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Hakone Ekiden Entry Lists

Entry lists are out for Japan's biggest and best road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. 21 university teams from around the Tokyo area will field ten runners from the sixteen on their entry list, each runner taking on roughly a half marathon length over the ten-stage race.

2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University is the class of the field, one of only five teams to enter all ten of its best athletes and the only one with ten-runner averages under 14 minutes for 5000 m, under 29 for 10000 m and 1:03 for the half marathon. At all three distances its averages are slightly better than Aoyama Gakuin University's were last year when AGU won its third-straight Hakone title, and no other school even comes closer over the most relevant distance, the half marathon. It has never won Hakone, but this year it's Tokai's race to lose.

AGU has been hit by injury troubles this year, losing in both Izumo and the National University Ekiden and missing several key members from its Hakon…
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Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Maeda, Ohara Purdue and Bulo Lead Dec. 30 Sanyo Ladies Road Race

The organizers of the Sanyo Ladies Road Race have announced the elite fields for this year's 36th running on Dec. 23, a selection race for the women's national team for next March's World Half Marathon Championships in Spain. Honami Maeda (21, Tenmaya), winner of August's Hokkaido Marathon, and London World Championships team members Miyuki Uehara (22, Daiichi Seimei) and Mao Kiyota (24, Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) lead the list of young hopefuls for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team who will grace Okayama's streets.

All three will run the half marathon, where they will face last year's winner Rei Ohara (Tenmaya). Also entered are 2015 Beijing World Championships 5000 m team member Azusa Sumi (21, Univ. Ent.), Ayaka Fujimoto (20, Kyocera) who earlier this year ran 2:27:08 at the Tokyo Marathon to become Japan's fastest-ever teen marathoner, and 2017 World XC Championships team member Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal). London World Championships marathon 13th-placer Charlotte Purdu…

Tough Teens Top Time Trials - Ishida and Endo Reach for Record Runs at Nittai

Along with the Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler, this weekend's Nittai University Time Trials formed one of the key tuneups for the upcoming National Junior High School Ekiden, National High School Ekiden, New Year Ekiden and Hakone Ekiden championship races. Following up on his 1500 m and 3000 m junior high school national records in September and October, 9th-grader Kosuke Ishida (Asakawa J.H.S.) delivered the biggest news of the meet as he took 4 seconds off the 5000 m junior high school record with a new mark of 14:32.44 for 6th in #39 of Sunday's 45 heats of men's 5000 m.



In Heat 45, Muthoni Muiri (Soka University) added a quality 5000 m time to his 27:38.05 in last weekend's Hachioji Long Distance 10000 m A-heat, winning in a PB of 13:32.42. Former high school star Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko), who turned 19 this year, followed a successful corporate ekiden debut last month with a 13:38.79 PB for 6th, ranking him all-time #5 among Japanese juniors. 17-year-old Ren Tazawa (…