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Kawauchi Arrives in South Korea for Friday's Asian Games Marathon (updated)

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/09/29/kiji/K20140929009015030.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140929-00000559-san-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) arrived by plane at Seoul International Airport on Sept. 27.  The gold medal-aspiring civil servant runner had a stony expression as he showed confidence in his condition, saying, "I've built up for this."  On his arrival it was raining lightly with cool temperatures around 20 degrees.  Averse to the heat of summer races, Kawauchi said, "These conditions are great.  I hope it's like this on the big day."

Regularly incorporating trail and mountain running into his training, Kawauchi was shocked and dismayed by the serious damage caused by the eruption of Mt. Ontake a few days ago.  "I've never been there, but Ontake is a well-established center for distance running [training].  I can't believe somethi…

Weekend Racing Roundup - University Ekiden Season Gets Going

by Brett Larner

Along with the Berlin Marathon, where Moscow World Championships bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) turned in the fastest Japanese women's performance overseas so far this year at 2:26:25 for 6th and 2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) cracked the top ten with a 2:11:25 PB, the fall season got underway for real all across Japan.

The university ekiden circuit kicked off with the Kansai Region University Women's Ekiden on Saturday, where for the second year in a row Osaka Gakuin University beat national champion Ritsumeikan University.  The two schools traded the lead for the first four of the race's six stages before Osaka Gakuin got free on the Fifth Stage, ultimately winning by 7 seconds in 1:38:53.  The Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden followed on Sunday, with Daito Bunka University taking the lead on the Second Stage to run unchallenged all the way to the finish in a course record 1:38:22.  Early leade…

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner
top Fukushi photo by Victah Sailer, c/o Horst Milde
other photos by Werner Philipp and Hannes Uhtoffs, c/o Dr. Helmut Winter

2013 Tokyo Marathon winner Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) shook the world with his incredible 2:02:57 world record at today's Berlin Marathon, running a 1:01:12 second half that brought the concept of a low-2:02 marathon into the realm of possibility.  2014 Tokyo Marathon women's winner Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia) added another World Marathon Majors title to her resume, outrunning three compatriots, the U.S.A.'s Shalane Flanagan and Moscow World Championships bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) for the win in 2:20:18.  Less well-noticed was Fukuoka Marathon course record holder Tsegaye Kebede's 2:10:27 for 9th, his 18th career sub-2:11 and tying Korean great Lee Bong Ju's world record for most times sub-2:11.

Fukushi, quietly coming to Berlin in search of a time closer to the three Japanese women who have run 2:19 there than her c…

Asian Games Athletics Day One - Japanese Results (updated)

by Brett Larner

Athletics competition at the 2014 Asian Games got rolling today with medals handed out in three distance events.  The women's 10000 m started conservatively but ground steadily down to a pack of three, Alia Mohammed Saeed Mohammed (U.A.E.), Changqin Ding (China) and this year's #1-ranked Japanese woman, Ayumi Hagiwara.  Mohammed led much of the way except for a brief challenge from Ding late in the race, Hagiwara staying right behind them until Mohammed's bell lap kick got away from her.  All three broke 32 minutes, Mohammed winning in a PB 31:51.86.  2014 national champion Kasumi Nishihara never looked comfortable, struggling to keep herself at the rear of the lead pack before sinking to 8th in 32:41.49.

The men's 5000 m likewise started slow until India's Suresh Kumar got impatient and took off at 800 m.  Leading on PB pace for the next 3000 m, Kumar took things from 2:49 to 2:42/km before the two pairs of Qatari and Bahraini men got to work.  All…

Weekend Preview: Asian Games, Berlin Marathon, Nittaidai and the Start of Ekiden Season

by Brett Larner

There is a truckload of action just waiting to dump on fans of Japanese distance around the world this weekend.  Along with the Incheon Asian Games, where athletics kick off Saturday with the women's 10000 m and 3000 mSC and the men's 5000 m, Sunday's Berlin Marathon offers more international exposure to the stealthy Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) in the women's race and the solid trio of 2:08 men Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Ryo Yamamoto (Team SGH Group Sagawa) and 2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota).

Back home of familiar shores where laundry facilities are guaranteed to be close at hand, fall gets into full swing with the first two significant ekidens of the season, Saturday's Kansai Region University Women's Ekiden and Sunday's Kanto Region University Women's Ekiden.  Both qualify top-placing teams in the two highly competitive regions for October's National University Women's Ekiden Cham…

Moscow Bronze Medalist Fukushi "Going for the Time and the Win" at Berlin Marathon (updated)

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201409/CN2014092501001746.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the Sept. 25 press conference ahead of the Sept. 28 Berlin Marathon, 2013 Moscow World Championships women's marathon bronze medalist and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) was confident as she said, "I got all my training in and I'm feeling good.  I'm going for the time and the win."

Berlin will be Fukushi's first marathon in over a year, her last being her medal-winning run in Moscow.  The site of a new men's world record last year and all three sub-2:20 Japanese women's marks to date including Mizuki Noguchi's national and course record 2:19:12, Fukushi's absolute minimum goal on Berlin's speed course is to significantly better her 2:24:21 PB.  "The other athletes here say they're going to try to break 2:20.  If I go out with them I think the time I'm looking for will be in the cards."  Berlin r…

Incheon Asian Games - Long Distance Preview

by Brett Larner

Click here to enter JRN's Asian Games marathon prediction contest for a chance to win some quality limited-edition prizes.


With over half the world's population represented making it the biggest of the world's regional championships, track and field events kick off September 27 at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.  It's a reality of the region that Bahrain and Qatar field distance teams virtually entirely made up of Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes who duly take home most of the medals, but with Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics it is not screwing around, sending its best talent to what Japanese broadcaster TBS is hyping as "The Asian Olympics."

Saturday, Sept. 27: Women's 10000 m, Men's 5000 m, Women's 3000 mSC

The women's 10000 m, men's 5000 m and women's 30000 m steeplechase get things moving on the 27th.  Complete start lists are as yet unavailable, meaning updates to this preview in coming days, but in the a…

Osaka Marathon Announces Elite Field

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/running/feature/20140919-OYT8T50064.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner


The official 2014 Osaka Marathon theme song "42.195 km" by Kobukuro.

The organizing committee of the 4th Osaka Marathon on Oct. 26 have announced this year's 23-member elite field.  The men's race features all three champions crowned so far in race history led by last year's winner Jackson Limo (Kenya), who improved his PB to 2:09:06 at this year's Paris Marathon.  Seeking to stop him from become the first man in Osaka history to defend his title are Osaka's first winner Elijah Sang (Kenya) and second winner Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN), who won last year's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in a PB 2:09:00.

Japan's hopes lie with Satoshi Osaki (NTT Nishi Nihon), holder of a 2:08:36 best, and 2012 runner-up Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  2009 World Championships marathon 7th-place finisher Yuri Kano (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) leads the women'…

Yamagata Looking to Stay Calm Carrying Japan's Sprinting Hopes at Asian Games

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/asia/2014/news/f-sp-tp0-20140923-1371425.html

translated by Brett Larner

The first group of Japanese men's and women's sprinters left from Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Sept. 23 for the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea.  Track and field events begin on the 27th.  Carrying expectations that he will be crowned the fastest man in Asia, sprinter Ryota Yamagata (22, Keio Univ. senior) has built up well toward his season peaking at the Asian Games despite a busy schedule this month that has seen him pick up National University 100 m and 4x400 m titles as well as winning the 100 m at the Sept. 14th Waseda-Keio dual meet.  "This week I haven't been doing much fine-tuning in training, but things have come along," he said confidently.  "I'm going to make the most of the remaining days to finish getting ready."

Favorite Yoshihide Kiryu (1st yr, Toyo Univ.), with a 10.01 best, has withdrawn from the Asian Games due to injury.…

50,000 Sign Petition to Change Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon to Mass-Participation Format

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/oita/article/115175

translated by Brett Larner

An organization seeking to change one of Japan's oldest elite marathons, the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon held each February in the cities of Oita and Beppu, delivered a petition with 50,000 signatures to the Oita Prefectural Government on Sept. 19.  After delivering the petition the group held a press conference at the Government headquarters, saying, "We call on race organizers to do their part to promote tourism and increase the number of people coming to the prefecture by making it possible for more amateur runners to participate in the race."

The group submitting the petition was the "Beppu-Oita Mainichi Mass Participation Marathon Citizens' Council" organized by members of the Beppu city tourism board.  Among the requests on the petition they delivered to Governor Katsusada Hirose were calls to relax the current sub-3:30 time requirement for participation and course changes…

Sydney Marathon, Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half and Dam tot Damloop - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Races in Australia, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands on Sunday featured Japanese corporate league athletes.  At the Sydney Marathon, both the men's and women's races saw the top two broke the existing records for a challenging course full of hills and turns.  In the men's race, Ethiopia's Gebo Gameda shook free of compatriot Seboka Dibaba Tola to break Yuki Kawauchi's 2:11:52 course record, Gameda getting the new record in 2:11:18 with Tola just squeezing under Kawauchi's time in 2:11:48.  Kenyan Benjamin Koloum Kiptoo likewise shook off track and half marathon star Tsuyoshi Ugachi of two-time New Year Ekiden national champion team Konica Minolta for 3rd in 2:12:08. 

Ugachi ran a PB of around a minute for 4th in 2:12:18, a decent time given the course and one that puts him 22nd among Japanese men for the year.  It is widely thought in Japan that Ugachi's dynamic and aggressive form will make it hard for him to find the marathon success to matc…

Osaka International Women's Marathon Establishes New Development Program

http://daily.co.jp/newsflash/general/2014/09/17/0007338574.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

The Osaka International Women's Marathon organizing committee announced on Sept. 17 that it has established a new "Next Heroine" program for the race's next edition on Jan. 25, 2015.  Targeting high-potential university runners and young corporate league women, the "Next" program will differ from Osaka's conventional elite athlete program in providing a training framework for the race itself.

In the past the Osaka International Women's Marathon served as the site for the marathon debuts of 1992 Barcelona Olympics silver medalist and 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medalist Yuko Arimori, 2000 Sydney Olympics gold medalist Naoko Takahashi, and many other top-level athletes who went on to make Olympics and World Championships teams also started their marathon careers in Osaka.

Köln Marathon and Usti nad Labem Half Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Following up on a disappointing showing at last weekend's Great North Run and Prague Grand Prix 10 km, Japan's corporate league runners underwhelmed again at Sunday's Köln Marathon and Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.  In a race won by Kenya's Anthony Maritim in 2:10:26 in Köln, 2:09:18 marathoner Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), the twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), could do no better than 2:18:41 for 3rd.  2:15:05 man Kenta Iinuma (Team Sagawa Group) fell well below the professional level, running only 2:23:12 for 4th.  Formerly Japan-based Kenyan Julia Mumbi took the women's race in 2:28:00.

Further east, Japanese results at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem mirrored those at the Great North Run, with 1:02 half marathoners Yuya Ito (Team Toyota) and Masamichi Yasuda (Team Aichi Seiko) and their 1:03 counterpart Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) all clocked leisurely 1:05 times…

Forced to Do Federation 40 km Run Nine Days After Perth Marathon, Kawauchi Furious as Half of National Team Skips it

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140910-OHT1T50076.html
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140909-OHT1T50166.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games men's marathon team member and civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran in a 40 km time trial and biometric measurement run in Shibetsu, Hokkaido on Sept. 9 as part of the Marathon National Team's official training camp.  The Japanese Federation launched the National Team project in April, naming twelve men to the team.  The 40 km run, designed so that Federation officials could measure each member's biometric data before and after a race and examine the changes, was the climax of the National Team's first group training camp which has gone on since late August in Hokkaido. 

On Aug. 31 Kawauchi ran the Perth Marathon in Australia, winning in a course record 2:12:55 before returning to Japan and joining the National Team training camp on Sept. 6.  "The Federation pe…

Asian Games Marathoner Hayakawa Hoping to "Bring Back Good News"

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/asia/2014/news/f-sp-tp0-20140911-1365110.html

translated by Brett Larner

Sanitary and housing equipment manufacturer Toto held a sendoff meeting Sept. 11 at its offices in Shiodome, Tokyo for company workers to voice their support for Incheon Asian Games women's marathon team member Eri Hayakawa, 32, and other Toto-sponsored athletes.  Three athletes were feted including members of the Asian Paralympics team.  Hayakawa vowed to supporters that she would go for the gold medal, telling them, "As a national representative I am aware of my responsibility, and I will do my best to produce results that will let me finish with the best kind of smile and bring you all back good news."

The Toto-sponsored athletes competing in the Paralympics are women's wheelchair basketball player Chihiro Kitada, 25, and women's wheelchair tennis player Miho Nijo, 33.  Using language chock full of Kansai slang, Takada made the full house laugh as she sai…

'International Distance-Running Greats to Challenge Defending Champions at 2014 TCS New York City Marathon'

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) return to New York this November for the TCS New York City Marathon.  Kawauchi appears with support from JRN.

http://www.nyrr.org/media-center/press-releases/international-distance-running-greats-to-challenge-defending-champions-at-2014-tcs-new-york-city-marathon

2014 TCS New York City Marathon Elite Men's Field
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) -  2:03:23
Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) - 2:04:15 (2:03:02a)
Stanley Biwott (Kenya) - 2:04:55
Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 2:06:31
Michael Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:06:48
Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 2:06:56
Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:07:20
Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco) - 2:07:33
Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia) - 2:08:00 (2:04:53a)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14
Lusapho April (South Africa) - 2:08:32
Meb Keflezighi (U.S.A.) - 2:09:08 (2:08:37a)
Urige Buta (Norway) - 2:09:27
Masato Imai (Japan/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:09:30
Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 2:10:57
Nick Arciniaga (U.S.A.…

Osako Sets 3000 m National Record in Rieti

by Brett Larner



Already on the edge of national records for 3000 m, 2 miles, 5000 m and 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin) stepped up in his last race on the summer European circuit, the 3000 m at Italy's Rieti Meeting 2014.  Partially based in the U.S. since graduating from Waseda University this spring, Osako has been training with the Alberto Salazar-coached Nike Oregon Project.  Before the race NOP assistant coach Pete Julian told JRN, "He's been hitting all the workouts with Mo Farah and Galen Rupp, so he's pretty worn out at this point.  With a couple weeks of rest he'll be stronger but we don't expect much for this race."

Despite the fatigue Osako went with the 2:29.24 opening 1000 m in Rieti, hanging on to the leaders through some ups and downs in the pacing and crossing the line in 7:40.09 to break marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka's 15-year-old 3000 m record by almost two seconds.  Among distances officially recorde…

Keitany, Farah and Cramond Make History at Great North Run

by Brett Larner


The Great North Run celebrated three-part history Sunday, with the great Mary Keitany breaking marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe's course record and Mo Farah bringing home the first British men's win in 29 years to set the stage for the millionth finisher in GNR history, the first race in the world to hit that mark.


In beautiful conditions with a comfortable tailwind heavy favorite Keitany soloed the race the entire way on track for Radcliffe's 1:05:40 record, only appearing to falter near the end.  Bearing down in the home straight she looked to hit the line dead on, but when official results were posted it was announced that she had made it by a second with a new record of 1:05:39.  Nearly a kilometer back, the U.K.'s Gemma Steel was shockingly strong, going head-to-head with London Olympics gold medalist Tiki Gelana, Commonwealth Games silver medalist Caroline Kilel and two-time World Championships gold medalist Edna Kiplagat before droppi…

Omwamba Over Kitonyi for National University Track and Field Championships Distance Double

by Brett Larner
videos by aoshin0507and ekiden news



The 2014 Japanese National University Track and Field Championships wrapped up Sunday with a pair of new meet records and some great races.  The day started with early morning men's and women's 5000 m postponed from Saturday after a thunderstorm hit the area.  1500 m champion Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) faced off against 10000 m champ Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Nihon Univ.) in the men's race, battling each other all the way to the end with Omwamba getting the double by less than a second in 13:40.21.



The women's 5000 m was equally close, Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) winning in 15:46.94 with both Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) and Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) within a second of her.



Daito Bunka University had better luck in the women's 3000 mSC, where it took three of the top four places and its top runner Chikako Mori beat national university record holder Mayuko Nakamura (Tsukuba Univ.) and ou…

National University Track and Field Championships Day Two Results

by Brett Larner
videos by 陸上競技動画集
click here for day one report

An intense thunderstorm hit the second day of the 2014 Japanese National University Track and Field Championships, impacting events across the board increasingly heavily before causing the postponement of both the men's and women's 5000 m races until the next day.  Of the events that did go down, the performance of the day came in the women's hammer throw, where Hitomi Katsuyama (Tsukuba Univ.) threw 60.70 m for the win, missing the championships record by just 8 cm but beating her own best by over a meter.



Sprints led the day's other highlights, with 100 m London Olympian Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) ran 10.20 into a -0.4 m/s headwind for the win in the absence of rival Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), who led the 200 m qualifying heats in 20.60 (-1.0) but expressed dissatisfaction with his ability to cope with the rising wind.



Yamagata also led Keio to a 5th-place finish in the men's 4x100 m, where Chuo Un…

Omwamba and Murayama Top First Day of National University Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner
videos by komazawaOB and 陸上競技動画集
click here for day two report

It's an idiosyncrasy of the Japanese racing calendar that both the National University Track and Field Championships and National Corporate Track and Field Championships take place in the fall well over three months after the more competitive regional meets and just after heavy summer mileage training.  That didn't seem to matter on the first day of the National University meet.



Continuing his return from the stress fracture that knocked both him and Yamanashi Gakuin University out of this year's Hakone Ekiden, 2014 Kanto Region double 1500 m and 5000 m champion Enock Omwamba and Kanto 10000 m champion Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.), the identical twin brother of #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), stole the show in the 1500 m with a brilliant head-to-head battle to the line far out in front of the rest of the field.  Coming off the last corner it looked like the strong-kic…