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

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kawauchi and Iwade Racing Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon

by Brett Larner

Japan's Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) will be in the field for Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon.  Berlin has been good to Japan in the past, with the country's first 2:06 men's national record and the last three women's national records all happening on the ultra-flat Berlin course.  But in the last decade Berlin has seen fewer and fewer quality runs from Japanese athletes.  Kurao Umeki placed 3rd in 2006, but the fastest time over the decade was only 2:10:24 in 2013 by future Rio Olympian Suehiro Ishikawa.  For women too, Tomo Morimoto placed 3rd in 2010, her 2:26:10 also the fastest time in the last ten years but far off the quality of the 2:19 marks set  in Berlin by Naoko Takahashi, Yoko Shibui and Mizuki Noguchi.  The ten-year average times and places for Japanese athletes in the top ten in Berlin are 2:12:00 for 8th for men and 2:29:26 for 7th for women. Can Kawauchi and Iwade beat those averages?

Running in Berlin with support from JRN, Kawauchi has been on a solid comeback trail this year after losing pretty much all of 2015 to a lingering ankle injury initially caused by slipping on ice.  In April he won the Zurich Marathon in 2:12:04 in freezing rain and sleet, following up with a 2:44:07 national record for 50 km in June and a 2:09:01 for 2nd at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon two weeks later, his first sub-2:10 since pre-injury.  Since then he has taken a different approach to his Berlin prep, uncharacteristically not racing a single marathon in the 12 weeks since Gold Coast, the longest he has gone without racing that kind of distance since he started running world-class times, and only raced two half marathons and a 30 km.  "I've been doing a lot of long trail runs, 6 to 7 hour runs, to get ready for Berlin," he said at the pre-race press conference.  "My goal in Berlin is a 2:07 PB.  I get a lot of pressure to try racing a marathon without doing so many races in training, so that's what I've done this time.  If it works then yes, I will have to re-examine my approach."

If he succeeds Kawauchi will be the first Japanese man since 2004 to run under 2:08 outside Japan.  At least 22 men have run ten or more sub-2:10 times in their career, and both Kawauchi and Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) stand to join the club in Berlin with nine each so far.  Kawauchi would also pick up his fifteenth career sub-2:11 and sixtieth sub-2:20.  The JAAF has set sub-2:07:00 as the standard for the 2017 London World Championships team, and a 2:07 in Berlin would help his chances of making the cut, his intended last time going for a Japanese national team.  To help him get there Berlin is providing the 2:07 group, expected to be pack #3, with two pacers and a lead car with the same timing display system designed for the lead pack by Dr. Helmut Winter.  Kawauchi will likely never get a better chance to run a permanent lifetime PB.

Also in Berlin is the fastest ever Japanese woman under age 20, Reia Iwade with a 2:27:21 in Yokohama in 2014 two weeks before her 20th birthday.  In Nagoya in March this year Iwade was part of one of the greatest marathons in Japanese women's history, running a 2:24:38 PB at age 21.  With only one serious race since then, a 32:28.60 track 10000 m in July, there's not much to go on, but given her ability if she is fit she stands a good chance of beating both Morimoto's time and teammate Misato Horie's 2:26:40 course record win at Gold Coast in July, currently the fastest of the year by a Japanese woman outside Japan.  Ranked third in the field on PB, at the very least Iwade should be able to beat the ten-year Japanese women's average and the best Abbott World Marathon Majors mark by a Japanese woman this year, 2:31:17 for 10th in Tokyo by Yukiko Okuno (Team Shiseido).  After a mostly disappointing Olympics for Japan a strong run by a young talent would be a welcome change.

JRN is on-site supporting Kawauchi and covering the race live.  Follow his splits and projected finish time live here:

43rd Berlin Marathon Start List Highlights
Berlin, Germany, 9/25/16
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) - 2:03:13 (Berlin 2014)
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:03:23 (Berlin 2013)
Tsegaye Mekonnen (Ethiopia) - 2:04:32 (Dubai 2014)
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) - 2:05:04 (Paris 2014)
Sisay Lemma (Ethiopia) - 2:05:16 (Dubai 2016)
Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya) - 2:05:21 (Berlin 2015)
Evans Chebet (Kenya) - 2:05:33 (Seoul 2016)
Mark Kiptoo (Kenya) - 2:06:00 (Eindhoven 2015)
Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) - 2:06:15 (Frankfurt 2013)
Alfers Lagat (Kenya) - 2:06:48 (Frankfurt 2015)
Suleiman Simotwo (Kenya) - 2:08:49 (Frankfurt 2015)
Jacob Kandagor (Kenya) - 2:08:56 (Seoul 2016)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:10:09 (Valencia 2015)
Yohanes Gebregergish (Eritrea) - 2:10:44 (Prague 2016)
Nick Arciniaga (U.S.A.) - 2:11:47 (Boston 2014)
Chalachew Tiruneh (Ethiopia) - 2:11:54 (Berlin 2015)

Aberu Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:20:48 (Berlin 2015)
Birhane Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 2:22:40 (Tokyo 2014)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:24:38 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Ruti Aga (Ethiopia) - 2:25:27 (Vienna 2016)
Janet Ronoh (Kenya) - 2:26:03 (Tokyo 2014)
Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) - 2:32:48 (London 2016)
Cassie Fien (Australia) - 2:33:36 (London 2016)
Mone Stockhecke (Germany) - 2:33:43 (Hamburg 2016)
Katharina Heinig (Germany)  - 2:33:56 (Hamburg 2014)
Gladys Ganiel (Ireland) - 2:38:53 (Seville 2016)
Claire McCarthy (Ireland) - 2:39:27 (Dublin 2013)
Sara Bird (Great Britain) - 2:39:55 (London 2014)
Lonah Chemtai (Israel) - 2:40:17 (Tel Aviv 2016)

text and photos © 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved