Monday, May 25, 2015

Kawauchi and Nojiri Set Kurobe Meisui Marathon Course Records

translated and edited by Brett Larner

More than 10,000 people took on the Kurobe Meisui Marathon in Kurobe, Toyama on Sunday, the most in the event's 32-year history.  Special guests included former world record holder and Sydney Olympics gold medalist Naoko Takahashi and 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  "Let's make this the liveliest race in Japan, in the world!" Takahashi called out to runners at the start.

Kawauchi set the men's course record, winning in 2:17:58.  2011 World Championships marathoner Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) likewise set a new women's course record of 2:44:56.

Its popularity increasing due to the opening of the new Hokuriku shinkansen line, Kurobe hosted a record-setting 10,485 starters in the marathon, 10 km and 5 km divisions.  Nice weather meant comfortable running for all under clear blue skies.

32nd Carter Memorial Kurobe Meisui Marathon
Kurobe, Toyama, 5/24/15
click here for complete results

1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:17:58 - CR
2. Takaya Sakamoto (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:23:51
3. Naoki Inoue (Ibaraki T&F Assoc.) - 2:27:15

1. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:44:56 - CR
2. Haruka Shiina (Gifu Joshi Univ.) - 3:02:14
3. Junko Otani (Hyogo T&F Assoc.) - 3:05:06

'Ethiopians Mekuria and Birhanu Claim Ottawa Marathon Victories' - Japanese Results

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon
Ottawa, Canada, 5/24/15
click here for complete results

1. Aberu Zennebe (Ethiopia) - 2:25:30
2. Rebecca Chesir (Kenya) - 2:25:41
3. Abebech Afework (Ethiopia) - 2:25:53
4. Agnes Kiprop (Kenya) - 2:26:12
5. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia) - 2:26:45
11. Rika Shintaku (Japan/Shimamura) - 2:33:34
DNF - Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania)

1. Girmay Birhanu (Ethiopia) - 2:08:14
2. Philip Kangogo (Kenya) - 2:09:56
3. Chele Dechase (Ethiopia) - 2:09:59
4. Rachid Kisri (Morocco) - 2:10:18
5. Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 2:10:23
DNF - Deriba Merga (Ethiopia)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Göteborgs Varvet Half Marathon - Japanese Results

Göteborg, Sweden, 5/23/15
click here for complete results

1. Worknesh Degefa (Ethiopia) - 1:08:13
2. Isabella Ochichi (Kenya) - 1:09:45
3. Beatrice Mutai (Kenya) - 1:09:46
4. Michi Numata (Japan/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:11:37
5. Viola Jepchumba (Kenya) - 1:11:46
6. Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:33

1. Richard Mengich (Kenya) - 1:00:44
2. Hizkial Tewelde (Eritrea) - 1:01:19
3. Josphat Kiptis (Kenya) - 1:01:30
4. Henry Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:01:46
5. Sisay Lemma (Ethiopia) - 1:02:06
13. Keita Shitara (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:05:18
15. Shota Hattori (Japan/Honda) - 1:07:18

Friday, May 22, 2015

Olympic Marathoner Eri Yamaguchi Building a New Ekiden Team

translated by Brett Larner

A former marathon great is working hard in her position as head coach.  International Pacific University in Okayama has named 2000 Sydney Olympics marathon 7th-placer Eri Yamaguchi, 42, to lead its new women's ekiden team.  Returning to the field of competition for the first time in four years, Yamaguchi was full of a sense of mission as she said, "I want to pass to them everything that I learned and accomplished."

In March, 2011 Yamaguchi left her job as assistant coach at the Tenmaya women's corporate team to get married, afterward focusing on developing juniors.  When the knock on the door came from IPU she was conflicted, asking herself, "Can you go back to the competitive world?  You won't be able to take care of your family any more."  But after talking with IPU president Hiroshi Ohashi, she said, "I got a strong desire to help develop a strong ekiden team."  "She is one of the people who helped shape Japan's long distance world," President Ohashi commented.  "We have been considering this move for the last three years," he added, smiling at seeing his plans come to realization.

At the moment the team includes just four students, all first and second-years, but plans do not call for them to enter the ekiden circuit until after next season.  As the ability levels of their incoming first-years will shape the team's development, Yamaguchi is busy with doing her first-ever recruiting.  "First we have to build the team," she said, calmly assessing the team's prospects.  "If we get off on the right track then we will be able to think about winning."  She has already begun planting the seeds of competitiveness and development in the minds of inexperienced athletes in what is now a "friendly club."  With morning practice at 6:00 a.m. and another session in the evening there is little free time.  "I'm like a substitute mom for all the athletes," she said.  With a busy day-to-day schedule she added,  "When I go home all I can do is sleep."  But her smile betrayed the sense of fulfillment her new work brings her.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

World University Games Japanese Roster

by Brett Larner

The IUAU has announced the Japanese men's and women's rosters for July's Universiade, the World University Games, in Gwangju, South Korea.  2012 London Olympian Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.), 2014 World Junior Championships men's 400 m silver medalist Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) and 200 m 4th-placer Yuki Koike (Keio Univ.) feature prominently in the sprints, with 2014 Youth Olympics men's high jump silver medalist Yuji Hiramatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) leading the field contingent.  The strong men's distance squad is led by 2015 National University Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) and 2015 Kanto Regionals D2 double 5000 m and 10000 m champion Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.), while 2015 National University Half Marathon champion Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) and 2015 Kanto Regional double 5000 m and 10000 m champion Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) front the women's distance group.

28th Universiade
Gwangju, South Korea, July 3-14, 2015
click here for complete Japanese roster

Men's Sprints
Yuki Koike (Keio Univ.) - 100 m, 4x100 mR - PB: 10.32 +0.7
Tatsuro Suwa (Chuo Univ.) - 100 m, 4x100 mR - PB: 10.39 + 0.5
Akiyuki Hashimoto (Waseda Univ.) - 200 m, 4x100 mR - PB: 20.35 -0.3
Kotaro Taniguchi (Chuo Univ.) - 200 m, 4x100 mR - PB: 20.45 +0.6
Kazuma Oseto (Hosei Univ.) - 4x100 mR, 4x400 mR - PB: 10.23 +1.3
Nobuya Kato (Waseda Univ.) - 4x400 mR - PB: 45.88
Kentaro Sato (Josai Univ.) - 400 m, 4x400 mR - PB: 46.21
Julian Walsh (Toyo Univ.) - 4x400 mR - PB: 46.22
Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 4x400 mR - PB: 46.33

Men's Long Distance
Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 5000 m, 10000 m - PB: 13:38.08 / 28:30.52
Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 5000 m, 10000 m, half marathon - PB: 13:42.16 / 28:36.61 / 1:03:28
Kazuto Kawabata (Tokai Univ.) - 10000 m - PB: 28:44.71
Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:02:03
Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:02:09
Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:02:12
Yuta Takahashi (Teikyo Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 102:13

Men's Hurdles
Genta Masuno (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 110 mH - PB: 13.58 +0.4

Men's Walks
Daisuke Matsunaga (Toyo Univ.) - 20 kmW - PB: 1:19:08
Tomohiro Noda (Meiji Univ.) - 20 kmW - 1:20:08

Men's Jumps
Yuji Hiramatsu (Tsukuba Univ.) - high jump - PB: 2.28 m
Tomoya Takamasa (Juntendo Univ.) - long jump - PB: 8.03 m +1.9
Yasuhiro Moro (Juntendo Univ.) - long jump - PB: 7.83 m + 1.0

Men's Throws
Homare Mori (Chuo Univ.) - javelin throw - PB: 75.59 m

Women's Sprints
Anna Doi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 100 m, 200 m - PB: 11.50 +0.3 / 23.62 +1.8

Women's Long Distance
Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 5000 m - PB: 15:39.96
Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 5000 m, 10000 m - PB: 15:44.02
Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 10000 m, half marathon - PB: 33:27.26 / 1:13:03
Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:11:19
Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:11:24
Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - half marathon - PB: 1:11:26
Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - half marathon - 1:11:44

Women's Throws
Ai Yamauchi (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - javelin throw - 56.94 m

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Owakudani Volcanic Activity Raises Questions About Cutting the Hakone Ekiden Course Short

an editorial by Mitsuo Kamiya
translated by Brett Larner

"If this volcanic activity continues like this then it won't be a situation where you could think about holding an ekiden," said an official nervously.  He was speaking of one of the biggest national events, the New Year holidays' Hakone Ekiden.  Located near the Hakone Ekiden's climax, the mountainous uphill Fifth Stage, the Owakudani valley famous for its "black eggs" is currently experiencing earthquakes and increased volcanic activity with the land in the valley having risen an alarming 12 cm.

On May 6 authorities elevated the eruption alert level at Owakudani from 1 (normal) to 2 (crater periphery restrictions).  To put it simply, the move meant that an eruption could happen at any time.  During the Golden Week holidays in early May the surrounding hot spring tourism area experienced few cancellations as tourists told each other, "If we all go then it won't be scary," but since then tourist numbers have dropped noticeably from normal.  "Owakudani is only a small part of the Hakone area and the only part that is restricted.  It is important that the public receives accurate information," said town hall officials, seeking to prevent damage to the reputation of the area and its artisans.

But at the same time experts warned that they could not even make a guess about what would happen, saying, "Nobody knows when an eruption will occur.  You have to rely on experience and intuition."  As is human nature, the rumors are already flying.  One says that it is highly likely that this is connected with Mount Fuji, located just 25 km away.  If they were to erupt together the nearby Tomei Expressway and shinkansen lines forming the heart of Japan's transportation network would be completely paralyzed.

If the level of magma pressure continues to increase gradually over a long period of time, it is entirely possible that authorities' elevation of danger levels could likewise continue until the next New Year holidays.  Seeming to indicate a reluctance to hold the only event bringing more people into the Hakone area than the Golden Week holidays, police officials commented, "We cannot take responsibility for people's safety and hope that they avoid the Hakone area."  As track and field officials said, it would not be the kind of situation where you could think about holding an ekiden.

So what would the options be for the Hakone Ekiden?  "Well," said a race official, twisting his neck in perplexity, "the only choices would probably be either changing the course or cutting the Hakone section."  The current course runs 107.5 km from Tokyo to Hakone and 109.6 km on the return trip.  If the course is changed, in terms of distance equivalent courses would be 120 km for Tokyo to Mito or 140 km for Tokyo to Nikko.  But with the race taking place over two days of heavy New Year's traffic it is impossible to imagine the police cooperating with the road closure needs created by an alternate course.  That means cutting the Hakone section, the uphill Fifth Stage and downhill Sixth Stage to create a race between Tokyo and Odawara, an Odawara Ekiden as it were.  At 84.3 km on the first day and 88.7 km on the trip back it would be an uninspiring distance, but that may be the only real option.

"At the Hakone Ekiden the mountain stages are incredibly dramatic every time, keeping viewers glued to their TVs until the very end," said one critic.  "If it becomes a flat race it will be no different from November's National University Ekiden between Nagoya and Ise Shrine.  It will lose half its appeal."  How long will the dangerous levels of volcanic activity continue?  For Hakone Ekiden organizers these are restless days.  All they can do is pray to the God of the Mountain.

Monday, May 18, 2015

'Tolossa Smashes Riga Marathon Course Record'

Kenta Iinuma (Team SGH Holdings) took 8th in 2:16:37, Yudai Yamakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) ending up 12th in 2:28:34.  Click here for complete results.

Tanui Runs World-Leading 27:08.21 - Regional Corporate Track Championship Highlights

by Brett Larner

2013 Moscow World Championships men's 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) capped a weekend of regional corporate track and field championships with a world-leading 27:08.21 meet record at the Kyushu Championships.  Starting at near world record pace with a 2:38.38 first 1000 m Tanui soon calmed down and ran under control, going through halfway in 13:34.98 and lapping the entire field including sub-62 half marathoner Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi Hitachi Nagasaki) and three of the Asahi Kasei team's star new recruits, Kota Murayama, Shuho Dairokuno and Takashi Ichida.

The women's 10000 m was not quite as fast but still started quick, with Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) and Keiko Nogami (Team Juhachi Ginko) going after the sub-32:00.00 Beijing World Championships standard.  The pace slowed off the standard but the pair ran together until the last lap when Kato pulled just ahead to win in 32:13.72.

At the East Japan meet Kenyans William Malel (Team Honda) and Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) turned in quality 10000 m times to win their races, Malel running 27:57.36 and Obare 32:05.68.  Fresh off a 5000 m PB last weekend in Nobeoka, Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) doubled with 1500 m and 5000 m wins in 3:38.07 and 13:19.33, running down 2013 World XC junior silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) on the last lap for the 5000 m win.  Kenyan women also took the 5000 m and 3000 m, teammates Grace Kimanzi (Team Starts) winning the 5000 m in 15:41.66 and Rosemary Wanjiru (Team Starts) the 3000 m in 8:57.69.  The men's 5000 m racewalk also made headlines with a 18:51.93 national record from Eiki Takahashi (Team Fujitsu).

The Chugoku region meet, split between this weekend and last, featured the 10000 m distance this week.  Kaido Kita (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) took the Chugoku titles in 28:42.12 and 33:30.68.  Regional corporate championship action wraps up next weekend with the Kansai Region meet in Osaka.

Kyushu Corporate Track and Field Championships
Sayagatani Field, Kitakyushu, May 16-17, 2015
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 3
1. Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 27:08.21 - WL, MR
2. Kota Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 28:12.31
3. Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi Hitachi Nagasaki) - 28:12.96
4. Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 28:13.17
5. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:17.09
6. Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 28:20.17
7. Kazuya Deguchi (Asahi Kasei) - 28:20.77
8. Shinji Yoshimoto (Kurosaki Harima) - 28:35.02
9. Yuki Arimura (Asahi Kasei) - 28:35.61
10. Kazuharu Takai (Kyudenko) - 28:38.69
17. Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) - 28:52.84

Women's 10000 m
1. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 32:13.72
2. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 32:14.58
3. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:56.31
4. Erika Ikeda (Higo Ginko) - 33:16.25
5. Yuka Koga (Juhachi Ginko) - 33:22.84

Men's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Tomoya Onishi (Asahi Kasei) - 14:13.97
2. Keijiro Mogi (Asahi Kasei) - 14:16.84
3. Taku Miyahara (Mitsubishi Hitachi Nagasaki) - 14:21.35

Women's 5000 m
1. Yuka Miyazaki (Kyudenko) - 15:44.29
2. Eri Hayakawa (Toto) - 16:04.34
3. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 16:15.26
4. Mariam Waithira (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 16:31.16
5. Hitomi Shimofuji (Canon AC Kyushu) - 16:31.17

Men's 1500 m
1. Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 3:50.39
2. Tsukasa Matsuda (Kurosaki Harima) - 3:52.04
3. Keisuke Hirata (Kurosaki Harima) - 3:52.52

East Japan Corporate Track and Field Championships
Kumagaya Sports Park Field, Kumagaya, Saitama, May 16-17, 2015
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m
1. William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:57.36
2. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Monteroza) - 28:27.01
3. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) - 28:36.25
4. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 28:38.19
5. Masaru Aoki (Kanebo) - 29:08.97

Women's 10000 m
1. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Hitachi) - 32:05.68
2. Hitomi Nakamura (Panasonic) - 33:04.06
3. Rika Toguchi (Route Inn Hotels) - 33:06.05
4. Asami Kato (Panasonic) - 33:07.58
5. Miho Ihara (Sekisui Kagaku) - 33:08.60

Men's 5000 m Heat 4
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 13:19.33
2. Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:22.91
3. Bernard Kimanyi (Kenya/Yakult) - 13:29.43
4. Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 13:37.18
5. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:40.59
6. David Njuguna (Kenya/Yakult) - 13:40.87
7. Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 13:42.48
8. Edwin Mokua (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:51.22
9. Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:52.99
10. Johana Maina (Kenya/Fujitsu) - 13:55.46

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Starts) - 15:41.66
2. Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) - 15:45.34
3. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Univ. Ent.) - 15:47.18
4. Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:55.10
5. Shiho Takechi (Yamada Denki) - 15:59.81

Women's 3000 m
1. Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya/Starts) - 8:57.69
2. Azusa Sumi (Univ. Ent.) - 9:01.15
3. Miho Shimizu (Hokuren) - 9:05.39
4. Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 9:16.17
5. Tomomi Tanaka (Daiichi Seimei) - 9:20.21

Men's 1500 m
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 3:38.07
2. David Njuguna (Kenya/Yakult) - 3:41.12
3. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:46.07
4. Hikaru Kato (JR Higashi Nihon) - 3:46.31
5. Yoshihiro Nishizawa (Komori Corp.) - 3:47.04

Women's 1500 m
1. Chihiro Sunaga (Shiseido) - 4:19.14
2. Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 4:20.93
3. Tomoka Kimura (Univ. Ent.) - 4:21.29

Men's 5000 m RW
1. Eiki Takahashi (Fujitsu) - 18:51.93 - NR
2. Hirooki Arai (SDF Academy) - 19:18.19
3. Kai Kobayashi (Bic Camera) - 19:20.05

Chugoku Corporate Track and Field Championships
Miyoshi Field, Hiroshima, May 16, 2015
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 2
1. Kaido Kita (Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:42.12
2. Taku Fujikawa (Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:43.80
3. Mizuho Tanaka (Mazda) - 28:45.32
4. Rui Yonezawa (Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:50.17
5. Masato Sumimoto (Mazda) - 29:08.97

Women's 10000 m
1. Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 33:30.68
2. Yurie Fujita (Tenmaya) - 33:37.17
3. Yukari Ishizawa (Edion) - 33:44.93

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved