a straight-up single-race Olympic trial.  Fifteen elite Japanese women will be going for what are generally believed to be the two remaining Olympic team places, at least eight of them with a realistic chance of making the team.  Fuji TV will be broadcasting the race live nationwide starting at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, Mar. 11, and overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free via the lo-res splendor of Keyhole TV.  Twitter coverage via @JRNLive will unfortunately not be available for this race.

Races need an international field of at least five different n…

Correction: Only 193 Sub-66 at National University Men's Half-Marathon Championships

by Brett Larner



Earlier this week JRN reported that based on Waseda University posting that one of its athletes had finished 211th at the Mar. 4 National University Men's Half-Marathon Championships in 1:06:11 it appeared that over 200 athletes may have broken 66 minutes for the first time ever.  With complete results available it is now evident that only 193 athletes, led by Teikyo University sophomore Toshikatsu Ebina in 1:02:23, broke 1:06.  This surpasses the previous world record of 188 set at the 2005 Ageo City Half Marathon but falls short of clearing the 200 mark.

JRN regrets the error.

2012 National University Men's Half-Marathon Championships
Tachikawa, Tokyo, 3/4/12
click here for complete results

1. Toshikatsu Ebina (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:23 - PB
2. Yudai Yamakawa (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:36 - PB
3. Takumi Honda (Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:37 - PB
4. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 1:02:40 - PB
5. Kenta Kitazawa (Takushoku Univ.) - 1:02:40 - PB
6. Kenta Chiba (Komazawa …

One Olympic Ticket Left and No Clear Choice

by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter


Heading into this marathon season the Japanese federation did not announce any specific criteria for the marathon teams for this summer's London Olympic Games, saying that they would not make any decision until the completion of the four-race selection cycle, the Daegu World Championships, Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon for men and the World Championships, Yokohama International Women's Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and this Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon for the women.  The team lineups and alternates will be announced on Monday, Mar. 12 following Nagoya on Sunday, but for men all the contenders are in now that Lake Biwa is on the books.

Despite the lack of explicit criteria, two people are popularly considered to be on the three-man team for certain.  Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) ran 2:07:48 for 2nd at the Tokyo Marathon and Ryo Yamamoto (Team S…

Yamamoto's Coach and Mother Surprised at Likelihood of Olympic Team

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120304-912749.html

translated by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter


At the 67 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, 27-year-old Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) was the top Japanese finisher and 4th overall, surprising all those around him.  Passing Daegu World Championships marathon team members Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) in the final part of the race, Yamamoto finished in 2:08:44.  Having run a strong time in bad weather conditions to put himself into an unquestionable position for the London Olympics team, Yamamoto smiled as he said, "I was tough over the second half.  I kept thinking, 'Olympics!  Olympics!' as a I ran."

This was Yamamoto's fourth marathon.  His best time up to now came in his debut at the hot and humid 2009 Hokkaido Marathon where he was 2nd in 2:12:10.  Sagawa Express head coach Tsuyoshi Nakano, 38, commented, "To be honest, the…

Nakamoto in Obvious Shock After Lake Biwa

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2012030400163

translated by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter


9 seconds.  In a turbulent battle for the a Japanese ticket to the London Olympics, Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) lost his leading Japanese position to Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) with 400 m to go on the track at the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.  "In one word, devastation.  It was a huge shock when he passed me.  I'm crushed," Nakamoto said after the race, downcast and tremendously disappointed.

Nakamoto lost touch with the leaders at one point in the race, but saving up his strength he attacked in the second half to pass top Japanese man Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) at 38 km and assume the leading position in the race for the Olympic team.  But the astoshing strength with which Yamamoto pursued and ran him down was completely unexpected.  "I thought I'd make it if I kept going like that," said Nakamoto of the swift turn f…

Fukatsu 1:01:25 CR at Tamana Half, 200+ Sub-1:06 at National University Half Championships

by Brett Larner
complete results coming soon

Three major half marathons across Japan started off the morning of Mar. 4 in style.  At the 63rd Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Komazawa University graduate Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei) ran a solo 1:01:25 course record, the all-time #8 Japanese mark on an unaided course and bettering the 1:01:31 mark set by Fukatsu's former Komazawa teammate Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) last month at Marugame.  Fukatsu ran together with Kenyans Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) and Dishawn Karukuwa Maina (Team Aisan Kogyo) before dropping them in the second half of the race to win by over a minute.  Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) won the women's 10 km in 33:09, with Shuhei Kondo (Oita Tomei H.S.) winning the high school boys' 10 km in 29:38.

At the Shizuoka Sunpu Half Marathon, Shinichi Yamashita (Takigahara SDF Base) won in a conservative 1:04:58 over Teikyo University's Katsunori Watanabe and Takuma Tamura, but the race was …

Aoyama Gakuin University Junior Takehiro Deki on 2:10:02 Marathon Debut: "For a Second There I Thought About the Olympics"

translated by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter


Aoyama Gakuin University junior Takehiro Deki ran a 2:10:02 debut for 9th at the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the all-time #3 Japanese collegiate time and all-time #9 Japanese debut.  After briefly leading the race at 30 km on 2:06:55 pace he faded to 12th but came back to outkick Nairobi Marathon winner Ernest Kebenei and Daegu WC 7th and 8th placers Hiroyuki Horibata and Ruggero Pertile. Afterwards Deki told JRN about his race.

This was my marathon debut, so I wanted to give it a go and see how far I could make it.  I ran keeping things under control in the first half.  At 30 km I was running up in the lead pack and was really happy, and just for a second there I caught myself thinking about the Olympics.

But it didn't end up being that easy, and around 33 km the harshness of the marathon started to catch up with me.  In the last 5 km I was targeting breaking 2:10, but I just missed it by a tiny bit.  That was really…

Ndungu Wins Debut at Lake Biwa, Szost Sets 2:07:39 Polish NR, Yamamoto Takes Probable Olympic Spot

by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter


Hot on the heels of a record-setting morning of half-marathon action across the country, the 67th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Japan's final domestic selection race for its London Olympics men's marathon team, was tense and exciting, with a string of strong debuts, a national record, and an unexpected last-minute Olympic berth upset making up most of the major results in the top ten.

In cold, rainy conditions Japan-based Kenyan Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) was the surprise winner, marking a steady 2:07:04 debut time for the win.  Ndungu sat tight in the lead pack, which stayed on low-2:07 pace throughout the race, through km in 30:12, 20 km in 1:00:22 and halfway in 1:03:38.  Virtually the entire elite field and the upper echelons of the general division went with him, more than forty men still in contention at halfway.  Some of the few early casualties included Australia's Lee Troop, Canadian Dylan Wykes, and 2:11:00 man Nao…