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Showing posts from April, 2014

World Leads and a Strong Run from Kiryu at Oda Memorial, Plus a National Record

by Brett Larner
videos by okukon

With the Tuesday national holiday making it something of a perforated long weekend it was a busy one on the Japanese track circuit with a national record and a handful of world-leading performances.

Decathlon national record holder Keisuke Ushiro (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) topped the list with a new national record at the decathlon National Championships on the 26th and 27th in Wakayama.  On track to break his old record by more than 100 points at the end of the first day, Ushiro continued strong the second day.  With a solid 1500 m announcers predicted 8300 could be in range, but with just a 4:45:53 Ushiro came in with a breakable new record of 8143 that put him 4th in the world so far this season and left him the potential for more.



Shortly after Ushiro's record, relative unknown Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Team Yakult) brought the first world-leading mark of the weekend with a 13:18.92 to win the Nittai University Time Trials 5000 m A-heat, a quick heat tha…

World Championships Marathon Team Sizes Reduced By Two Athletes Per Country

http://runnet.jp/mrnews/detail/1989671_1786.html

translated by Brett Larner

Until now marathon teams at the World Championships have consisted of a maximum of five athletes per country, but on Apr. 27 it was announced that this will be reduced to three per country beginning with the August, 2015 Beijing World Championships.  The decision came at a mid-April meeting of the IAAF executive committee in Dakar, Senegal.

Other events in the World Championships already have a limit of three three athletes per country.  Through the 2011 Daegu World Championships the World Championships marathon also served as the Marathon World Cup team competition, requiring five athletes.  Following the World Cup's discontinuation, countries were still able to enter five athletes for last year's Moscow World Championships marathon.

Kawauchi Lays Out Two Big Goals for Hamburg

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20140427-1291697.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20140426-1291316.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2014 Asian Games marathon national team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) laid out a new goal on Apr. 26: the sub-20 marathon.  To date Kawauchi has run 34 marathons, going sub-20, 2:19:59 or better, in 33 of them and sub-10 in 6. If he runs sub-10 in his next marathon, the May 4 Hamburg Marathon, he will surpass national record holder Toshinari Takaoka to become the Japanese man with the most career sub-10s.  The new goal Kawauchi is adding to Hamburg is something he saw on a website: the Japanese record for most sub-20 marathons. "Apparently Takeshi Soh has the sub-20 record at 34 times," he said.  "Including two races on uncertified courses, I'm going to tie that number in Hamburg."

Just before the interview Kawauchi ran the 1500 m at the Nittai…

Tadese, Mathathi and Karoki to Line Up in Gifu

by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon have put together one of the best men's fields in a Japanese half in recent memory for the race's fourth running on May 18.  World record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) returns after running a course record 1:00:31 last year to beat 2011-2012 winner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Mathathi is also back to go for a third title after sitting out the London Marathon with a minor injury.  The big addition to the mix is Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC), who made a successful transition to longer distances with a 59:58 debut to win the 2014 Lisbon Half despite problems in the early going. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) joins them under the hour mark as a top contender on paper, but with a recent best of only 1:01:54 it would take a pretty major return to form for him to compete with the three big names.

Also notable is the debut of 27:13 man Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN).  Top Japanese men inc…

Course Records at Kasumigaura and Tokushima Marathons (updated)

by Brett Larner

Two of the three quality Japanese marathons this weekend saw their course records fall, with the third featuring an Eastern European sweep.  At the Nagano Marathon, cross-country great Serhiy Lebid (Ukraine) staged a head-to-head battle with Japan-based Mongolian national record holder Ser-od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN), only pulling away in the final two km to get the win in 2:13:56 to Bat-Ochir's 2:14:04. 2:11 man Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was 3rd in 2:15:20.  In the women's race Japanese hopeful Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) tried to match Russian Alina Prokopeva but fell short.  Prokopeva pushed on steadily at 2:30 pace with only Shintaku for company before pulling away early in the second half for the win in 2:30:56.  Shintaku faded badly to 2:36:02, nearly run down by Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) who took 3rd in 2:37:21 off a far more conservative first half.

Kawauchi's silent one-man show at the Tokushima Marathon.  Race starts around 35 minutes.…

Chepyego and Malel Set 10000 m World Leads at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner
videoes by Ekiden News



2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego Kaptich (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) returned to competition this weekend, dominating the women's Grand Prix 10000 m with a world-leading 31:28.07 just a few seconds off her best at the 62nd edition of the Hyogo Relay Carnival in Kobe. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), one of the big hopes for the next generation of Japanese women, was next across the line in 31:50.85 just ahead of collegiate road 10 km national record holder Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) who cleared 32 for the first time in 31:53.69.  2014 Marugame Half Marathon winner Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) just missed making it four under the 32 minute mark, running a sizable PB of 32:00.25 for 4th.  19-year-old half marathon junior national record holder Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) cleared her goal of a sub-32:30 debut, running 32:24.38 for 8th.



Newcomer William Malel Sitonek (Kenya/Team Honda) continued to blossom…

World-Class 19-Year-Old Reia Iwade Features at Hyogo Relay Carnival

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/201404/0006869505.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

19-Year-Old Big Hope Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) Riding the Wave to Hyogo Relay Carnival Grand Prix Women's 10000 m

Just 19, Iwade will be showing off her best stuff on home ground in Hyogo prefecture this weekend.  In her first year in the corporate leagues she went through tremendous growth that took her all the way to March's World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Ahead of her first serious 10000 m, Iwade is strongly motivated as she says, "I want to earn the right to wear the Rising Sun again as soon as possible."

Iwade was born in Mie prefecture.  She was the star runner at Aichi prefecture's Toyokawa H.S., and after graduating she joined Hyogo's Noritz corporate team where she began to make an impact on the ekiden circuit.  A few days after her 19th birthday, at December's Sanyo Women's Road Race half marathon she ran a Japanese junior national…

Kawauchi Headlines May 11 Sendai Half Marathon

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/tohokunews/201404/20140415_14014.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Apr. 14 the Sendai International Half Marathon released the names of the invited athletes for the event's 24th running on May 11.  Civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) leads the field, with former Hakone Ekiden uphill star Ryuji Kashiwabara (24, Team Fujitsu), a native of Iwaki, Fukushima and graduate of Toyo University, representing the corporate leagues in his Sendai debut. Kawauchi is targeting a medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and at the start of this month was selected as an inaugural member of the National Marathon Team.  In March, 2013 he ran his PB of 2:08:14 for 4th at the Seoul International Marathon. His achievements this year include a 2:10:14 course record win at the Kumamoto-jo Marathon in February.

Other invited athletes include London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (32, Miki House) and mama runner Mari Ozaki (38, Team Noritz).  Corporate leagu…

Weekend Track Update - Kiryu Makes University Debut, A Meet Record in Kyoto and More

by Brett Larner
videos by toyosina2008komazawaOB and Ekiden News

Track season continued to build up momentum with the first Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama and a handful of other meets around the country.



The biggest news of the weekend was the debut of teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu in the Toyo University uniform. Kiryu ran third for Toyo's 4x100 m relay team at the Iwakabe Cup Eight University meet in Tokyo.  Starting his leg mid-pack Kiryu easily blew past the competition to put Toyo out front, but on the anchor leg national university record holder Chuo University retook the lead and pulled away for the win. Nevertheless, in his first race Kiryu helped the Toyo team take the school record from 39.99 to 39.69, a sure sign of what's to come. Post-race the entire Chuo team gave him a round of applause.



Kiryu's long distance teammates stayed at home in Saitama for the Five University Meet hosted by Daito Bunka University.  Strong winds prevented fast t…

Weekend Japanese Road Results

by Brett Larner

The biggest domestic road action of the weekend took place in Shizuoka at the Yaizu Minato Half Marathon where Yoshiki Koizumi of 2013 Hakone Ekiden winner Nittai University battled last year's winner Tomoyasu Matsui (Meiji Univ.) from start to finish, both breaking the course record as Koizumi claimed the win in 1:03:26. 2013 National University Men's Ekiden champion Komazawa University had the next two men across the line, both Kohei Futaoka and Shoya Kurokawa timed at 1:03:48.  Komazawa took the win in Yaizu's University Pair Marathon team scoring based on the combined times of its top two finishers, setting a new record of 2:07:36. Nittai was just a second behind, likewise clearing the old record in 2:07:37.  The top non-collegiate runner was Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 9th overall in 1:04:19 a week after his latest marathon course record win in Saga.  Almost simultaneously, his youngest brother Koki Kawauchi (Takasaki Keizai Univ.) won t…

Shimizu Hoping to Have Fun in Debut at Sunday's London Marathon

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20140411-1283502.html

translated by Brett Larner

In an April 10 interview ahead of her marathon debut at Sunday's London Marathon as an invited elite, Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) was cautiously ambitious as she said, "However it turns out, I want to have fun running it.  I want to race at a good pace I can sustain."  Last year's East Asian Games 10000 m gold medalist, Shimizu will be up against the likes of giants like 2012 London Olympics marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) and two-time World Championships gold medalist Edna Kiplagat (Kenya).  "How often do you get the chance to be on the starting line with the best in the world?" Shimizu said with enthusiasm.

Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe and Eight Students Transfer to Nittai Ebara H.S.

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140401-00000062-mai-spo

translated by Brett Larner

Having led Aichi prefecture's Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. boys to the National High School Ekiden Championships for fourteen straight years through 2011, former head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 51, became the new head coach and a health and physical education teacher at Tokyo's Nittai Ebara H.S. as of the start of the academic year on April 1.  Along with Watanabe, eight students including five members of Toyokawa Kogyo's team at last December's National High School Ekiden transferred to Nittai Ebara.  Past instances of large numbers of top-class athletes transferring en masse include the 2012 transfer of ten students from Sendai Ikuei H.S. to Toyokawa H.S., but it is safe to say it is unusual.

Watanabe became head coach at Toyokawa Kogyo in 1993 and developed it into one of the country's most powerful high school ekiden teams.  In January last year his use of corporal punishment against stud…

Measuring The Economic Effects of the Kobe Marathon and Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/keizai/201404/0006845617.shtml
http://www.fuji-news.net/data/report/economy/201404/0000003189.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Kobe Marathon organizing committee has release figures on the total economic benefits of the event's third running last November, calculating that the race generated 11.6 billion yen [~$113 million USD] nationwide.  The Hyogo Institute of Economic Research think tank calculated the estimate, which includes runners and spectator's expenditures on meals and accommodations.  The figures represent an increase of 600 million yen [~$6 million USD] over those from the Kobe Marathon's second running.  Of the 11.6 billion yen, 6.6 billion [~$66 million USD] was spent within the host Hyogo prefecture.

A survey of 1500 runners in the Kobe Marathon revealed an average expenditure of 30,564 yen [~$300 USD] on travel, accommodations and souvenirs related to their participation in the event.  20,411 people ran the third e…

Kawauchi Leads Weekend Road Results With Solo Saga Sakura Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

As is his tendency, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) led the way on a busy weekend that saw Japanese athletes in at least four competitive overseas races. Running the second edition of the Saga Sakura Marathon in scenic southwesternmost Kyushu despite having changed his workplace this week, Kawauchi took almost nine minutes off the course record and beat last year's winner Tomonori Onitsuka (Team Kyudenko) by more than ten minutes in 2:13:02 CR, his third marathon of the year and second soloing a massive CR in an amateur-level race.  "I haven't been feeling well since the Incheon Half last week and have just been jogging 60 minutes a day, so I'm glad I could at least run passably," he told JRN post-race. "If there hadn't been a strong headwind between 25 and 35 km I would have been a minute faster." Like Onitsuka, women's course record holder Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) was knocked back to 2nd as 20-year-old Hua Y…

Mwangi Leads Season-Opening Kanaguri Memorial Meet

by Brett Larner
videos by Ekiden News and tuyoshi55244




Japan's outdoor track season got underway on Saturday with the rainy 23rd edition of Kumamoto's Kanaguri Memorial Meet.  Teammates James Mwangi and Edward Waweru of the NTN corporate team got the season off to a good start with a 1-2 finish in Heat 4 of the men's 5000 m, Mwangi leading the way with a 13:25.56 a full ten seconds ahead of Waweru.  Japan-based Kenyans and Ethiopians took 11 of the top 13 places, with the only Japanese runners to get into the middle of things both running PBs to get there.  Second-year Keisuke Nakatani of three-time defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University ran a sizable best of 13:48.99 for 8th, a time that ranks him 2nd on the Komazawa squad behind only World Half Marathon Championships team member Kenta Murayama.  Sub-28 and sub-1:02 as a collegiate, Yuta Shitara made a good debut in the Honda uniform by knocking 2 seconds off his best for 9th in 13:49.98.



Two-ti…

Kanaguri Memorial Meet Kicks Off Japanese Track Season

by Brett Larner

With the start of the Japanese fiscal and academic year this week, outdoor track season gets rolling this Saturday at the Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto.  A distance-oriented meet with a focus on 5000 m, Kanaguri is the place where many of the top young talents make their debuts wearing new high school, university and corporate team colors.

Competition in the women's races is thin, with Kenyans Pauline Kamulu (Team Toto) and Susan Wairimu (Team Denso) leading 2014 Marugame Half Marathon winner Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and the talented Yukari Abe (Team Shimamura) as the top contenders in Heat 2 of the 5000 m.  The high school girls' 3000 m, featuring a long list of top juniors, may supply the more interesting races.

The big races on the men's side are heats 4 and 5 of the 5000 m.  Heat 5 features three of the very best Japan-based Kenyans, Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), two-time 3000 mSC junior wo…

Hakone Ekiden to Introduce "Kanto Regionals Performance Slot"

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140402-00000016-sph-spo
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/04/01/kiji/K20140401007892070.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On April 1 the Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto[KGRR] announced the formation of a new "Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships performance slot" for one team at the Hakone Ekiden.  Over a five-year period of time from this year through 2018, the Division I university that scores the largest number of points at May's Kanto Regionals meet will be guaranteed a place at the 95th Hakone Ekiden in 2019.  Universities earn points based on members of their men's track and field teams in all events placing in the top eight in their individual events at the Kanto Regionals meet.  If the same school finishes in the seeded bracket at the 2018 Hakone Ekiden, the Kanto Regionals performance slot will be discarded and will not pass to the team with the second-highest five-year point sco…

'Morita Signs Up for Brighton'

A Brighton Marathon press release

The Brighton Marathon will be breaking new ground when Japan’s Tomoyuki Morita lines up on April 6. Morita is the first Japanese athlete to compete in the race which celebrates its fifth edition this year. He joins a quality line-up as the Brighton Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label event, welcomes its most outstanding men’s elite field to date.

With a personal best of 2:09:12, Morita is the second fastest in a race that features four men who have run faster than the course record of 2:10:46. Kenya’s William Chebor, 31, heads the line-up. He clocked 2:08:21 in Turin three years ago and comes to Brighton off the back of his most recent win in Jakarta last October.

Morita, 29, who set his lifetime best at Lake Biwa in 2012, will also clash with course record holder, Dominic Kangor of Kenya. Morita’s half marathon best of 61:55 stems from Marugame 2012.
...........................................
For more information contact: Press Officer Michael Butcher mi…

Federation Announces Creation of National Marathon Team to Transform Athletes' Thinking and Deal With Heat of Summer Championship Races

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/140331/oth14033120080011-n1.htm
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/140331/oth14033120100012-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Japanese Federation has announced the creation of a National Marathon Team geared toward preparing for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  The team is made up of twelve men and nine women including Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), Moscow World Championships women's marathon 4th-place Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) and the other two members of this fall's Asian Games marathon team, Moscow women's marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), men's marathon 5th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), 2004 Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex).

The goal of the team is to win medals and land other athletes near the podium at the Rio Olympics.  Athletes' membership will be reviewed on an annual basis, and p…

Chelimo, Batochir, Adachi, Koskei and Shintaku Headline Apr. 20 Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Apr. 20 Nagano Marathon released the names of this year's elite field on Apr. 1.  2010 Nagano winner Nicholas Chelimo (Kenya), 2013 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon champion Serod Batochir (Mongolia/Team NTN) and 2012 Nagano runner-up Silas Sang (Kenya) lead the international field, while 2008 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Tomoya Adachi (Team Asahi Kasei) headlines the Japanese men's field with a best of 2:10:22.

The semi-retired Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) have the fastest bests in the women's field followed by 2:29 Kenyan Hellen Koskei, but with a 2:31:15 best for 8th at this year's Tokyo Marathon Rika Shintaku (Team Shimamura) may be the favorite for the win.  Look also for a challenge from Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki), 4th at last month's Wanjinshi New Taipei City Marathon.

16th Nagano Marathon Elite Field
Nagano, 4/20/14
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
Nicholas Chelimo…

DeNA Team Holds Press Conference Announcing Seko's Comeback and Plans to Make 2020 Olympic Marathon

On March 30, the Tokyo-based DeNA corporate team held a press conference to announce new members Kenta Murozuka and Hiroki Sugawa.  Team management also announced that legend Toshihiko Seko will make a comeback to competitive marathoning after a 26-year absence in hopes of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team, switching roles from his current position as the team's head coach to becoming one of its twelve athletes.



With the start of the new fiscal year today the team's roster page was updated to include the new team members and reflected Seko's new position on the team.



Seko's athlete profile includes the following:



Profile
Born July 15, 1956 in Kuwana, Mie.  During his career he won ten out of his fifteen domestic and international marathons.  On the track he was also dominant, giving the Japanese national records a beating over an impressive range from 5000 m to the marathon and setting then-world records over 25,000 m and 30,000 m.

In April, 2013 he became head c…

Federation's Goal for Asian Games is Ten Gold Medals

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201403/2014033100891&g=spo

translated by Brett Larner

At a Tokyo-area press conference on Mar. 31, JAAF Development Committee chairman Yasuhiro Harada said that the Federation's target for this fall's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea is ten gold medals.  At the last Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Japan won four golds.

According to Chairman Harada, last season Japan had Asia-leading marks in fourteen events including the men's and women's marathon and the men's javelin.  "Looking at our athletes' current situation ten golds is undoubtably attainable," he commented.  "The level of the Asian Games has been high recently.  Solid wins there will carry over to next year's World Championships and to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics."