Tuesday, April 30, 2013

'Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose Apologizes for Comments Critical of Istanbul'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/tokyo-governor-naoki-inose-apologizes-for-comments-critical-of-istanbul/2013/04/30/15030f1e-b161-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html

Tokyo 2020 Bid Chairman Inose on NYT Report of His Criticism of Rivals: "My True Meaning Was Not Accurately Conveyed"

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130429-00000095-jij-spo

translated by Brett Larner

In response to an article in the American New York Times newspaper reporting negative comments by Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid chairman and Tokyo governor Naoki Inose about Tokyo's rivals for the 2020 summer Olympics, on April 29 Governor Inose commented, "The focus of the article made it sound if Tokyo was criticizing the other candidate cities, but my true meaning was not accurately conveyed."

International Olympic Committee conduct guidelines for bid candidates specify, "Cities shall refrain from any act or comment likely to tarnish the image of a rival city or be prejudicial to it.  Any comparison with other cities is strictly forbidden."  With regard to this stipulation Governor Inose said, "I fully comprehend the regulations and am in compliance with them."  He added, "Personally I like Istanbul just fine.  I have no intent whatsoever to criticize the other bid candidate cities and it is extremely unfortunate that an article taking what was said in an interview out of context like this was released."

Update: Japanese broadcast media are now reporting a statement from the New York Times saying, "We have complete faith in the accuracy of the reporting in this article."

Additional English-language articles on the Inose situation:

Tokyo 2020 facing IOC Ethics Commission rap after Governor's comments about Istanbul -- Inside the Games

Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics bid faces reprimand for Inose’s comments on Istanbul -- Japan Daily Press

Tokyo 2020 organizers say they ‘respect’ IOC bid rules after governor’s remarks on Istanbul -- Washington Post

Monday, April 29, 2013

High School Senior Kiryu World-Leading 10.01 to Tie 100 m Jr. WR, All-Time Japanese #2

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20130429-OYT1T00340.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner
video by okuon



On day two of the Oda Memorial Meet, April 29 at Hiroshima's Edion Stadium, men's 100 m youth world record holder and Rakunan High School senior Yoshihide Kiryu of Kyoto ran a world-leading 10.01 with a legal wind of + 0.9 m/s in the heats of the men's 100 m, the second-fastest time ever by a Japanese man, tying the world junior record, and setting a new high school national record.  The Japanese national record of 10.00 was set by Koji Ito in 1998.

Update: Kiryu won the final in 10.03 with a +2.7 m/s wind. Ryota Yamagata (Keio Univ.) took 2nd in 10.04.  Click here for complete results.

Weekend Track Update - Osako Just Off NR at Payton Jordan

by Brett Larner
videos by naoki620 and toyosina2008

Stanford University's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, home of both the Japanese men's and women's 10000 m national records, once again delivered big times.  In the men's 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), both graduates of Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. and perpetual rivals over the last two years, each got under the Moscow World Championships A-standard but came up just short of the 27:35.09 NR, Osako taking 2nd in 27:38.31 and Sato 3rd in 27:39.50.  Osako's time was the fastest ever by a Japanese collegiate and good for all-time Japanese #4 a fraction of a second behind Sato's all-time #3 mark of 27:38.25.  Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) also got under 28 but was a distant afterthought in 27:55.27, while last year's top two 10000 m runner Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) both struggled.  After Sato kept him out of the Olympics with a sit-and-kick race at last year's National Championships, both Osako and Sato now stand in good stead for making the Moscow team.

In the women's 10000 m the up-and-coming Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) came up agonizingly short of hitting the Moscow standard, running a PB of 31:45.29 for 3rd.  Japan-based Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) was one of only two women in the race to get the A-standard, just, as she took 2nd in 31:44.92.  Ekiden star Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) was the only other Japanese woman to make the top ten, 8th in 32:07.70.  Her teammates Riko Matsuzaki and Misaki Onishi ran well in the 5000 m A-heat, taking 4th and 6th in 15:27.51 and 15:27.84.



The big domestic meet of the weekend was the 47th Oda Memorial Meet in Hiroshima, where distance events made up a large part of Sunday's action.  In the Grand Prix events, Kenyan Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) beat top-ranked high schooler Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) 15:39.89 to 15:41.24 in the women's 5000 m, with pro Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) a step behind in 15:41.97.

Monday's track events were highlighted by a 100 m Jr. World Record-tying 10.01 by youth WR holder Yoshihide Kiryu (Rakunan H.S.).  Click here for video.  On the field, Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) broke her own Japanese national record with a throw of 62.83 m in the women's javelin.  Her teammate, 2009 Berlin World Championships men's javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), set a PB of 85.96 m, more than 2 m better than his previous best and the second-farthest in the world so far this year.



The men's 5000 m featured most of the best Kenyans in Japan, including Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Patrick Mutunga (Team Toyota Boshoku), Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel), Clement Langat (Team Subaru) and Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Tanui took the win over Karoki, just missing a world-leading time in 13:16.57.  His teammate Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) was the top Japan finisher, 7th in 13:43.97.  Fan favorite Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was well off his best, 18th of 20 finishers in 14:09.88.



Oda also featured 5000 m selection races for the Japanese team for this summer's World University Games.  In the women's race, Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) brought the fastest time of the year so far by a Japanese woman, 15:37.55, to outrun Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) for the win.  Suzuki clocked 15:38.08, well ahead of 3rd-place Mai Hirota (Ritsumeikan Univ.).  Chukyo and Nagoya runners going 1-2 pointed to a continued development of women's collegiate running beyond the traditional Ritsumeikan-Bukkyo-Meijo big three.



In the men's 5000 m, Ethiopian pros Miliyon Zewdie (Team Yachiyo Kogyo) and Melaku Abera (Team Kurosaki Harima) took the top two spots, with 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University's captain Shota Hattori running a sizeable PB of 13:37.38.  Josai University's Kota Murayama, identical twin of World University Games 10000 m selection race winner Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.), was the second collegiate in 13:49.18, meaning both brothers should be on the team in Kazan.



Northwest of Tokyo, the Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials meet produced a fast 10000 m, with the top nine men, all collegiates, running PBs.  Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.), the fastest going into the race, won in a new best of 28:38.43 to hold off Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.), who took nearly 40 seconds off his best to go under 29 for the first time in 28:39.54.  In 10th place, former Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. ace Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) made a good 10000 m debut in 29:18.77.  Otsu's teammates Keita and Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) tuned up for a shot at sub-28 at next month's Golden Games in Nobeoka with double 5000 m 1-2 finishes in 14:10.53/14:10.72 and 13:53.44/13:56.52. Moscow World Championships marathoner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) returned to competition for the first time since running 2:08:51 at March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, running 14:15.84 for 11th behind the Shitaras in Heat 12.

At the 67th Oita Prefecture Championships and the Japan Invitational Wakayama Meet, two women's teams used the distance events as intramural time trials.  In Oita, Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) broke her best to set a meet record of 32:47.83, with rookie teammate Megumi Amako likewise under the old meet record in 33:03.84.  In Wakayama, top-level athlete Misato Horie (Team Noritz) easily won the 5000 m in 16:12.77 over teammates Kaori Oyama and Ai Inoue.  On the last day of the long weekend, Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) won the men's 5000 m Heat 4 at the Nobeoka Spring Time Trials meet in Kyushu, a result most significant for Karemi coming on to the Koichi Morishita-coached Toyota Kyushu team this season as the successor to the late Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru.

Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational
Stanford University, 4/28/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 1
1. Ben St. Lawrence (Australia) - 27:37.55
2. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 27:38.31 - PB
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:39.50
4. Chris Thompson (GBR) - 27:40.81
5. Bashir Abdi (Belgium) - 27:43.99
6. Ryan Vail (U.S.A.) - 27:44.05
7. Aaron Braun (U.S.A.) - 27:44.58
8. Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 27:45.46
9. Sean Quigley (U.S.A.) - 27:50.78
10. Girma Mecheso (Ethiopia) - 27:52.38
-----
12. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 27:55.27
17. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 28:33.23
28. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 29:31.59

Women's 10000 m Heat 1
1. Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 31:37.22
2. Doriah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 31:44.92
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 31:45.29
4. Kim Smith (New Zealand) - 31:46.37
5. Marisol Guadalupe Romero (Mexico) - 31:46.43
6. Jordan Hasay (U.S.A.) - 32:06.64
7. Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton (Kenya) - 32:07.20
8. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:07.70
9. Laura Thweatt (U.S.A.) - 32:15.51
10. Lara Tamsett (Australia) - 32:16.13
-----
11. Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:16.46
12. Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:25.05

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Kim Conley (U.S.A.) - 15:22.07
2. Katie Mackey (U.S.A.) - 15:23.65
3. Julia Lucas (U.S.A.) - 15:23.77
4. Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:27.51
5. Nicole Sifuentes (Canada) - 15:27.58
6. Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:27.84
7. Brie Felnagle (U.S.A.) - 15:29.14
8. Deliliah Discresenzo (U.S.A.) - 15:36.45
9. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) - 15:39.32
10. Kate Van Buskirk (Canada) - 15:40.26
-----
14. Eina Yokosawa (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:44.99
15. Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) - 15:44.99
18. Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) - 16:21.51
19. Ai Igarashi (Team Sysmex) - 16:59.34

47th Oda Memorial Meet
Edion Stadium, Hiroshima, 4/28/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Grand Prix
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 15:39.89
2. Miyuki Uehara (Kagoshima Joshi H.S.) - 15:41.24
3. Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 15:41.97
4. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:43.66
5. Kaila McKnight (Australia) - 15:43.81
6. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:43.82
7. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 15:43.91
8. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 15:44.44
9. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 15:46.94
10. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 15:49.92

Women's 5000 m Universiade
1. Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 15:37.55
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) - 15:38.08
3. Mai Hirota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:46.96
4. Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:50.94
5. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 15:53.09

West Japan Junior Women's 3000 m A
1. Saki Yoshimizu (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.) - 9:24.14
2. Momoka Katada (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:32.95
3. Asuka Iwai (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:33.32

Men's 5000 m Grand Prix
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 13:16.57
2. Bitan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 13:17.94
3. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:19.96
4. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:33.28
5. Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru) - 13:37.42
6. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 13:41.80
7. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:43.97
8. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:44.56
9. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:46.14
10. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:48.24
-----
18. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 14:09.88

Men's 5000 m Universiade
1. Million Zewdie (Ethiopia/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:31.97
2. Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Team Kurosaki Harima) - 13:37.38
3. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 13:37.64 - PB
4. Yohei Nishiyama (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 13:48.98
5. Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) - 13:49.18

Men's 5000 m Open
1. Ikki Takeuchi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 13:56.98
2. Ryohei Yamasaki (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 14:02.50
3. Takumi Kiyotani (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 14:05.18

40th Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials
Saitama, 4/28/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 4
1. Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:38.43 - PB
2. Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) - 28:39.54 - PB
3. Hiroki Yamagishi (Jobu Univ.) - 28:40.50 - PB
4. Yudai Okamoto (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:42.29 - PB
5. Genki Matsumura (Josai Univ.) - 28:49.29 - PB
6. Shun Sato (Jobu Univ.) - 28:57.32 - PB
7. Ryu Takaku (Toyo Univ.) - 28:58.09 - PB
8. Genta Yodokawa (Toyo Univ.) - 29:05.94 - PB
9. Kazuki Uemura (Toyo Univ.) - 29:06.54 - PB
10. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 29:18.77 - debut

Men's 5000 m Heat 12
1. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 13:53.44
2. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 13:56.52
3. Loul Gebrselassie (Ethiopia/Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 13:58.78
4. Azmeraw Mengistu (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 14:05.87
5. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 14:06.02
-----
11. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 14:15.84

Men's 5000 m Heat 10
1. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 14:10.53
2. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 14:10.72
3. Daiki Suzaki (Sapporo Nittai Prep H.S.) - 14:28.94

67th Oita Prefecture T&F Championships
Oita Bank Dome, Oita, 4/27/13
click here for complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:47.83 - PB/MR
2. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:03.84 (MR)
3. Hitomi Shimofuji (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:31.74
4. Rika Kawashima (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:39.00

Women's 5000 m
1. Pauline Wangui (Kenya/Ritsumeikan AP Univ.) - 16:17.17
2. Madoka Uesugi (Nippon Bunri Prep Otsuki H.S.) - 16:23.96
3. Ami Utsunomiya (Nippon Bunri Prep Otsuki H.S.) - 16:57.13

Japan Invitational Wakayama Meet
Kimiidera Field, Wakayama, 4/27/13
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m
1. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 16:12.77
2. Kaori Oyama (Team Noritz) - 16:22.03
3. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 16:23.01

Nobeoka Spring Time Trials
Nobeoka, 4/29/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:48.79
2. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 13:59.50
3. Kazuki Noda (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 14:03.13

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
al rights reserved

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Glad to Make the Moscow Team, Noguchi Says "My Goal is to Medal"

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2013/04/2013042701001673.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Selected earlier in the week for the Moscow World Championships marathon team, national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) made a guest appearance at a cross-country race in Asogun, Kumamoto, on April 27.  "I'm totally, totally happy," she delightedly told fans.  "Since I am running, my goal is to medal.  At absolute worst top eight."

In Noguchi's last appearance at the World Championships in 2003 she won silver.  At the 2008 Beijing Olympics she was a DNS with a serious injury, meaning that her last time competing at the world level on the Japanese national team was her gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.  Now 34, the veteran Noguchi smiled as she said, "Having been all the way to the bottom it seems like a miracle to me that I'm back on my feet and headed to Worlds, but I know that it's something I was able to do myself, under my own power."

Friday, April 26, 2013

'In Promoting His City for 2020 Games, Tokyo's Bid Chairman Tweaks Others'

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/sports/in-praising-its-olympic-bid-tokyo-tweaks-the-others.html

Tadese, Kawauchi, Ndereba Top Elite Field for 3rd Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon

http://www.tv-aichi.co.jp/news/2013/04/post-89.html

translated by Brett Larner
complete field listing coming shortly

On April 26 the names of the special invited athletes for the 3rd running of the Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon on May 19 were released.  Making his third appearance in Gifu, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will face half marathon world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) and others.  Fans can look forward to both a shot at a new course record and to seeing Kawauchi, just named to the 2013 World Championships marathon team, in person.  Two-time Olympic marathon silver medalist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) leads the women's field.

Highlights of the 3rd edition of the Naoko Takahashi Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon will be broadcast on TV Aichi at 3:00 p.m. on May 19.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Japan to Send Five Men and Three Women to Moscow World Championships Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Japanese Federation Rikuren announced the lineup for this year's Moscow World Championships marathon teams at a press conference on Apr. 25.  With tough sub-2:08 and sub-2:24 standards in place this time around, the team selection provided a surprising outcome: a full men's squad but only three women.

No men met the sub-2:08 standard, but all five men to run 2:08 in the selection races are on the roster, four of them having run PBs to get there.  Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) leads the way with a 2:08:00 PB for 4th at this year's Tokyo Marathon, joined by enigmatic serial marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 7th place Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), 2012 London Olympics marathon 6th place Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), and, running 2:08 again 10 years since the last time he achieved that level, debut and collegiate marathon national record holder Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda).  If you put together an international select team of all the best non-African marathoners currently active worldwide you'd be hard-pressed to make a better lineup than this.  What a shame that they've done away with the team medals this year.

On the women's side, only three of the five available positions were filled.  Nagoya Women's Marathon winner Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), 16th at the London Olympics, was the only athlete to hit the sub-2:24 standard and be guaranteed a place.  Backing her up are two national record holders, reborn Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist and marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and 5000 m / half marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), both with 2:24 marks and top-three finishes at domestic selection races.  To the Federation's credit, thankfully omitted is Yokohama selection race runner-up Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.), whose 2:26 performance exemplified the worst of the "forget the race, I just want to be the top Japanese" mentality that has plagued Japan.  More regrettable but understandably omitted is promising newcomer Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion), who delivered a 2:25 for the 2nd Japanese position in Osaka in January behind Fukushi.

But wait!  Here's where it gets a bit hard to follow.  Last weekend, 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-place Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran 2:24:43 for 3rd at the London Marathon, one of the official selection races for Moscow, but was left off the team in favor of an empty seat.  The selection criteria stated that overseas race results would only be considered if under the standards, while domestic races would have some wiggle room if not enough people met those standards.  A sop to the domestic races to keep them relevant?  Like Noguchi, Fukushi and all five men, Akaba was less than one minute over the standard, closer, in fact, than Fujiwara, and she also finished 3rd in an almost incomparably more competitive field than Noguchi or Fukushi faced in earning their spots in Nagoya and Osaka.  How much more competitive than London is the Moscow field likely to be, if at all?  With her past results and London performance Akaba seemed to have shown that with another smart race and some luck she could be a medal contender.  The sole difference between her performance and those of Noguchi, Fukushi and the entire men's team?  She was the only one to do it in one of the overseas selection races.  It's fine and good to exclude someone for not meeting clearly specified criteria, but when these criteria are less than clear in the other seven out of eight cases it only serves to illustrate problems with the black box method of national team selection.  Whatever the rationale, the decision to send a full team of five men and only three women demonstrates how much things have turned around on both sides of Japanese marathoning, uphill for the men and still on the way down for the women.

Men

Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko)

2:08:00 - 4th, 2013 Tokyo Marathon - PB

Born: 4/19/81, Saga
Coach: Kenji Ayabe


PBs
5000 m: 13:25.24 (Heusden 2008)
10000 m: 27:55.17 (Nittai Univ. 2007)
half marathon: 1:02:08 (Udine World Half 2007)
marathon: 2:08:00 (Tokyo Marathon 2013)

Major performances
4th, 2013 Tokyo Marathon – 2:08:00 - PB
6th, 2012 Tokyo Marathon – 2:08:38
6th, 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon – 2:11:46
3rd, 2011 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon – 2:10:29
39th, 2009 Berlin World Championships Marathon - 2:19:59
2nd, 2009 Tokyo Marathon – 2:11:01
30th, 2007 World Road Running Championships Half Marathon - 1:02:08

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t)

2:08:15 - 1st, 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainchi Marathon - CR

Born: 3/5/87, Saitama
Graduated: Gakushuin University
Coach: none

PBs
5000 m: 13:58.62 (Nittai Univ. 2012)
10000 m: 29:02.33 (Hokuren Distance Challenge 2010)
half marathon: 1:02:18 (Marugame 2012)
marathon: 2:08:14 (Seoul Int’l Marathon 2013)

Major performances
4th, 2013 Seoul International Marathon – 2:08:14 - PB
1st, 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon – 2:08:15 – CR
1st, 2012 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon – 2:10:46
6th, 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon – 2:10:29
21st, 2012 Kavarna World Half Marathon Championships - 1:04:04
1st, 2012 Sydney Marathon – 2:11:52 - CR
3rd, 2011 Fukuoka Internatonal Marathon – 2:09:57
18th, 2011 Daegu World Championships Marathon – 2:16:11
3rd, 2011 Tokyo Marathon – 2:08:37
4th, 2010 Tokyo Marathon – 2:12:36

Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei)

2:08:24 – 2nd, 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon - PB

Born: 10/28/86, Kumamoto
Coach: Takeshi Soh


PBs
5000 m: 13:53.07 (Nobeoka 2011)
10000 m: 28:30.32 (Nobeoka 2011)
half marathon: 1:04:11 (Tamana 2007)
marathon: 2:08:24 (Fukuoka Int’l Marathon 2012)

Major performances
2nd, 2012 Fukuoka International Marathon – 2:08:24 - PB
11th, 2012 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:10:05
7th, 2011 Daegu World Championships Marathon – 2:11:52
3rd, 2011 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:09:25
9th, 2008 Tokyo Marathon - 2:11:47

Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki)

2:08:35 – 2nd, 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon - PB

Born: 12/7/82, Yamaguchi
Graduated: Takushoku University
Coach: Naoki Yamagashira

PBs
5000 m: 14:04.31 (Nobeoka 2011)
10000 m: 28:54.59 (Sayagatani 2012)
half marathon: 1:02:29 (Marugame 2009)
marathon: 2:08:35 (Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon 2013)

Major performances
2nd, 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon – 2:08:35 - PB
6th, 2012 London Olympics Marathon – 2:11:16
5th, 2012 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:08:53
10th, 2011 Daegu World Championships Marathon – 2:13:10
4th, 2011 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:09:31
8th, 2010 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon – 2:11:42

Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda)

2:08:51 – 4th, 2013 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

Born: 3/6/81, Hyogo
Graduated: Chuo University
Coach: Yosuke Osawa

PBs
5000 m: 13:49.33 (2004)
10000 m: 28:17.38 (Nittai Univ. 2000)
half marathon: 1:02:23 (Hakodate 2004)
marathon: 2:08:12 (Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon 2003)

Major performances
4th, 2013 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:08:51
9th, 2012 Berlin Marathon – 2:11:31
9th, 2010 Berlin Marathon – 2:12:00
1st, 2010 Tokyo Marathon – 2:12:19
DNS – 2003 Paris World Championships Marathon
3rd, 2003 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – 2:08:12
1st, 2001 Beijing World University Games Half Marathon - 1:04:12

Women

Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu)

2:23:34 – 1st, 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon - PB/CR

Born: 6/21/85, Kyoto
Graduated: Bukkyo University
Coach: Kiyoji Hayashi

PBs
5000 m: 15:22.87 (2011)
10000 m: 31:38.71 (2010)
half marathon: 1:10:16 (Nat'l Corporate Half Championships 2009)
marathon: 2:23:34 (Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2013)

Major performances
1st, 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon – 2:23:34 - PB, CR
16th, 2012 London Olympics Marathon – 2:27:16
1st, 2011 Yokohama International Women’s Marathon – 2:26:32
5th, 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon - 2:29:35
6th, 2010 Osaka International Women’s Marathon – 2:27:34
10th, 2010 Nanning World Half Marathon Championships - 1:11:03
12th, 2009 Birmingham World Half Marathon Championships - 1:10:32
19th, 2006 Debrecen World Road Running Championships 20 km - 1:07:52

Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex)

2:24:05 – 3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Born: 7/3/78, Mie
Coach: Hisakazu Hirose


PBs
5000 m: 15:30.04 (Amagasaki 2007)
10000 m: 31:21.03 (Kobe 2004)
half marathon: 1:07:43 (Marugame 2006)
marathon: 2:19:12 (Berlin 2005) - NR

Major performances
3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women’s Marathon – 2:24:05
6th, 2012 Nagoya Women’s Marathon – 2:25:33
1st, 2007 Tokyo International Women’s Marathon – 2:21:37 - CR
1st, 2005 Berlin Marathon – 2:19:12 - NR
1st, 2004 Athens Olympics Marathon – 2:26:20
2nd, 2003 Paris World Championships – 2:24:14
1st, 2003 Osaka International Women's Marathon - 2:21:18
1st, 2002 Nagoya International Women's Marathon - 2:25:35
2nd, 1999 Palermo World Half Marathon Championships - 1:09:12

Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal)

2:24:21 – 2nd, 2013 Osaka International Women’s Marathon - PB

Born: 3/25/82, Aomori
Coach: Tadayuki Nagayama


PBs
5000 m: 14:53.22 (Rome 2005) - NR
10000 m: 30:51.81 (Busan 2002)
half marathon: 1:07:26 (Marugame 2006) - NR
marathon: 2:24:21 (Osaka Int’l Women’s Marathon 2013)

Major performances
2nd, 2013 Osaka International Women’s Marathon – 2:24:21
10th, 2012 London Olympics 10000 m - 31:10.35
3rd, 2011 Chicago Marathon – 2:24:38
9th, 2009 Berlin World Championships 10000 m - 31:23.49
11th, 2008 Beijing Olympics 10000 m - 31:01.14
10th, 2007 Osaka World Championships 10000 m - 32:32.85
6th, 2006 Debrecen World Road Running Championships 20 km - 1:05:32
6th, 2006 Fukuoka World XC Championships 8 km - 25:51
11th, 2005 Helsinki World Championships 10000 m - 31:03.75
26th, 2004 Athens Olympics 10000 m - 33:48.66
11th, 2003 Paris World Championships 10000 m - 31:10.57

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Biwako University Ekiden Suspended With Possible Move to Tango Peninsula Examined

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/sports/article/20130422000135

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Apr. 22 the organizers of the Biwako University Ekiden, held each November between Nagahama and Otsu along the west coast of Lake Biwa, announced that the event has been suspended.  With Biwako to have served as the 75th anniversary edition of the Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships this year, a move to an alternate course in the Tango peninsula north of Kyoto is being examined.

With various locations having staged the Kansai championships over the years, the Biwako University Ekiden became the host event in 2005, expanding the championships' scale by bringing together invited schools from the Tokai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions along with the best of Kansai to battle for the title of #1 in Western Japan. With an eight-year history, last year 21 schools competed over Biwako's eight-stage, 83.6 km course. Following difficulties in achieving the event's original target of a course extending all the way around Lake Biwa and tremendous responsibility for the safety and well-being of the student athletes, debate began after last year's race about the feasibility of continuing to hold the ekiden.

The members of the executive committee taking part in the announcement included personnel from the Kansai Region University Athletics Federation, the Prefectural Government and local city government officials.  With no objections voiced to a proposal to shut the race office, the measure passed.  According to a Federation official, the possibility of staging this November's 75th anniversary Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships on an existing course in the Tango peninsula.  Still requiring the approval of participating universities in the Kansai region, the proposal has not yet been approved.

Almost simultaneously with the announcement of the Biwako University Ekiden's suspension, many of the best athletes from Kansai region schools ran the half marathon division of the 90th Kansai Region University Track and Field Championships Apr. 24 in Osaka.  Kyoto University's Kan Hirai was a surprise win, beating out athletes from more accomplished programs including Ritsumeikan University and Kansai Gakuin University to take the title in 1:06:01 by a margin of seven seconds over Kohei Koyama (Kansai Gakuin Univ.).  Kenyan Titus Kihara (Nara Sangyo Univ.) struggled, finishing only 11th in 1:07:28.

90th Kansai Region University Championships
Men's Half Marathon
Nagai Park, Osaka, 4/24/13
click here for complete results

1. Kan Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 1:06:01
2. Kohei Koyama (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:08
3. Naoma Araki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:13
4. Naoto Nakanouchi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:16
5. Masaki Okada (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:22
6. Shu Hamano (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:22
7. Takahiro Kawaguchi (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:28
8. Akihiro Tanimoto (Osaka Keizai Univ.) - 1:06:29
9. Daisuke Mizobuchi (Osaka Keizai Univ.) - 1:06:28
10. Yuki Niko (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:07:22
11. Titus Kihara (Kenya/Nara Sangyo Univ.) - 1:07:28

Nobeoka Raises Golden Games Promotional Flags

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/miyazaki/news/20130423-OYT8T01491.htm

translated by Brett Larner

With Nobeoka set to host the country's best middle and long-distance runners May 11 at the Golden Games in Nobeoka meet at the city's Nishishina Field, organizers placed 120 promotional flags around the downtown area on May 23.  The flags measure 80 cm by 45 cm with a black and yellow color scheme.  Below an illustration of a group of runners in action, the flags call on local citizens to come out and support the athletes at the competition.  Race organizers began placing the flags at 9:00 a.m.  The flags are attached to light poles in pairs every 10 m along the main streets of Nobeoka, catching the attention of passersby as they ripple in the wind.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Yukiko Akaba 3rd at London Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo by Martin Lever

Coming in fit off a 1:08:59 win at March's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran a smart, steady and strong race at the Apr. 21 London Marathon, staying near 2:24 pace as the lead group of Kenyan and Ethiopia women fluctuated, sometimes far ahead, sometimes all around her, and on at least two occasions falling behind her.


Initially working with Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to reach the Federation's sub-2:24 time goal for the Moscow World Championships team, Akaba slipped off track late in the race after Ito dropped behind but continued to press ahead, reeling in five of the seven Africans up front to take 3rd in 2:24:43, her third time running 2:24 in London.

Ito, still hot from a 1:10:00 half marathon PB two weeks ago in Berlin, couldn't keep up with Akaba's bid for a 2:23 and landed 7th in 2:28:37.  The other three Japanese women in the race, Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu), Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) and former national record holder Yuko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), started off more conservatively in the second pack and never factored into the action.

Unfortunately, will a sub-2:24 standard in place it means that for all three and, Ito, and likely for Akaba, their hopes for making the Moscow team have come to an end. The roster of those waiting for Wednesday's announcement:
  • Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 - PB - 1st, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 2:24:05 - 3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:24:21 - PB - 2nd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:25:56 - PB - 3rd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:42 - 2nd, 2012 Yokohama Int'l Women's Marathon
With a team announcement scheduled for Wednesday the main question appears to be between the young Watanabe, who ran an aggressive race to finish 3rd as the 2nd Japanese woman at the Osaka Interational Women's Marathon selection race, and Nasukawa, who ran passively for 2nd and top Japanese at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon selection race in 2:26:42.  Reports are coming out that the Federation may choose not to put five women on the team, meaning that both Watanabe and Nasukawa could find themselves out of luck.  It should be an interesting press conference come Wednesday.

London Marathon Women's Race
London, U.K., 4/21/13
click here for complete results

1. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:20:15
2. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:21:32
3. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:43
4. Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) - 2:25:14
5. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia) - 2:25:46
6. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:27:05
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:28:37
8. Alevtina Biktimirova (Russia) - 2:30:02
9. Susan Partridge (GBR) - 2:30:46
10. Irvette Van Zyl (South Africa) - 2:31:26
-----
12. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:33:24
14. Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:35:30
17. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:37:35

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 OMRC
all rights reserved

Weekend Track Roundup - World Leader for Mutunga in Hyogo

by Brett Larner

Four track meets featured noteworthy Japanese performances on the first truly busy weekend on the spring outdoor season calendar.

Cold rain and wind hit the biggest of the domestic meets, the Hyogo Relay Carnival.  In the Grand Prix 10000 m, Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) continued his climb to the top of the Japanese circuit with a world-leading 27:40.44 to win over world-level medalists Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) and Martin Mathathi (Kenya/ Suzuki Hamamatsu AC).  Former 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) was the top Japanese man, 5th overall with the fastest time so far this year by a Japanese man, 28:16.79.  The year's leading Japanese marathoner, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), was 12th in a decent 28:32.23 as he began working toward the Moscow World Championships.  His teammate Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) easily won the Grand Prix women's 10000 m in 32:00.02.  Runner-up Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) was far back in 32:32.15, like Ueno the fastest time so far this year by a Japanese athlete.

In the Asics Challenge Men's 10000 m A-heat, the selection race for Japan's 2013 World University Games 10000 m team, Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) continued a season that saw him run an all-time Japanese #10 1:01:19 at February's Marugame Half Marathon and score a top-ten finish at last month's New York City Half Marathon by outsprinting Kenyan Enock Omwamba (Yamanshi Gakuin Univ.) for the win in 28:18.11, joining his Komazawa teammate Shogo Nakamura who will run the World University Games half marathon.  Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.), whose Fifth Stage win was instrumental to Nittai University's Hakone Ekiden title in January, ran a large PB for 3rd in 28:22.79 to take the second national team spot.  2012 World University Cross-Country Championships silver medalist Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) missed making the team as he finished 4th in 28:35.76.

In the B-heat, former Sozo Gakuen Univ. ace William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) made his debut as Honda's replacement for 2011 world 10000 m champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia) who was dropped from Honda's roster this season.  Malel narrowly won the heat in 28:56.04 just a step ahead of Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and the newly-bar chain-sponsored Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza).  Former Bukkyo University star Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki), who has struggled after turning pro, won the Asics Challenge Women's 5000 m in a lukewarm 16:06.43.

Further north, the new Toshihiko Seko-led DeNA Running Club got its first laurel as team member Yuta Takahashi won the Tokyo Track and Field Championships 10000 m in 29:13.98 in cold and rain.  The Daiichi Seimei team used the women's 10000 m as an intramural time trial, with three of its runners making up the entire field and all three going sub-33, led by rookie Sayo Nomura in 32:41.42.

Across the water, three of Japan's best current male track runners tuned up for next weekend's Payton Jordan Invitational 10000 m at the Mt. SAC Relays 5000 m.  Last year's 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) led the way, 4th overall in 13:30.57.  #1-ranked Japanese collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) was 11th in 13:35.73, one of the faster times of his career, while 2012's Japanese man of the year Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) was only 25th in 13:55.98.  Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), on the all-time Japanese top ten lists for both 10000 m and half marathon and likewise lining up at Stanford next weekend, opted for the Oregon Relays over Mt. SAC and duly won the 5000 m A-heat there in a conservative 13:56.95.

Back at Mt. SAC, three members of the Toyota Jidoshokki corporate women's team also ran the 5000 m, Aya Nagata taking the top Japanese position at 18th overall in 15:55.33. Other Japanese women and men also competed over shorter distances throughout the three-day meet.

Hyogo Relay Carnival
Universiade Memorial Stadium, Kobe, 4/20-21/13
click here for complete results

Grand Prix Men's 10000 m
1. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:40.44 - WL
2. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 27:51.13
3. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 27:58.44
4. Patrick Muendo (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 27:59.15
5. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 28:16.79
6. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:23.95
7. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:24.26
8. Minato Oishi (Team Toyota) - 28:24.54
9. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 28:25.55
10. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:28.40
-----
12. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 28:32.23

Grand Prix Women's 10000 m
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 32:00.02
2. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 32:32.15
3. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 32:33.37
4. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:52.94
5. Mai Tsuda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 32:54.25
6. Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 33:05.00
7. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 33:05.90
8. Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 33:08.04
9. Yuki Mitsunobu (Team Kyocera) - 33:09.12
10. Rina Yamazaki (Team Panasonic) - 33:13.08
-----
Ai Furukubo (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - DNF

Asics Challenge Men's 10000 m Heat 1 - World University Games selection race
1. Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:18.11
2. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:20.07
3. Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) - 28:22.79 - PB
4. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 28:35.76
5. Yuki Arimura (Meiji Univ.) - 28:41.09 - PB
6. Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:44.16
7. Shuho Dairokuno (Meiji Univ.) - 28:50.93
8. Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) - 28:53.64
9. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:53.87
10. Kaido Kita (Meiji Univ.) - 28:58.25

Asics Challenge Men's 10000 m Heat 2
1. William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) - 28:56.04
2. Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:56.55
3. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 28:56.97
4. Kensuke Gotoda (DeNA RC) - 28:57.45
5. Takahiro Aso (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 28:58.19

Women's Asics Challenge 5000 m
1. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 16:06.43
2. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:08.66
3. Shoko Sonoda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 16:10.94
4. Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) - 16:14.11
5. Sayuri Sendo (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:14.65

Tokyo Track and Field Championships
National Stadium, Tokyo, 4/20-21/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. Yuta Takahashi (DeNA RC) - 29:13.98
2. Yuki Munakata (Team Kanebo) - 29:14.56
3. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 29:16.44
4. Yu Aoki (Team Kanebo) - 29:19.53
5. Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 29:32.75

Women's 10000 m
1. Sayo Nomura (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:41.42
2. Sakiko Matsumi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:44.44
3. Yuka Inami (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:45.60

Mt. SAC Relays
Walnut, California, 4/18-20/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Inv. Elite
1. Will Leer (Nike) - 13:21.55
2. Rory Fraser (unattached) - 13:24.07
3. Byron Piedra (Ecuador) - 13:28.81
4. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:30.57
5. Ben Bruce (Adidas) - 13:30.79
-----
11. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 13:35.73
25. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 13:55.98

Women's 5000 m Inv. Elite
1. Abbey D'Agostino (Dartmouth Coll.) - 15:11.35
2. Lucy Van Dalen (New Zealand) - 15:21.08
3. Mary Cullen (Ireland) - 15:23.12
4. Neely Spence (Brooks Hansons) - 15:26.51
5. Marisol Guadalupe Romero (Mexico) - 15:29.51
-----
18. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:55.33
29. Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:21.29
30. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:22.63

Women's 1500 m Olympic Dev.
1. Cristina Guadalupe Gueva (Mexico) - 4:16.94
2. Carly Hamilton (Georgia) - 4:17.21
3. Alycia Cridebring (UC Davis) - 4:21.14
-----
6. Risa Yokoe (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:27.70

Women's 800 m Open Heat 1
1. Ejiroghene Okoro (Iowa State) - 2:05:20
2. Dominique Jackson (SRA) - 2:06.06
3. Kelsey Brown (BYU) - 2:06.53
-----
6. Chihiro Sunaga (Team Shiseido) - 2:07.03

Oregon Relays
Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, 4/19-20/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m McChesney Jr.
1. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:56.95
2. Ben Blankenship (OTC) - 13:57.35
3. Greg Montgomery (College of Idaho) - 14:11.70
4. Matthew Tebo (Boulder TC) - 14:27.17
5. Matt Jablonski (Oregon) - 14:30.25

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi and Puchkova Win Freezing Wet Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

Dark was the night, cold was the ground.  With heavy rain shifting to snow overnight and wind and below-freezing temperatures throughout the morning the 2013 Nagano Marathon had the kind of race conditions you would not wish on anybody, but although the course record was never an option civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) did what he had to do to secure his third marathon win in four starts so far this year, crossing the line in 2:14:27 more than a minute ahead of runner-up Alexsey Sokolov (Russia) to become the first Japanese man to win in Nagano's 15-year history. Alone after only 5 km, Natalia Puchkova (Russia) was just off her PB as she soloed a 2:30:40 victory in the women's race almost two km ahead of her closest competition.

Kawauchi ran the early stages of the race in a quartet with last year's runner-up Silas Sang (Kenya), Eritrean Isaias Beyn and Hirokatsu Kurosaki of 2013 New Year Ekiden national champion Team Konica Minolta as Sokolov ran more conversatively with 2:11 man Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon).  By 15 km Kawauchi and Beyn were alone up front with Sokolov in pursuit of the fading Sang and Kurosaki.  By halfway Sokolov was up to 3rd and 21 seconds behind the lead pair, but by 30 km he had closed the gap.

Beyn soon faded in the cold and left Sokolov to spar with Kawauchi, but by 40 km Kawauchi had pulled 11 seconds ahead and it was all but over.  Practicing his last surge, Kawauchi split a superfluous 6:48 for the final 2.195 km to widen his lead to 1:04 by the end of the race, but his 2:14:27 was still the slowest winning time in Nagano history. Sokolov trudged home in 2:15:31, with Kurosaki hanging on for 3rd in 2:17:28. Sang was ultimately a DNF along with former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), who ran Nagano as a retirement race in place of last month's Lake Biwa Mainichi where he DNF'd after breaking a rib days beforehand.

With Kawauchi's nomination to Japan's Moscow World Championships marathon team expected this Wednesday, he will now shift his attention to a series of shorter races before returning to the marathon distance at the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon.

The women's race was a relatively straightforward affair, as Puchkova dropped Kenyan Beatrice Jepkemboi by 5 km and Japanese athletes Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) and Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) sorting themselves out by 15 km.  By that point the running order among the top four was established and never changed, only the size of the gaps between them growing.

The only other action coming just behind them as Japan's top two masters runners Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) and Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes AC) battled for 5th. Together through 30 km, Hoshino made a move to pull away but fell victim to Tanaka's tenacity and faded after 40 km, Tanaka taking 5th in 2:49:51 with Hoshino over two minutes behind.  In just over a month look for Tanaka to shoot for the course record at the 30th anniversary running of the Unive Drenthe Marathon in Holland.

15th Nagano Marathon
Nagano, 4/21/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:14:27
2. Alexsey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:15:31
3. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:17:28
4. Kensuke Ujihara (Isesaki AC) - 2:18:13
5. Jun Matsumoto (Team Aichi Seiko) - 2:19:47
6. Yuta Koyama (Team Kotohira Kogyo) - 2:20:43
7. Takahiro Inoue (Team Komori Corp.) - 2:21:06
8. Shota Yamada (Team Kanebo) - 2:23:16
9. Isaias Beyn (Eritrea) - 2:23:17
10. Hiro Tonegawa (Alps Tool AC) - 2:23:32
-----
William Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:34:11
Atsushi Fujita (Team Konica Minolta) - DNF
Silas Sang (Kenya) - DNF

Women
1. Natalia Puchkova (Russia) - 2:30:40
2. Beatrice Jepkemboi (Kenya) - 2:36:51
3. Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 2:41:19
4. Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) - 2:44:21
5. Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) - 2:49:51
6. Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka AC) - 2:52:03
-----
Esther Nganga (Kenya) - DNF
Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) - DNF

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nagano, London, Hyogo, Mt. SAC and Oregon -- A Busy Weekend Ahead

by Brett Larner

There is a busy weekend ahead domestically and abroad, on the roads and on the track for Japan's distance athletes.  At Sunday's Nagano Marathon, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will seek to become the first Japanese man to win in Nagano's fifteen-year history in his fourth marathon of the year.  His main competition comes in the form of Kenyan Silas Sang, who set his 2:09:10 best in finishing 2nd last year.  Also of note is former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), running his final race before retiring.  Kenyans Beatrice Jepkemboi and Esther Nganga are the favorites in the women's race, with Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) leading the domestic contingent.

Overseas, the unfortunate withdrawal this week of the promising Bunta Kuroki (Team Yasukawa Denki) from the London Marathon men's field means that Japan's Moscow World Championships marathon team is all but finalized with five 2:08 men.  Five women in the London field will be taking a shot at the one or conceivably two spots left on the Japanese women's team.  Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) is the favorite to hit the top Japanese and sub-2:24 criteria for a place on the Worlds team, having twice set PBs in London and fresh off the second-best half marathon of her career last month with a 1:08:59 win at the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships.  Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) also looks ready to go, having run a 1:10:00 best for 3rd at the Berlin Half Marathon just two weeks ago.  Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) holds a 2:24:28 best and is a training partner of 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon winner Ryoko Kizaki, but with few quality results in the last year she is something of a question mark.  In the longshot department are former national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) and 2002 Hokkaido Marathon winner Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.), a training partner of 2012 Yokohama International Women's Marathon runner-up and Moscow team contender Mizuho Nasukawa.

Currently the Japanese women's team for Moscow shapes up as such, in rough order of their chances:

  • Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 - PB - 1st, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:24:21 - PB - 2nd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 2:24:05 - 3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:42 - 2nd, 2012 Yokohama Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:25:56 - PB - 3rd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon

Kizaki is guaranteed a spot thanks to her sub-2:24 clocking, and Fukushi and Noguchi are all but certain.  Nasukawa and Watanabe are on shaky ground given the quality of the women running London, and while it's very likely that one of them will not make the team it's also possible that both could be superseded.  The men's and women's marathon teams are scheduled to be announced on Wednesday the 24th following the outcome of London.

Back in Japan on the track, the Hyogo Relay Carnival is the main meet of the weekend.  The men's and women's Grand Prix 10000 m are the highlights of the meet, the first high-level 10000 m of the Japanese season and featuring top-level Kenyans Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko), Martin Mathathi (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Patick Mutunga (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko), World Championships marathon team hopefuls Watanabe and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), 5000 m national champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei), collegiate champions Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.) and Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) and many, many more.  Of particular note, two pairs of identical twins, Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) and Kota Murayama (Josai Univ.) and Keita and Yuta Shitara (both Toyo Univ.), will seek to make history by having both brothers go sub-28.  The Asics Challenge 10000 m also counts as a selection race for the Japanese team for this summer's World University Games, so expect to see reams of top collegiate talent in that heat as well.

A number of Japan's top track runners have opted to skip Hyogo in favor of getting ready for Stanford University's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at other U.S. meets.  Mt. SAC will feature three of the best current men, 2012 Japanese man of the year Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo), 2012 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and #1 collegiate runner Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) in the 5000 m.  The women's 5000 m includes now-U.S.-based 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) and teammates including Aya Nagata and Michi Numata.  All-time Japanese top ten over both 10000 m and half marathon, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) opted to go further north and is scheduled to run the 5000 m at the Oregon Relays.

Check back over the weekend for coverage of all these events and more.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

All three pro Japanese runners at the 117th Boston Marathon ran well, both Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) and Manami Kanitanida (Team Hitachi) recording PBs after leading through the lazy early pace in the women's race and Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) finishing 13th in his debut.  More importantly, all three and their supporters were confirmed safe following the finish line bombings. I had already finished long before the explosions but had just left the Copley Square area a few minutes beforehand and was on the 34th floor of a nearby hotel and could hear them even from there.  My condolences to the victims and their families.

117th Boston Marathon
Boston, 4/15/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) - 2:10:22
2. Micah Kogo (Kenya) - 2:10:27
3. Gebregziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia) - 2:10:28
-----
13. Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:16:57 - debut

Women
1. Rita Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:26:25
2. Meseret Hailu (Ethiopia) - 2:26:58
3. Sharon Cherop (Kenya) - 2:27:01
-----
16. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:35:46 - PB
19. Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) - 2:38:21 - PB

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi Wins Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Despite Going Off-Course

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130414-1112410.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20130414-OHT1T00219.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Probable Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the Apr. 14 Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon, winning in 1:06:28.  With the cancellation of last weekend's Satte Sakura 10-Miler due to bad weather it had been three weeks since his last race, the Mar. 24 Saitama City Half Marathon, a long time off for someone who has raced almost every weekend since the start of the year.  The result of this break?  Only 1.5 km into the race Kawauchi went the wrong way and ran off the course.  "I hadn't properly researched the course and lost about 30 seconds.  It happens a lot," he said with an embarrassed laugh.

The Honjo Waseda no Mori Half Marathon was Kawauchi's tenth race of the year, coming on the heels of a minor hip injury after the Mar. 14 Seoul International Marathon.  "Since I do my own thing it's easy for me to take time off when I need to," he said.  "My hip is fine now."  Today's race also marked the beginning of an eight-week stretch that will see Kawauchi run nine races.  His next race is the Apr. 21 Nagano Marathon, his first full marathon since setting his 2:08:14 PB in Seoul.  "My goal in Nagano is to not take a wrong turn," he deadpanned.  With one marathon a month on his schedule so far this year Kawauchi has set himself a challenging program, but if he is successful in Nagano he will become the first Japanese man to win in the event's 15-year history.

Beyond Nagano, Kawauchi plans to prepare for August's World Championships by running the June 2 Chitose JAL International Marathon for the first time, the June 16 Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon for the third-straight year, and the July 7 Gold Coast Marathon for the second-straight year, with additional overseas races in the fall.  "I want to prove that Japanese runners can win outside Japan too," he said.  "Last year I won Sydney, so to begin with I want to become famous in Australia."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meiji University Sweeps Yaizu Minato Half

by Brett Larner

Following up on last year's record-setting race, the Yaizu Minato Half Marathon returned for the 25th anniversary of its unique pair marathon university championship format with some of Japan's best university teams scoring the top two of their three members in the race.  Meiji University, one of the potential favorites for the 2013-14 ekiden season, took the team title in 2:09:43 as Tomoyasu Matsui and Shin Kimura went 1-2 a second apart in 1:04:51 and 1:04:52.  2012 Izumo Ekiden course record-setter Aoyama Gakuin University was 2nd in 2:10:30 with all three of its runners making the top ten, with 2012 National University Ekiden course record-setter Komazawa University 3rd in 2:10:56 despite not getting anyone into the top five.  Shota Kai of 2013 Hakone Ekiden winner Nittai University was 3rd overall, but Nittai did not make the team podium.

28th Yaizu Minato Half Marathon
25th National University Pair Marathon Championships
Yaizu, Shizuoka, 4/14/13
click here for complete results

University Men
1. Tomoyasu Matsui (Meiji Univ.) - 1:04:51
2. Shin Kimura (Meiji Univ.) - 1:04:52
3. Shota Kai (Nittai Univ.) - 1:04:59
4. Shunsuke Ishida (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:09
5. Shintaro Miwa (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 1:05:18
6. Shoya Kurokawa (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:21
7. Soshi Takahashi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:21
8. Shohei Uehara (Tokai Univ.) - 1:05:29
9. Takashi Mino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:05:34
10. Shota Baba (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:05:35

University Pair Marathon Team Results
1. Meiji Univ. - 2:09:43
2. Aoyama Gakuin Univ. - 2:10:30
3. Komazawa Univ. - 2:10:56
4. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 2:11:10

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Nittai University Time Trials - Top Results

by Brett Larner

The 2013 Nittai University Time Trials series, Japan's premier long-distance track series and a factory for mass-producing precision-made track results with Saturdays dedicated to distances from 800 to 10000 m and Sundays focused exclusively on 5000 m, kicked off this weekend.  Although far from the highest-quality performance of the weekend, the 16:00.54 win by 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) in the women's 5000 m A-heat was the most noteworthy, coming just a week before her planned shot at the Moscow World Championships marathon team at next weekend's London Marathon.  A solo run with a margin of over 20 seconds over 2nd place, her run spoke well of her fitness despite the unimpressive time.

Japan-based Africans won the other three major races of the weekend, with high schooler Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) taking the women's 3000 m A-heat in a quality 9:01.36, Ethiopian pros Bikila Demma Daba (Team Kanebo) and Asmerow Mengistu (Team Honda) going 1-2 in 13:27.14 and 13:31.81 in the men's 5000 m A-heat, and Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) winning the all-collegiate men's 10000 m A-heat in 28:43.42.  Daito Bunka University ace Takashi Ichida came close to breaking up the African domination, a stride behind Muthee in 28:43.93, while Hosei University and Kanagawa University showed continued improvement from last year's solid season, two runners from each school going sub-29.  Recent Komazawa University and Meiji University grads Hiromitsu Kakuage and Masato Kikuchi got off to a good start at 2013 New Year Ekiden champion Team Konica Minolta, both breaking 13:50 to take the top two Japanese positions in the men's 5000 m A-heat.

229th Nittai University Time Trials
Yokohama, 4/13-14/13
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 4
1. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 28:43.42
2. Takashi Ichida (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:43.93
3. Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:45.11
4. Shogo Sekiguchi (Hosei Univ.) - 28:49.23
5. Kazuma Ganaha (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:51.47
6. Masaya Kakihara (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:54.28
7. Shinichiro Tai (Hosei Univ.) - 28:55.77
8. Ikki Takeuchi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:59.82
9. Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:01.18
10. Masato Endo (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:02.17

Men's 5000 m Heat 27
1. Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 13:27.14
2. Asmerow Mengistu (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 13:31.81
3. Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 13:34.95
4. Hiromitsu Kakuage (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:48.20
5. Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:48.54
6. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:53.73
7. Yuta Takahashi (DeNA RC) - 13:54.58
8. Hiroyuki Ono (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:55.05
9. Ryotaro Nitta (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:57.41
10. Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:58.15

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:00.54
2. Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) - 16:23.52
3. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 16:26.66
4. Yuki Hidaka (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:29.67
5. Yuka Yamazaki (Team Kojima Press) - 16:31.90

Women's 3000 m Heat 6
1. Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya/Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:01.36
2. Mai Shoji (Chuo Univ.) - 9:11.15
3. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 9:13.60
4. Kaho Nishizawa (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 9:22.26
5. Nanako Kajiya (Toyokawa H.S.) - 9:23.08

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tanigawa and Yano Set for Boston Marathon

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/event/sports/news/20130409-OHT1T00201.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Ome 30 km Road Race announced on Apr. 9 that they are sending Tomohiro Tanigawa (24, Team Konica Minolta) and Yuka Yano (26, Canon AC Kyushu) to run its sister race, the 117th Boston Marathon in Massachusetts on April 15.  Tanigawa finished 2nd in the Ome men's 30 km division in February, with Yano taking 2nd in the women's race.  For both men and women Boston is included as a selection race for August's Moscow World Championships marathon team.

Translator's note: Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) is also scheduled to run Boston through a similar arrangement after winning January's Katsuta Marathon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Overseas Road Results

by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter

Japanese athletes turned up in three large road races in Europe this weekend. Moscow World Championships marathon team hopeful Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led the way, finishing 3rd at the Berlin Half Marathon in 1:10:00 in a tuneup for the London Marathon in two weeks. Yamanashi Gakuin H.S. graduate and former Team Hokuren runner Philes Ongori (Kenya) was 2nd in 1:08:01.

At the Paris Marathon, a group of third-tier athletes doing Paris after taking top placings at November's Ohtawara Marathon ran well.  2009 World University Games half marathon silver medalist Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) ran a PB 2:36:57 for 12th, while in the men's race both Atsushi Hasegawa (Team Subaru) and Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) both broke their PBs with marks of 2:15:25 and 2:16:28.

At Saturday's Prague Half Marathon, Kenta Iinuma (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) failed to make much of an impression as both finished far off their bests.  Iinuma, a teammate of London Olympics men's marathon 6th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto, was more than three minutes off his best and less than one minute ahead of women's winner Gladys Cherono (Kenya) in 1:05:51.  Nojiri, a former Team Daiichi Seimei athlete trying to make a go of it as an independent, was almost five minutes off her best in 1:15:15 for 10th.

As in Paris, several developing Japanese athletes will run next weekend's Boston Marathon off strong showings at domestic Japanese races.  Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) will be in the women's field after winning January's Katsuta Marathon, while Takushoku University graduate Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) will make his marathon debut as the top Japanese man in Boston after placing 2nd in February's Ome 30 km in his debut at that distance.

Berlin Half Marathon
Berlin, 4/7/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Helah Kiprop (Kenya) - 1:07:54
2. Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 1:08:01
3. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:10:00 - PB

Men
1. Jacob Kendagor (Kenya) - 59:36
2. Silas Kipruto (Kenya) - 1:00:12
3. Victor Kipchirchir (Kenya) - 1:00:27

Paris Marathon
Paris, 4/7/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Boru Tadese (Ethiopia) - 2:21:06
2. Merima Mohammed (Ethiopia) - 2:23:14
3. Eunice Kirwa (Kenya) - 2:23:34
-----
12. Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Team Noritz) - 2:36:57 - PB

Men
1. Peter Some (Kenya) - 2:05:38
2. Tadese Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:06:33
3. Eric Ndiema (Kenya) - 2:06:34
-----
19. Atsushi Hasegawa (Team Subaru) - 2:15:25 - PB
21. Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:28 - PB
25. Naoki Yamashita (Team NTN) - 2:21:02

Prague Half Marathon
Prague, 4/6/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Gladys Cherono (Kenya) - 1:06:48
2. Worknesh Degefa (Ethiopia) - 1:08:12
3. Isabella Ochichi (Kenya) - 1:09:21
-----
10. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 1:15:15

Men
1. Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 1:00:10
2. Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) - 1:00:10
3. John Kipsang (Kenya) - 1:00:16
-----
19. Kenta Iinuma (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 1:05:51

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kanaguri Memorial Meet Results

by Brett Larner

The Japanese outdoor track season got started Saturday at Kumamoto's Kanaguri Memorial Meet depite high winds and heavy rain from a passing storm that kept times from what was hoped.  Japan-based Africans won all the major races, with last year's winners Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) and Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) repeating in the men's and women's 5000 m A-heats in 13:26.48 and 15:42.81.  The Koichi Morishita-coached Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) clocked the fastest time of the day by a Japanese man, 13:39.46 for 2nd in the B-heat, while independent Yuka Ando (Tokinosumika T&F Assoc.) took 2nd behind Chepyego for the top Japanese time in 16:02.08.  The year's leading Japanese marathoner, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), started his buildup to August's World Championships, running a 14:07.46 shakeout in the men's 5000 m B-heat in his first race since running 2:08:00 at February's Tokyo Marathon.

In the men's 1500 m, last year's 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) took 3rd in 3:50.52 behind a strong solo 3:42.75 by Ethiopian Bikila Demma Daba (Team Kanebo).  61-minute half marathoner Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) was 5th in 3:51.98, while #1-ranked collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) was only 10th in 3:56.09.  Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) won the women's 1500 m in 4:27.88 over collegiate Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.), with 2013 World XC junior women's team member Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) in 4:33.40.

22nd Kanaguri Memorial Meet
Kumamoto, 4/6/13
click here for complete results

Men's 5000 m Heat 5
1. Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:26.48
2. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 13:28.67
3. Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 13:32.76
4. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 13:47.22
5. Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko) - 13:50.49
6. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:50.67
7. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 13:51.50
8. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:54.49
9. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 13:54.74
10. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 14:00.04

Men's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:37.68
2. Yuya Konishi (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:39.46
3. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 13:41.80
4. Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 13:50.52
5. Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 13:50.58
6. Shota Hattori (Nittai University) - 13:50.70
7. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:52.77
8. Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 13:55.58
9. Duncan Muthee (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 13:59.71
10. Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 14:00.08
-----
12. Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 14:07.46

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 15:42.81
2. Yuka Ando (Tokinosumika T&F Assoc.) - 16:02.08
3. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 16:03.94
4. Ayari Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 16:06.20
5. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:08.16
6. Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:09.24
7. Kotomi Takayama (Team Sysmex) - 16:13.75
8. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:14.13
9. Eri Makikawa (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:14.73
10. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 16:19.73

H.S. Boys' 5000 m Heat 6
1. Ryoichi Yoshida (Omuta H.S.) - 14:44.65
2. Takumi Minaura (Toyokawa H.S.) - 14:49.71
3. Takaya Arake (Miyazaki Nittai Prep H.S.) - 14:54.89

H.S. Girls' 3000 m Heat 4
1. Kotona Ota (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:27.30
2. Chika Uemura (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:28.71
3. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:30.99

Men's 1500 m
1. Bikila Demma Daba (Ethiopia/Team Kanebo) - 3:42.75
2. Yuki Akimoto (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:50.30
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 3:50.52
4. Yasunari Kusu (Team Komori Corp.) - 3:51.64
5. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 3:51.98
-----
10. Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 3:56.09

Women's 1500 m Heat 2
1. Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:27.88
2. Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 4:28.66
3. Miyuki Mandai (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:31.45
4. Risa Yokoe (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:33.00
5. Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 4:33.40

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, April 5, 2013

Track Season Kicks Off With Saturday's Kanaguri Memorial Meet

by Brett Larner

Japan's outdoor track season gets underway Saturday with the 22nd edition of the Kanaguri Memorial Meet in Kumamoto.  With light rain forecast throughout the day, after a morning of elementary and junior high sprint relays and middle-distance events the afternoon features nothing but distance with season-opening 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m heats.

On the men's side, the 1500 m includes 10000 m national champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), past steeplechase national champions Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Tsuyoshi Takeda (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), 61-minute half marathoner Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota), Ethiopian Bikila Demma Daba (Team Kanebo) and, back from time served at the Nike Oregon Project, #1-ranked collegiate Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.). Absent rival Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S., 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S. starts off its title defense campaign with four team members slated to run in Heat 6 of the high school 5000 m.

At least three of the five open men's 5000 m heats look pretty interesting.  Heat 4 sees the year's #1-ranked Japanese marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) return to action for the first time since running 2:08:00 at February's Tokyo Marathon, backed by 2013 Hakone Ekiden stage winners Shota Hattori (Nittai Univ.) and Yuta Shitara (Toyo Univ.) and Kenyans Jeremiah Karemi (Team Toyota Kyushu), Benjamin Ngandu (Team Monteroza), Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) Micah Njeru (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Enock Omwamba (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.).

Almost every name in the 5000 m A-heat, Heat 5, deserves mention, but a few of the highlights include three of Japan's best-ever half marathoners, namely Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei), Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), past 5000 m national champions Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC), collegiate half marathon champion Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.), 30 km collegiate national record holder Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) and Kenyans Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta), Patrick Mutunga (Team Toyota Boshoku), Josphat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.), Charles Ndirangu (Team JFE Steel), Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) and Edward Waweru (Team NTN).

In the women's races, Heat 2 of the open 1500 m includes 800 m national champion Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko), Kenyans Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Mary Waithira (Team Toyota Boshoku), outstanding collegiates Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) Risa Shibuya (Bukkyo Univ.) and World XC junior women's team members Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) and Saki Yoshimizu (Chikushi Joshi Gakuen H.S.).

Four members of 2012 National High School Ekiden winner Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. are entered in Heat 4 of the high school 3000 m, where their competition includes the doubling Yoshimizu and her World XC teammate Azusa Sumi (Toyokawa H.S.).  Heat 2 of the open women's 5000 m includes both Murugi and Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko), identical twin marathoners Hiroko and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyudenko), former Ritsumeikan Univ. stars Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) and Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) and, with a Japanese women's year-leading run at last week's Stanford Invitational, Nanaki Izawa (Juntendo Univ.).

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Seko Introduces New Rainbow-Colored DeNA Uniform, Praises Kawauchi

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130404/ath13040405010000-n1.html
http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/sports/other/headlines/article/20130403-00000012-spnavi
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20130404-1107367.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here and here for photos of the flamboyant DeNA uniform

Inheriting the remnants of the historic S&B corporate team following its disbanding at the end of March, the new DeNA Running Club introduced its uniform at a Tokyo-area press conference on April 3. With regard to the uniform's colorful design, supervising head coach Toshihiko Seko said, "They're going to have to be just as flashy in their running to pull off a uniform like this."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Kiyoshi Nakamura, the mentor who led Seko to marathon greatness.  DeNA ace Yuichiro Ueno plans to run his marathon debut this year.  "We're combining the old and the new, and I'm whipping myself into shape even without being whipped," he said, showing plenty of spirit.  Seko commented, "He's not ready yet, but when he is, look out.  He's going to be great."

Asked about his views on the recent upswing in Japanese men's marathoning, with one after another 2:08 and 2:09 in the selection races for August's World Championships marathon team, Seko attributed it to the motivation provided by civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) who does not belong to a corporate team and trains and runs large numbers of races on his own while working full-time.  "I think we are seeing a Kawauchi Effect," said Seko.  "The marathon is the only distance where you can't have success if you're doing it just because someone told you to.  Kawauchi is doing it because he genuinely wants to, and I think that's why he can do what he does without growing weary.  For me the most incredible thing he has done was winning the Kumanichi 30 km in 1:29:31 only two weeks after getting the Beppu-Oita course record [2:08:15].  Normally that would be impossible, but he is not an ordinary person.  These days I respect him more than anybody else."

"He's not afraid to tell it like it is, either.  He has destroyed our sense of what is common sense, but we're all watching him and studying what he does.  I want that kind of athlete here with us, but he hasn't answered my call.  I can't force him, and for it to happen I have to wait for him to come to me." Sounding like a romantic waiting for their one true love, Seko unconsciously echoed the spirit of his famous quote, "The marathon is my only girlfriend.  I give her everything I've got."  For his part, Kawauchi commented, "I want to erase Seko's name from the top of the Japanese history books."

One note for context: Kawauchi's 2:08:15 at Beppu-Oita and 1:29:31 at Kumanichi two weeks apart broke Seko's lifetime PBs for those distances.