Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hakone Champion AGU's Isshiki Leads 27 under 1:03 at National University Half Marathon Championships

complete report and results coming shortly

18th National University Men's Half Marathon Championships
Tachikawa City Half Marathon
Tachikawa, Tokyo, 3/1/15

Men
1. Tadashi Isshiki (2nd yr, Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:11
2. Naoki Kudo (1st yr, Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:12 - PB
3. Yuta Takahashi (3rd yr, Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:13 - debut
4. Ryo Shirayoshi (3rd yr, Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:16 - PB
5. Naoto Uchida (2nd yr, Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:20 - PB
6. Kenya Sonota (3rd yr, Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:20 - PB
7. Shota Baba (3rd yr, Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:21 - PB
8. Kazuki Tamura (1st yr, Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:22 - PB
9. Yuta Shimoda (1st yr, Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:22 - PB
10. Satoshi Kikuchi (2nd yr, Josai Univ.) - 1:02:23 - PB
11. Hiroshi Ichida (4th yr, Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:02:25 - PB
12. Shoya Okuno (3rd yr, Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:26 - PB
13. Kentaro Hirai (3rd yr, Kyoto Univ.) - 1:02:30 - PB
14. Naoya Takahashi (3rd yr, Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:31 - PB
15. Yusei Tsutsumi (3rd yr, Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:38 - PB
16. Ryohei Nishiyama (3rd yr, Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:02:38 - PB
17. Yuki Muta (3rd yr, Meiji Univ.) - 1:02:40 - PB
18. Yusuke Nishiyama (2nd yr, Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:43 - PB
19. Masahiro Miura (3rd yr, Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:45 - PB
20. Jinnosuke Matsumura (2nd yr, Josai Univ.) - 1:02:46 - PB
21. Rei Omori (1st yr, Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:47 - PB
22. Toshio Takaki (3rd yr, Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:51 - PB
23. Sho Tokunaga (3rd yr, Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:52 - PB
24. Taiga Machizawa (2nd yr, Chuo Univ.) - 1:02:52 - PB
25. Yuichi Yasui (1st yr, Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:55 - PB
26. Shinichiro Nakamura (3rd, Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:57
27. Kazuki Uemura (3rd yr, Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:58 - PB

Women
1. Kyoko Koyama (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:17:21
2. Miki Kobayashi (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:18:26
3. Riho Nishino (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:19:36

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Ndungu Back for Another Win at 70th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

complete report coming shortly

70th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon
Otsu, Shiga, 3/1/15

1. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya) - 2:09:08
2. Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 2:11:10
3. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:11:18
4. Kazuhiro Maeda (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:11:46
5. Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:12:29 - debut
6. Eric Ndiema (Kenya) - 2:13:28
7. Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:13:32
8. Rui Yonezawa (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:14:13
9. Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:14:27
10. Kenji Higashino (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:14:48
11. Bunta Kuroki (Japan/Sagawa Express) - 2:15:18
12. Ryoichi Matsuo (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:15:20
13. Shingo Igarashi (Japan/Subaru) - 2:15:28
14. Yusuke Sato (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:15:30 - debut
15. Takumi Kiyotani (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:15:31
16. Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:15:40
17. Takayuki Matsumiya (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:15:41
18. Keita Akiba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:16:10
19. Takuji Morimoto (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:16:22
20. Takuya Ishikawa (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:16:30

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Star of the North Miho Shimizu Makes Her First World Cross Country Team

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20150225-OHT1T50141.html

translated by Brett Larner

This week the Federation announced the Japanese national team for the Mar. 28 World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.  Making the senior women's 8 km squad for the first time is the Star of the North, Hokkaido's native daughter Miho Shimizu (24, Team Hokuren).  Her first time making a Japanese national team, Shimizu was hopeful as she said, "It's a great honor.  I want to run an aggressive race, experience the level and strength of the world's top athlete and apply what I learn there to track season."

At the first of the two selection races, the Feb. 8 Chiba International Cross Country Meet she ran 29:30 for 8 km to place 5th overall as the 4th Japanese woman.  At the second selection race, the Feb. 21 Fukuoka International Cross Country Meet, she took 3rd overall in the 6th in 20:02, scoring her place on the team by finishing as the 2nd Japanese woman.

After graduating from Ashoro H.S. Shimizu was a star at Hakuoh University, running big at the National University Women's Ekiden.  She joined the Hokuren corporate team in the spring of 2013.  Since the retirement of Hokuren's leader Yukiko Akaba last spring Shimizu has grown to become the team's big hope for its "post-Akaba" era.  At last June's National Track and Field Championships she was 2nd in the 5000 m.  At December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden she ran the most competitive stage, showing her strength by placing 5th on the Third Stage and helping lead Hokuren to a 9th-place team finish, its first time cracking the single digits in five years.

After the New Year Shimizu worked on strengthening her running, doing 30 km a day of mileage on a cross country course on the island of Tokunoshima.  Her main focus for the year is making the 5000 m at August's Beijing World Championships.  Her plan for the season has her first track race being at the April 18-19 Oda Memorial Meet in Hiroshima, and she will also run the May 2 Cardinal Invitational in the United States for the first time.  At the Japanese National Track and Field Championships, June 26-28 in Niigata, she plans to clinch her place on the World Championships team.

"The experience of running World Cross will help me hit the World Championships standard (15:20), and that is going to lead directly on to the Rio Olympics next year," she said.  If successful, she will follow Akaba as only the second Hokuren runner to make a World Championships team.

Miho Shimizu - born May 13, 1990 in Ashoro, Hokkaido.  24 years old.  Began track and field in 4th grade, finishing 3rd in the National Junior High School Championships 1500 m while in 8th grade at Ashoro J.H.S.  While an 11th grader at Sapporo Seishu H.S. she transferred to Ashoro H.S.  At the National High School Championships she won both the 1500 m and 3000 m for two straight years.  Her senior year at Hakuoh University she placed 4th in the 5000 m at the National University Championships.  Her PBs are 15:34.22 for 5000 m and 32:14.44 for 10000 m.  159 cm, 51 kg, blood type A.  Her family includes her parents, a younger brother and an older brother.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Japanese Men's World Championships Qualification Wraps Up at Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon - preview

by Brett Larner

It's a great luxury to get to watch a live marathon broadcast with no commercials, but that's just what you get with the 70th edition of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon this Sunday.  Japan's first IAAF gold label race, Biwako as it is called here features a live ad-free nationwide broadcast on NHK starting at 12:15 p.m. Japan time with the race kicking off at 12:30.  Overseas viewers can follow @JRNLive for live coverage throughout the race if NHK is not available in your area.

And what does the race hold?  It's the last of the selection races for the Japanese team for the Beijing World Championships.  At Tokyo last week the Federation seemed to have backed off its sub-2:06:30 requirement for auto team selection, with more talk about the top Japanese position in the selection races and deserving praise for the 2:07:39 scored in Tokyo by Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu).  Imai is a clear favorite to make the team, with Fukuoka's top Japanese finisher Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) also having a shot with his 2:09:06 for 4th barring something spectacular at Biwako.  More distantly, after a 2:09:12 PB for 9th in Tokyo Fujiwara's teammate Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) could make it if the field flops in Biwako.  Unlikely to be named are Asian Games silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), who bombed out in Tokyo, and Beppu-Oita runner-up Hiroki Kadota (Team Kanebo), whose PB 2:10:46 time didn't reflect the true quality of his race.

On the domestic front in Biwako there are three heavy favorites.  Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) was the fastest Japanese man of 2013 with a 2:08:00 at the Tokyo Marathon.  He has struggled to live up to that since then after injury troubles and comes into Biwako with few recent races behind him.  At the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden he finished 9th on the 22.0 km Fourth Stage, 59 seconds behind Imai but beating his main competitor for the Beijing team, last year's top Japanese finisher Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei), by 47 seconds.  Sasaki ran a 2:09:47 PB for 3rd in Biwako last year and comes in this year with a win at the Karatsu 10 Miler earlier this month and talking about 2:08.  Maeda is talking 2:07.

Their main competition is Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), in the Japanese all-time top ten for 10000 m and half marathon and running his fourth marathon since debuting in Dubai 14 months ago.  In Dubai he ran 2:13, following up with a 2:12 in Sydney in September before PBing again in 2:10:50 in Fukuoka.  Another successful race would put him under 2:10 and in range of what Maeda and Sasaki say they're looking to do, but four marathons is a lot for your first year+ at the distance.  Not even Kawauchi tried that.  Other domestic notables in the field include veteran sub-2:10 twins Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), former Hakone Ekiden star and 2015 New Year Ekiden anchor stage winner Tsubasa Hayakawa (Team Toyota), sub-62 half marathoners Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) and Kenta Murotsuka (DeNA RC), and a raft of men at the 2:10-2:12 level who could make the jump in quality.

Defending champion Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) returns to lead the international field along with 2:06:07 Kenyan Eric Ndiema and 2012 Biwako winner Samuel Ndungu (Kenya).  Japan-based Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN) is talking about breaking the 2:08:50 Mongolian national record he set while beating Fujiwara and the rest of the Japanese men in Fukuoka in December, with Jose Antonio Uribe (Mexico), Jackson Kiprop (Uganda) and Fikadu Girma (Ethiopia) adding to the sub-2:10 numbers that will help push the front Japanese pack.  2014 European champion Daniele Meucci (Italy) is an interesting addition to the field and should be looking for a marathon breakthrough that will give him a time to better match his 1:01:05 half marathon best.  Wildcards include Japan-based Africans Agato Yashin Hassan (Ethiopia/Team Chuo Hatsujo) and Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu), both with 2:13 marathon debuts last year.

70th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Otsu, Shiga, 3/1/15
click here for complete field listing

Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:05:25 (Berlin 2010)
Eric Ndiema (Kenya) - 2:06:07 (Amsterdam 2011)
Samuel Ndungu (Kenya) - 2:07:04 (Lake Biwa 2012)
Kazuhiro Maeda (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:08:00 (Tokyo 2013)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:08:50 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Jose Antonio Uribe (Mexico) - 2:08:55 (Houston 2014)
Takayuki Matsumiya (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:09:14 (Tokyo 2013)
Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:09:18 (Lake Biwa 2005)
Jackson Kiprop (Uganda) - 2:09:32 (Mumbai 2013)
Fikadu Girma (Ethiopia) - 2:09:34 (Dusseldorf 2014)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:47 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Bunta Kuroki (Japan/Yasukawa Denki) - 2:10:08 (Fukuoka Int'l 2012)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:10:50 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Japan/NTN) - 2:10:51 (Lake Biwa 2010)
Keita Akiba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:10:53 (Beppu-Oita 2009)
Soji Ikeda (Japan/Yakult) - 2:10:59 (Tokyo 2013)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 2:11:08 (European Championships 2014)
Takaaki Koda (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:08 (Tokyo 2011)
Stepan Kiselev (Russia) - 2:11:28 (Zurich 2014)
Noritaka Fujiyama (Japan/Sumitomo Denko) - 2:11:34 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Yoshiki Otsuka (Japan/Aichi Seiko) - 2:11:40 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Rui Yonezawa (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:11:59 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Noriaki Takahashi (Japan/DeNA) - 2:12:00 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:11 (Nobeoka 2014)
Kenji Higashino (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:13 (Beppu-Oita 2013)
Tatsunari Hirayama (Japan/Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Wirimai Juwawo (Zimbabwe) - 2:12:38 (Danzhou 2010)
Kazuaki Shimizu (Japan/Yakult) - 2:12:49 (Nobeoka 2013)
Agato Yashin Hassan (Ethiopia/Chuo Hatsujo) - 2:13:07 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Johana Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 2:13:46 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)

Debut/Do-over
Daisuke Shimizu (Japan/Kanebo) - 1:01:44 (Marugame 2012)
Kenta Murotsuka (Japan/DeNA) - 1:01:58 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Takumi Kiyotani (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:02:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Tomohiro Shiiya (Japan/Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Masatoshi Kikuchi (Japan/Fujitsu) - 1:02:28 (Marugame Half 2012)
Naohiro Yamada (Japan/YKK) - 1:02:40 (Marugame 2013)
Shota Inoue (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:49 (Marugame Half 2015)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:02:50 (Marugame Half 2014)
Yusuke Sato (Japan/Fujitsu) - 59:28 (Yosenkai 20 km 2011)
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Japan/Toyota) - 1:00:03 (Yosenkai 20 km 2010)
Taiki Yoshimura (Japan/Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 1:00:24 (Yosenkai 20 km 2013)

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Imperial Crown Prince Allowed to Run Outside in Public for First Time in 7 Years

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH2T4R9BH2TUTIL01G.html

translated by Brett Larner

Imperial Crown Prince Hironomiya enjoyed jogging a loop of the popular running course around the outside of the Imperial Palace on Feb. 25.  The Prince runs daily inside the grounds of the Crown Prince's Palace in Akasaka, Tokyo, but this was the first time he was allowed to run out in public in 7 years.

Accompanied by Imperial Household Agency officials, the Prince began his run around 3:20 p.m. from Kikyo Gate on the Tokyo Station side of the Palace.  Under cloudy skies he completed the 5 km course in 27:20.  After finishing he smiled as he commented, "It was neither too cold nor too hot.  It was a truly comfortable run."

No announcement about the run was made beforehand, so pedestrians and other runners on the course were caught by surprise.  One woman called out, "Your Majesty!" to which the Crown Prince responded with a wave.  The Prince last ran the loop around the Imperial Palace in February, 2007.  In March, 2008 he was allowed out to run the loop around the outside of the Akasaka Palace grounds.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Japan Names Team of 21 for 2015 World Cross Country Championships

by Brett Larner

Japan will send a team of 21 athletes to next month's World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China.  As always, its strongest contingent is its junior women, in this case led by 9:00.89 high schooler Azusa Sumi, undefeated since 2013, and teammate Yuka Sarumida of Toyokawa H.S.  The junior men's team features three athletes with 5000 m bests under 14 minutes including 2014 World Junior Championships team member Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.).

2015 Fukuoka International Cross Country Meet winner Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) leads the senior women's squad which also includes her collegiate rival Maki Izumida (Ritsumeikan Univ.).  Once again this year, Japan's senior men are largely giving World Cross a miss, with only three entered versus six on the each of the other three squads.  Corporate runners are completely absent, with 2015 Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University's Kazuma Kubota the biggest name of the three and Juntendo University teammates Hiroki Matsueda and Kento Hanazawa rounding out the roster.

Senior Women
Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) - 15:34.22 / 32:14.44
Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 15:34.73 / 32:27.36
Maki Izumida (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:38.22 / 33:15.18
Tomoka Kimura (Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:44.02
Yui Fukuda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:50.07
Erika Ikeda (Team Higo Ginko) - 15:54.01 / 34:06.75

Senior Men
Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 13:49.18 / 29:13.81
Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:56.69 / 28:30.78
Kento Hanazawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 13:59.09 / 29:25.76

Junior Women
Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:00.89
Yuka Sarumida (Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:08.72
Yuri Nozoe (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 9:14.72
Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:15.18
Wakana Kabasawa (Tokiwa H.S.) - 9:19.84
Nana Kuraoka (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 9:23.58

Junior Men
Haruki Minatoya (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 13:57.29
Hiroyuki Sakaguchi (Isahaya H.S.) - 13:57.41 / 29:12.75
Shota Onizuka (Omuta H.S.) - 13:58.43
Fuminori Shimo (Iga Hakuho H.S.) - 14:01.59
Ryoji Tatezawa (Saitama Sakae H.S.) - 14:07.32
Junnosuke Matsuo (Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 14:11.24

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kamino and Yokote Lead National University Men's Half Marathon Entries

by Brett Larner
video by Ekiden News

The record-setting 2014 National University Half Marathon finish.

Thanks to an average stage length of 21.7 km at the ten-stage Hakone Ekiden every Jan. 2-3 the half marathon is the distance Japan's collegiate men focus on and the one at which they excel more than any other.  Sub-63 half marathon bests have become commonplace on the Kanto university circuit and sub-62, even sub-61, the new standard for the top Hakone stars.  This Sunday's National University Half Marathon is no exception, with at least 25 men on the entry list having sub-63 PBs led by Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage course record setter Daichi Kamino (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin University) in 1:01:21 and National University Men's Ekiden Fifth Stage course record setter Ken Yokote (3rd yr., Meiji Univ.) in 1:01:37.

Last year's National University Half, held as always in conjunction with Tokyo's Tachikawa City Half Marathon, saw both a new course record of 1:02:09 from Hideto Yamanaka (2nd yr., Nittai Univ.) and a world record for depth, with 207 men breaking 66 minutes to overtake even November's Ageo City Half Marathon in sheer numbers.  This year the National University Half serves as the qualifying race for the Japanese half marathon team for July's Gwangju Universiade in South Korea, aka the World University Games, where Japanese collegiate men have won individual medals for the last five-straight Games.  Most 4th-years sit Nationals out and some top younger runners like Hazuma Hattori (2nd yr., Toyo Univ.) and Koki Takada (3rd yr., Waseda Univ.) chose to race elsewhere, but even with only one 4th-year, Hiroshi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) and one 1st-year, Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) in the top-ranked 25 there is a good chance that the race for national representation will push the field past even last year's incredible results.

Hakone winner Aoyama Gakuin University is stacking the field with most of its A-list, AGU runners led by Kamino making up three of the four entries with bests better than or equal to Yamanaka's year-old 1:02:09 course record, and with another star AGU 3rd-year Kazuma Kubota making his serious half marathon debut AGU could completely fill the Universiade team.  18-year-old Komazawa University 1st-year Kudo, 3rd in Ageo last November in a stunning 1:02:18 debut, leads four Komazawa men in the top 25-ranked.  At the last Universiade Komazawa's Shogo Nakamura won the individual bronze medal, and after another great run earlier this month at the Karatsu 10-miler Kudo looks like its best bet to follow Nakamura.  Waseda University, led by last year's 3rd-placer Koki Ido, also has four men in top 25-ranked and could also get some representation if the front group does not go at course record pace.

The National University Women's Half Marathon will be held a week later together with the Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon.  The team for the Universiade women's half marathon, where Japanese women have won individual medals in every Games since their 2nd edition including a sweep of the podium in 2009, will be decided there with the same criteria as in the men's race.

18th National University Men's Half Marathon
Entry List Highlights
Tachikawa, Tokyo, 3/1/15
click here for complete entry list

Daichi Kamino (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:21
Ken Yokote (3rd yr., Meiji Univ.) - 1:01:37
Yusuke Ogura (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:03
Tadashi Isshiki (2nd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:09
Masaki Toda (3rd yr., Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 1:02:14
Naoki Kudo (1st yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:18
Gen Hachisuka (2nd yr., Koku Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:26
Shinichiro Nakamura (3rd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:30
Koki Ido (2nd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:33
Shota Baba (3rd yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:37
Yuta Katsumata (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:39
Shohei Yamaguchi (3rd yr., Soka Univ.) - 1:02:41*
Ryo Shirayoshi (3rd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:44
Kazuma Kubota (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:44*
Shin Kimura (3rd yr., Meiji Univ.) - 1:02:45
Kazuma Ganaha (3rd yr., Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:02:45*
Shoya Okuno (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 1:02:46
Soma Ishikawa (2nd yr., Nihon Univ.) - 1:02:46
Yusuke Nishiyama (2nd yr., Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:47
Jun Sato (2nd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:49
Masahiro Miura (3rd yr., Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:52
Shun Sakuraoka (2nd yr, Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:53
Hiroshi Ichida (4th yr., Daito Bunka Univ.) - 1:02:56*
Keita Shioya (3rd yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:57
Shota Miyakami (3rd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:58

*extrapolated from 20 km time

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, February 23, 2015

Asian Games Silver Medalist Matsumura a Disappointing 25th at Tokyo Marathon

http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/150222/spo1502220024-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

Just over 30 minutes into the Tokyo Marathon, 2014 Asian Games silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) was already showing strain on his face.  Around 12 km he suddenly fell back from the lead group never to return, finishing 25th in 2:16:25.  "Am I shocked?  I guess so..." he said in a thin voice post-race.  "I felt it in my legs right from the start."  In past races he has been able to pick it up partway through, but this time he was unable to focus and get into a steady rhythm.  "I just couldn't get it together today," he said.

Last year Matsumura was the top Japanese finisher in Tokyo, 8th in 2:08:09.  At the Asian Games he won the silver medal in the marathon.  Aware of his status as Japan's top current marathon, pre-race he enthusiastically said, "My goal is 2:07.  I want to live up to expectations."  But those same expectations may have become an "invisible pressure."  JAAF director of marathoning Takeshi Soh, one of the architects of both the Federation's sub-2:06:30 standard for the Beijing World Championships team and the National Team program that has overseen Matsumura and others since last April, commented, "I was concerned that he was overworking.  He went too far."

At the Asian Games Matsumura missed gold and a guaranteed place at the World Championships by 1 second.  With his performance in Tokyo his position has become precarious.  "I think it'll take me a little time to get it back together after this," he said.  Once a happy reminder of success, "Tokyo" now resonates with his humiliation.