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Akaba, Davila and Watanabe Headline 32nd Running of Sanyo Women's Road Race

http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/feature/sports/other/2013/11/30/20131130225458.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The invited athlete list for Japan's last major road race of the year, the 32nd Sanyo Women's Road Race on Dec. 23 in Okayama, was released by race organisers on Nov. 30. Coinciding with main sponsor Sanyo Newspapers' 135th anniversary, the Yuko Arimori Cup half marathon division at the Sanyo Women's Road Race will for the first time be a selection race for the World Half Marathon Championships national team, with next year's World Half due to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark next March.

Targeting the first three-peat in Sanyo history, 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) heads the invited field along with 2013 Hokkaido Marathon winner Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) and, from overseas, London Olympian Desiree Davila (U.S.A.).  Others in the half  marathon include past World Championships marathoners Mai Ito (Team Otsu…

2013 Fukuoka International Marathon Preview

by Brett Larner



Japan’s last top-level marathon of the year takes place this Sunday with the 67th running of the historic Fukuoka International Marathon. In recent weeks Fukuoka has been hit by some high-level withdrawals including 2010 New York City Marathon winner Gebre Gebremariam (Ethiopia), last year’s Fukuoka runner-up Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) and 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), but with four of last year's top six returning it looks set to be a very close-matched and exciting race up front.

Defending champion Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) returns as the fastest man in the field with the 2:06:58 time he set last year. In his only recent race, the Oct. 27 Hiroshima Corporate Ekiden, Gitau ran 19:21 for 6.60 km to finish only 4th on the stage nearly a minute behind the winner, and with little else to go on he has to be viewed as a question mark coming in to Fukuoka. His strongest competition should be 2007 World Championships 10000…

Yukiko Akaba Announces Retirement Plans

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/11/28/kiji/K20131128007099510.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 28 marathoner Yukiko Akaba (34, Team Hokuren) announced on her blog that she plans to retire following the 33rd edition of the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 26.  That deadline for retirement was set more than a year ago.  "Retiring now doesn't mean I'm just quitting," she said.  "I can't realistically expect to make any more Olympic teams.  If I keep going then eventually I'll just be puttering along without any clear goals.  Not many people will like this decision, but it is a happy occasion and I'm thankful from the heart for all the support I've received.  I will keep giving it my all until Osaka and bring my best performances to every race I have left before that."

Akaba is a graduate of Josai University.  She won the 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon in 1:08:59 and was 3rd at this year's L…

Gebremariam and Horibata Withdraw From Fukuoka With Injuries

http://www.asahi.com/articles/SEB201311260038.html
http://www.asahi.com/articles/TKY201311140653.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The organizers of the 67th Fukuoka International Marathon announced on Nov. 26 that feature foreign invited athlete GebreGebremariam (Ethiopia) has withdrawn from Sunday's race with an injury to his left calf.  Gebremariam was the 2010 New York City Marathon champion and went on to run 2:04:53 at the heavily wind-aided 2011 Boston Marathon.  He placed 8th in the 10000 m at the 2012 London Olympics.

Also announced was the withdrawal of domestic elite Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) due to pain in his left knee.  At last year's Fukuoka Horibata ran a PB 2:08:24 to finish 2nd overall as the top Japanese man, qualifying for the 2013 Moscow World Championships marathon.  After suffering a stress fracture in the spring he dropped out of August's World Championships marathon at 13 km after experiencing difficulty.

Previously announced withd…

Fukushima's Disaster-Hit Kawauchi Village to Rename Main Street in Yuki Kawauchi's Honor at Dec. 8 Running Event

http://www.minpo.jp/news/detail/2013110812011

translated by Brett Larner

Known as Japan's #1 amateur runner, two-time World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) will appear in Kawauchi village on Dec. 8 to help launch the town's new Mini-Marathon race. Never giving up and clenching his teeth as he runs with all his strength, Kawauchi resonates with the people of the village as they face the future and take steps forward toward reconstructing from the TEPCO Fukushima #1 Nuclear Reactor disaster.

Mayor Yuko Endo has long shared a sense of affinity with the athlete with the same name as the town under his stewardship, and when he approached the famous marathoner with an invitation to run Kawauchi was quick to accept. "I've always been curious about this town that shares the name of Kawauchi with me," he said.

At 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 8 Kawauchi will give a talk in the Iwananosato area of the town. Afterward, Kawauchi will help launch the M…

Nineteen Collegiates Go Sub-29 at Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials

by Brett Larner
video courtesy of Ekiden News


Just a week after record-setting depth at the Ageo City Half Marathon, where seventeen men from Kanto-region universities broke 1:03, most for the first time, more records fell at the Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, site of the future 2020 Olympic Stadium.  Like Ageo, the Kanto meet serves to build toward final team selection for the biggest event in Japanese sports, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. Spurred on by the drive to make their schools' Hakone teams and by scholarships on offer to any university man who ran a sub-29 PB at the meet, last year fifteen collegiate men broke 29 in the A-heat.  This year the number was up to a stunning eighteen, led by Takuya Fujikawa of 2012 Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University in 28:35.72.

Fujikawa and Kenyan Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ.) who ran in the lead group most of the way in Ageo last weekend, ran together at an ambitious pace up fron…

Kawauchi 1:04:44 Course Record at Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon

by Brett Larner



A week after running 1:03:06, the fourth-best time of his career, at the Ageo City Half Marathon, indy ace Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in action with a 1:04:44 course record at the 4th edition of the Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon in Kawagoe, Saitama.  Running against a pack of second-tier men from Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University, Kawauchi was alone by halfway to win by more than a minute over Toyo's Takaki Omuro, whose PB of 1:05:54 for 2nd improved on the 1:06:28 PB he had set a week earlier in Ageo. 

Kawauchi's time took 49 seconds off the record set last year by fellow independent Sho Matsumoto and put him in good position for next weekend's Fukuoka International Marathon, where Kawauchi will shoot for 2:07 and a place on the Japanese team for next year's Asian Games marathon.
4th Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon Kawagoe, Saitama, 11/24/13 click here for complete results
Men 1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:…

Maeda and Tanui Lead Kyudenko to Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden Course Record

by Brett Larner

Regional qualification for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships wrapped up Nov. 23 in Fukuoka with the 50th edition of the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden.  Driven by a mid-race stage win by this year's fastest Japanese marathoner, 2:08:00 man Kazuhiro Maeda, and a new stage record by Moscow World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Paul Tanui, the Kyudenko team covered the seven-stage, 78.8 km ekiden in a course record 3:50:36 to take the win over favorites Asahi Kasei and Toyota Kyushu.

Strong in the early going, the relatively minor Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki and Kurosaki Harima teams led for the first three stages, Kyudenko close behind but Asahi Kasei and Toyota Kyushu, running without its four best men including New York City Marathon 6th-placer Masato Imai, getting off to a slow start.  Down 1 second on Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki and 46 seconds on leader Kurosaki Harima at the handoff, Maeda went to work on the 12.2 km Fourth Stage, …

Kenya 2:03:59 CR at International Chiba Ekiden

by Brett Larner
photo courtesy of STITCHrunner


The 2013 International Chiba Ekiden lived up to expectations with a dynamic race that saw two-time defending champion Kenya make it three in a row in a course record 2:03:59 for the six-stage, 42.195 km course with a team made up of three men and three women. Kenya led wire to wire, but despite a couple of scares from 2012 runner-up Japan mid-race, Kenya managed to build a lead of over three minutes on the final two stages to seal the record-setting win.  Japan again took the silver spot in 2:07:13, with last year's 4th-placer Russia moving up to 3rd just a few meters back in 2:07:22.  The 2012 bronze medal U.S.A. team spent much of the race in the back half of the field, advancing to 5th on the anchor stage but outrun by 28 seconds by a team made up of the world's best collegiate distance runners, the Japanese University Select Team, 4th in 2:08:03.

2010 World XC champion Joseph Ebuya (Kenya) led the 5.0 km men's First Stage …

2013 International Chiba Ekiden Leads Weekend Action (updated)

by Brett Larner



Saturday's 2013 edition of the International Chiba Ekiden tops this weekend's list of international long distance action, with thirteen mixed men's and women's teams from around the world competing over Chiba's six stage, 42,195 km course.  Two-time defending champion Kenya returns with a team led by 2010 and 2013 World XC women's gold medalist Emily Chebet Muge and 2010 World XC men's gold medalist Joseph Ebuya.  Japan provides the toughest competition, with a team including all three men from the Moscow World Championships 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) along with their Moscow women's 5000 m teammate Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku).  2012's 3rd-placer U.S.A. returns a quality squad of domestic talent but should again face tough challenges for the podium from the team it beat to get there last year, Russia, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1500 m silver m…

Atsushi Sato to Pursue New Dream as Coach After Fukuoka

http://www.minyu-net.com/sport/running/news/131121/news2.html

translated by Brett Larner

Half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has announced that he will retire following next month's Fukuoka International Marathon. Now 35, he has increasingly been forced to deal with running in pain and numbness in his legs.  In an interview on Nov. 20 Sato admitted, "I've had more and more problems with injuries and just can't seem to be able to do the kind of training I need any more."

Sato relocated his training base from Hiroshima back to his hometown of Aizubange-machi, Fukushima following the 2011 disasters with the intent of training for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, 2016.  He has been building his mileage there, but realizing he would not be able to achieve this goal and deciding to retire, he said, "I've always had the dream of being a mentor and coach, so I'd like to put the punctuation on one phase on my life a…

New Year Ekiden Regional Qualifier Roundup

by Brett Larner

Four regions across Japan held their qualifying races on Sunday for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships.  In the Chugoku region, Team Chugoku Denryoku suffered a scare in its pursuit of a 17th-straight win, trailing trailing Team Mazda until the sixth of the ekiden's seven stage before advacing to earn its place in Maebashi on New Year's Day.  Ideal conditions helped runners set new records on five of the ekiden's seven stages, led by a scintillating 19:41 record on the 7.2 km Second Stage by Ethiopian Ayele Abayneh (Team Mazda), who outran Team JFE ace Kenyan Charles Ndirangu by nine seconds.  Four teams in all from the Chugoku region qualified.

Six teams made the grade in the Kansai Region, where Team Sagawa Express won despite the absence of London Olympics marathoner Ryo Yamamoto.  Team Osaka Gas had a close victory over the Osaka Police Department team to pick up the last qualifying spot, but the big news of the race f…

Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km - Japanese Results

30th Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km Road Race
Nijmegen, Netherlands, 11/17/13
click here for complete results

Women
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 48:43
2. Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) - 50:59
3. Ayame Takagi (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:08
4. Honoka Yuzawa (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:27
5. Miranda Boonstra (Netherlands) - 51:41
6. Kim Dillen (Netherlands) - 51:53
7. Mio Muraoka (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 51:56
8. Yurina Yokoyama (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 52:38

Men
1. Leonard Komon (Kenya) - 42:15
2. Nicholas Kipkemboi (Kenya) - 42:32
3. Daniel Chaves da Silva (Brazil) - 43:49
4. Jesper van der Wielen (Netherlands) - 44:33
5. Tom Wiggers (Netherlands) - 44:42

© 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Osako 13:20.80 at Nittai University Time Trials

by Brett Larner
video courtesy of Ekiden News



Among the seven major Japanese races and meets over the weekend, the Nittai University Time Trials meet featured a standout showing from 22-year-old Waseda University senior Suguru Osako.  Already in the all-time Japanese top five for 10000 m after a 27:38.31 runner-up finish at Stanford in the spring, Osako hung tough in the Nittai 5000 m A-heat against the likes of international-level Kenyans Jonathan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), Bidan Karoki (DeNA RC) and Leonard Barsoton (Team Nissin Shokuhin) to take seven seconds off his best with a new mark of 13:20.80, making him the all-time sixth-fastest Japanese man over 5000 m and the second-fastest Japanese collegiate ever behind only former Waseda star Kensuke Takezawa's 13:19.00.  Two-time World Junior 3000 mSC champion Ndiku took the win over Karoki in 13:14.97, with 2013 World XC Junior silver medalist Barsoton outkicking William Malel (Kenya/Team Honda) and Osako for 3rd in 13:19.04.…

Ichida and Nishiike Lead Eighteen Under 63 Minutes in Ageo City Half Marathon Photo-Finish (updated)

text and photos by Brett Larner
videos courtesy of Ekiden News


On a busy weekend featuring at least seven major events across the country, Japan's biggest race of the weekend took place northwest of Tokyo in Saitama.  With perfect conditions for its 26th running, the Ageo City Half Marathon, consistently one of the world's deepest halves as a consequence of being the unofficial tryout race for Japan's biggest sporting event, the Jan. 2-3 university men's Hakone Ekiden, saw a dramatic race with five men battling to the line to make history.   In a relationship set up by JRN, two invitations to run March's New York City Half Marathon were up for grabs for the first two Japanese collegiate finishers, and, having seen the effect on last year's Ageo winner Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) who returned from finishing 10th in New York in 2013 to set course records at both the Izumo Ekiden and National University Ekiden Championships, the field responded en masse.



The ra…

Arai and Tanaka Set Course Records at Kobe Marathon

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/201311/0006503245.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Over 20,000 people took part in the third edition of the Kobe Marathon on Nov. 17, running on the streets raised from the ruin of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Starting out at a much faster pace than Kobe saw in either of its first two runnings, Hironori Arai (34, Team Chugoku Denryoku) and local veteran Chihiro Tanaka (44, AthleC AC) set new men's and women's course records of 2:17:01 and 2:36:53. For each of them it was their first time to win in Kobe.

Organized by the Hyogo Prefectural Government, the Kobe Civic Government and the Hyogo Prefecture Track and Field Association, the race had "Give Thanks for Friendship" as its official theme to express the city's gratitude for the assistance it received during the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake and to help raise support for survivors of the East Japan Earthquake and the recent major typhoon in the Philippines…

'Mayorova Finally Aiming to Finish in Yokohama, Ongari and Kalmer the Threats'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/preview/mayorova-ongari-kalmer-yokohama-marathon

A shame that none of the hometown athletes are deemed to be threats.  JRN will cover the race live via Twitter @JRNLive starting at noon on Sunday, Nov. 16.  Overseas viewers may be able to catch TV Asahi's live broadcast via Keyhole TV.

Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 11/17/13
click here for complete field listing
22. Yumiko Hara (AASP Running Club) - 2:23:48 (Osaka Int'l 2007) 1. Albina Mayorova (Russia) - 2:23:52 (Nagoya Women's 2012) 2. Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 2:24:20 (Rotterdam 2011) 11. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:24:28 (Nagoya Women's 2012) 3. Jessica Augusto (Portugal) - 2:24:33 (London 2011) 12. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:24:57 (Osaka Int'l 2012) 13. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:25:38 (Tokyo 2009) 14. Eri Okubo (Miki House) - 2:26:08 (Tokyo 2012) 5. Tetyana Filonyuk (Ukraine) - 2:26:24 (Rome 2010) 6. Freya Ross (Great Bri…

Carlson, Ito and Rothlin Withdraw From Fukuoka Marathon

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20131113/ath13111318250000-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 13 the organizers of the Dec. 1 Fukuoka International Marathon announced that 2008 Tokyo Marathon winner Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), American Andrew Carlson and 2013 Gold Coast Airport Marathon runner-up Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) have all withdrawn from the race due to training setbacks.

Kawauchi to Run Kumamoto Castle Marathon

http://kumanichi.com/news/local/main/20131113003.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 13 it was announced that popular civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) will run the third edition of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon Feb. 16 in Kumamoto.  In February this year Kawauchi won the event's longstanding Kumanichi 30 km division in a course record 1:29:31. On Nov. 8 Kawauchi contacted race organizers to say that he wanted to run the marathon division next year. Given that the achievements and popularity that have made him Japan's top marathon runner would lead to a surge of interest in the Kumamoto Castle Marathon, organizers were quick to make him the first invited athlete in the short history of the marathon division.

There is no doubt that organizers are banking on the 'Kawauchi Effect.'  A race spokesperson commented, "Kawauchi told us, 'Compared to other races, the crowd support in Kumamoto was fantastic.'  It seems …

Ekiden Ace Izawa to Join Koide Collective in Pursuit of Marathon Medal

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aichi/news/20131111-OYT8T01064.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having helped lead Toyokawa H.S. to its first-ever National High School Ekiden Championships title, women's long-distance runner Nanaka Izawa (Sr., Juntendo Univ.) has signed a contract to join the 2012 national champion Universal Entertainment corporate league team following her graduation next spring.  At Universal she will also receive coaching from the legendary coach of Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi, the Universal-affiliated Sakura AC's Yoshio Koide.  Currently doing student teacher work back at Toyokawa, Izawa showed her resolve as she said, "My future is in the marathon, and the Tokyo Olympics are my goal."

At the National High School Ekiden Championships Izawa ran the Third Stage as a first-year, the Second Stage as a second-year, and the ace First Stage as a third-year, winning each of th…

International Chiba Ekiden Entry Lists - Osako, Sato and Ugachi Lead Japanese Team

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/news/131111/oth13111119380017-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 11 Rikuren, the Japanese Federation, announced the entry lists for the thirteen teams at the Nov. 23 International Chiba Ekiden.  A six-stage, 42.195 km event, Chiba is unique in featuring mixed men's and women's teams with each gender alternating over the course of the race.

The Japanese team will be picked from an entry list of four men and four women.  The men's list includes all three Japanese men from this summer's Moscow World Championships 10000 m, Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), as well as Moscow women's 5000 m runner Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku).  Combined with the likes of 2011-2013 National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University's star anchor Shinobu Kubota and women Miho Ihara (Team Sekisui Kagaku), Risa Kikuchi (Team Hitachi) and Sayuri Oka (Team Dai…