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Fukushima Breaks Own 100 m National Record at Oda Memorial Meet

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/p-sp-tp0-20100430-624039.html

translated by Brett Larner

At the 44th Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet at Hiroshima's Big Arch Stadium on Apr. 29, sprinter Chisato Fukushima (21, Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) broke her own national record by 0.03 seconds, running 11.21 for her third-straight record. With a strong spring ahead of her, Fukushima's sights are set on breaking the record again and becoming the first Japanese woman to break 11. "Today was only about 70 or 80%," she said after the race. "I'm getting closer to a 10 one step at a time."

It was a convincing victory. After finishing 1st in her heat Fukushima immediately opened a 5 m lead on rival Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) in the final and held that margin all the way to the end. When the electric display showed her time the 12000 people in attendance erupted into cheers and applause. "I was surprised too," Fukushima laughed. "That was …

Karoki, Moges Win Oda Memorial 5000 m

by Brett Larner

In high winds, Kenyan Bitan Karoki (Team S&B) took his first win in his new team colors as he ran 13:48.17 in the men's 5000 m at the 44th Oda Memorial Track and Field Meet on Apr. 29. Last month Karoki graduated from Sera High School to take a place with the elite Team S&B. Interestingly, the runner-up in the Oda Memorial 5000 m was his succesor at Sera, Kenyan Charles Durango, who clocked 13:58.15. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) finished 3rd in 14:04.70 over Kenyan Samuel Ganga (Team Mazda).

The women's 5000 m was a closer-pitched battle, turning into a three-way sprint finish. Ethiopian Betelhem Moges (Team Denso) came out on top in 15:38.70, with Kenyans Felista Wanjugu (Team Universal Entertainment) and Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) just a step behind. Just behind, Hitomi Niiya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) outleaned Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) for 4th.

2010 Oda Memorial Track & Field Meet - Top Finishers
click event for complete …

"The Things You Can Only Learn From Firsthand Experience" - Kiyoko Shimahara on What Needs to Change for Japanese Women

Part two of JRN's exclusive interview with Hokkaido Marathon course record holder, 2008 Honolulu Marathon winner and 2010 Asian Games Japanese national team member Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) is now available in our JRNPremium subscription series. Shimahara talked to JRN shortly before her recent run at the Nagano Marathon about her training, life in Albuquerque, the flaws in the Japanese corporate team system and the Japanese national team selection process. It's a great read and one available only to subscribers. To subscribe, click here. Subscribers click here to log in.

Upcoming issues:

May: Japan's first Kenyan high school runner Stephen Mayaka, now a Japanese citizen and head coach of Sozo Gakuen University's ekiden team, in a solid gold one-on-one.

June: One half of the partnership responsible for discovering and bringing Kenyans including Samuel Wanjiru to Japan, Tsutomu Akiyama looks back on what his work has accomplished.

July: At the peak of the summer Hak…

Reiko Tosa Gives Birth to Baby Girl

http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/other-games/20100426-OYO8T00354.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Two-time Olympian and double World Championships marathon medalist Reiko Tosa (33, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) gave birth to her first child, a girl, Apr. 25 in her hometown of Matsuyama. Tosa issued a statement which said, "The delivery was way worse than a marathon, but in the end my daughter was born healthy so I'm very happy." Tosa retired from professional following last year's Tokyo Marathon. Her husband, Matsuyama Univ. track and field team coach Keiichi Marui (36) commented, "Even as a 'mama-san runner' it was our dream as a couple for Reiko to run the marathon. Now that it has come to that, we'll look at the possibilities for her to keep running."

Akaba 6th in PB at London Marathon (updated)

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/100426/spg1004261040004-n1.htm
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/100425/spg1004252333011-n1.htm
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010042500237

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At Sunday's London Marathon, 2009 World Championships marathoner Yukiko Akaba (30, Team Hokuren) broke her PB as she finished 6th in 2:24:55. Mari Ozaki (34, Team Noritz) was 9th, while 2009 World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (28, Team Daiichi Seimei) was 13th. On the men's side, 2009 World Championships marathoner Satoshi Irifune (34, Team Kanebo) was 16th while 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) was 23rd. Both Irifune and Matsumiya ran the first half in the lead pack close to national record pace. Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) won the men's race in 2:05:19 while Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) took the women's race in a PB of 2:22:00.

After her disastrous runs at the Wor…

Yoshimoto Makes a Big Debut, Thuo Runs World Leading Time at Hyogo Relay Carnival Day Two

by Brett Larner

In the grand prix events on day two of the 2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival, Bukkyo Univ. third-year Hikari Yoshimoto showed that her anchor stage win at last November's International Chiba Ekiden was no fluke as she nearly ran down winner Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) in the women's 10000 m and set a new national university record in the process. Fukushi, the 3000 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holder, won in a solid 31:29.03. Yoshimoto, in her first track 10000 m, was just steps behind in 31:30.92, a time which broke the 15 year-old Japanese university record and which would have put her in the top 20 worldwide last year. The pair outran top-ranked Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi), who was 3rd in a PB of 31:37.07. The trio's times were the 2nd, 3rd and 4th-fastest in the world so far this year and no other women broke 32:15, making Yoshimoto's debut all the more impressive.

In the men's 10000 m John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota) outkicked Japanes…

High Schoolers Nishiike and Shinjo sub-14 MR at Hyogo Relay Carnival Day Two

by Brett Larner

Suma Gakuen H.S. senior Kazuto Nishiike brought his best to the second day of the 2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival on Apr. 24, taking 10 seconds off his own meet record in the high school boys' 5000 m with a PB 13:58.68. Surprisingly, Nishiike was not alone as Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. senior Shota Shinjo was close behind, just sneaking under 14 minutes with a 13:59.61 PB which likewise cleared the old meet record. The high school girls' 3000 m was leisurely by comparison as Nishiike's teammates Mika Kobayashi and Keiko Osako went 1-2, Kobayashi winning in 9:45.32.

The Hyogo Relay Carnival continues the afternoon of Apr. 25 with the Grand Prix 1500 m and 10000 m A-heats.

2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival Day Two - Top Finishers
click here for complete results or event header for individual event results

High School Boys' 5000 m
1. Kazuto Nishiike (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 13:58.68 - MR, PB
2. Shota Shinjo (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 13:59.61 - MR, PB
3. Hayato Yamada (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.…

Makau, Notagashira Take Asics Challenge

by Brett Larner

The 2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival got underway on Apr. 24 with the sprints and Asics Challenge distance events.

In the Asics Challenge 10000 m, the weekend's men's 10000 m B-heat, Kenyan Nicholas Makau (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) easily defeated Keita Akiba (Team Komori Corp.) and Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) but was more than 45 seconds off Samuel Wanjiru's B-heat meet record from 2005. Miho Notagashira (Team Wacoal), teammate of national record holder Kayoko Fukushi, won the Asics Challenge women's 5000 m by a few strides over Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) in 15:54.48.

The Hyogo Relay Carnival continues on Apr. 25 with the high school races and Grand Prix 1500 m and 10000 m A-heats.

2010 Hyogo Relay Carnival Day One - Top Finishers
click here for complete results or event header for individual event results

Asics Challenge Men's 10000 m
1. Nicholas Makau (Kenya/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 28:18.94
2. Keita Akiba (Team Komori Corp.) - 28:34.42
3. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team …

2010 Brutus Hamilton Invitational Results

by Brett Larner

Quick results from the distance events at the 2010 Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, CA.

2010 Brutus Hamilton Invitational - Top Finishers
click here for complete results or event header for individual events

Men's 10000 m

1. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:27.93
2. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 28:36.86 - PB
3. Takeshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 28:40.23
-----
6. Yusuke Hasegawa (Jobu Univ.) - 28:58.63

Men's 5000 m

1. Galen Rupp (Unattached) - 13:32.53
2. Juan Carlos Romero (Nike German Silva) - 13:34.27
3. Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) - 13:47.30
-----
5. Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:54.15
9. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 14:07.59
11. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 14:15.99

Women's 3000 m

1. Amy Begley (Nike Oregon) - 8:53.73
2. Malindi Elmore (Unattached ) - 8:57.97
3. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:01.39
-----
9. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:17.08

Men's 3000 mSC

1. Steve Strickland (Utah State) - 8:42.97
2. Gilbert Limo (Texas …

'Ozaki Looking for Lifetime Best'

http://lrn.london-marathon.com/ozaki-looking-lifetime-best/

Note: In its London preview, American fan website letsrun.com inexplicably calls Ozaki, the 2009 World Championships silver medalist, a 'wanna-be.' It also incorrectly claims that she has never won a major marathon despite then listing her 2:23:30 win, which came at the 2008 Tokyo International Women's Marathon, one of the world's premier elite women's races, rather than the 2008 Tokyo Marathon as suggested in the website's preview. In her Tokyo International Women's Marathon win Ozaki beat London entrants Mara Yamauchi (GBR) and Svetlana Zakharova (RUS), 2009 Boston Marathon winner Salina Kosgei (Kenya), 2009 New York City Marathon winner Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia), 2:19 woman / 2009 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yoko Shibui (Team Mistui Sumitomo Kaijo) and 2009 World Championships team member / 2010 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC).

Besides …

Watch the Japanese Broadcast of the London Marathon Live Online

With a significant number of Japanese runners in the field, TV Tokyo will be broadcasting this year's London Marathon live. Scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Japan time on Apr. 25, it appears that the broadcast will begin 30 minutes after the start of the elite women's race but will otherwise show the race in its entirety. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free using Keyhole TV. To download Keyhole TV and for directions on how to use it, click here.

Yoshimi Ozaki Targeting 2:21 in London

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20100407007.html

translated by Brett Larner

On the verge of taking up the title of Japanese women's marathoning ace, Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) is running the Apr. 25 London Marathon for the first time. At the National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships in Yamaguchi on Mar. 21 she was 2nd overall and the top Japanese finisher, indicating that everything has gone smoothly with her preparations. Hoping to run a 2:21 PB in her first time at the world's fastest race, she says confidently, "My target time is in reach."

In just her third marathon Ozaki won the silver medal at last August's World Championships in Berlin, giving a tremendous boost to her self-confidence. The 28 year old Ozaki has been "doing 50 m repeats at top speed and working as hard as I can on being able to surge during the race." With the results of a high-quality training camp in hand she is eagerly looking forward to reaping th…

Mathathi and Ndambiri to Battle Sunday at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner

The second big Japanese meet of the season takes place this weekend at the 58th Hyogo Relay Carnival. The main draw in the distance events is Sunday's grand prix 10000 m A-heat. On the men's side sub-27 men Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) and Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) will once again be pushing each other into new territory as they go after Mathathi's meet record of 27:08.42 from 2005. They'll have company in the form of sub-28 minute men John Thuo (Kenya/Team Toyota), Jeilan Ibrahim (Ethiopia/ Team Honda), Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem), Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku), Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu).

The women's 10000 m is should be a solo run for 3000 m, 5000 m and half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), but Julia Mumbi (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment), Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) and a number of other top Ja…

Japanese Entrants for 2010 Brutus Hamilton Invitational

by Brett Larner

Stanford University's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational has long been a staple on the Japanese spring track calendar, with both the current men's and women's 10000 m national records set on the Stanford track. Beginning last year, however, the focus has shifted to include Berkeley's Brutus Hamilton Invitational thanks in part to the involvement of the NYRR Distance Carnival. This year the cream of the crop is headed north to Berkeley.

The man to watch will be Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) in the 10000 m. At last year's Brutus Hamilton Invitational Sato ran his PB of 27:38.25, the all-time third-fastest Japanese men's time and just three seconds off the national record, after running 13:48.71 at the Mt. SAC Relays. At last week's Mt. SAC Sato ran a comfortable 13:44.70, kicking the last lap with ease. Taken together, an attempt on the national record of 27:35.09 looks likely if Sato has the competition to push him. Four other Japanese men …

Akaba Leaves for London, Ozaki to Follow

http://www.nikkei.com/sports/news/article/g=96958A9C81818A9996E2E1E5E38DE0E3E2E6E0E2E3E2E2E2E2E2E2E2;da=96958A88889DE2E0E3EAEAE5E6E2E0E3E3E0E0E2E2EBE2E2E2E2E2E2

translated by Brett Larner

With the re-opening of London's Heathrow Airport following the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland which has disrupted travel across Europe, Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) was able to secure departure on a flight on Apr. 21 to compete in the Apr. 25 London Marathon. Despite all the confusion over travel to Europe, she continued to train while waiting for a flight. "This is the first time in a long time that I'll be going to the start line without any injury worries," a happy Akaba told reporters. "If I sit in the lead pack until 30 km then I think I'm going to drop a PB."

Unable to fly on her planned departure date of Apr. 20, World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) was also able to secure a seat on a flight and will travel to London on Apr…

Rikuren to Introduce Female Pacemakers to Women's Marathons

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20100416k0000m050048000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

On April 15 Rikuren announced that as part of an effort to strengthen Japan's future marathoners it will begin using young Japanese athletes as pacemakers in next year's World Championships selection edition Osaka, Yokohama and Nagoya International Women's Marathons. It will be the first time the races have made use of pacemakers. The move is intended to give up-and-coming athletes the experience of running in a major marathon and the feeling of running competitive marathon speed.

Rikuren also announced that it will be sending a crew of sprinters to the U.K.'s Loughborough University for a training camp intended to give them increased experience in an international environment.

Ozaki and Akaba Likely to Withdraw From London Marathon

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2010/04/20/17.html

translated by Brett Larner

With airspace closures due to the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland creating travel headaches across Europe, the planned appearances of Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and other Japanese elites at Sunday's London Marathon is looking less and less likely, with a worst-case scenario of withdrawal becoming probable. Ozaki's coach Sachiko Yamashita told reporters, "We have a way for her to get to Europe via the United States, but we don't want to do this complicated land travel that everyone is talking about." Akaba's coach Shuhei Akaba commented, "We were supposed to leave on the 21st, but that's impossible now. We can get to Europe through the U.S. but all the trains and buses to England are full. We're just waiting for something to open up."

Nakamura 7th in Boston Marathon

http://www.topics.or.jp/worldNews/worldSports/2010/04/2010041901000933.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 114th Boston Marathon on April 19th, Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) finished 7th overall with a time of 2:30:40. Teyba Erkesso (Ethiopia) won in 2:26:11, while Robert Cheruiyot (Kenya) set a course record 2:05:52 in his first Boston win.

Since the Beijing Olympics Nakamura has focused on her track speed, meaning Boston was her first marathon in one year and eight months. Nakamura led most of the first half of the race but fell behind the leaders when Erkesso and two other Ethiopians surged away at 20 km. Last year's winner Salina Kosgei (Kenya) was 3rd.

Men's 60+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods AC) had a disappointing day, 2nd in his age group in 2:56:30. In the wheelchair race Wakako Tsuchida took her 4th straight title in 1:43:32, while Kota Hokinoue was the top Japanese man, 3rd in 1:27:05.

Australian Weightman and Kenyan Chelimo win Nagano Marathon

http://www.shinmai.co.jp/news/20100418/KT100418IWI090006000022.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 12th Nagano Olympics Commemorative Marathon on April 18th, Australian Lisa Weightman ran a PB of 2:28:48 to win the women's race, while Kenyan Nicholas Chelimo ran 2:10:24 to take men's marathon, missing the course record by less than 10 seconds. After a freak snowstorm the day before the race, temperatures at the start were 12.5 degrees.

In the women's race Weightman led an early pack with Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and Irene Limika (Kenya). Weightman made a move to break away only 17 km into the race and ran the remaining 25 km alone to become the first Australian winner in Nagano history. Defending champion Irina Timofeyeva experienced problems with her right thigh and was unable to maintain contact with the leaders. Eri Hayakawa (Amino Vital AC) overtook Shimahara to finish as the top Japanese runner in 3rd overall.

In the men's race the lead pack boil…

Yuki Sato Setting Up for 10000 m NR? - Mt. SAC 2010

by Brett Larner

For the second year in a row, 13:23.57 man Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) stepped down to the 5000 m B-heat at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, CA. Last year Sato ran his pro debut at Mt. SAC, clocking an undistinguished 13:48.71 and finishing 3rd. Not until the following week, when he clocked an almost identical split for the first half of the Brutus Hamilton Invitational 10000 m on his way to a 27:38.25 PB three seconds off the Japanese national record, was it clear that Mt. SAC was only a pace run and not an indication that he was in poor shape. At this year's Mt. SAC Relays on Apr. 16 Sato won the B-heat 5000 m in 13:44.70, blowing out the rest of the field by over 3 seconds over the last 400 m after keeping himself comfortable in 2nd for the entire race. Sato is also on the entry list for next weekend's Brutus Hamilton Invitational 10000 m, raising the question of whether he is planning on going for the national record of 27:35.09. We'll know on the 23rd…

Kiyoko Shimahara on Failure, Success and Sunday's Nagano Marathon

The friendliest person in Japanese marathoning, Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) is the favorite for Sunday's Nagano Marathon. The course record holder at the Hokkaido and Katsuta marathons, she won a silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games and finished 6th in the 2007 Osaka World Championships marathon.

Shimahara sat down with JRN recently during her buildup to Nagano to talk about last fall's remarkable season where she ran a PB of 2:25:10 and two other sub-2:30 marathons in just over 100 days, about her views on racing internationally and domestically, and the problems facing young Japanese women in distance running.

It's an interview in turns funny, insightful and scathing, and it's available only through JRNPremium. Click here to subscribe to read it and other first-rate interviews with the top people in Japanese distance running. If you're already a subscriber, click here to log in.

photo (c) 2009 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved

Yurika Nakamura on the Frontlines in Boston (updated)

http://mytown.asahi.com/hyogo/news.php?k_id=29000141003310002

translated by Brett Larner

Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) is running Monday's Boston Marathon, only her third attempt at the distance. In her last marathon Nakamura was the only Japanese woman to finish the Beijing Olympics, where she was 13th. She vowed to work on her track speed before returning to the marathon. At last summer's World Championships she was one of the highlights of the Japanese team, with three PBs in three starts on the track over 5000 and 10000 m and unafraid to lead each of her races. With only a 2:25 PB from her 2008 debut Nakamura is unlikely to attract much pre-race attention, but the simple fact that she is there says she feels ready for something big in Boston. The local Hyogo edition of the asahi.com website recently published this interview with Nakamura.

Asahi.com: When you were a child you weren't a particularly fast runner.
Nakamura: I loved playing kick the can and hide and seek, but …

Mathathi and Mogusu Set to Go For Wanjiru's Record in Sendai

by Brett Larner

The Sendai International Half Marathon has announced the lineup for this year's 20th anniversary edition on May 9. The top end of the men's field promises a great duel as sub-27 10000 m man and 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) makes his half marathon debut against three-time sub-hour half marathoner Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem). Their goal will no doubt be not just the win but Samuel Wanjiru's course and Japanese all-comers record of 59:43, a target that has so far eluded Mogusu by as little as 5 seconds.

With a mixed field of Japanese elites, Japan-resident Africans and Japanese university men there are too many noteworthy runners to mention, but other names on the entry list include 2010 Asian Games marathon team member Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN), multiple World Half Marathon national team member Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko), Tokyo Marathon 4th placer Yuki Kawauchi (unatt.), Kenyans James Mwangi

Teaching the Masters

Spring is here. With it comes the April issue of our new subscription series JRNPremium. This month's issues features an interview with Kiyoko Shimahara, the 2009 Hokkaido Marathon winner who broke 2:30 three times in just over 100 days last fall. Shimahara is running Sunday's Nagano Marathon and was just named to the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games. We talked to her about what happened last fall, her training this spring, and her views on national teams, racing overseas, and what's wrong with the corporate team system. Look for Shimahara's interview tomorrow.

Also out now, as a companion piece to editor-in-chief Jonathan Beverley's interview with Kenya's Samuel Wanjiru, the May, 2010 issue of Running Times magazine includes my article "Teaching the Masters" which looks at the history of African distance runners in Japan. For the article I interviewed Tsutomu Akiyama, one of the men responsible for bringing Samuel Wanjiru to the w…

5:45 This Morning

Team Tepco does a group tempo run at 5:45 a.m. in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. The team's coach, 1991 World Championships marathon gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi, follows on a bike.


photos (c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Mesfin and Kobayashi 1500 m MR at Kanaguri Memorial

by Brett Larner

Ethiopian Nahom Mesfin (Team Kanebo) and 1500 m national record holder Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) got the track season started off with a duel over 1500 m at the Kanaguri Memorial Track Meet April 10 in Kumamoto. With a PB performance Mesfin came out a step ahead as both runners broke Kobayashi's 5 year old meet record. Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) fell 0.11 seconds short of the women's 1500 m meet record but still set a PB of 4:09.41 and beat national record holder and teammate Yuriko Kobayashi by 9 seconds.

The other meet record of the day came in the high school boys' 5000 m, where Takashi Ichida (Kumamoto H.S.) ran 14:11.75 to break the existing meet record by 6.5 seconds. The old record holder, Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.), made his university debut in the men's 5000 m where he was 8th in a creditable PB of 13:53.20. Kenyan Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) took an unsurprising win in the men's 5000 m as Kenyans went 1-2-3. On…

2010 Track Season Starts With Kanaguri Memorial Meet

by Brett Larner

The 2010 Japanese track season starts tomorrow at Kumamoto's Kanaguri Memorial Track and Field Meet, named after Japan's first Olympic marathoner Shizo Kanaguri. Many of the country's top pro, university and high school runners will open their seasons in the meet's 5000 m and 1500 m events.

The men's 5000 m may be the most competitive of the meet, with top Japanese-based Kenyan Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) and three of the best young Japanese runners, Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) and Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B). Along with Mitsuya, Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) will be looking for a good season-starter after a failed marathon debut. Kenyan high school student Titus Waruru (Chinzai H.S.) doesn't have a strong PB but has been tearing up the high school road circuit over the last year and could run something big.

The women's 5000 m is likely to be a battle between Ethiopian Betelhem Moges (Team Den…

High School National Champion Kenyan Deported

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20100408-00000003-maip-soci

translated by Brett Larner

Wysela Wylim, 18, a member of Toyokawa High School's 2008 National High School Girls Ekiden-winning ekiden team who disappeared from the school soon afterwards, was deported back to her native Kenya on April 8. Wylem's student visa expired in September last year. In February this year she appeared at the Nagoya Immigration Office to apply for a special extension for her visa. She was immediately arrested and put in the Immigration Office's accompanying prison. Her dream, "I want to run for a Japanese corporate team someday," was left unrealized.

As a 2nd-year at Toyokawa H.S. Wylem went home to Kenya for winter holidays in January 2009. While there her house was robbed and her passport was stolen. Waiting for a new passport, she was unable to return to Japan until April 20. In her absence, when she did not arrive for the start of the new academic year in early April Toyokawa H.S…

'Tokyo Runner One of the First Selected for ING NYC Marathon'

A NYRR press release for immediate release:

Keflezighi, Kastor Announce Return to 2010 ING New York City Marathon on Live Lottery Stream Show

Flurry of Activities Surround “I’m In. We’re In.” Marketing Platform to Help Launch Seven-Month Countdown to Race


A record 120,000 apply for November 7 race; Victoria Salbu of Oslo is first lottery runner announced

New York, April 7, 2010—Americans Meb Keflezighi, the ING New York City Marathon 2009 champion, and Deena Kastor, the nation’s finest female long distance runner of the past decade, were announced for this year’s ING New York City Marathon, along with the first runners selected from the lottery, by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg on Wednesday, April 7, in the first-ever live streaming of the lottery selection.

The lottery show, seen at www.nyrr.org, was hosted by veteran sports announcer Bruce Beck and Wittenberg from the Parker Meridien Hotel overlooking Central Park. The announcement is accompanied by a flurry of …

Ominami Twins Head Home to Team Fukui

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20100405121.html

translated by Brett Larner

Masahiko Takahashi, former head coach of Team Toyota Shatai which formally disbanded at the end of March, revealed on Apr. 5 that his twin star runners Hiromi and Takami Ominami will return to their hometown of Fukui to start a new club team. The three hope that the provisionally-titled "Team Fukui" will become a new model to help raise the level of track and field within Fukui prefecture.

As of this month both athletes have relocated to Tokyo, where they are looking for an office and new sponsors to help them in their mission to improve their hometown athletics. Coach Takahashi commented, "There will always be the Fukui Prefecture Sports Day for many years to come, so we are keen to get started with creating Team Fukui."

New 2010 Jitsugyodan Men: Two World XC Champs Land in Japan

by Brett Larner

April 1 marks the start of the Japanese fiscal and academic year. This year's round of university graduates and transfers from other teams are now settling in to their new homes around the country. Below is a list of many of the best new men joining corporate teams this season. Click for a larger version.

2010 New Year Ekiden national champion Team Nissin Shokuhin picks up a major score in 2010 World XC Junior Men's winner Caleb Ndiku (Kenya), a replacement for Olympian Julius Gitahi (Kenya). It will be interesting to see how Ndiku fares compared to the team's current #1 Kenyan, Gideon Ngatuny. Nissin rescues Komazawa Univ. grad Hideyuki Anzai from the disbanded Team JAL Ground Service.

Team Honda likewise picks up a World XC Junior Men's champion, 2008 winner Ibrahim Jelian (Ethiopia), and a JAL survivor, Ryosuke Fukuyama, and should maintain its spot near the top of the hierarchy. Perennially strong Team Asahi Kasei lands two top recruits, Komazawa'…

Nagano Marathon Announces Elite Field (updated)

http://www.shinmai.co.jp/news/20100401/a-4.htm
http://www.naganomarathon.gr.jp/modules/bulletin/article.php?storyid=108

translated by Brett Larner

On Mar. 31 the organizing committee of the 12th Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon announced the 34 athletes in the elite field for this year's edition on Apr. 18. Nicholas Chelimo (Kenya) tops the men's field with a PB of 2:07:46. Nagano prefecture marathon record holder Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S. AC) is also scheduled to run. Defending women's champion Irina Timofeyeva (Russia) returns and will face Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), who was just named to the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games in Guanzhou, China.

Translator's note: Issue 3 of JRNPremium features an exclusive interview with Shimahara and will be published next week. Click here for more information.

2010 Nagano Marathon - Elite Field
click here for complete elite field listing
Men
Nicholas Chelimo (Kenya) - 2:07:46 (Amsterdam '09)
S…

Martin Mathathi Planning Debut Half Marathon and Marathon

http://www.shizushin.com/sports_news/shizuoka/20100402000000000020.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On Apr. 1 Suzuki launched a new track and field team, "Suzuki Hamamatsu AC," to replace its former corporate-league Team Suzuki. The new club is officially registered with Rikuren, allowing its members to compete in the National Championships, the Japan Grand Prix Series and other national-level events as well as to shoot for national team membership at the World Championships, Asian Games and Olympics.

The club consists of 25 athletes including 2009 World Championships men's javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami and women's javelin team member Yuki Ebihara. The men's distance squad, always powerful at past years' New Year Ekiden, will now be turning its sights toward the marathon. 2007 World Championships men's 10000 m bronze medalist and 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya) is planning to run his debut half marathon this season wit…

Arata Fujiwara Quits JR Team to Go Independent

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/100401/oth1004011944017-n1.htm
http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20100402k0000m050045000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Arata Fujiwara, 28, the runner-up at February's Tokyo Marathon and a member of last summer's World Championships marathon squad, quit his position and job with the JR Higashi Nihon jitsugyodan corporate team on March 31. As of April 1 Fujiwara is no longer part of the jitsugyodan system and will instead pursue his hopes of a successful running career as an independent. Athletes such as 400 m hurdler Dai Tamesue (APF) train and compete without a coach or team, but in the distance running world it is an unheard-of move for a competitive athlete to go independent.

According to JR East Japan head coach Tetsuji Iwase, Fujiwara is very strongly motivated to pursue his own route to the London Olympics. "Over the last six months we tried to persuade him to stay, but he told us, ' It has been my d…

After 59 Years Asahi Kasei Women's Team Disappears

http://mytown.asahi.com/miyazaki/news.php?k_id=46000001004010004

translated by Brett Larner

A longtime home for top women over the past 59 years, on the first day of the new fiscal year today Asahi Kasei's women's team is no more. With the departure of members Yukiko Matsubara and Yukari Soh and no new women joining, the guiding light of the women's team has simply gone out. Matsubara is retiring from the sport, while Soh, the daughter of head coach Takeshi Soh, will continue working at the Asahi Kasei company and running on her own.

The Asahi Kasei track and field team was founded in 1946 in Nobeoka, Kyushu with a women's team added five years later. The team initially consisted primarily of sprinters, but over time its emphasis shifted to longer distances and it began to produce international-level athletes. 1988 Seoul Olympics marathoner Misako Miyahara, 1993 Stuttgart World Championships marathon bronze medalist and 100 km world record holder Tomoe Abe, and Olympian a…