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Showing posts from June, 2014

Omwamba, Kitonyi, Sumi and the Takamatsu Sisters Dominate Weekend Track Action

by Brett Larner

Just shy of six months since a stress fracture knocked Enock Omwamba and Yamanashi Gakuin University out of the 2014 Hakone Ekiden, Omwamba sent a clear signal that he is back to full strength.  Omwamba made a tentative return at last month's Kanto Regional University Track and Field Championships with a double 1500 m and 5000 m win but sat out defending his title in the 10000 m.  In the first meet of this summer's Hokuren Distance Challenge series in Fukagawa, Hokkaido, Omwamba outran a half-dozen corporate-league Africans and top Japanese talent including sub-28 men Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta) and Yuta Shitara (Team Honda) to cut more than 15 seconds off his best as he won the 10000 m A-heat in 28:00.33.  With Omwamba fully recovered, senior Hiroto Inoue having cleared 62 minutes for the half marathon this season, the entire core of Yamanashi Gakuin Prep High School's 2013 National H.S Ekiden champion team joining i…

Nojo and Mochizuki Take Lake Saroma 100 km Titles

by Brett Larner
complete results coming shortly

Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the 29th running of the world's fastest ultra, Hokkaido's Lake Saroma50 km and 100 km Ultramarathon.  Predicted temperatures over 25C meant probable slow times on the course that hosts both the men's and women's 100 km world records, but that did not stop defending men's 100 km winner Hideo Nojo (New Balance) from going for it.  An opening split of 36:03 for the first 10 km put him right on the cusp being on track to break 6 hours, but while that was clearly not going to be sustainable Nojo pushed on ahead of Takahiro Sunada's 6:13:33 world record pace until nearly halfway before the heat got the better of him.  Slowing to close to 45 minutes per 10 km by 70 km, Nojo rallied late in the race and went back under 40 minutes for the final 10 km to take the win in 6:40:15, three minutes slower than his winning time last year but a world lead by seven and a half minutes.

Women&…

Kawauchi Wins Saitama 1500 m Championship Title

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/06/29/kiji/K20140629008469110.html
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/06/30/kiji/K20140630008473350.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2014 Incheon Asian Games marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the 1500 m at this weekend's Saitama Prefecture Track and Field Championships at Kumagaya Sports Park Field.  Running both the semifinal and final on June 29, Kawauchi placed 1st in the semis in 3:55.18 before winning the final in 3:56.48 to happily claim his first prefectural title.

Kawauchi fell short of his PB of 3:50.51, but, he said with a smile, "I'm really, really happy to win the title.  It was important to me to win, and everything went according to plan.  Marathon runners don't have to just run the marathon!"

Asked for comment on Japanese-born comedian Hiroshi Neko being named to the Cambodian team for the Asian Games marathon, Kawauchi replied, "His best is slower th…

"If Kenyans Are Saying 'Wow, Man' Then I Have to Feel Confident" - Fujiwara On Training in Kenya Ahead of Australian Debut Vs. Kawauchi at Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner
photos c/o Arata Fujiwara

Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) is just about the most unpredictable elite runner in the world, a 2:07 marathoner who has run slower than 2:20 and even 2:30 as many times as he has hit it out of the park. An independent who, without a sponsor after quitting Japan’s rigid corporate team system in 2010, became just the fifth Japanese man in history and the first in over 20 years to win a marathon outside Japan sub-2:10 when he set a 2:09:34 course record at the 2010 Ottawa Marathon with support from JRN. His 2:07:48 at the 2012 Tokyo Marathon, again sponsorless, made him all-time #7 in the Japanese record books and got him both sponsors and a place in London, but he flamed out when it most counted at the Olympics.

Jumping into Fukuoka on a whim a few months later for an impromptu duel with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t), Fujiwara beat his fellow indy rival by nearly a minute to take 4th in 2:09:31. After that 2013 was mostly a bust, the only …

Regional Qualifiers Set Up July's National High School Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Just over a month out from the 2014 National High School Track and Field Championships regional qualifying action has wrapped up, with most regions holding their qualifiers the June 20-23 weekend after an earlier round in other regions the weekend before.  Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) brought one of the best performances of the weekend with a 9:10.08 to win the Kinki region girls' 3000 m, but with Nao Yamamoto (Tokuha Gakuen Kikugawa H.S.) running 9:10.39 to win the Tokai region qualifier the national meet should be close. Along with earlier standout results like the 13:56.55 win by Silas Kingori (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) and 14:13.67 runner-up finish by Hiroki Miura (Tohoku H.S.) last weekend in the Tohoku region boys' 5000 m, this weekend's best performances included:

Haruko Ishizuka (Higashi Osaka Prep Keiai H.S.) running 2:08.47 to win the Kinki girls' 800 m.Naoto Ozawa (Kusatsu Higashi H.S.) winning the Kinki boys' 1500 m in 3:49…

Hiroshi Neko Named to Cambodian National Team for Asian Games

http://mainichi.jp/sports/news/20140623k0000m040092000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

Comedian Hiroshi Neko, 36, has been named to the Cambodian national team for this autumn's Incheon Asian Games in the marathon according to a June 22 press release from his management.  Neko, a Cambodian citizen, holds the all-time second-best Cambodian time of 2:30:26.  The Asian Games will be his third time being named to a Cambodian team for an international championships.  Neko commented, "I will do everything I can in training for the three months until the main event, and I will show everyone my best running there."

The Japanese-born Neko, whose real name is Kuniaki Takizaki, took Cambodian citizenship in 2011.  He was initially named to Cambodia's 2012 London Olympics team, but due to eligibility issues surrounding his transfer of citizenship he was unable to run.

'Pacemaker Ronoh Stuns Kipsang in Olomouc, While Kiplagat Breaks Course Record'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/olomouc-ronoh-kipsang-pacemaker-wins-kiplagat

Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon
Olomouc, Czech Republic, 6/22/14

Men
1. Geoffrey Ronoh (Kenya) - 1:00:17
2. Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) - 1:00:25
3. Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) - 1:01:42
4. Wilfred Kirwa Kigen (Kenya) - 1:01:56
5. Joel Kipkoech Kimutai (Kenya) - 1:02:49
6. Nicholas Kipchirchir Bor (Kenya) - 1:03:20
7. Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland) - 1:03:23
8. Kenji Yamamoto (Japan/Team Mazda) - 1:03:28
9. Marcin Chabowski (Poland) - 1:03:32
10. Paul Kariuki Mwangi (Kenya) - 1:03:33

Women
1. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:53
2. Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 1:09:23
3. Hirut Alemayehu (Ethiopia) - 1:10:57
4. Faith Jeruto Kipsum (Kenya) - 1:11:12
5. Janet Jelagat Rono (Kenya) - 1:12:40
6. Alyson Dixon (Great Britain) - 1:13:12
7. Kotomi Takayama (Japan/Team Wacoal) - 1:13:22
8. Mame Feyisa (Ethiopia) - 1:13:25
9. Yukari Abe (Japan/Team Shimamura) - 1:13:34

Mori Takes Two National Titles, Motanya Wins First at National University Individual Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Kenyan newcomer Lazarus Motanya (Obirin Univ.), winner of the D2 1500 m title at last month's Kanto Regional Track and Field Championships, returned this weekend for his first national title, winning the 1500 m at the National University Individual Track and Field Championships in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa on Friday.  Despite having only the 7th-fastest PB in the final, Motanya had no trouble frontrunning his way to the win against the overly cautious Japanese competition in 3:51.72.  Runner-up Tatsuya Shimizu (Toyo Univ.) was almost three seconds back in 3:54.28 with Chiu-Chin Tseng (Taiwan/National Sports University), one of a number of Taiwanese collegiates joining this year's meet, rounding out the podium in 3:54.39.

Motanya was back again on Saturday for the 5000 m but could not match a field that included many of 2012 Izumo Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University's A-squad.  AGU's Tadashi Isshiki, the course record-setter at February's Kanagawa Half M…

Gold Coast Airport Marathon Announces Elite Fields - Adihana, Tum and Kamakya Vs. Fujiwara, Kawauchi and Kurosaki

by Brett Larner

For its first edition as an IAAF gold label race, the July 6 Gold Coast Airport Marathon has put together men's and women's elite fields worthy of the distinction, and especially in the men's race with the multiple story lines that make a good race worth watching.  Three 2:06 men, Gebretsadik Abraha Adihana (Ethiopia), Stephen Tum (Kenya) and course record holder Nicholas Manza Kamakya (Kenya) lead the way.  Facing them is defending champion and joint CR-holder Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  In the race to ruin the day for Kawauchi are his arch-rival independent Arata Fujiwara (Mika House) and new training partner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), appearing with support from JRN.  Gunning for both Kawauchi and Fujiwara is the pride of the corporate leagues, Hirokatsu Kurosaki of two-time New Year Ekiden national corporate champion Team Konica Minolta.

What more could you want?  The 2:10:01 course record?  Done.  Rob de Castella's 2:09:18 Aust…

16 Members of All-First Year Obirin University Team Ready to Shoot for Hakone Ekiden

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140417-OHT1T50093.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
video by naoki620

A new wind is blowing on the road to Hakone as the newly-minted Obirin University ekiden team becomes fully operational this year.  In April last year Stephen Mayaka, 41, who wowed the nation at the Hakone Ekiden as a student at Yamanashi Gakuin University, became head coach at Obirin.  Devoting his first year to recruiting, this spring Mayaka welcomed sixteen athletes including Kenyan Lazarus Motanya Asimundi to the new program.  The fresh-faced team made up entirely of first-years is dead-set on making the main event at Hakone before they graduate four years from now.

The sound of feet striking Obirin's cherry tree-lined track in Sagamihara is the music of hope and anticipation.  The "single-batch" team of sixteen is finally underway on the road that Coach Mayaka has plotted out for them.  Without distance runners on the school's track team when he joine…

Aiming for 2015 New Year Ekiden, Bel'x Supermarkets Adds Hakone Ekiden Stars to Its Team

http://www.ayomi.co.jp/sports/detail.php?eid=02412&sports-kind=00

translated and edited by Brett Larner

During a visit to Adachi Ward mayor Yayoi Kondo, senior managing director Yuki Suzuki and ekiden team head coach Makoto Suzuki of the Adachi-based Sun Bel'x corporation, operators of the Bel'x Supermarkets chain, announced the addition of exciting new athletes to the company's team in April.  Nine athletes accompanied them to the meeting, among them 2014 Hakone Ekiden stars Duncan Muthee (Takushoku Univ., 2nd Stage), Yuya Yamashita (Juntendo Univ., 5th Stage), Takahiro Kato (Asia Univ., 7th Stage), Junpei Miyazawa (Juntendo Univ., 7th Stage) and Shota Takatsudo (Jobu Univ., 7th Stage).  During the chat with the mayor Coach Suzuki introduced each of the promising new athletes while watching video of them on a DVD of this year's Hakone Ekiden and talked enthusiastically about the team's goal of a breakthrough at November's New Year Ekiden regional qualifier.

Kawauchi Caps Sixteen Weeks of Racing with All-Time Top Ten 2:47:27 Japanese 50 km National Record (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update: It appears that the IAAF's World Running website has lifted the content of this article and the linked Kawauchi Counter without permission or credit for their own piece on Kawauchi's unofficial NR published a day after this article.  I've contacted them asking for clarification of their authorship and sources.

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) capped sixteen straight weeks of racing with another shot at the longest distance in his repertoire. For the fourth-straight year Kawauchi returned to his late father’s home island of Okinoshima to pay his respects by running the Father’s Day Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon. Two years ago Kawauchi honored him by running 2:51:45, the fastest time ever by a Japanese man over a distance for which the Japanese Federation does not have an official national record. This year Kawauchi himself was honored by the residents of Okinoshima, who held a new children’s race the day before the ultra with the winner presente…

Japanese Medalists at Asian Junior Championships

2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships
Japanese Medalists Summary
Taipei, Taiwan, June 12-15, 2014
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m- June 13
1. Hazuma Hattori (Japan) - 31:10.60
2. Sharwan Kharb (India) - 31:52.37
3. Yaser Salem Bagharab (Yemen) - 32:22.42
4. Tzu-Ming Wang (Taiwan) - 36:38.02
5. Han-Hsuan Li (Taiwan) - 38:40.29

Women's 5000 m- June 12
1. Maki Izumida (Japan) - 16:18.345
1. Daria Maslova (Kyrgyzstan) - 16:18.345
3. Ji Hyang Kim (North Korea) - 16:28.13
4. Sakiho Tsutsui (Japan) - 16:35.79
5. Sanjivini Jadhav (India) - 17:00.75

Men's 5000 m- June 15
1. Musaab Adam M Ali (Qatar) - 14:34.07
2. Makoto Mitsunobu (Japan) - 14:38.99
3. Sharwan Kharb (India) - 14:39.41
4. Khalil Naseri (Iran) - 14:58.88
5. Wei Zhang (China) - 15:29.28

Women's 3000 m- June 15
1. Daria Maslova (Kyrgyzstan) - 9:16.23
2. Hanami Sekine (Japan) - 9:17.55
3. Sanjivini Jadhav (India) - 9:35.02
4. Jin Hyang Pak (North Korea) - 9:35.04
5. Zhi-Ling Zheng (China) - 9:44.31

Women…

Japanese Federation Announces 2014 Asian Games Team

by Brett Larner

On June 9 the Japanese Federation released the 54 athlete lineup for its national team at the Sept. 27 - Oct. 3 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.  Where in the past it has allowed top talent to blow the Asian Games off, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics hanging in the distance this time the Federation is taking a serious and long view, fielding an A-squad of national record holders, collegiate national record holders and junior national record holders in fifteen events, at least a half dozen more in the all-time Japanese top three in their events, and incorporating high-potential high school and university athletes with an eye toward their development pre-2020.

Major names on the men's list of 31 include teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), 2010 World Junior 200 m gold medalist Shota Iizuka (Mizuno), Berlin World Championships javelin bronze medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), the Alberto Salazar-coached Suguru Osako (Team Nissin Shokuhin), 20…

Kyoto University Qualifies for National University Ekiden for First Time Since 1973

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG693FG1G69PTQP003.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the June 8 Kansai Region National University Men's Ekiden Championships Qualifier at Kyoto's Nishi Kyogo Sogo Sports Park Field, academic powerhouse Kyoto University finished 5th to qualify for the National Championship race for the first time since its fourth running in January, 1973 and only the second time in school history.  Ritsumeikan University won the regional qualifier for the Nov. 2 National Championships, to be run on a 106.8 km course between Atsuta Shrine in Aichi prefecture and Ise Shrine in Mie prefecture.

With a grab-bag team ranging from its star first-year recruit, 2013 World Youth Championships 10000 m racewalk gold medalist Toshikazu Yamanishi, to graduate student runners, the Kyoto team's efforts   just barely paid off.  Over four heats of 10000 m with two runners from each school per heat it came down to Kansai Regional Track and Field Championships 10000 m …

Nakamura Sets Steeplechase Collegiate NR, Kiryu Takes First National Title - National Track and Field Championships Day Three Results

by Brett Larner
videos by aoshin0507

Following up on Koji Murofushi's epoch-marking 20th-straight men's hammer national title yesterday, Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) led a phalanx of other long-lasting champions in adding to their legacies on the final rainy day of competition at the 2014 Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Fukushima.



Kanemaru had a 10th-straight men's 400 m national title on the line, and with no genuine competition he cruised in for the win in 45.69, only the second Japanese track athlete in history to get the ten-peat.  Women's 400 mH national record holder Satomi Kubokura (Niigata Albirex RC) ran 56.39 for an eighth-straight national title, while 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Hokkaido Hi-Tec AC) picked up the sixth national title of career in 11.69 (-0.3), a fifth-straight win and fourth-straight 100 m/200 m double title.  Following Fukushima and 10000 m champion Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) yesterday, men…