Saturday, July 31, 2010

Asian Jr. Champ Akamatsu Wins Nat'l HS 1500 m

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships at Okinawa Prefectural Sports Park on the island of Amami, Kojokan High School's Mahiro Akamatsu (3rd yr.) won the girls' 1500 m, holding up her right hand in victory as she crossed the line. The pace was quick right from the start, but Akamatsu remained calm and composed. "It was windy and hot," she said after the race, "but I was moving well and I was sure I could do it." With one lap to go Akamatsu dropped the rest of the leaders with an aggressive spurt which carried her to the win by a margin of nearly three seconds, clocking 4:19.80.

Akamatsu came to the championships confident from her gold medal in the 3000 m at last month's Asian Junior Games in Vietnam. Kojokan H.S. head coach Yoshiji Morimasa commented, "She's gotten mentally tough and had the confidence to run the race the way she wanted to." Having run the 1500 m as practice for the 3000 m, Akamatsu will go for the double in the 3000 m final on Aug. 2.

In the boys' 1500 m, Kenyan exchange student Michael Githinji (3rd yr.) of Aomori Yamada H.S. had a narrow victory to take his second-straight 1500 m title. "Aomori is cool since it's up north, but I didn't expect it to be this hot here!" he laughed after the race, which took place on the first day of full-blown subtropical Amami summer heat. Launching his last attack with 300 m to go, Githinji drew even with leader Genki Yagisawa (3rd yr.) of Nasu Takuyo H.S. The pair ran side by side down the home stretch, Githinji outleaning Yagisawa to win in 3:46.48 by a margin of just 0.02 seconds. Aomori Yamada head coach Tsutomu Nikaido told reporters, "He's been doing great work all season, so I was confident he would win here."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hakone Dreams Unrealized - JRNPremium Issue Five

JRNPremium has returned from summer vacation with issue five. July and August are the peak of the gashuku season, the intensive summer training camps which are one of the hallmarks of Japanese distance training for both its university and corporate athletes. In this issue we bring you an interview with Eiji Kobayashi, a former Josai University runner who talks about gashuku, injury, and not realizing the dream of making the Hakone Ekiden. Kobayashi talks in detail about the kind of training top Hakone runners put themselves through complete with detailed daily training menus from his time on Josai's ekiden team, about the mental and physical toll on those trying for the Pyrrhic victory of a spot on their school's Hakone squad, and about the injuries that cost him his dream.

For all that you hear from those who succeed sometimes there is more to be learned from those give it everything they have and fail. Nowhere is this more true than among those trying to become one of the lucky few to run the world's most competitive university men's race, the Hakone Ekiden. It's a one-of-a-kind look inside, and available only to subscribers to JRNPremium, our regular series of in-depth interviews. For more information on subscribing, click here. Subscribers click here to log on.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

'Handing Off the Tasuki'

The July/August print issue of Running Times magazine features an article I wrote about the history, development and future of Japan's university and corporate running system. The link above will take you to an online version.

Monday, July 26, 2010

'Acupuncture: Reversing the Stressful Effects of Running'

An article I wrote for Running Times magazine about acupuncture for runners is now up on the RT website. Click the photo to read. For the article I interviewed three prominent acupuncturists: Jiro Konno, the head of Tokyo's Idaten clinic where many of the country's top pros and university runners go for treatment, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, another Tokyo-based practitioner who has worked with Joan Benoit-Samuelson, and Russ Stram, a New York acupuncturist who worked on Arata Fujiwara the day after Fujiwara's course-record win at May's Ottawa Marathon. The article includes photos, such as the one above, of Stram's session with Fujiwara.

Kayoko Fukushi Wins Shibetsu Half Marathon (updated)

by Brett Larner

for photos click here or here

Half marathon national record holder and 2010 double 5000 and 10000 m national champion Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) quietly returned to the half marathon distance without fanfare after a three and a half year absence with a win at the 24th Shibetsu Half Marathon on July 25 in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. Fukushi ran the race together in a pack of three with defending champion and 2010 World Half Marathon team member Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) and marathoner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren). Akaba fell behind after 15 km while Miyauchi managed to hang on until the final 2 km when Fukushi pulled away to the win in 1:12:25, her slowest time ever over the distance and no doubt a minimum-effort victory. Miyauchi, who was 4th behind Fukushi and Akaba in the Nationals 10000 m last month, was 2nd. Akaba, 3rd at Nationals, was again 3rd. Both women joined Fukushi in going under 1:13 on the hot and sunny race day which saw temperatures of 25 degrees at the start climb to 28 degrees.

Nationals 10000 m runner-up Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) took the women's 10000 m in 33:40. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta), an alumnus of two-time Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University, won the men's half marathon in 1:04:58, his first Shibestu win.

Having taken part in Rikuren's spring marathon training camp in New Zealand and having skipped the summer track season following her pair of national titles in early June, Fukushi's result suggests a serious marathon effort may be in the works for the upcoming winter season following her appearance on the track at November's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

2010 Shibetsu Half Marathon - Top Results
Women's Half Marathon
1. Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:12:25
2. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:12:29
3. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:12:57
4. Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 1:14:57
5. Sayuri Baba - 1:15:38

Men's Half Marathon
1. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:04:58
2. Tetsuo Nishimura - 1:05:16
3. Sota Hoshi - 1:05:54

Women's 10 km
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 33:40
2. Remi Nakazato - 33:43
3. Mai Ito - 33:44
4. Ai Igarashi - 33:51
5. Seika Iwamura - 33:55

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Bogale Wins 1500m but Ireland’s Mageean Takes Historical [sic] Silver' - World Junior Championships

Note: Men's steeplechase winner Jonathan Ndiku of Kenya and 5th place finisher Desta Alemu of Ethiopia are both based in Japan where they run on the jitsugyodan corporate circuit.

2010 World Junior Championships - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men's 3000 mSC Final
1. Jonathan Ndiku (KEN) - 8:23.48
2. Albert Yator (KEN) - 8:33.55 - PB
3. Jacob Araptany (UGA) - 8:37.02
5. Desta Alemu (ETH) - 8:44.07
12. Kosei Yamaguchi (JPN) - 9:00.87

Men's 110 mH Final
1. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA) - 13.52
2. Vladimir Vukicevic (NOR) - 13.59
3. Jack Meredith (GBR) - 13.59
7. Wataru Yazawa (JPN) - 13.88

Men's 4 x 400 m Relay Final
1. U.S.A. - 3:04.76
2. Nigeria - 3:06.36 - NJR
3. Great Britain - 3:06.49
5. Japan - 3:07.94

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hoshino Takes Seventh Fuji Mountain Race Title

translated and edited by Brett Larner

With 4686 runners making up its largest-ever field, the 63rd annual Fuji Mountain Race took place July 23. With last year's race having been cut off at Mt. Fuji's 5th Stage due to fog and rain at the mountain's summit, this year under dazzling summer skies the event returned to its usual format with runners competing in either the 21 km, 3000 m climb Summit division or the 15 km, 1460 m climb 5th Stage division. In the men's Summit race, Shinya Takahashi, 35, of Iwate Prefecture, took his first win in 2:53:00. Yoshimi Hoshino, 44, of Shizuoka Prefecture, the course record holder and two-time winner in the 5th Stage division, took her fifth Summit win eight years after her last Summit victory. 5th Stage men's winner Satoshi Kato was only 38 seconds off the course record, running 1:19:57, while women's winner Mina Ogawa was only a minute and a half off Hoshino's record. It was the first win for both Kato and Ogawa.

Beginning this year, the Summit division is limited to runners who have completed 5th Stage division in less than 2 1/2 hours within the past three years. Thanks to this restriction, the rate of participants completing the Summit race under the 4 1/2 hour time limit rose 10% among men and 9.8% among women. 1198 men completed the Summit division, a finisher rate of 54.1%, while only 48 women reached the mountain's top, a finisher rate of 39.0%. On the 5th Stage course 2041 men finished, a rate of 97.9%, and 248 women completed the distance under the time limit, 94.3% of the starters. While temperatures at the start were over 30 degrees, Mt. Fuji's peak was only 8.6 degrees.

"I like courses that are so steep you have to crawl," Takahashi told members of the media afterwards, "so this was perfect for me, especially the rocky part near the peak. That was a lot of fun." At the 5th Stage checkpoint more than 10 runners were ahead of Takahashi, but, he says, "I told myself to just take my time." One by one he overtook the leaders as the course steepened, and near the 9th Stage checkpoint he took the lead and ran unchallenged to the finish, his first win in the prestigious Mt. Fuji race. However, his joy at winning is tempered by feelings of regret towards his colleagues at Hachimantai City Hall in Iwate. Takahashi leaves work promptly at the end of each day in order to get in his training rather than staying to work overtime with everyone else in the office. "Since today is a weekday I couldn't tell any of them that I was taking time off to come run here," he said. "I don't think I'll be able to tell any of them that I won once I get back. But for me this wasn't about winning or losing, it was about conquering myself."

Women's Summit winner Hoshino commented, "I came here to say thank you to Mt. Fuji for the last time. I was not thinking about winning." The 5th Stage course record holder, Hoshino won the Mt. Fuji Summit race four times in a row from 1998-2002. Her best time of 3:05:16 would be good enough to put her in the top ten in the men's race most years. But, she says, "Age is catching up to me, and my strength is slipping away. I've had a lot of problems with fatigue and injury." In recent years Hoshino has repeatedly dropped out of the Summit race and has frequently opted to run the 5th Stage course instead. She planned for this year's Fuji Mountain Race to be her last. "This time I wanted to leave everything, including my past shame, on the slopes of Mt. Fuji," she said. "But now I'm already thinking about running next year."

Men's 5th Stage winner Kato was running the race for the first time. "Damn, that was long. I'm beat," he told reporters. "Once we got into the woods I was completely on my own." Kato trains on mountain trails near his home in Aichi Prefecture each morning before work. "I always train in the mountains, but getting to the 5th Stage felt way longer than 15 km," he said. "I'm really happy to win. I wanted to run the Summit race, but this was my first time and with the rule change I couldn't. I'm going to take it easy for a while now but I'll be back next year."

Women's 5th Stage winner Ogawa was also running for the first time. "I was only aiming to finish, not even thinking about winning," she laughed after the race. A competitive marathoner, Ogawa typically trains 20-30 km a day, but the area she usual trains in is relatively flat. "The sunshine was so strong," she said, "and once we went off the roads onto the trails it got so tough that I was pretty doubtful of finishing." Nevertheless, she gutted it out and beat runner-up Noriko Onodera by more than 15 minutes. "I'm pooped. The people who run the Summit course are unbelievable," she laughed again. "I have to do more strength training to get ready for it next year."

Translator's note: Summit Division women's 3rd place finisher Kiyoko Shirakawa was the top Japanese woman at this year's 24 Hour World Championships.

2010 Fuji Mountain Race - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Summit Division Men
1. Shinya Takahashi - 2:53:00
2. Suguru Emoto - 2:53:53
3. Dai Matsumoto - 2:56:52

Summit Division Women
1. Yoshimi Hoshino - 3:18:41
2. Naomi Ochiai - 3:27:18
3. Kiyoko Shirakawa - 3:30:47

5th Stage Division Men
1. Satoshi Kato - 1:19:57
2. Hiro Tonegawa - 1:26:01
3. Yoichi Nakanishi - 1:26:06

5th Stage Division Women
1. Mina Ogawa - 1:33:54
2. Noriko Onodera - 1:49:08
3. Keiko Nagasaka - 1:50:38

Shiori Miki Sets Women's 400 mH Junior National Record

Note: The article above incorrectly states that women's 400 m hurdler Shiori Miki set a Japanese national record at the World Junior Championships. Miki's time of 57.35 broke her own junior national record but was nearly two seconds short of the Japanese national record.

2010 World Junior Championships - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 5000 m Final
1. David Kiprotich Bett (KEN) - 13:23.76
2. John Kipkoech (KEN) - 13:26.02 - PB
3. Aziz Lahbabi (MAR) - 13:28.92 - NJR
7. Kazuto Nishiike (JPN) - 13:54.33 - PB (ranked 11th pre-race)
8. Akinobu Murasawa (JPN) - 13:59.66 (ranked 5th pre-race)

Women's 400 mH Final
1. Katsiaryna Artsiukh (BLR) - 56.16
2. Vera Rudakova (RUS) - 57.16 - PB
3. Evonne Britton (USA) - 57.32 - PB
4. Shiori Miki (JPN) - 57.35 - PB, NJR

Men's 110 mH Semi-Final Heat One
1. Wataru Yazawa (JPN) - 13.57 - PB
2. Caleb Cross (USA) - 13.72
3. Mitchell Tysoe (AUS) - 13.77

Men's 4 x 400 m Relay Heat Three
1. U.S.A. - 3:05.84
2. Japan - 3:07.38
3. Jamaica - 3:07.86

Women's 4 x 400 m Relay Heat One
1. Canada - 3:34.50 - NR
2. U.S.A. - 3:35.26
3. Russia - 3:35.66
8. Japan - 3:50.65

Men's 4 x 100 m Relay Final
1. U.S.A. - 38.93
2. Jamaica - 39.55
3. Trinidad & Tobago - 39.72
4. Japan - 39.89

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shota Iizuka Lives Up to Expectations With First-ever Japanese World Junior 200 m Gold

by Brett Larner

click here for photos of Iizuka winning gold

In May Japan Running News introduced the world to Chuo University freshman Shota Iizuka with a video of his stunning anchor run in the Kanto Regionals 4 x 100 m relay. Now he's holding Japan's first-ever World Junior Championships gold medal, taking the men's 200 m in 20.67 by a margin of 0.22 after winning both the heats and semi-finals. Iizuka also delivered another solid 4 x 100 m anchor leg earlier in the afternoon to move the Japanese team on to the final with a win in its heat. Whether he can single-handedly carry the relay team to another gold medal is questionable, but his 200 m gold secures his place as the man to watch in Japanese sprinting.

Overall it was the best day of World Juniors so far for the Japanese team. Men's 400 m hurdler Takatoshi Abe brought his best, running a PB 49.46 for silver after leading the heats and semi-finals with season-best times. Abe missed gold by only 0.16 behind Trinidad and Tobago's powerful Jehue Gordon. Ranked only 6th going into competition, Genki Dean continued Japan's surprising men's javelin renaissance with an unexpected silver medal thanks to a PB throw of 76.44. Men's high jumper Naoto Tobe won bronze with a season-best jump of 2.21 to bring Japan's current medal count to five.

The only Japanese athlete of the day to walk away empty-handed was women's 200 m finalist Kana Ichikawa, who finished last in 24.09. Among athletes running qualifying heats, Kosei Yamaguchi was 2nd in heat 1 of the men's 3000 mSC. Japan-based Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya) and Desta Alemu (Ethiopia) went 2-3 in heat 2, Alemu delivering a PB of 8:38.04. Men's 110 m hurdler Wataru Yazawa was 2nd in heat 5 with a season-best 13.76, advancing to the semi-finals. Akane Yabushita ran a PB of 4:19.72 in heat 2 of the women's 1500 m but failed to advance. Men's discus thrower Takumi Inubushi also delivered a PB of 50.35 but did not move past the qualification round. Ryota Kashimura threw a season-best 58.91 in the men's hammer throw but likewise did not clear the qualification round. Lastly, the women's 4 x 100 m relay ran a season-best 45.78 but did not make the semi-final round.

2010 World Junior Championships Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 200 m Final
1. Shota Iizuka (JPN) - 20.67
2. Aliaksandr Linnik (BLR) - 20.89
3. Aaron Brown (CAN) - 21.00 - PB

Men's 400 mH Final
1. Jehue Gordon (TRI) - 49.30
2. Takatoshi Abe (JPN) - 49.46 - PB
3. Leslie Murray (ISV) - 50.22

Men's Javelin Throw Final
1. Till Woschler (GER) - 82.52
2. Genki Dean (JPN) - 76.44 - PB
3. Dmitri Tarabin (RUS) - 76.42

Men's High Jump Final
1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) - 2.30
2. David Smith (USA) - 2.24 - PB
3. Naoto Tobe (JPN) - 2.21

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peaceful, Harmonious Coexistence

Just another Thursday night.....

'Lee Disqualified for False Start as Torrential Rain Delays Field Events in Moncton' - World Junior Championships

Click here for complete results from Day Four. A summary of Japanese results:
  • Japan's best chance for a gold medal in the Championships, sprinter Shota Iizuka, easily won his heat and semi-final in the men's 200 m. Click here for a photo of Iizuka in action. Jun Kimura made it through the heats but could not join Iizuka in the final.
  • Kana Ichikawa advanced through the heats and semi-final in the women's 200 m to make the final rouond. Teammate Narumi Tashiro was eliminated in the heats.
  • Takatoshi Abe won the second semi-final heat of the men's 400 m hurdles in 50.45. As in the heats his time was a season best and the fastest in the field.
  • Shiori Miki won the third semi-final heat of the women's 400 m hurdles in 58.45, the second-fastest overall among the three heats.
  • Genki Dean advanced through the men's javelin qualification round in 3rd, well ahead of his pre-competition ranking of 6th. Kenji Maritani failed to make the cut.
  • Tokyo-based Team Nissin Shokuhin Kenyan Caleb Ndiku added his second world junior title of the year to his resume with a 3:37.30 PB win in the men's 1500 m.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'Women's 5000 m Final - Flash Interviews' - World Junior Championships

2010 World Junior Championships - Top Results
click here for complete results
Women's 5000 m
1. Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) - 15:08.06
2. Mercy Cherono (KEN) - 15:09.19
3. Alice Aprot Nawowuna (KEN) - 15:17.39 - PB
5. Ayuko Suzuki (JPN) - 15:47.36 - PB (ranked 10th pre-race)
8. Nanaka Izawa (JPN) - 15:59.29 (ranked 6th pre-race)

In other results:
  • Gold medal favorite Kumiko Okada scored Japan's first medal of the games, a bronze in the women's 10000 m race walk. Okada was just off her PB, clocking 45:56.15, but was outdone by over a minute and a half by Russians Elena Lashmanova and Anna Lukyanova, both of whom were competing in their first track 10000 m. Japan's Chiaki Asada took 6th in 46:39.93, a PB by 7 seconds.
  • Takatoshi Abe won the 4th heat of the men's 400 mH in 50.53, a season best. He was the only runner in all seven heats to go under 51.
  • Takumi Kuki and Ryo Onabuta were eliminated in the men's 100 m semi-final, finishing 5th and 6th in their heats respectively.
  • Manami Ashita finished last in the third semi-final heat of the women's 800 m. Miho Shingu also finished last in the first semi-final heat of the women's 400 m, while Nodoka Seko finished last in the first semi-final heat of the women's 100 m.
  • Men's high jumper Naoto Tobe advanced through the qualification round ranked 3rd. His teammate Takashi Eto failed to move on.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Men's 10,000m Final' - World Junior Championships

2010 World Junior Championships - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Dennis Chepkongin Masai (KEN) - 27:53.88 - PB
2. Gebretsadik Abraha (ETH) - 28:03.45 - PB
3. Paul Kipchumba Lonyangata (KEN) - 28:14.55 - PB
8. Suguru Osako (JPN) - 29:40.14 (ranked 3rd pre-race)
9. Fuminori Shikata (JPN) - 29:47.87 (ranked 5th pre-race)

In other results from the second day of competition:
  • Manami Mashita made the second round in the women's 800 m while teammate Ayaka Yokose missed the cutoff.
  • Although Junki Yanagisawa recorded a season best, both he and Keitaro Sato failed to move past the first round in the men's 400 m.
  • Miho Shingu was more successful, making the next round in the women's 400 m.
  • Both Takumi Kuki and Ryo Onabuta advanced through the first round of the men's 100 m.
  • Nodoka Seka likewise advanced in the women's 100 m, but teammate Akane Ishida was a DNS.
  • Women's 100 m hurdler Aoi Kawasaki did not move on.
  • Men's long jumper Seijji Hiura was eliminated in the qualification stage of the men's long jump.
  • The same went for Miyo Itoman in the women's discus throw.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'World Junior Championships Open in Moncton as Mercy Cherono Defends 3000m Title'

2010 World Junior Championships Top Results
Women's 3000 m
1. Mercy Cherono (KEN) - 8:55.07
2. Emebet Anteneh (ETH) - 8:55.24 - PB
3. Layes Abdullayeva (AZE) - 8:55.33
12. Haruka Kyuma (JPN) - 9:22.13
18. Kanako Fujishi (JPN) - 9:28.04

Both Japanese runners significantly unperformed, Kyuma being ranked 7th and Fujishi 9th going into the competition.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ozaki Over Kinukawa at Tokyo Nighter

by Brett Larner

The highlight of the first Tokyo Nighter track and field meet, held July 18 at Tokyo's National Stadium, proved to be a 5000 m matchup between 2009 World Championships women's marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) and 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno). In her first race since being named captain of Japan's team for October's World Half Marathon Championships Ozaki had little trouble dispatching the long-suffering Kinukawa, winning in a perfunctory 16:51.09 to Kinukawa's 16:57.59. For complete results from the Nighter meet, click here.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ryoko Kizaki 31:38 to Win Abashiri 10000 m; Baek Sets Apparent Korean National Record (updated)

by Brett Larner

After being named to this year's World Half Marathon team on the strength of her runner-up finish at last month's National Track and Field Championships, Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) closed off this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge with a bang. Kizaki won the HDC's Abashiri meet 10000 m in 31:38.71, a PB by over 45 seconds and a time which missed putting her in the top 10 worldwide so far this year by only 1 second. Second place finisher Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) was nearly a minute behind in 32:33.37. Sugihara was the only runner in the top 5 not to run a PB.

Kizaki is now ranked 3rd among Japanese women for 10000 m in 2010. Combined with her rankings of 6th for 5000 m, 7th for half marathon and 5th for marathon she is the frontrunner to be named Japanese women's distance runner of the year.

Kenyan ace Edward Waweru (Team NTN) took the men's 5000 m in a quick 13:18.54, while 5th-placer Seung-Ho Baek (S. Korea), a university student and this year's Korean 5000 m national champion, ran what is apparently a South Korean national record of 13:42.98. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) was the top Japanese finisher, 4th in 13:40.14.

In other events, first-year corporate runners Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) and Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) won the women's and men's 3000 m. Other distances in the meet included 800 m, 1500 m and 10000 m race walk.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Women's 10000 m A-heat
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 31:38.71 - PB
2. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 32:33.37
3. Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:36.36 - PB
4. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 32:43.04 - PB
5. Saori Nejo (Team Hokuren) - 32:45.54 - PB
6. Yoko Miyauchi (Team Wacoal) - 32:53.78
7. Shino Saito (Team Shimamura) - 33:04.33
8. Eri Sato (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 33:07.97
9. Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 33:11.42
10. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 33:12.28

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 13:18.54
2. Muwaka Muendo (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 13:21.45
3. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Chinzai H.S.) - 13:39.45
4. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 13:40.14
5. Seung-Ho Baek (S. Korea) - 13:42.98 - NR
6. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 13:44.21
7. Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 13:45.83
8. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 13:46.87
9. Wataru Ueno (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:47.10
10. Kenta Sato (Team Tokyo Denryoku) - 13:47.23

Women's 3000 m A-heat
1. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:08.85
2. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:12.51
3. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) - 9:13.10

Men's 3000 m
1. Yuta Takahashi (Team S&B) - 8:10.45
2. Noriaki Takahashi (Team S&B) - 8:11.76
3. Akira Kiniwa (Team S&B) - 8:43.97

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Shota Iizuka's Big Day? World Junior Championships Preview

by Brett Larner

The 2010 World Junior Championships in athletics begin tomorrow, July 19, in Moncton, Canada and Japan is sending a solid team with more realistic medal chances than its senior teams typically have at the World Championships level. Japan's best chance for a gold medal may be in the women's 10000 m race walk, where Kumiko Okada's PB of 45:23.83 is well over a minute better than her closest rival Chiaki Asada. Be this as it may, the lion's share of the attention is likely to be on Japan's other legitimate gold medal contender, sprinter Shota Iizuka in the men's 200 m.

Iizuka, a first-year at Chuo University, gained international attention in May thanks to a Youtube video of his stunning anchor leg for Chuo in the men's 4 x 100 m relay at the Kanto Regional University Championships. In that world-class performance Iizuka singlehandedly gave Chuo a one-second margin of victory and the national collegiate record of 38.54. Iizuka went on to win the 200 m at the Kanto Regionals, displaying a weak start but strong closing speed. With the fastest time this season in the World Juniors field, 20.58, Iizuka is the favorite for the gold by a slim margin over Thailand's Suppachai Chimdee. Iizuka is also on the list for Japan's 4 x 100 m relay team where it is only to be hoped that he anchors again.

With full Ethiopian and Kenya long-distance squads in the Junior Championships the Japanese team will be hard-pressed to medal in those events, but perhaps its best chance comes in the men's 10000 m, where Waseda University first-years Suguru Osako and Fuminori Shikata have the third and fifth-best PBs. Osako's former Saku Chosei H.S. teammate Akinobu Murasawa has a distance chance in the men's 5000 m where he comes in with the sixth-best PB, but his lack of closing speed is likely to be a major factor against him if the race proves tactical. Likewise in the women's 3000 m and 5000 m, where no Japanese athletes are ranked better than seventh. Japan's other realistic medal chances come in the men's and women's 400 m hurdles, men's high jump and men's 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m relays, making for a total potential medal count of seven to nine.

Below is a listing of the best of the Japanese team, those ranked in the top ten in their event, along with their major competion ranked by pre-Championships qualifying time. For a complete listing of entrants by event, click here.


Men's 100 m
1. Jimmy Vicaut (FRA) - 10.16
2. Dexter Lee (JAM) - 10.20
3. Gook-Young Kim (KOR) - 10.23
7. Takumi Kuki (JPN) - 10.34

Men's 200 m
1. Shota Iizuka (JPN) - 20.58
2. Suppachai Chimdee (THA) - 20.68
3. Shekeim Greaves (BAR) - 20.75

Men's 5000 m
1. Belete Assefa (ETH) - 13:18.40
2. David Kiprotich Bett (KEN) - 13:20.63
3. Moses Kibet (UGA) - 13:21.81
6. Akinobu Murasawa (JPN) - 13:38.68

Men's 10000 m
1. Paul Kipchumba Lonyangata (KEN) - 28:21.0
2. Dennis Chepkongin Masai (KEN) - 28:25.0
3. Suguru Osako (JPN) - 28:35.75
5. Fuminori Shikata (JPN) - 28:38.46

Men's 3000 mSC
1. Jonathan Muia Ndiku (KEN) - 8:19.25
2. Birhan Getahun (ETH) - 8:21.20
3. Abdelaziz Merzougui (ESP) - 8:33.29
9. Kosei Yamaguchi (JPN) - 8:47.94

Men's 400 mH
1. Leslie Murray (ISV) - 49.83
2. Takatoshi Abe (JPN) - 50.11
3. Hederson Estefani (BRA) - 50.44

Men's High Jump
1. Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) - 2.25
1. Erik Kynard (USA) - 2.25
3. Qichao Jin (CHN) - 2.24
4. Naoto Tobe (JPN) - 2.23

Men's Javelin Throw
1. Till Woschler (GER) - 78.64
2. Dmitri Tarabin (RUS) - 77.65
3. Dean Goosen (RSA) - 75.28
6. Genki Dean (JPN) - 74.06

Men's 4 x 100 m Relay
1. USA - 39.06
2. Germany - 39.33
3. Czech Republic - 39.57
4. Japan - 39.61

Men's 4 x 400 m Relay
1. USA - 3:03.25
2. Japan - 3:07.04
3. Trinidad and Tobago - 3:07.70


Women's 3000 m
1. Mercy Cherono (KEN) - 8:44.67
2. Layes Abdullayeva (AZE) - 8:49.65
3. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo (KEN) - 9:03.7
7. Haruka Kyuma (JPN) - 9:12.63
9. Kanako Fujishi (JPN) - 9:18.83

Women's 5000 m
1. Mercy Cherono (KEN) - 14:47.13
2. Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) - 14:55.52
3. Go-Eun Youm (KOR) - 15:38.60
7. Nanaka Izawa (JPN) - 15:50.06

Women's 400 mH
1. Katsiaryna Artyukh (BLR) - 56.88
2. Shiori Miki (JPN) - 57.53
3. Evonne Britton (USA) - 57.61

Women's 10000 mRW
1. Kumiko Okada (JPN) - 45:23.83
2. Chiaki Asada (JPN) - 46:46.94
3. Antonella Palmisano (ITA) - 46:59.47

Women's 4 x 400 m Relay
1. Jamaica - 3:34.41
2. Russia - 3:36.25
3. USA - 3:36.34
9. Japan - 3:41.78

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hayakari and Yokota Lead Japanese Performances at Lappeenranta Games

by Brett Larner

National record holders Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) and Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) led the performances by the Japanese contingent at the July 15 Lappeenranta Games in Finland with wins in the women's 3000 m steeplechase and men's 800 m. The veteran Hayakari led start to finish after setting the race off at national record pace. For Yokota it was his second European win in less than a week, both wins clocking just off his national record.

2010 Lappeenranta Games - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 3000 m
1. Geoffrey Kipsang (Kenya) - 7:59.57
2. Matti Rasanen (Finland) - 8:02.18
3. Jukka Keskisalo (Finland) - 8:02.23
6. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 8:14.92

Women's 3000 mSC
1. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 9:52.10
2. Livia Toth (Hungary) - 9:54.16
3. Valeria Mara (Ukraine) - 9:54.98

Men's 1500 m
1. Kiprono Menjo (Kenya) - 3:38.40
2. Niclas Sandells (Germany) - 3:41.62
3. Mikael Bergdahl (Germany) - 3:42.53
4. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 3:43.08
9. Hiroshi Ino (Japan) - 3:54.37

Men's 800 m A-heat
1. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:46.82
2. Prince Mumba (Zambia) - 1:47.56
3. Mikko Lahtio (Finland) - 1:48.10
5. Ryosuke Awazu (Japan) - 1:49.03
9. Hikaru Miyazaki (Japan) - 1:50.81

Men's 400 mH
1. Cornel Fredericks (South Africa) - 48.99
2. Kazuaki Yoshida (Japan) - 50.45
3. Yuta Imazeki (Japan) - 52.03

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet Results

by Brett Larner

All but invisible to the eyes of the world, the penultimate meet in the 2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge, a six-meet series designed to provide racing and sharpening opporunities for the hundreds of corporate, university and high school student athletes who spend the summer training in Hokkaido to escape the heat of Japan's mainland, took place July 14 in Kitami, Hokkaido. At the Kitami meet a host of familiar faces took the top spots at distances from 800 m to 10000 m.

5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) took another step in his comeback from two years of setbacks with a 10000 m win in 28:08.16. 5000 m national champion Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) ran a slim PB to finish a safe 2nd ahead of Matsumiya's Kenyan teammate Samuel Kariuki (Team Konica Minolta). 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) continued his gradual post-Tokyo rebuild with a solid 28:40.06. Fujiwara plans to target a 2:06 at September's Berlin Marathon.

Rookie corporate runner and former university star Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) won the women's 5000 m A-heat in 15:42.19 as marathoners Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) struggled at the back of the pack, finishing 18th and 19th. Kano's teammate Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) had a better showing in the B-heat, 4th in 16:08.80.

The men's 5000 m A-heat was arguably the highlight of the evening as the top five runners all recorded new PBs. Fresh from being named to this year's World Half Marathon Championships team, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) ran 13:36.26 to take the win by less than a second over Kenyan high schooler Titus Waroru (Chinzai H.S.). Ugachi's former Komazawa University teammate Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) was 3rd in 13:42.47.

In the 3000 m, 2009 Nagoya International Women's Marathon winner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) won the women's race in 9:24.10 while 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) split the difference with an 8:02.59 win in the men's race.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men's 10000 m
1. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 28:08.16
2. Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:19.06 - PB
3. Samuel Kariuki (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:33.02
4. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 28:35.39
5. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 28:40.06
6. Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Tokyo Denryoku) - 28:48.75
7. Hiroyuki Sasaki (Waseda Univ.) - 28:58.47 - PB
8. Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota) - 28:58.63
9. Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 29:00.79
10. Kazuki Onishi (Team Kanebo) - 29:10.50

Women's 5000 m A-heat
1. Kazue Kojima (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 15:42.19
2. Saori Nejo (Team Hokuren) - 15:44.43
3. Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:46.48
4. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - 15:47.49
5. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 15:51.95
18. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 16:17.64
19. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 16:32.96

Men's 5000 m A-heat
1. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:36.26 - PB
2. Titus Waroru (Kenya/Chinzei H.S.) - 13:37.17 - PB
3. Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 13:42.47 - PB
4. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:45.43 - PB
5. Jeon Eun-Hoi (S. Korea) - 13:50.91 - PB

Women's 3000 m
1. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 9:24.10
2. Aya Isomine (Team Shiseido) - 9:24.45
3. Machi Tanaka (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:25.68

Men's 3000 m
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 8:02.59
2. Aoi Matsumoto (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:25.14
3. Akira Kiniwa (Team S&B) - 8:31.17

Women's 1500 m
1. Saori Yamashita (Team Hokuren) - 4:17.83
2. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 4:18.42
3. Aya Ito (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 4:20.85

Men's 1500 m
1. Edward Waweru (Team NTN) - 3:41.06
2. Baek ??? (S. Korea) - 3:45.39
3. ??? (S. Korea) - 3:45.88

Women's 800 m
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Team Kyudenko) - 2:04.18
2. Akari Kishikawa (STCI) - 2:04.44
3. ??? (S. Korea) - 2:04.78

Men's 800 m
1. Daiki Tsutsumi (SDF Academy) - 1:51.00
2. Yoshihiro Shimodaira (Shiraume H.S. AC) - 1:51.35
3. Park Son-Su (S. Korea) - 1:51.49

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yoshikawa Has Rare 5000 m Win at Brasschaat

by Brett Larner

Three-time 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) had an excellent day at the July 11 Brasschaat meet in Belgium, breaking her four year-old 5000 m PB by 11 seconds to win the women's 5000 m in 15:28.44. Steepler Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) also had a good day as he won the men's 3000 m in 8:02.09. All told, five Japanese athletes won their events at the meet. A summary of results:

2010 Brasschaat Meet - Top Results
Women's 5000 m
1. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 15:28.44 - PB
2. Freya Murray (GBR) - 15:31.17
3. Allison Grace (USA) - 15:50.00

Men's 3000 m
1. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:02.09
2. Jordan Horn (USA) - 8:03.73
3. Steffen Iliczka (Germany) - 8:09.88

Men's 1500 m
1. Jeff See (USA) - 3:40.94
2. Wouter De Boer (Netherlands) - 3:41.12
3. Andrew Jesien (USA) - 3:41.23
8. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team Fujitsu) - 3:41.89

Men's 1500 m B-heat
1. Hiroshi Ino (Team NTN) - 3:45.70
2. Tom Van Rooy (Belgium) - 3:46.50
3. Abdelghan Hamaraoui (Algeria) - 3:46.89

Men's 800 m
1. Darren St. Clair (GBR) - 1:46.59
2. Prince Mumba (Zambia) - 1:46.74
3. David Torrance (USA) - 1:46.96
4. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:48.49
10. Ryosuke Awazu (Japan) - 1:53.97

Men's 800 m B-heat
1. Hikaru Miyazaki (Japan) - 1:51.82
2. Quentin Charlet (France) - 1:53.81
3. Lars Paardekooper (Netherlands) - 1:54.16

Men's Discus Throw
1. Shigeo Hatakeyama (Japan) - 56.40 m
2. Colin Boevers (USA) - 52.72 m
3. Stefan Dekker (Netherlands) - 45.43 m

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yokota Tops Japanese Results at KBC Nacht

by Brett Larner

Men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) had the best result of the day for the Japanese contingent at this year's KBC Nacht meet in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium on July 10. Less than half a second off his national record of 1:46:16, Yokota won the 800 m in 1:46.63 by the narrowest of margins over South African Jonas Windy. Among the other Japanese participants in the meet, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) was perhaps the most disappointing as he fell well short in his attempt on the Japanese 5000 m national record, running only 13:27.36 for 9th. A summary of results is included below.

2010 KBC Nacht - Top Results
Men's 800 m
1. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:46.63
2. Jonas Windy (South Africa) - 1:46.64
3. Ludolph Siren (Germany) - 1:47.29

Men's 1500 m B-heat
1. Mthobisi Baloyi (South Africa) - 3:41.58
2. Gregory Beugnet (France) - 3:31.99
3. Niels Verwer (Netherlands) - 3:42.75
4. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:42.99
10. Masahiro Takaya (Japan) - 4:02.62

Men's 5000 m
1. Jacob Cheshari (Kenya) - 12:59.72
2. Josphat Menjo (Kenya) - 13:00.67
3. Leonard Komon (Kenya) - 13:17.32
9. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:27.36

Men's 5000 m B-heat
1. Mert Girmalegese (Turkey) - 13:34.73
2. Kemal Koyuncu (Tukey) - 13:35.72
3. Scott Bauhs (U.S.A.) - 13:36.77
7. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:43.99
15. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 14:00.84

Men's Javelin
1. Jakub Vadeljch (Czech Rep.) - 78.57
2. Peter Esenwin (Germany) - 76.50
3. Tom Goyvaerts (Belgium) - 76.46
6. Kazuki Yamamoto (Japan) - 72.28

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Hokuren Distance Challenge - Kushiro Meet Results

by Brett Larner

Top results from part four of this year's Hokuren Distance Challenge series, held July 10 in Kushiro, Hokkaido.

2010 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet Results
Men's 10000 m
1. Shunsuke Nomura (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:27.53
2. Jee Young-Joon (S. Korea) - 29:33.97
3. Kim Min (S. Korea) - 29:36.21

Women's 5000 m
1. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 16:20.25
2. Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 16:36.82
3. Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya) - 16:55.89

Men's 5000 m
1. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:28.69
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 13:52.65
3. Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 13:55.82
4. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:57.78
5. Daisuke Shimizu (Team Kanebo) - 14:00.99
6. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 14:03.66
7. Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) - 14:04.13
8. Samuel Kariuki (Kenya/Team Konica Minolta) - 14:04.74
9. Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei) - 14:06.51
10. Noriaki Takahashi (Team S&B) - 14:09.32
14. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) - 14:17.85

Women's 3000 m
1. Kaptich Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 9:31.05
2. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 9:32.56
3. Ayaka Mori (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 9:37.13

Women's 3000 m B-heat
1. Maki Suzawa (Team Yamada Denki) - 9:45.98
2. Aya Kohata (Meijo Univ.) - 9:53.63
3. Mai Kizaki (Team Yamada Denki) - 9:54.48

Men's 3000 m
1. Langat Kiprono (Kenya/Team Subaru) - 8:14.24
2. Minato Oishi (Chuo Univ.) - 8:28.96
3. Kazuya Namera (Saku AC Hokkaido) - 8:30.09
4. Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 8:30.18

Men's 3000 m B-heat
1. Yo Yazawa (Waseda Univ.) - 8:12.26
2. Minoru Ikebe (Team Honda) - 8:15.90
3. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 8:20.17

Women's 5000 m Walk
1. Kumi Otoshi (Team Fujitsu) - 21:41.81

Men's 5000 m Walk
1. Isamu Fujisawa (Team Alsok) - 19:28.66

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 9, 2010

JRN On Location: Ironman Korea

JRN will be on location this weekend at Ironman Korea in Cheju, South Korea. Apologies in advance for any interruptions to regularly-scheduled service.

In the meantime, keep on eye on tomorrow's KBC Nacht meet in Heusden, Belgium where Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) will be going for Takayuki Matsumiya's 5000 m national record of 13:13.20, set three years ago at the same meet. Click here for complete start lists.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ozaki Leads Team of Ten for World Half Marathon

translated by Brett Larner

On July 5 Rikuren announed the names of the five men and five women who will make up the Japanese national team for this year's World Half Marathon Championships, to be held Oct. 16 in Nanning, China. In selecting the team federation officials considered results from this year's National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon, Sendai International Half Marathon, Sapporo Half Marathon, and, in a new develoment, the National Track and Field Championships 10000 m. 2009 World Championship marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) was included on the women's team.

Team members:

Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 5th, Jitsugyodan Half, PB: 1:01:58 (2010)
Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 5th, Sendai Half, PB: 1:02:08 (2008)
Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 10th, Sapporo Half, PB: 1:02:37 (2005)
Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 5th, Nat'l 10000 m, PB: 1:02:51 (2009)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 8th, Nat'l 10000 m, PB: 1:02:54 (2007)

Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2nd, Jitsugyodan Half, PB: 1:09:26 (2007)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2nd, Sendai Half, PB: 1:09:54 (2008)
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2nd, Nat'l 10000 m, PB: 1:10:16 (2009)
Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1st, Sendai Half, PB: 1:10:52 (2010)
Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2nd, Sapporo Half, PB: 1:10:53 (2009)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Asian Junior Athletics Championship Day Four - Japanese Results Summary

by Brett Larner

A summary of Japanese results from the final day of the Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam:

  • Seiya Kato won the gold medal in the boys' 400 m hurdles in 50.83, with teammate Yuichi Nagano scoring bronze in 51.21.
  • Mahiro Akamatsu likewise won gold in the girls' 3000 m, running 9:36.47, while teammate Naoko Koizumi was only 5th.
  • Ikuto Yufu and Ikki Takeuchi took silver and bronze in the boys' 5000 m, Yufu losing by less than one second to Kenyan-born Bahraini Edwin Chebii Kimurer.
  • Manabu Aoki took the silver medal in the boys' 10000 m race walk in 45:01.73.
  • Taishi Nakayama won bronze in the boys' 200 m in 21.05 after winning his semi-final. Winner Chimdee Suppachai of Thailand set a new Games record of 20.80. Naohiro Yokoyama was eliminated at the semi-final stage.
  • The boys' 4x400 m relay team won silver in 3:12.14, while the boys' 4x100 m relay team won bronze in 40.64.
  • Sho Kawamoto was 5th in the boys' 800 m in 1:52.62.
  • As in the girls' 100 m, Mizuki Ito finished last in the girls' 200 m final.
  • Miya Itoman won silver in the girls' hammer throw with a throw of 46 m 77.
All told, Japan finished 2nd behind China in the medal tally, with four golds, nine silvers and eight bronzes. Click here for complete results from the last day of competition.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Yuki Sato All-Time Japanese #2 for 3000 m at Memorial Leon Buyle (updated with video)

by Brett Larner

Unstoppably talented in university, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) has had an off-and-on career since joining the corporate world last year. Last year he ran 3 seconds off the Japanese national record for 10000 m to become the all-time #3 Japanese man at that distance, but then went on to miss out on qualifying for the Berlin World Championships. On July 3rd this year he pulled off one of his best accomplishments so far, running 7:44.63 for 3000 m at the Memorial Leon Buyle meet in Belgium. Sato finished 3rd behind Kenyans John Kemboi Cheruiyot and Yusef Biwott, the top two 3000 m runners thus far in 2010. His time, a PB by 9 seconds, was less than 3 seconds off Toshinari Takaoka's 11 year-old national record of 7:41.87 and shows that he is in excellent form as he kicks off a summer stint on the European circuit. A similar improvement over 5000 m would put Sato 1 second off the relatively weak Japanese national record of 13:13.20, a mark which may well fall when Sato runs the 5000 m at next weekend's KBC Nacht meet.

Sato's performance led those of the large contingent of Japanese athletes at the Memorial Leon Buyle meet, but there were few other noteworthy results. Sato's teammate Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) also broke the 8 minute mark but finished only 10th in 7:59.81, a sizeable PB nevertheless. Multiple 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) was 3rd in the women's 1500 m in 4:16.14, while women's 3000 m SC national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) was 8th in the same heat.

2010 Memorial Leon Buyle Results
click here for complete results
Men's 3000 m
1. John Kemboi Cheruiyot (Kenya) 7:40.11
2. Yusef Biwott (Kenya) - 7:40.49
3. Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 7:44.63 - PB
4. Nathan Lagat (Kenya) - 7:48.03
5. Philipp Pflieger (Germany) - 7:55.99 - PB
10. Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 7:59.81 - PB
11. Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 8:03.84 - PB
15. Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 8:13.84

Women's 1500 m
1. Mari Jarvehpaa (Finland) - 4:13.44
2. Gabriele Anderson (USA) - 4:15.71
3. Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) - 4:16.14
8. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC) - 4:19.38

Men's 1500 m A-heat
1. Mark Matusak (USA) - 3:40.41
2. Andreas Vojta (Austria) - 3:40.79
3. Hassan Khallouki (Morocco) - 3:40.93
13. Fumikazu Kobayashi (Team NTN) - 3:44.29
15. Yasunori Murakami (Team Fujitsu) - 3:49.82

Men's 1500 m B-heat
1. Ian Cronin (USA) - 3:43.81
2. Brian Cantero (France) - 3:44.17
3. Jordan Horn (USA) - 3:44.40
6. Masahiro Takaya (Japan) - 3:44.68
12. Hiroshi Ino (Japan) - 3:55.02

Men's 800 m A-heat
1. Jonathan Johnson (USA) - 1:46.99
2. Azzedine Boudjemaa - 1:47.11
3. Prince Mumba - 1:47.15
5. Masato Yokota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:47.56

Men's 800 m B-heat
1. Abdelmajid Touil (Algeria) - 1:49.07
2. Ali Hamid (Belgium) - 1:49.26
3. Matthias Stubbe (Belgium) - 1:49.69
6. Hikaru Miyazaki (Japan) - 1:50.43

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Kenyans and Japanese Clean Sweep Gold Coast Airport Marathon'

Led by Kaori Yoshida's 2:31:33 victory, Japanese women took four of the top five places in the marathon while Japanese men took seven of the top ten places in the half marathon. Australian Jeff Hunt, whose memorable marathon debut at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon made that race newsworthy, won the half marathon in 1:03:18, three seconds ahead of countryman Martin Dent. For complete results click here.

Njui and Kano Return to Top in Sapporo International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With a new 1:30 p.m. start time due no doubt to the exigencies of live television broadcast, sunny, humid and windy conditions with temperatures of 29 degrees greeted runners at the start of the 53rd Sapporo International Half Marathon on July 4. 2006 men's champion Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) and 2008 women's winner Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) came out on top again, winning over the likes of 2009 World Championships marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui (Kenya), 2:05 marathoner Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) and course record holder Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) in Njui's case and defending champion Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) in Kano's.

Njui ran a race both controlled and aggressive, at the head of the pack from start to finish but gradually building his win. A conservative 14:28 split over the downhill first 5 km gave way to a 14:22 on the flat from 5 to 10 km. Njui remained at the head of the pack as the group whittled down to four Kenyans, and when Mogusu lost touch just after 15 km it was Njui who did all the leading work for the rest of the race, accompanied by 2010 Sendai Half Marathon winner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and 2010 National Corporate Half Marathon winner Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Tokushu Seiko). Njui took the trio through the flat next 5 km in 14:28, then attacked on the uphill with 2 km to go, dropping first Mathathi and then Ndungu and running unchallenged to the finish to take his second Sapporo win, clocking 1:01:20. In his post-race interview Njui said he plans to run his debut marathon later this summer at the Hokkaido Marathon.

Mathathi, who broke one hour in his half marathon debut at Sendai earlier this season, overtook Ndungu for 2nd with Ndungu safely in 3rd ahead of Mogusu. Hakone Ekiden uphill great Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), a former teammate of Samuel Wanjiru, came up front behind in the uphill latter stages of the race to take 10th and finish as the top Japanese runner, picking up a likely spot on the Japanese national team for October's World Half Marathon Championships.

Kenyans Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo) went out in the lead in the women's race, pursued only by Kano as they went through 5 km in 16:25. Accompanied by national duathlon champion Yuya Fukaura (Harriers AC), former pro XC skiier Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) made contact with the lead trio just before 10 km, which the group passed in 33:18. Obare surprisingly drifted back shortly after 10 km, and from there it was a race between Nojiri and Kano, with Cheyech remaining passively behind as the two Japanese runners traded surges. Nojiri did most of the work, with a bold move just past 15 km after passing the mark in 50:29 and a series of attacks to follow. Kano managed to close the gap each time, and at the top the last uphill with just over 1 km to go she pulled away to take the top spot in 1:11:47, with Nojiri holding on to 2nd in 1:12:02. Like Ndungu in the men's race, National Corporate Half Marathon Championships winner Cheyech was 3rd. Defending champion Yurika Nakamura was never a factor in the race, finishing in 1:17:03. For her win Kano adds the option of a World Half Marathon Championships national team spot to her place on the Japanese team for November's Asian Games marathon.

For a detailed play-by-play, click here to read JRNLive's Twitter commentary on the race.

2010 Sapporo International Half Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
1. Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) - 1:01:20
2. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:01:32
3. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Tokushu Seiko) - 1:01:35
4. James Mwangi (Kenya/Tean NTN) - 1:02:44
5. Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 1:03:18
6. Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) - 1:03:42
7. Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:44
8. James Maina (Kenya/Takushoku Univ.) - 1:03:55 - debut
9. James Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:04:02
10. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:04:04
13. Abel Kirui (Kenya) - 1:04:17
52. Antonio Vega (U.S.A.) - 1:07:15

1. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 1:11:47
2. Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:12:02
3. Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Kenya/Team Uniqlo) - 1:12:27
4. Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:12:34
5. Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 1:12:42
6. Doricah Obare (Kenya/Team Hitachi) - 1:13:18
7. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:13:30
8. Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 1:13:31
9. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:13:33
10. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:13:42

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Asian Junior Athletics Championship Day Three - Japanese Results Summary

by Brett Larner

Japanese results from the third day of the Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam:
  • Haruka Shibata scored the gold medal in the girls' 400 m hurdles, running 1:00.20.
  • Ryota Matono was the silver medalist in the boys' 1500 m in 3:58.28, with Komazawa University standout first year Ikuto Yufu 4th in 4:02.60.
  • Chikako Mori took the bronze medal in the girls' 1500 m in 4:35.26 with Saki Komiya 4th in 4:37.13.
  • Boys' 100 m bronze medalist Kazuki Baba came 4th in the 110 m hurdles final.
  • Yuichi Nagano and Seiya Kato both won their heats in the boys' 400 m hurdles to advance to the final.
  • Mizuki Ito advanced to the final in the girls' 200 m after finishing 2nd in her heat in 25.36.
  • Taishi Nakayama and Naohiro Yokoyama likewise advanced to the final in the boys' 200 m as they finished 1st and 2nd in their heats in 21.67 and 22.06.
  • Yuko Enomoto took silver in the girls' pole vault, clearing 3 m 65.
  • Miya Itoman finished 4th in the girls' discus throw.
  • Takaya Sugawara came 9th in the boys' high jump.
Click here for complete results from day three.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Asian Junior Athletics Championship Day Two - Japanese Results Summary

by Brett Larner

Japanese results from the second day of the Asian Junior Athletics Championship 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam:

  • Keita Shitara and Shingo Hayashi went 2-3 in the boys' 10000 m but fell well short of challenging gold medalist Suresh Kumar of India.
  • Hiroi Maeda won the silver medal in the girls' 10000 m walk, 14 seconds behind winner Lingling Tong of China in 49:25.87. Yakako Kaga was 4th in 51:07.62.
  • Yuka Sato took a surprise bronze in the girls' javelin throw with a throw of 48 m 46.
  • Both Kengo Yamasaki and Suguru Ito finished out of the medals in the boys' 400 m.
  • Sho Kawamoto advanced to the final in the boys' 800 m, 3rd in his heat in 1:55.88.
  • Boys' 100 m bronze medalist Kazuki Baba advanced to the final in the boys' 110 m hurdles, 3rd in his heat in 14.47.
For complete results from the second day of competition, click here.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, July 2, 2010

Watch the Sapporo International Half Marathon Live Online With English Commentary

by Brett Larner

The 53rd Sapporo International Half Marathon takes place this Sunday, July 4. Defending champions Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) return to take on 2008 winners Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) and Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), and foreign competition including 2009 World Championships marathon gold medalist Abel Kirui (Kenya), 2:05 marathoner Vincent Kipruto (Kenya), #1-ranked British woman Mara Yamauchi, and young American Antonio Vega. For domestic runners a spot on the national team for this year's World Half Marathon Championships is on the line, meaning many of the current top Japanese runners including Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) will be in the field.

The Sapporo International Half Marathon will be broadcast live nationwide on Nihon TV at 1:30 p.m. on July 4. Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free through Keyhole TV, available here. JRN will be doing live English commentary through our Twitter feed JRNLive.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Asian Junior Athletics Championship Day One - Japanese Results Summary

by Brett Larner

Ahead of this month's IAAF World Junior Championships, the 14th Asian Junior Athletics Championships got underway July 1 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Among the Japanese results on the meet's first day:

  • Hiroaki Koike won the boys' 3000 m steeplechase in 9:10.66, beating Kenyan-born Bahraini runner-up Isaac Kemboi Chelimo by over 20 seconds.
  • Katsuki Suga was 2nd in the girls' 5000 m in 16:31.22, less than 10 seconds behind Ethiopian-born Bahraini winner Tejitu Daba Chalchissa. Eri Tayama finished 5th.
  • Kazuki Baba and Farouq Ishimoto went 3-4 in the boys' 100 m, clocking 10.86 and 10.91.
  • Mizuki Ito finished last in the girls' 100 m final, running 12.64.
  • Both Japanese runners in the boys' 400 m qualified for the final, Kengo Yamasaki winning Heat 1 in 48.11 and Suguru Ito coming in 2nd in Heat 2 in 49.00.
For complete results from the first day of competition, click here.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved