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World Champion Florence Kiplagat vs. Kinukawa and Chepyego, Past Winners Njui and Ngatuny Lead Sapporo International Half Marathon - Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner
Update 7/2: Defending women's champion Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) has withdrawn from tomorrow's Sapporo International Half Marathon with an unspecified leg injury according to a tweet by her coach Manabu Kawagoe. 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) and 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) have also withdrawn.
With most of the spring half marathon season cancelled in the wake of the Mar. 11 disasters, this year's Sapporo International Half Marathon will mark a return to the distance for many of Japan's top athletes. Scheduled to be run again with the 1:30 p.m. start time put in place last year times are unlikely to be fast in the peak of the summer heat, but both the women's and men's races should be thickly competitive. Sapporo will be broadcast live by Nihon TV on July 3. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online via Keyhole TV. JRN will be doing live English commentary via Twitt…

Niiya Hits World Champs 5000 m A-Standard, Watanabe Again With Japanese All-Time #2 1500 m at Hokuren Distance Challenge

by Brett Larner
The 2011 Hokuren Distance Challenge series wrapped up June 29 with its fourth and final event, the Shibetsu Meet. Despite warm and humid conditions, significant marks came in the women's 5000 m and men's 1500 m.
In the women's 5000 m, Kenyan Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) marked her latest PB of the season, 15:10.53, to take the win. Just behind her, National Championships 5000 m runner-up Hitomi Niiya, sporting her new Team Universal Entertainment jersey for the first time after a few months as an independent following being fired from Team Toyota Jidoshokki, just cleared the World Championships A-standard with a new PB of 15:13.12. Niiya's mark all but assures she will join national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) in Daegu and secures her as the all-time Japanese #10 over 5000 m. Her former teammate, 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), was a regrettable DNF after a long period lost to injury.
In the men'…

Korean Police Clear Marathon Coach, Athletes After Finding No Evidence of Doping

http://www.chosunonline.com/news/20110624000017
translated and edited by Brett Larner
Having caused an uproar when the story became public news, police have closed their investigation of allegations of doping among some of Korea's top marathon runners after finding no evidence to support the claims.
On June 23 Kangwon District Police Headquarters' Drug Investigation Unit issued its report on the case, stating, "We investigated the distance running coach of a high school in Kangwon-do, Wonju and several national team-level marathon runners after receiving allegations that they were engaged in the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs but found nothing to confirm the truth of these charges."
In April police launched an official investigation after receiving information that athletes coached by Shinshu Girls' H.S. track coach Man Hwa Jeong, 51, including Korea's number one marathoner, 2010 Asian Games gold medalist Youngjun Ji, (30, Kolon Co.), had used illegal…

Hasegawa Over Wainaina and Nakadai at Saromako 100 km, Kaburaki 5th at Western States 100

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2011062600197http://ws100.ultralive.net/webcast.php
translated and edited by Brett Larner complete results coming soon
Corporate team runner Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) took his first win at Japan's premier ultra, the June 26 Saromako 100 km, running 6:31:06 to beat defending champion, Kenyan national record holder and double Olympic marathon medalist Erick Wainaina (Lights AC) and defending 100 km world champion Shinji Nakadai (Harriers AC). "It was pretty close," Hasegawa said after the race, "but I managed to win. This will help me as I get ready for a good run at the Hokkaido Marathon." Wainaina finished 3rd, with Nakadai 6th. Naomi Ochiai (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) won the women's race in 7:54:08.
Across the Pacific, top-ranked trail runner Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, 42, ran a patient race at the Western States 100, advancing through the field late in the race to take 5th overall.

Watanabe Just Misses 10000 m A-Standard, Sophomore Yufu 28:02.46 to Lead Five Komazawa Univ. Men Under 29 in Fukagawa

by Brett Larner

With unseasonably cool temperatures ahead of an approaching typhoon the Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet on June 25 saw a raft of significant PB performances. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) led three Japan-resident Kenyans to the top of the men's 10000 m A-heat with a win in 27:43.82, but the trio had company from 5000 m national champion Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) who was shooting for the Daegu World Championships A-standard of sub-27:40 but came up just short in a large PB of 27:47.79 In so doing Watanabe, the all-time #2 Japanese man over 1500 m best-known for blacking out meters before the finish while leading the 2008 National Championships 1500 m, became the first Japanese man to break both 3:40 and 28:00. Missing the A-standard means that Watanabe will run only the 5000 m in Daegu.
More of a shock than Watanabe were the next two runners after him, Komazawa University sophomore Ikuto Yufu and junior Hiromitsu Kakuage, who ra…

Deki Leads Aoyama Gakuin to National University Ekiden Kanto Qualifier Win

by Brett Larner



Aoyama Gakuin University cleaned up at the June 25 National University Ekiden Kanto Regional Qualifier meet, its runners taking three of the four 10000 m heats to put the school into the winner's circle for Aoyama Gakuin's first-ever Nationals appearance. Combined with Aoyama Gakuin's seeded finish at January's Hakone Ekiden to qualify for both the 2011 Izumo Ekiden and the 2012 Hakone Ekiden, this season will be the school's first time making all three major university men's ekidens.

With four heats of 10000 m and twenty schools fielding two runners apiece in each heat, the final team standings at the meet are determined by the combined times of all eight runners from each school, an unusual format in the Japanese distance running world. Aoyama Gakuin was already in the lead after a win by junior Takuya Yokoyama in heat two, and junior Ryotaro Otani's breakaway win in heat three helped to extend the school's slim lead over rival Teikyo …

Kinukawa Again With 31:10.02 For All-Time Japanese #4 at Abashiri 10000 m

by Brett Larner
Ten days after staging a big comeback with a 15:09.96 national 5000 m title, the all-time sixth-best by a Japanese woman, Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) did it again, running a solo 31:10.02 at the June 22 Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet 10000 m to become the all-time fourth-fastest Japanese woman over the distance. More impressive than her time, which cleared the World Championships A-standard by over 30 seconds and makes a double in Daegu very likely, was the way she paced the race. After a 15:45 first half Kinukawa gradually ratcheted up her pace, negative splitting with a 15:25 second half which included 9:09 for the final 3000 m and a superb 2:58 final km. Although rain shortly before the race helped to lower temperatures, conditions at the finish were still a less-than-ideal 20 degrees with 81% humidity. In light of this and her conservative first half it's exciting to consider what might be in store for Kinukawa against a more competitive, aggress…

High School Regionals Girls' 3000 m National Roundup - 33 Under 9:30

by Brett Larner
The regional qualifier meets for next month's National High School Track and Field Championships took place across Japan between June 17 and 20. Of particular note as an illustration of the depth and development of Japanese distance running at the high school level, the girls' 3000 m event featured thirty Japanese and three Kenyan girls under 9:30 between nine regional meets over the weekend. By contrast, according to the ARRS database only four American high school girls broke 9:30 for 3000 m in all of 2010, with three so far this season.
Kenyan Susan Wylim of Sera H.S. was the top of the crowd with a meet record 9:03.89 at the Chugoku regional meet. Sera's Charles Ndirangu also won the boys' 5000 m with a meet record of 13:44.61. Sera H.S. is most well-known for producing Bitan Karoki (Kenya/Team S&B), who earlier this season won Stanford Univesity's Cardinal Invitational 10000 m in stunning style.
Three other girls, all Japanese, broke 9:10 …

Kawauchi Fully Recovered and Still Planning to Run Sapporo

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/osaka/sports/article/news/20110621-OHO1T00130.htm
translated by Brett Larner
On the Japanese national team for the Sept. 4 Daegu World Championships men's marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.), visited an elementary and junior high school on the island of Oki in Shimane prefecture on June 20. A day earlier while running in the lead of the local Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon Kawauchi passed out in the final few hundred meters and was taken to a hospital for emergency treatment. "I blacked out with somewhere around 1 km left," he said. "When I came to I was in an ambulance. My temperature right afterwards was around 38 degrees, but I'm OK now. I went to pay my respects at my ancestors' graves, and I got a lot of my strength back from all the energy of the children at the school." Declaring that he feels fully recovered, Kawauchi said he plans to resume normal training on June 21 and to run the July 3 Sapporo Internati…

Jeilan 27:09.02 at Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet

by Brett Larner
The first meet of the 2011 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place June 19 in Kitami, Hokkaido. With cooler than usual temperatures 2006 world 10000 m junior champion and 2008 world junior XC champion Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia/Team Honda) delivered the biggest result of the evening, a solo 27:09.02 nearly a minute ahead of runner-up Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK). Jeilan's time was the third-fastest of the year by an Ethiopian, putting him into consideration for the Ethiopian team for August's Daegu World Championships. In 5th, third-year Yuki Maeda (Waseda Univ.), whose excellent run on the first day of this year's Hakone Ekiden was instrumental in keeping Waseda in contention for the win, became the latest Waseda runner to break 29 minutes as he clocked a PB of 28:54.34. Ten men on the roster of Waseda's 2010-2011 squad held PBs under 29 minutes.
In the women's 5000 m, 2011 East Japan Corporate T&F 10000 m champion Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon …

Kawauchi Taken to Hospital After Suffering Heat Stroke Near End of 50 km Ultra

http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00201759.htmlhttp://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2011/06/19/kiji/K20110619001050300.html http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2011062000331 http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20110620-792932.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner
Click photo to enlarge.
2011 World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.) was taken to the hospital after collapsing just before the finish of the Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon in Shimane prefecture on June 19.
An amateur runner, Kawauchi earned his ticket to the Daegu World Championships by finishing 3rd at February's Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37. He ran the Okinoshima race, located on the island where his late father was born, as a practice run for the World Championships. Running at a pace of 37 minutes per 10 km over the difficult, hilly course Kawauchi led the race the whole way, but in the last km he fell repeatedly before finally losing cons…

Yuki Kawauchi Reportedly Collapses at 50 km Ultramarathon

by Brett Larner
2011 World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) reportedly collapsed shortly before the finish line of today's Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon and was taken away by ambulance to receive emergency medical treatment. Kyoto-based ultra runner Yotsuba70 was at the Okinoshima race to compete in the 100 km division, which started 6 1/2 hours before the 50 km, and was on-hand to see Kawauchi's collapse, reporting it on his Twitter feed. Additional details will be added as they are reported.
(c) 2011 Brett Larner all rights reserved

Ozaki 3rd at Steamboat Classic 4-Miler

2011 Steamboat Classic 4-Mile Road RacePeoria, IL, 6/18/11 click here for complete results Women 1. Diane Nukuri (Burundi) - 20:41 2. Adriana Nelson (U.S.A.) - 20:46 3. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 20:52 4. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 21:55 5. Fiona Docherty (New Zealand) - 22:09
Men 1. Kevin Chelimo (Kenya) - 18:02 2. Andrew Lemoncello (U.K.) - 18:06 3. MacDonard Ondara (Kenya) - 18:08 4. Martin Fagan (Ireland) - 18:14 5. Josh Moen (U.S.A.) - 18:22

Florence Kiplagat, Youngjun Ji Headline Sapporo International Half Marathon

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20110616-OHT1T00176.htm?from=relatedhttp://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20110616-OHT1T00235.htm
translated and edited by Brett Larner
On June 16 Rikuren announced the elite field for the July 3 Sapporo International Half Marathon. Headlining the race are 2010 World Half Marathon women's champion Florence Jebet Kiplagat (Kenya) and 2010 Asian Games men's marathon gold medalist Youngjun Ji (Korea). Defending champions Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) and Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and 2009 Sapporo winner Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) will also return.
At the top of the domestic men's field are three members of the Japanese team for this summer's Daegu World Championships marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki). Also in the women's race is 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). The popular Kawauc…

Yuki Kawauchi Building Up for World Championships With 50 km Ultra This Sunday

by Brett Larner
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) became an international name when he finished 3rd at February's Tokyo Marathon, qualifying for the Daegu World Championships marathon with a time of 2:08:37 which made him the top man on the Japanese team despite an existence completely outside the corporate running leagues. At the recent Nittai Time Trials meet Kawauchi ran his last track race of the season before getting into the brunt of his marathon training, running 14:10.32 for 7th in the 5000 m in the midst of a typhoon. Before the race Kawauchi sat down with JRN to talk about his planned World Championships preparations. First up on his schedule is the Okinoshima 50 km ultramarathon this Sunday, June 19.
After Tokyo you said that you need to improve your race between 30 and 35 km. At the press conference announcing the World Championships team you indicated that you are planning to run a 50 km ultra in June. Are you doing the 50 km in order to work on your stamina after 30 k…

Rikuren Announces Japanese Team for Asian Championships

by Brett Larner
On June 15 Rikuren released the lineup of the Japanese team for next month's Asian Athletics Championships, to be held July 7-10 in Kobe. The long distance squads are overall strong, with the men's team in particular featuring the top three Japanese men from both the 5000 m and 10000 m at last weekend's National Championships. The women's team includes the 2nd through 4th place women from the National Championships 5000 m, missing just winner Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), but is weaker in the 10000 m as only the 4th and 5th-place finishers from Nationals are on the list. A conspicuous absence from both Nationals and the Asian Championships team is top-ranked Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).
2011 Asian Athletics Championships - Japanese National Team July 7-10, Kobe, Hyogo click here for complete Japanese team lineup
Men's Long Distance Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) Akinobu Murasawa (…

Nittai Time Trials 5000 m Results

217th Nittai University Time TrialsJune 11-12, Nittai University, Yokohama click here for complete results
Women's 5000 m Heat 22 1. Kaho Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:43.27 2. Yuka Kakimi (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 15:45.43 3. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 16:03.56 4. Yukie Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 16:06.20 5. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 16:07.86 6. Yoko Aizu (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 16:09.28 7. Risa Nakamura (Team Hitachi) - 16:10.96 8. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:13.24 9. Yuki Hidaka (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:19.02 10. Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 16:21.54
Men's 5000 m Heat 27 1. Genki Yagisawa (Meiji Univ.) - 13:55.04 2. Michael Githinji (Kenya/Team Toho Refine) - 13:55.49 3. Hideyuki Anzai (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:55.77 4. Ryo Matsumoto (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 13:56.06 5. Shinichi Yamashita (Takigahara SDF Base) - 13:56.16 6. Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:57.91 7. Kazuhiro Kuga (Komazawa Univ.) - 13:58.01 8. Akifumi Okushi…

2011 Japanese Nationals - Day Three Results

by Brett Larner
On the final day of this weekend's Japanese National Track & Field Championships in Kumagaya, Saitama, three more athletes secured guaranteed places on the Japanese national team for this summer's Daegu World Championships, with five additional athletes securing the right combination of placing and time to stand a chance of being selected for the team. Below is a summary of results from all event finals held on Day Three of the championships.
In noteworthy performances apart from the men's and women's 5000 m:
-2009 World Championships men's javelin medalist Yukifumi Murakami (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) threw a meet record 82.75 m on his first throw of the day to secure his twelfth-straight national title and a place in Daegu.
-Six-time defending men's 400 m champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) made it seven. Kanemaru was challenged in the home straight by Hideyuki Hirose (Keio Univ.) who finished less than 0.2 seconds behind thanks to a stro…

Kinukawa Back From Zero With 15:09.96 Nationals 5000 m Win

by Brett Larner

10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) has made a resounding comeback from over three years of injury and illness, running a nearly 20-second PB of 15:09.96 to win the Japanese National Track & Field Championships women's 5000 m and clear the World Championships A-standard. Coached by Takao Watanabe, the Sendai Ikuei H.S. head coach who took Samuel Wanjiru from being an average Kenyan teen to a half marathon and junior 10000 m world record holder and who left Sendai Ikuei to become her personal coach, Kinukawa has been quietly working her way back up this season and seemed as surprised as anybody in post-race interviews. "I thought that today if everything went OK I'd go for my PB [15:27.98], but the A-standard...." Written off by many as a casualty before her inspirational performance, Kinukawa's time makes her all-time #6 on the Japanese 5000 m lists and earned her a place on the Daegu team.

Kenyan Bitan Karoki (…

New York Mini 10k and Nittai Univ. Time Trials 10000 m Results

2011 New York Mini 10kNew York, 6/11/11 click here for complete results 1. Linet Masai (Kenya) - 31:40 2. Aheza Kiros (Ethiopia) - 32:09 3. Belainesh Gebre (Ethiopia) - 32:10 4. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 32:24 5. Emily Chebet (Kenya) - 32:31 6. Kim Smith (New Zealand) - 32:32 7. Jo Pavey (U.K.) - 32:46 8. Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) - 32:56 9. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 33:06 10. Magdalena Lewy-Bouvet (U.S.A.) - 33:09 ----- 13. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 33:30 18. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 34:09
Nittai Univ. Time Trials Yokohama, 6/11/11 click here for complete results 1. Masataka Fujiwara (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 29:57.80 2. Arata Fujiwara (Remo System AC) - 29:58.42 3. Daisuke Miyanaga (Team Osaka Gas) - 29:58.97 4. Shunsuke Miyasaka (Senshu Univ.) - 30:03.26 5. Yoshiharu Tateishi (Team Osaka Gas) - 30:02.90
(c) 2011 Brett Larner all rights reserved

2011 Japanese Nationals - Day One and Two Results

by Brett Larner
On the first two days of this weekend's Japanese National Track & Field Championships in Kumagaya, Saitama, five athletes secured guaranteed places on the Japanese national team for this summer's Daegu World Championships. Eight more had the right combination of placing and time to stand a chance of being selected for the team. Below is a summary of results from all event finals held on Day One and Day Two.
In noteworthy performances apart from the men's and women's 10000 m:
-The men's 200 m lived up to expectations as one of the best events of the meet. Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Shinji Takahira (Team Fujitsu) came back from a long injury setback to win the final in 20.49. 2nd and 3rd place Hitoshi Saito (Team Sunmesse) and Yuichi Kobayashi (Hosei Univ.) were both timed at 20.62 and are very likely to join Takahira in Daegu. 2010 world junior champion Shota Iizuka (Chuo Univ.) was 4th in 20.64, just missing a place on the team but with …

Sato and Sugihara Win First National 10000 m Titles

by Brett Larner

In thick humidity Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) won their first national 10000 m titles June 10 on the first day of the 2011 Japanese National Track & Field Championships at Kumagaya Dome in Kumagaya, Saitama. Coming into Nationals already holding World Championships-elligible marks set at May's Cardinal Invitational, both Sato and Sugihara ran conservative, sit-and-kick races to take both their titles, Sato winning the men's race in 28:10.87 and Sugihara the women's race in 32:18.79. Sugihara earned a guaranteed spot on the Daegu World Championships team, with a Sato a provisional entry.


In the absence of defending champion Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) and top-ranked men Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) and Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) the race was expected to be between the three fastest men of the year so far, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Akinobu Murasawa

2011 Japanese Nationals Day One Preview - 10000 m (updated)

by Brett Larner
updated 6/10/11 to reflect starting list changes

The 2011 Japanese National Track and Field Championships kick off Friday, June 10 in the wildlands of Kumagaya, Saitama. The major selection event for this summer's World Championships team, on their first day this year's Nationals feature primarily heats for the sprints and middle distances along with the finals for a half dozen field events and, what will likely be two of the highlights of the meet, the men's and women's 10000 m.
The men's 10000 m should be one of the most competitive in Japanese history, on paper at the very least. 10 men in the field have broken 28 minutes, 9 of them with valid World Championships B-standard marks. With the unfortunate withdrawal of defending national champion Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) and the fastest Japanese man of 2010, Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) the favorite is Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), strong all year with PB marks at 5000 m, 10000 m …