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Ten Years of Japan Running News


Ten years ago today Japan Running News started with a story about the withdrawal of Wataru Okutani from the Japanese men's marathon team just before the start of the Osaka World Championships. The concept was to provide a high-quality and reliable source for information in English about as much of the fascinating and exciting but otherwise invisible world of Japanese distance running as possible, and in the ten years of almost daily updates since then that ideal hasn't changed.

The timing couldn't have been better, capturing the arcs of Samuel Wanjiru, Arata Fujiwara and Yuki Kawauchi, the rise of the Hakone Ekiden-driven university men's running circuit and of Japanese men's sprinting, and the buildup toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Along the way JRN has grown in ways we couldn't have expected, bringing writing jobs for publications worldwide and TV commentating work, the chance to work directly with some of Japan's best athletes and to travel around the world, and becoming the definitive English-language resource for both interested people and for other writers looking to add expertise to their own articles and books on the subject, credited or uncredited.

Below are four lists of some of JRN's best work over the last decade. The first lists our ten most popular stories by total read count, and the second gives the most-read story for each year excluding those on the first list. The third and fourth are lists of ten editor's picks of some of our favorite work that didn't necessarily rack up the views, the third made up of translations from Japanese media and the fourth of original contnet. There's no telling what the future holds, but we'd like to thank all the Japan Running News readers, supporters and colleagues over the last decade and hope that these stories remind you of some of the highs and lows of the years so recently gone by. Thanks for reading.

Brett Larner, editor in chief
Mika Tokairin, associate editor

JRN's All-Time Top Ten Most Popular Stories

  1. Last-Placer Named Winner After Entire Rest of Field Disqualified - Feb. 15, 2017
  2. Mekonnen Wins Tokyo Marathon, Amateur Kawauchi 3rd in 2:08:37 - Feb. 27, 2011
  3. Kipyego, Habtumu Win Tokyo Marathon, Fujiwara Back With 2:07:48 - Feb. 26, 2012
  4. Aoyama Gakuin University Breaks Izumo Ekiden CR in First-Ever Big Three University Ekiden Win - Oct. 8, 2012
  5. Hawkins and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Takeshita Over Muiru in Kanagawa - Feb. 5, 2017
  6. Samuel Wanjiru Shares the Secret of Training to Win - Dec. 24, 2008
  7. History Comes Calling - Kipsang and Chepchirchir Run Japanese Soil Records at Tokyo Marathon - Feb. 26, 2017
  8. Kawauchi Breaks World Record for Half Marathon in a Suit by 18 Minutes - Mar. 13, 2016
  9. Hakone Champion AGU's Isshiki Leads 27 Under 1:03 and 265 Sub-1:06 at National University Half Marathon Championships - Mar. 1, 2015
  10. Joseph Gitau Takes Surprise Win in Fukuoka in 2:06:58 - Dec. 2, 2012

JRN's Most-Read Stories by Year (excluding above top ten)

397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 20, 2007

Deeper and Deeper Goes the Greatest Half Marathon in the World - Ageo 2008 - Nov. 17, 2008

Masters Runner Yoshihisa Hosaka Sets 60+ World Record at Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon - Feb. 2, 2009

Japanese University Select Team Takes First-Ever International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2010

Ndambiri With the Win, Kawauchi With the Wonder - Fukuoka International Marathon - Dec. 4, 2011

Kenya Over Japan for Second-Straight International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2012

Mathathi Makes Transition to Marathon in Fukuoka, Kawauchi 3rd in Third Sub-2:10 of 2013 - Dec. 1, 2013

Chumba and Tsegaye Set Tokyo Marathon CRs as Five Japanese Men Break 2:10 - Feb. 23, 2014

Sonota and Nishiyama Make It a Komazawa 1-2, Yiu Breaks own NR at Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 15, 2015

Tsegay Over Makau for Fukuoka Win, Miracle-Worker Kawauchi 3rd - Dec. 4, 2016

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” - Mar. 28, 2017

Editor's Picks - Translations

Chunxiu Zhou's Japanese Coach Shinya Takeuchi Seeks to Make Personal Compensation to China for WWII - Aug. 14, 2008

Reiko Tosa's "Homemade" Training for Tokyo Finale - Mar. 18, 2009

The Man in the Wig Speaks - Mar. 25, 2009

From the Editor: Women's Marathoning and the Autumn Sky - July 2, 2009

"The Rocky of the Marathon World" - Saitama Governor Praises Kawauchi - Feb. 28, 2011

Arata Fujiwara - His Olympic Marathon Defeat in His Own Words - Aug. 22, 2012

A Group Overflowing With Individuality - Aug. 23, 2012

Aum Death Cult Defendant Kikuchi, On Trial for Tokyo Bombing, Claims She Seriously Trained to Break Marathon World Record - June 3, 2014

"I Was Afraid" - Japanese Long Distance's World Championships in Its Own Words - Aug. 31, 2015

Kawauchi on Tokyo 2020: "It Feels Like the War -- If You Step Out of Line People Call You a Traitor" - June 7, 2017

Editor's Picks - Original Content

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon - An Idea Whose Time Has Passed? - Nov. 13, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due: American and Japanese Men Aged 18-22 - Nov. 26, 2009

Wanjiru in the Words of Those Who Knew Him - May 16, 2011

Japan in Wanjiru - Dec. 19, 2011

How I Learned to Love the Ekiden and Why You Should Too - Dec. 20, 2012

A Second Chance to Make the Dream Come True - Yoshiko Sakamoto at the Zurich Marathon - Apr. 17, 2015

The Shape of Things to Come: Hakone, Where Things Are and Where They're Going - Jan. 11, 2016

Japan Surpasses U.S. as World's Largest Amateur Marathon Market - Jan. 22, 2016

The Kayoko Show: Long-Term Consequences of Agonistic Interactions Between Lobsters, and the Osaka Women's Marathon - Jan. 28, 2016

An Update on Eastern European Women in Japan - Apr. 26, 2017

Comments

Anonymous said…
10years already, time flies.
Congratulations Brett and keep them coming!!
Martin
TokyoRacer said…
Congratulations and thanks for 10 years of great reportage.
And thanks for listing the top ten stories. Somehow, I had missed the No. 1 - a classic!
koelmeyer said…
Thanks for the impeccable coverage, Brett.
I can't live without it!
Regards,
Gerard K

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

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

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

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