Saturday, October 1, 2016

Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Elevated to IAAF's Highest Ranking

translated by Brett Larner

The Naoko Takahashi Cup Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon organizing committee announced on Sept. 30 that its ranking on the IAAF's international road racing rating system has been raised from this year's Silver Label status to the highest level, a Gold Label.  It is the first Japanese half marathon to receive a Gold Label, a recognition of the quality of its field and other factors.

The Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon began in 2011.  Speaking at a press conference at the Gifu Prefectural Government headquarters race director Naoko Takahashi commented, "I want this event to become one that will help develop athletes who can compete with the best in the world, and to become an event loved and valued by the local community."  Next year's race will take place April 23.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

100 m NR Holder Koji Ito Named JAAF Strengthening Committee Chairman

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At a board of directors meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 28, the JAAF named Koji Ito (46), holder of the 10.00 Japanese 100 m national record, its new strengthening committee chairman.  Ito was already serving as the committee's vice-chairman.  He replaces Rio de Olympics athletics head coach Kazunori Asaba (56) in the role of the person who will lead the committee in the four-year buildup to the Tokyo Olympics.  Ito commented, "As someone in athletics I wanted to be involved in the Tokyo Olympics in one capacity or another.  There won't be any instant improvement, but as we move forward I want to listen to the opinions of a wide variety of people."

The board additionally settled the dates for major 2017 domestic competitions.  The Japanese National Championships will take place June 23-25 at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai, with combined events being staged June 10-11 at Nagano Civic Field.  With some details still being finalized the complete calendar will be settled at March's board of directors meeting.  Beginning in 2017 the names of the Japanese Junior Championships and Japanese Youth Championships will also be changed to the U20 Japanese Championships and U18 Japanese Championships.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

'Tokyo to Propose Moving More Venues For Olympics'

The article includes a helpful clarification for readers unfamiliar with the metric system.

Ministry Recommends Use of "Heat Shield Pavement" for Tokyo Olympics Road Events

translated by Brett Larner

A task force created by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has compiled a list of recommendations for measures to deal with high road temperatures during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.  For events such as the marathon and race walking which make use of roadways, "heat shield pavement," material sprayed onto the road surface to reflect sunlight and thereby help prevent its temperature from rising, is being actively introduced.  In August the Ministry verified the difference in road surface temperature due to the new material, finding a consistent temperature reduction effect where the "heat shield pavement" was used.  Once the Olympic courses have been finalized, the Ministry plans to further push the new pavement material.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Yamagata Drops 100 m PB, Tanui Takes Another Title, and Hayashida Breaks 3000 m JHS National Record - Weekend Track Highlights

by Brett Larner

With ekiden season just starting to break track action was heavy across the country as teams started to sharpen their lineups after summer mileage.  At the National Corporate Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Rio Olympics 4x100 m silver medalist Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) ran a 10.03 (+0.5 m/s) PB and meet record to beat his Rio relay teammate Asuka Cambridge (Dome), drawing ever closer to Japan's first sub-10 clocking.  Another member of the Rio team, Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) duly won the 200 m in 20.57 (+0.0 m/s), doubling in the 4x100 m and running a rare 4x400 m to help bring Mizuno national corporate titles in both, Mizuno breaking the 4x400 m meet record with a 3:04.51 win.

A meet record also fell in the men's 3000 mSC, where two-time national champion Hironori Tsuetaki (Team Fujitsu) ran an all-time Japanese #7 8:29.78 for the win.  Times were also fast by Japanese standards in the women's 1500 m, where Kenyan Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) came up just short of the meet record in 4:11.87 but pulled Maya Iino (Team Daiichi Seimei) and Chiaki Morikawa (Team Uniqlo) to all-time Japanese #8 and #9 times of 4:12.41 and 4:12.75.  Karindi also took the 5000 m title in 15:17.43.  Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) was the top Japanese woman in the 5000 m at 4th in 15:23.98, doubling after a loss to Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) in the 10000 m, 31:59.12 to 31:59.72.  Eleven Japanese women have broken 32 minutes so far this year, a sign that things might be swinging back in the right direction after a long period of decline in Japanese women's distance.

Rio men's 10000 m silver medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) picked up the 10000 m national corporate title in 28:04.23, but faster times came at the Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama were Alexander Mutiso (Team ND Software) won a close race over Dominic Nyairo (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.), 28:01.27 to 28:02.16.  The top Japanese man at Corporate Nationals was 2016 national XC champion Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei) in 28:20.01, while at Nittai Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) turned in a 28:26.70 PB for 4th and top Japanese.

The most surprising performance of the weekend, though, came at the Isahaya Nighter Time Trials meet in Nagasaki.  Hiroto Hayashida (Sakuragahara J.H.S.) was already the fastest-ever Japanese 8th-grader over 3000 m after having run 8:32.00 last year.  Now in 9th grade, at Isahaya he ran 8:20.90 to break the junior high school national record by 0.32.

3rd Isahaya Nighter Time Trials
Nagasaki Prefectural Sports Park Field, Isahaya, Nagasaki, 9/24/16

Junior High School Boys' 3000 m Heat 3
1. Hiroto Hayashida (Sakuragahara J.H.S.) - 8:20.90 - JHS NR
2. Kyosuke Nahao (Sakuragahara J.H.S.) - 8:43.95
3. Kosuke Ishida (Asakawa J.H.S.) - 9:01.57

64th National Corporate Track and Field Championships
Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Sept. 23-25, 2016
click here for complete results

Men's 100 m Final +0.5 m/s
1. Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 10.03 - MR
2. Asuka Cambridge (Dome) - 10.15
3. Tomoya Baba (Lall) - 10.38

Men's 200 m Final +0.0 m/s
1. Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.57
2. Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 20.67
3. Masafumi Naoki (Osaka Gas) - 20.81

Men's 1500 m
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) - 3:38.92
2. John Maina (Fujitsu) - 3:40.13
3. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 3:40.26
4. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 3:40.53
5. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:41.93

Men's 5000 m
1. Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) - 13:23.43
2. David Njuguna (Yakult) - 13:24.74
3. James Mwangi (NTN) - 13:24.97
4. Paul Kamais (Chugoku Denryoku) - 13:31.31
5. Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 13:38.93

Men's 10000 m
1. Paul Tanui (Kyudenko) - 28:04.23
2. Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 28:05.46
3. Leonard Barsoton (Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:05.82
4. Abiyot Abinet (Yachiyo Kogyo) - 28:15.01
5. Teressa Nyakola (Mazda) - 28:15.14

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Hironori Tsuetaki (Fujitsu) - 8:29.78 - MR
2. Kosei Yamaguchi (Aisan Kogyo) - 8:40.14
3. Aoi Matsumoto (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:43.68
4. Hiroyoshi Umegae (NTN) - 8:47.50
5. Tetsuya Kimura (Sumitomo Denko) - 8:50.07

Women's 1500 m
1. Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 4:11.87
2. Maya Iino (Daiichi Seimei) - 4:12.41
3. Chiaki Morikawa (Uniqlo) - 4:12.75
4. Tomoka Kimura (Univ. Ent.) - 4:14.35
5. Ayako Jinnouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:14.86

Junior Women's 3000 m
1. Harumi Okamoto (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 9:11.28
2. Nana Kuraoka (Denso) - 9:12.94
3. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) - 9:13.09
4. Sayaka Ikegame (Hokuren) - 9:16.03
5. Kaede Mikada (Daiichi Seimei0) - 9:19.18

Women's 5000 m
1. Ann Karindi (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:17.43
2. Rosemary Wanjiru Monica (Starts) - 15:18.80
3. Mariam Waithira Mururi (Kyudenko) - 15:20.94
4. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 15:23.98
5. Susan Wairimu (Denso) - 15:25.95

Women's 10000 m
1. Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) - 31:59.12
2. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 31:59.72
3. Felista Wanjugu (Univ. Ent.) - 32:21.90
4. Hisami Ishii (Yamada Denki) - 32:27.08
5. Wakaba Kawakami (Toto) - 32:28.78

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Minori Hayakari (Koka Joshi Gakuen Staff) - 10:18.51
2. Mayuko Nakamura (Cerespo) - 10:43.79
3. Azusa Saito (Niigata Albirex RC) - 11:40.07

252nd Nittai University Time Trials
Nittai University, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Sept. 24-25, 2016
click here for complete results

Women's 3000 m Heat 6
1. Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:14.10
2. Yumika Katayama (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 9:18.09
3. Mai Ota (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:18.38
4. Hikari Onishi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 9:18.74
5. Ema Hayashi (Takasaki Kenko Fukushi Prep H.S.) - 9:19.44

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Tomoyo Adachi (Denso) - 16:00.11
2. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 16:00.46
3. Ayane Matsuzawa (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 16:00.90
4. Hiromi Katakai (Shimamura) - 16:01.31
5. Yuka Kato (Toki Shogyo H.S.) - 16:05.08

Men's 5000 m Heat 36
1. Wesley Ledama (Subaru) - 13:35.89
2. Hiko Tonossa (Kurosaki Harima) - 13:36.82
3. Alfred Geno (Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:39.84
4. Joseph Onsarigo (ND Software) - 13:42.27
5. Duncan Muthee (Sunbelx) - 13:48.56

Men's 10000 m Heat 17
1. Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) - 28:01.27
2. Dominic Nyairo (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:02.16
3. Joseph Onsarigo (ND Software) - 28:24.81
4. Takaya Sato (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:26.70
5. Titus Mogusu (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 28:28.40

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Iwade 4th, Kawauchi 13th - BMW Berlin Marathon Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Japan's fastest-ever under-20 marathoner, Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) took 4th in a solo run behind winning Ethiopian trio Aberu Kebede, Birhane Dibaba and Ruti Aga at Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon.  With all three going under the 70 minute mark at halfway, the #3-ranked Iwade was alone in 5th, 20 seconds behind Kenyan Janet Ronoh.  Just before 40 km Iwade ran Ronoh down to move into 4th at almost the same time that Kebede took the win in 2:20:45.   Dibaba and Aga were over a kilometer behind in 2nd and 3rd, Iwade another 3 1/2 minutes further back in 2:28:16.

Hopeful of breaking his 3-year-old PB of 2:08:14, Kawauchi ran with support from two pacers and company from Eritrea's Yohanes Gebregergish and France's Jean Habarurema.  In a classic race that saw greats Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang front a lead pack that went through halfway in 1:01:11 on the way to Bekele's sprint finish 2:03:03 win, Kawauchi's group planned to hit half around 1:03:40.  One pacer stopped at only 6 km, and as the other waved to crowds and gestured to them to cheer more the pace slowed to 1:04:21 at halfway.

With the departure of the second pacer at 25 km Habarurema slipped off as Gebregerish and Kawauchi made moves to try to get the pace going faster.  Gebregerish opened a gap and never looked back, running smoothly all the way to finish in a PB 2:09:48 for 8th.  Left behind alone, Kawauchi ran down three or four casualties from the front group including 2:04:32 man Tsegaye Mekonnen of Ethiopian and 2011 Daegu World Championships silver medalist Vincent Kipruto of Kenya, but could manage no better than 2:11:03 for 13th.  Ranked 13th in the field pre-race and with Japanese men having averaged 2:11:10 for 9th in Berlin over the last five years it was neither brilliant nor a disaster, no better or worse than the corporate league runners who have preceded him in Berlin in recent years.  At the very least he walked away with his 19th sub-2:12 and 60th sub-2:20 clocking.

A big part of Kawauchi's methodology has been centered around questioning the conventional wisdom of the marathon, and like any true academic this has to include questioning his own assumptions.  Having changed up his approach in response to critics to see what would happen if he raced with more time between marathons the result was inconclusive.  Would he have been sharper with another race a few weeks beforehand like his 50 km NR two weeks ahead of his 2:09:01 at July's Gold Coast Airport Marathon?  Back to the drawing board for his next one, November's Porto Marathon.

Elsewhere at the Warsaw Marathon, 2:12 man Akiyuki Iwanaga (Team Kyudenko) managed only 2:24:32 for 7th.  Kenyan Ezekial Omullo won in 2:08:54, with Gladys Kibiwott of Bahrain winning the women's race in 2:36:32.

43rd BMW Berlin Marathon
Berlin, Germany, 9/25/16
click here for complete results

1. Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:03:03 - NR
2. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:03:13
3. Evans Chebet (Kenya) - 2:05:31
4. Sisay Lemma (Ethiopia) - 2:06:56
5. Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:07:47
6. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:09:29
7. Alfers Lagat (Kenya) - 2:09:46
8. Yohanes Gebregergish (Eritrea) - 2:09:48
9. Jacob Kandagor (Kenya) - 2:10:01
10. Suleiman Simotwo (Kenya) - 2:10:22
13. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:11:03
DNF - Vincent Kipruto (Kenya)
DNF - Tsegaye Mekonnen (Ethiopia)

1. Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:20:45
2. Birhane Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 2:23:58
3. Ruti Aga (Ethiopia) - 2:24:41
4. Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:28:16
5. Katharina Heinig (Germany) - 2:28:34
6. Janet Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:29:35
7. Elena Dolinin (Israel) - 2:35:59
8. Cassie Fien (Australia) - 2:37:28
9. Claire McCarthy (Ireland) - 2:38:00
10. Gladys Ganiel (Ireland) - 2:39:10

Iwade photo and Kawauchi solo photo © 2016 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved
text and other photos © 2016 Brett Larner, all rights reserved