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Japanese Elites to Debut at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

by Brett Larner

One month to the day from Arata Fujiwara's course-record win at the Ottawa Marathon, the organizers of the Sept. 26 Toronto Waterfront Marathon have announced that they will invite four Japanese athletes to this year's race as part of their International Team Challenge team competition. The Japanese contingent, the first in the history of the event, will consist of Yamada Denki women's team runners Ayumi Nakayama and Maki Suzawa and Honda men's team athletes Takashi Horiguchi and Minoru Okuda. Race director Alan Brookes commented, "This is the first time we'll have had elite Japanese athletes on our flat, fast course. We're delighted to welcome Team Japan, a strong team from one of the great marathon-running nations, to Toronto Waterfront for the first time, and expect them to do very well against teams from around the world."

Nakayama holds a PB of 2:28:50 from the 2008 Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Freezing rain at this year'…

2-Time Olympic Medalist Wainaina Wins Lake Saroma 100 km Ultra in Kenyan National Record Time

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010062700268
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/238878.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/100627/oth1006272249014-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In his first attempt at the distance, two-time Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Kenya) won the 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km ultramarathon in Hokkaido on June 27. Wainaina, the 1996 Olympic marathon bronze medalist and 2000 silver medalist, covered the certified course in a time of 6:39:52, with runner-up Noriyuki Araki (Wings AC) a short distance behind in 6:41:07. Tokyo-based Emi Matsushita, formerly Emi Iwasaki, took her second-straight and third-ever women's Saroma title with a time of 7:49:31.

Between the 50 km and 100 km divisions 3656 runners started the race. With temperatures reaching 30 degrees, only 1949 were able to complete their distance.

Translator's note: This is genuinely surprising news. Based on what I've been able to track down Wainai…

Tokai Wins National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

by Brett Larner



Tokai University took the top spot at the 2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier track meet June 26 at Tokyo's National Stadium. With the top six schools at last year's Nationals seeded for this year's championships on Nov. 7, other schools across the country must compete in regional qualifier meets this month to requalify. Consisting of four 10000 m heats of forty runners, each made up of two runners from twenty schools, the combined times of the eight runners from each school are used to determine the team scores at the Kanto Region Qualifier. The five fastest overall schools go on to Nationals.

Tokai came out first on a windy but rain-free evening thanks to strong showings from Heat Four sophomore aces Akinobu Murasawa and Tsubasa Hayakawa along with a Heat Three win from star frosh Daichi Motomura. Joining Tokai at Nationals will be Josai Univ., Kokushikan Univ., Teikyo Univ. and Nittai Univ. Takushoku Univ. missed out on making the cut de…

Fujimoto Gets Another Shot at the Top - National University Ekiden Qualifier

by Brett Larner
Little-known Kokushikan University junior Taku Fujimoto's win at last month's Kanto Regional University T&F Championships 5000 m was one of the meet's highlights. Sitting patiently behind the leaders throughout the race, Fujimoto rocketed away from favorite Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) with one lap to go to win in a sizeable PB of 13:38.68, exactly tying Murasawa's PB. After the race Murasawa challenged Fujimoto to repeat the feat this season over 10000 m. His chance comes this Saturday at the 2010 National University Ekiden Kanto Regional Qualifiers at Tokyo's National Stadium.
November's National University Ekiden is one of the peaks of the fall season. For schools which miss the top-scoring seeded bracket, late June means once more through the regional qualifiers. What makes the Kanto qualifiers one of the most entertaining events on the Japanese calendar is the format: four heats of 10000 m in one evening, each heat containing two r…

Kirui, Kipruto and Vega for Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner
If the preliminary announcement is to be believed, the organizers of the Sapporo International Half Marathon have done an outstanding job in setting up a strong field for this year's 53rd edition to be held July 4. Last year's race was expected to include Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), but his listing turned out to be only the empty promise of a promoter. This year's men's field is slated to include a handful of big names, and if all show Sapporo could be one of the best races of the summer.
Topping the overseas men's field are Berlin World Championships marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui and 2:05 marathoner Vincent Kipruto, both of Kenya, along with their Japan-resident sub-hour countrymen Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin), the 2009 Sapporo winner, and Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem), the course record holder and 2007-08 winner. Somewhat of a non-sequitur, American Antonio Vega rounds out the overseas men's field…

Technical Difficulties and Yesterday's News Today: Steamboat Classic 4 Miler and Grandma's Marathon

JRN's mobile unit sustained damage during our recent trip to cover Grandma's Marathon. Apologies in advance for irregular service over the next week as the laptop is repaired, and likewise apologies for delays in responding to email over the same period.
At Grandma's, diminutive 2010 Senshu International Marathon winner Chihiro Tanaka experienced difficulty with the prevail headwinds of the day and finished only 12th. Tanaka did pick up an award for first in the 40+ age group but overall was disappointed with her showing. Invited male athlete Toyokazu Yoshimura ran in the lead pack through halfway before experiencing sharp pain in his left knee and dropping precipitously back in the field.
Japanese runners had a better day at the Steamboat Classic 4-Miler, taking four of the top ten spots in the women's race. Women's results are reproduced below.
2010 Steamboat Classic 4-Miler - Top Women's Finishers click here for complete results 1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 19:…

Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet Results

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Shibetsu Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Nahom Mesfin (Ethiopia) - 28:07.80
2. Yoshinori Oda - 28:20.09
3. Daisuke Shimizu - 28:29.85

Women's 5000 m
1. Kazue Kojima - 15:47.55
2. Mai Ito - 15:48.35
3. Chieko Kido - 16:03.16

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Takayuki Matsumiya - 13:39.75
2. Tsuyoshi Ugachi - 13:42.50
3. Ryo Kiname - 13:54.54

Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Yushi Nowaki - 14:04.18
2. Yuki Moriwaki - 14:06.88
3. Jeon Eun Hoi (KOR) - 14:07.62

Women's 3000 m
1. Ayaka Mori - 9:26.39
2. Misaki Onishi - 9:27.06
3. Misako Suguro - 9:30.95

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Hokuren Distance Challenge Part II - Fukagawa

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m A-heat
1. Micah Njeru (Kenya) - 27:57.91
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya) - 27:59.59
3. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:01.54 - PB

Women's 10000 m
1. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 32:09.01
2. Remi Nakazato (Team Tenmaya) - 32:12.10
3. Aki Odagiri (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 32:43.45

Men's 10000 m B-heat
1. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 28:37.89
2. Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:38.99
3. Kenichi Jiromaru (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:42.17

Men's 10000 m C-Heat
1. Teruto Ozaki (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:56.82
2. Jeon Eun Hoi (South Korea) - 29:11.41
3. Ryuji Watanabe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 29:15.62

Men's 3000 m
1. Kazuki Hayashi - 8:08.46
2. Tomoya Shirayanagi - 8:08.65
3. Kosuke Murasashi - 8:08.82

Women's 3000 m
1. Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 9:12.74
2. Mai Ito - 9:17.41
3. Sayo Nomura - 9:24.51

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saroma 100 km to Carry On Amid Foot and Mouth Disease Fears

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/agriculture/236959.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

Afraid that the influx of runners and supporters would communicate the foot and mouth disease vector infecting cattle in southern Japan to their local herds, representatives of the Yubetsu Regional Agricultural Cooperative in northern Hokkaido had requested local government officials to cancel this year's 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon. On June 15 members of the Cooperative reached an agreement with the Kitami, Yubestu and Saroma municipal governments for the race to go ahead as planned on June 27.

In past years supporters and some runners had entered fields alongside the course without permission. Local ranchers are afraid that similar behavior from this year's runners, numbered at 3617, would help transmit the soil-borne foot and mouth disease pathogens. The Kitami municipal government proposed a rigorous plan for preventing inadvertent spread of the disease…

Hokuren Distance Challenge Sapporo Meet - Results

by Brett Larner

The six-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series of summer meets got underway June 14 in Sapporo. Held in towns across Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the Hokuren Distance Challenge has become an important part of the calendar for the hundreds of university and corporate runners who relocate to Hokkaido for summer base training to escape the heat. Top results of this year's Sapporo Meet are reproduced below.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Sapporo Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m A-Heat
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:25.18
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 13:42.50
3. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 13:44.43
4. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) - 13:45.66
5. Norio Kamijo (Team Aichi Steel) - 13:55.00

Women's 5000 m
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Ent.) - 15:15.27
2. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:41.96
3. Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:42.96
4. Maiko Kushima (Niigata Albirex AC) - 16:07.61
5.…

Seko to Support Japan in World Cup Game vs. Cameroon

http://southafrica2010.nikkansports.com/news/p-sc-tp2-20100613-640972.html

translated by Brett Larner

The former star of Japanese marathoning and now director of sports for Team S&B Toshihiko Seko, 53, is in South Africa to cheer for his former classmate at Waseda University, Japanese national soccer team head coach Takeshi Okada, in Japan's June 14 World Cup game versus Cameroon. Seko and Los Angeles Olympics judo gold medalist Yasuhiro Yamashita recently held a send-off party for Okada prior to the team's departure. "Okada's a very straightforward, serious guy," said Seko in support of his old friend. "He's the kind of guy who sticks to what he believes and doesn't care what people say about him. I want him to be himself out there. I think they can win. I want them to make it a good game. If it doesn't go well I want him to repay their airfare."

Local Residents Ask for Cancellation of Lake Saroma 100 km Over Foot and Mouth Disease Fears

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/donai/236194.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Out of fears of the foot and mouth disease which has broken among livestock on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu reaching their local stocks, local residents and agricultural corporation representatives asked town officials in Yubetsu on the northernmost island of Hokkaido on June 10 to cancel the 25th anniversary Lake Saroma 100 km ultramarathon. 3617 runners from across the nation are entered to compete in the event which is scheduled for June 27. Local official Yuji Tomozawa commented, "We've had more and more calls every day from local ranchers and residents asking that the race be cancelled," in explaining the request for the event's cancellation.

Although half the 100 km course is within the municipality of Yubetsu, it also passes through the towns of Kitami and Saroma. A number of cattle ranches and barns are located along the route. Local agricultural cooper…

Noguchi Aims to Make Comeback "Starting With a Half"

http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2010/06/11/0003080689.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Long off the field of battle and sitting on the sidelines, marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) attended a June 11 memorial service for Hanji Aoki, an honorary member of Rikuren's directory board and one of the luminaries of the Japanese athletics world. Asked about her condition, Noguchi told reporters "I'm back in training. It's not to the point where I can plan my next race. But anyway, my main focus is on getting my muscles back into the condition they used to be in."

At the memorial service Noguchi sat at the same table with the women who preceeded her as Olympic marathon medalists, Yuko Arimori and Naoko Takahashi. "We talked a bit," said Noguchi. "They told me that I have to make a comeback, that I can't keep on like this. I was really happy to hear such warm words of support coming from people like them. It makes me want to do it," she said with…

Planned New 'Tokyo Marathon Foundation' Pledged to be Corruption-Free

http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20100609ddlk13010254000c.html
http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00178713.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kanto/tokyo/100608/tky1006081853016-n1.htm

translated and edited by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

At the regular meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on June 8, Metropolitan Government officials held a public question and answer session with representatives of the four major political parties. Among the topics was the planned incorporation of a "Tokyo Marathon Foundation" to oversee management of the event's future. The Minshu Party questioned whether the Foundation would be merely "a cushy perk for upper-level bureaucrats leaving direct public service." Metropolitan officials explained, "The Foundation will serve to maintain the race's organization and thereby allow it to operate as a world-class marathon event. There will be no favoritism for government officials in obtaining positions i…

Miss International Queen 2009 to Run 100 km 'New Half Marathon'

http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/100609/gnf1006090505001-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

2009 Miss International Queen pageant winner Ai Haruna, 37, announced at a Tokyo-area press conference on June 8 that she intends to run a 100 km ultramarathon as part of Nihon TV's "24 Hour Television 33: Love Will Save the Earth" annual charity fundraiser on August 28 and 29. Haruna made the announcement after appearing on the TV program "Ten O'Clock Witches," nervously saying, "I'm pretty worried about it but I'll do my best." The 100 km event, which each year follows a celebrity runner over the course of the broadcast, became part of 24 Hour Television in 1992. Six women have taken part so far, but Haruna will be the first transsexual celebrity to have run.

Last year Haruna undertook a strict diet and exercise regimen to get into shape for the Miss International Queen "new half" transsexual and transgender beauty pageant, becoming the even…

Shibui and Ohira 1-2 in New York (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update 6/9/10: It seems the original results listing on the Japan Run website was incorrect and that Ohira actually finished 1st, with Shibui 2nd. Currently awaiting confirmation that this was the case.

Guest runners Yoko Shibui and Miki Ohira of Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo went an easy 1-2 at the Japan Run 4-Miler in New York's Central Park, part of the June 6 Japan Day festivities. The pair's times of 22:49 and 23:23 were unremarkable and far slower than their marathon paces, but at least in Shibui's case the run was noteworthy in that it was her first race since December's National Jitsugyodan Ekiden Championships and only her second since sustaining a stress fracture after last summer's San Francisco Marathon. She is evidently back on her feet, but whether 10000 m national record holder Shibui is back in one piece remains to be seen.

2010 Japan Run 4-Miler - Top Women
click here for complete results
1. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 22:49

Fukushi Doubles - Japanese National Championships Day Three

by Brett Larner

Strong winds meant slower times than anticipated across the board on the final day of the 2010 Japanese National Track and Field Championships, but many races nevertheless saw unexpected and dramatic results. Both sprint finals featured upset wins. In the women's 200 m, Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) finally got the better of the marginally more talented national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido HiTec AC), her strong finish finally overcoming Fukushima's faster start as she muscled out a win by 0.01 seconds in the final steps of the straight. Defending men's 100 m national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) finally got the title for real, beating Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) after gaining last year's title be default when Tsukahara withdrew before the final.

In the women's 5000 m, Kenyan Ann Karindi (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) took the top spot, while national record holder Kayoko Fukushi came 2nd…

Japanese National T&F Championships - Day Two Results

by Brett Larner

2010 National T&F Championships - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 1500 m - final
1. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:45.76
2. Masahiro Takaya (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:45.81
3. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 3:46.15

Women's 1500 m - final
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 4:18.68
2. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) - 4:19.91
3. Yukari Nomura (Chuo Univ.) - 4:20.98

Women's 400 m - final
1. Chisato Tanaka (Fukuoka Univ.) - 54.46
2. Sayaka Aoki (Team Natureal) - 54.56
3. Asami Chiba (Team Natureal) - 54.64

Men's 200 m - final(+1.2 m/s wind)
1. Kenji Fujimitsu (Team Seiren) - 20.38 - PB
2. Mitsuhiro Abiko (Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.74
3. Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) - 20.80

Women's 100 m - final (+0.9 m/s wind)
1. Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido HiTec AC) - 11.30
2. Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) - 11.39
3. Mayumi Watanabe (Team Natureal) - 11.66

Men's 3000 mSC - final
1. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 8:47.61
2. Jun Shinoto (Team Sa…

Fukushi and Takezawa Win 10000 m at National Championships

by Brett Larner

The 2010 Japanese National Track and Field Championships got underway June 4 in Marugame, Kagawa prefecture. At stake for competitors this year are places on the Japanese national team for November's Asian Games. The first day of competition saw the women's and men's 10000 m.

In the women's 10000 m, multiple past national champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) returned to the top for the first time in three years. Fukushi ran the entire race alone and unchallenged, taking it out in 3:06 for the first km with no one even near. Fukushi finished in 31:47.56, her closest competition over half a lap behind as Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) came 2nd in 32:31.64. Defending champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), still working her way back from a marathon PB in London at the end of April, was 3rd in 32:36.32.

The men's 10000 m was more dramatic if slower. Young pro Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and university star Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) alternated t…

Haile and Arata

The New York Road Runners held a press conference June 2 at Icahn Stadium as part of a National Running Day event to announce that Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie and Japan's #1 marathoner, Arata Fujiwara, will run this year's ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7. JRN was there to cover the event. One of the better birthdays I've had.















all photos (c) 2010 Yasunori Sakamaki
all rights reserved

Arata Fujiwara to Run ING New York City Marathon

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010060200286

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Following his course-record win at the May 30 Ottawa Marathon, Berlin World Championships marathoner Arata Fujiwara announced on June 1 that he will run the Nov. 7 ING New York City Marathon. Speaking at a press conference in New York following a tour of the marathon's hilly course, Fujiwara told members of the media, "I think the Ottawa Marathon was the perfect experience to be ready for the ING New York City Marathon."

Fujiwara will be the best Japanese man to have ever run in New York, the only major marathon to have never had a Japanese winner. "I've always wanted to run the ING New York City Marathon because it's the most famous marathon in the world and this where all the great runners come," he said at the press conference. "You have to win here to be the best." He also plans to run July's Sapporo International Half Marathon as part of his prepa…