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Furuse and Godana Win Nagano Marathon

Wind and rain hit the 20th anniversary Nagano Marathon hard enough to slow things down, Japan's Asami Furuse (Kyocera) and Ethiopian Abdela Godana taking the top spots in the women's and men's races.

Coached by former men's half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato, Furuse and teammate Saki Tokoro were part of a lead group of five women that set out on low 2:33 pace. Kenyan Beatrice Jepkemboi dropped off he group near 20 km and Yukiko Okuno (Shiseido) did the same a few minutes later, leaving the Kyocera duo to face remaining Kenyan Pauline Wangui over the second half.

Tokoro cracked just before 30 km and Wangui around 32 km, leaving Furuse to push on alone to an evenly-paced 2:34:09. Wangui faded to 4th, run down first by Tokoro and then by Okuno. Tokoro made it a 1-2 finish for Kyocera, another success for Sato is his short coaching career to date. 4th last year, former Tenmaya runner Aki Otagiri moved up from the second pack to take the 5th spot this time o…
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Know Your Japanese Runners in Boston

The withdrawal of Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki), Japan's best championship marathoner of the modern era, from the Boston Marathon field with a stress fracture is a blow to what would have been the best Japanese contingent in Boston in decades.

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) leads the way, arriving in Boston off wins in his last four marathons:
2:10:03, Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, 12/17/172:18:59 CR, Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, 1/1/182:11:46 CR, Kitakyushu Marathon, 2/18/182:14:12, Wan Jin Shi Marathon, 3/18/18 Kawauchi hopes to at least equal Suguru Osako's top 3 placing in last year's Boston, his optimism growing as the weather forecast gets worse.
Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) runs for what was once Japan's most successful corporate team in the marathon, his best of 2:12:31 coming 6 years ago at Lake Biwa and his fastest recent time a 2:13:33 in Tokyo last year. Okamoto earned a place in Boston by winning February tough and hilly Ome 30 km in 1:3…

'Former Presidents of Last Two Olympic Host Nations Begin Jail Terms' (updated)

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1063727/former-presidents-of-last-two-olympic-host-nations-begin-jail-terms

And hey, what do you know. the top story on TV Asahi 10 o'clock news is about corruption scandal involving leader of an Olympic host nation. pic.twitter.com/k3ACLqR5Bh — Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) April 10, 2018
Update: Tens of thousands of people demonstrated outside the Japanese parliament building on April 14 demanding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's resignation over two corruption scandals. Video and report here. A rare sight in Japan - protesters breaking through police barricades at the demonstration:

国会議事堂前バリケード突破の様子#国会前大集合#国会前大行動pic.twitter.com/vmm40PgHku — Shino@ 4/14 14:00〜 国会前大行動 #国会前大集合 (@K461582) April 14, 2018

Paris, Rotterdam and Guam - Weekend Overseas Marathon Results

Rio 10000 m Olympian Yuka Takashima (Shiseido) made a good debut Sunday at the Paris Marathon, finishing 8th in 2:26:13. Takashima started fast, on sub-2:21 pace until just before 30 km before fading. Her time was the 4th-fastest this year by a Japanese woman and best so far this season outside Japan, and it put her well within reach of the two-race sub-2:28:00 average route to qualifying for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials marathon. Kasumi Yoshida (Nitori) was 11th in 2:38:15 and Kanae Shimoyama (Noritz) 16th in 2:45:34. Yoshiki Koizumi (Raffine) was the top Japanese man at 24th in 2:20:29.

Things went less smoothly at the Rotterdam Marathon. Running her third marathon in less than four months in a desperate attempt to get her MGC Race qualifying time this season, Hofu Yomiuri Marathon course record holder Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) went through halfway on schedule in 1:13:22 before starting to slow, ultimately finishing in 2:47:25 for 15th. On the men's side Yuki Yagi (Yagi Projec…

Bunuka Wins Yaizu Minato Half

Kenyan James Ndiwa Bunuka took the top spot at Sunday's Yaizo Minato Half Marathon, the first runner from Surugadai University to win in Yaizu's 33-year history. Bunuka had pressure early on from three members of 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University, but over the second half he pulled away to win by a 22-second margin in 1:03:49. Haruki Minatoya led teammates Shun Yuzawa and Takeshi Nishida in 2nd in 1:04:11.

第30回記念大学ペアマラソン[結果]
優勝 ブヌカ・ジェームス(1)1'03"49
6位 西沢 晃佑(4)1'05"07
河合 拓巳(2)1'07"25
総合2位 2'08"56

応援ありがとうございました! pic.twitter.com/q0Ut9Lgr0F — 駿河台大学 駅伝部 (@surugadi) April 8, 2018
Yaizu Minato features a unique "pair marathon" team scoring competition, with universities entering three-runner teams from which the top two's times are combined to produce the pair marathon score. Tokai won the pair marathon in 2:08:28, Surugadai a surprise 2nd in 2:08:56. 21 other teams took part, Asia University rounding out the podium in 3rd in …

Fast Times from Mbuthye and Yego in Saturday Track Action

Saturday was the first full day of the Japanese outdoor track season with two large time trial meets and university intramurals across the country. The top marks of the day came over 3000 m at Tokyo's Setagaya Time Trials meet. In the women's A-heat Japan-based Kenyan Grace Mbuthye (Starts) won in 8:58.55, while another Japan-based Kenyan Evans Yego (Sunbelx) took the men's A-heat in 7:58.50. Both times were the 2nd-fastest outdoor marks in the world so far this season. Other notable marks:

Kei Fumimoto (Kanebo) turned in the fastest Japanese time of the day at 8:06.95 for 4th in the A-heat.Junior high school 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m national record holder Kosuke Ishida made his high school debut in the C-heat running for Tokyo Nogyo Daini H.S., finishing 3rd in 8:22.85, about 5 seconds off his best.After taking 7th at last month's NYC Half, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) got back into action, warming up with an …