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Ishida and Rakunan Break National Records at Junior Olympics

At the weekend's Junior Olympics in Yokohama's Nissan Stadium, Asakawa Junior High School 9th-grader Kosuke Ishida won in 8:17.84 to take almost 1.5 seconds off the 3000 m junior high school boys national record. A totally solo run in heavy rain, Ishida won by a margin of almost 16 seconds over his closest competition. The record followed his 1500 m junior high school national record of 3:49.72 at the Sept. 23 Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama, cementing his position at the top of next year's incoming high school class.



Held together with the Junior Olympics, the JAAF Relay Championships saw another record fall in the men's 4x100 m. In the first qualifying heat Kyoto's Rakunan High School, alma mater of Japan's first sub-10 man Yoshihide Kiryu, set a new high school national record of 39.57, the team of Ryo Wada, Daisuke Miyamoto, Yoshinobu Imoto and Kentaro Hiraga shaving 0.07 seconds off the record it had previously set in 2012 with Kiryu anchor…

Fukuoka International Marathon Elite Field

The Fukuoka International Marathon has released the elite field for its 71st running on Dec. 3. For the home ground men it's the first main chance to hit the tough qualifying standards for Japan's new 2020 Olympic Trials race, the MGC Race scheduled for late 2019. Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) tops the domestic list at 2:08:56, with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama (both Asahi Kasei) close behind with recent 2:09 times. Expectations are high for Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project), 3rd in Boston this year in 2:10:28 in his marathon debut, and at least as high for two prominent Japanese first-timers, former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage superstar Daichi Kamino (Konica Minolta) and Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu), twin brother of half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda).

Last year's winner Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) returns off a DNF at August's London World Championships…

Fujiwara and Nojiri Lead Weekend Marathon Results

With the 22nd typhoon of the season hitting Japan's eastern coast, five of Japan's biggest amateur marathons faced the decision of whether to go ahead as scheduled.

The biggest of them, the third running of the Yokohama Marathon, 10th largest in the world last year with 22,594 finishers, was the only one to cancel, a controversial decision that went out Saturday evening ahead of milder-than-expected conditions on race morning.

With almost 13,000 finishers last year, the Kanazawa Marathon scored a new course record in its third edition as Kazuya Deguchi (Asahi Kasei) won in 2:18:44, the event's first sub-2:20 apart from disqualified Russian Victor Ugarov's 2:17:19 at Kanazawa's first running two years ago. Deguchi ran Kanazawa as a tuneup for December's Fukuoka International Marathon. Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishi Nippon) took eight minutes off the women's course record with a 2:42:24 win.



For the second time in its three runnings to date, local resident Olympian A…

Meijo University Women Win First National Title Since 2005

3rd last year, Meijo University returned to the top with its first national title since 2005 at today's National University Women's Ekiden Championships in Sendai.

Missing its star pair Anju Takamizawa and Riho Takamizawa (no relation), defending champion Matsuyama University was never in the race, 25th of 26 teams on the 6.4 km First Stage and eventually working its way up to 13th. 6 seconds out of 1st, Meijo took over the lead on the 5.6 km Second Stage and held it almost the entire rest of the way.

With a record of ten wins and four 2nd-place finishes in the last 14 years, last year's runner-up Ritsumeikan University went into 1st on the 4.8 km Fourth Stage thanks to a stage best run by Ayano Tanaka, setting up a duel between course record holder Kotona Ota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) and #1-ranked first-year Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) on the day's longest stage, the 9.2 km Fifth Stage. Kaseda caught Ota within the first 3 km, but while it looked like the younger Kaseda mig…

Matsuyama Looks to Repeat - National University Women's Ekiden Preview

The university men's ekiden season is already well underway, but for women the first of the season's national-level university ekidens takes place this Sunday with Sendai's Morinomiyako Ekiden, the National University Women's Ekiden Championships.

Starting in 2003 Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University became an almost unstoppable force, winning ten national titles and three 2nd-place finishes in thirteen years including five-straight from 2011 to 2015. Last year they were knocked back to 2nd by first-time national champion Matsuyama University but came back with a season-ending win over Matsuyama and 3rd-placer Meijo University at the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden.

All three schools are back and feature as the three favorites, Matsuyama led by fourth-year Anju Takamizawa, a 2016 Rio Olympian in the 3000 m steeplechase, and 2005 national champion Meijo led by first-year Rika Kaseda, runner-up in the 5000 m at September's National University Track and Field Championships…

Yutaka Giken Women's Team to Disband After Missing National Championships Qualification

The Yutaka Giken corporation based in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka announced on Oct. 26 that its women's ekiden team will be disbanded at the end of fiscal year on Mar. 31, 2018, drawing to a close a team history spanning a quarter century since its founding as Shizuoka's first corporate women's ekiden team in 1992. The team was founded with the aim of fostering a sense of camaraderie and solidarity among the company's employees, for promoting the company name, and for improving the relationship with the surrounding committee.

Based in Hamamatsu since the team's founding, the "Blue Wind" women qualified for the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships 18 times and regularly hosted running workshops with local elementary school children, becoming a public symbol of the company. However, during an Oct. 26 press conference to announce the company's mid-year financial statement, CEO Katsuhiro Kurokawa cited the recent diversification of the company'…

Providence '93

I was asked to write about my first marathon and its impact on my life for the current issue of Runners, Japan's largest running magazine. This is a translation of the article.

As a teenager I watched Koichi Morishita and Young-cho Hwang battle in the men’s marathon at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and said, “THAT’s what I want to do!” A year and a half later at a university cross-country team party my teammate Jake said, “I’m doing a marathon in two weeks. Which one of you is going to pace me?” I didn’t even hesitate to say, “I’ll do it!”

Jake had an ambitious time goal, but even though I’d never run farther than 15 km I thought, “Yeah, that seems doable.” An older teammate, Sean, had done a year abroad in Greece and run the Athens Classic Marathon, and when he heard what we were planning he laughed and said, “You guys are stupid. You can’t run a marathon unless you’ve done this and this and this in training.”

And he was right. We were stupid. The next weekend, a week before the Bl…

Toyota Jidoshokki Wins National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier

Dodging a bullet as an approaching typhoon that spelled potential cancellation shifted to the east, the Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for second-tier teams for next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, went off Sunday afternoon in Fukuoka. The top 14 of the 29 teams in the field would qualify to join the seeded first-tier teams at Nationals in the third year of the event's current format shift from a series of regional qualifiers.

12th in 2015 and 4th last year, Panasonic took over the lead on the 3.6 km Second Stage and tried to run away with it, but behind them Toyota Jidoshokki grew closer and closer after a weak opening stage. With just one second separating them at the final exchange it was going to be close, but although Panasonic anchor Sakiko Naito was strong, covering the 6.695 km Sixth Stage in 21:43, Toyota Jidoshokki's Misaki Hayashida went one better, dropping a course record 21:35 to run Naito down and put Toyota Jidoshokki acr…

High Schooler Nakaya 13:47.22 to Lead Saturday Night Track Fever

Saturday night saw another round of mid-season track time trial meets across the country. Leading the way, Saku Chosei High School's Yuhi Nakaya ran the 5th-fastest time ever by a Japanese high schooler, 13:47.22, to take 4th as the top Japanese man behind Ethiopian duo Abiyot Abinet and Yeneblo Biyazen of the Yachiyo Kogyo corporate team and unattached Kenyan James Bunuka Ndiwa in the Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials men's 5000 m A-heat.

Former World Youth and World Junior Championships medalist William Malel (Honda) won the Heisei Kokusai 10000 m A-heat in 28:24.46, with Komazawa University grad Shun Inoura (Yachiyo Kogyo) 2nd in 28:28.49. Two Japanese men in the A-heat, Toshinori Watanabe (GMO) and Kazuki Muramoto (Sumitomo Denki) doubled after running in earlier heats of 10000 m.

Far to the south, the national champion Asahi Kasei corporate team ran almost its entire team in the 10000 m at the Miyazaki Time Trials meet. 2016 national XC champ Takashi Ichida took 1st …

Saitama International Marathon Elite Field

With just over three weeks to go the Saitama International Marathon has released the elite field for its third running scheduled for Nov. 12, and it's a small one. A problematic event that carries the diminished legacy of the Tokyo International Women's Marathon and Yokohama International Women's Marathon, Saitama occupies a place in the national team selection process that should go to the far superior Tokyo Marathon women's race but remains out in the northwestern suburbs thanks to the sponsor and TV broadcast income it generates for the JAAF. But with a field like this, how much longer will it be able to generate any sponsor interest or income?

The move of the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships from mid-December to late November, just two weeks after Saitama, means that not a single corporate league woman is entered in Saitama's elite field. Not one. The home crowd is represented by 22-year-old Reia Iwade (Dome), who quit the Noritz corporate t…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Weekend Track Roundup

As ekiden season gets into full swing, track time trials continue to be a staple of Japanese and Japan-based athletes from junior high school to the corporate leagues. This weekend's main results from across the country:

15'35”31で世界ジュニアぶりの自己ベスト更新出来ました!
素直に、本当に嬉しい😂
2週間後の全日本駅伝まで更に調子を上げて頑張ります👊✨応援ありがとうございました☺︎ pic.twitter.com/SO9M1MPdeS — 加世田 梨花 (@rikaks3) October 15, 2017
Just six days after running 8:54.27 to win the National Sports Festival junior women's 3000 m, Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) won again, this time running a PB 15:32.34 to take the 5000 m A-heat at the Shizuoka Time Trials meet. Having led the national champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuen H.S. girls to the win at last weekend's Kurayoshi Women's Ekiden, Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu won the 3000 m A-heat in 9:10.53.At Saturday's Chubu Jitsugyodan Autumn Championships, Rodgers Chumo Kemoi (Aisan Kogyo) ran 27:48.30 to win the men's 10000 m, leading James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) and Edward Wawer…

Weekend Overseas Japanese Marathon Breakdown

'Nakai Wins Third Straight Maui Marathon Women’s Title; Yoroizaka is Men’s Winner'

Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) is all-time Japanese #2 for 5000 m and 10000 m. A fun run effort, Maui was his debut marathon. Click here for complete results.

Yoroizaka wins @MauiMarathonHIhttps://t.co/YjPfWficuV#MauiNews#MauiMarathon#marathon#26point2pic.twitter.com/qzCwUcCHlA — Maui News Sports (@MauiNewsSports) October 15, 2017
'18. Poznan Marathon. Zwyciestwa Mykoły Juchimczuka I Haruny Takady'

Haruna Takada (Yamada Denki) won Poland's Poznan Marathon in 2:40:49 with teammate Miyu Hatakeyama 3rd in 2:42:52 in her debut. Click here for complete results.

'El Keniano Kiptum Gana Maraton de Buenos Aires y Registra Record'

2:12:12 man Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) ran Argentina's Buenos Aires Marathon but failed to make an impact, finishing just over 2:20 more than 10 minutes behind winner Barnabas Kiptum. Click here for complete results.

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Ledama Kisaisa 57:27 to Lead Yosenkai 20 km to World Record-Setting Depth

Under heavy skies and falling mist, Obirin University 2nd-year Josphat Ledama Kisaisa frontran the Yosenkai 20 km Road Race in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park to win in 57:27 and lead the field to world record-setting depth.



The official qualifying race for second-tier Tokyo-area universities to join the best at the legendary Hakone Ekiden, the Yosenkai featured 49 university teams of 10 to 12 runners apiece scored on the aggregate time of their top 10 finishers. The 10 fastest teams would join the 10 schools already seeded for the 2018 Hakone Ekiden, with a 21st team made up of top-placing individuals from non-qualifying schools rounding out the field.

Leaders 14:14 at 5k. Lead JPN pack 14:45. 2nd pack 15:02. pic.twitter.com/NXjKGAaQyO — Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) October 14, 2017
Hot from the gun, Kisaisa led a lead pack of 6 Kenyans through 5 km in 14:14, on track to break the unbreakable 57:01 course record set in 2007 by Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.). 2nd last year…

Defending Champs Wambui and Daito Bunka Return to World's #1 20 km Road Race - Yosenkai Preview

The world's #1 20 km road race, the Yosenkai 20 km Road Race qualifier for the 2018 Hakone Ekiden, is set to go off tomorrow in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park. 49 universities from around the Tokyo area will field teams of 10 to 12 men, with the combined times of each school's 10 fastest finishers determining which 10 teams will join the top tier of 10 already seeded for Japan's biggest sporting event, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.

Click rosters to enlarge.
Last year's Yosenkai team winner Daito Bunka University returns ranked 3rd in the field on average half marathon time. With that kind of position DBU is a lock to return to Hakone. Just ahead of them is Josai University, alma mater of Kota Murayama, the last Japanese man to win the Yosenkai and the current 10000 m national record holder. Josai finished 12th at the Yosenkai last year and missed Hakone, but with a strong roster this year with the most men in the field sub-64 for the half marathon it'll be a surprise i…

Olympian Takamizawa to Lead Matsuyama University in National University Women's Ekiden Title Defense

On Oct. 11 the Inter-University Athletics Union of Japan (IUAU) released the entry lists for the Morinomiyako Ekiden, the National University Women's Ekiden Championships to be held Oct. 29 in Sendai. A Rio de Janeiro Olympian in the 3000 m steeplechase, Anju Takamizawa will return to lead Matsuyama University in its shot at a second-straight national title.
Other noteworthy names on the entry lists include National University Track and Field Championships 5000 m winner Maho Shimizu (Osaka Gakuin Univ.), National University Individual Track and Field Championships 5000 m winner Rika Kaseda (Meijo Univ.) and World University Games half marathon gold medalist Yuki Munehisa (Tokyo Nogyo University).
source article: 
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20171011/ath17101119210001-n1.html
translated by Brett Larner

From Madarao to the World - Tokai University's Hayato Seki

Long-awaited by university ekiden fans, the 2017 ekiden season is underway. The Izumo Ekiden was held Monday, with Tokai University living up to expectations to score the win. The athlete who broke the finish line tape as Tokai's anchor was second-year Hayato Seki. This year Seki has run PBs of 13:35.81 for 5000 m and 28:23.37 for 10000 m, marking his growth into one of the unquestionable stars of the university ekiden scene.

A week earlier, the Madarao Forest Trails race was held on Oct. 1. Flashback to the 2012 edition of the race five years ago. The winner in the 16 km Beginner Class men's race was none other than Seki, then in his third year of junior high school. The picture below is of his win at the 2012 Madarao Forest Trails race. Even though he was only a junior high school student Seki ran brilliantly, opening up a huge lead of well over four minutes over the 2nd-placer.


After that Seki entereed Nagano's ekiden powerhouse Saku Chosei H.S. and has now grown into …

Tanaka Leads Five High Schoolers Under Nine Minutes in National Sports Festival Junior Women's 3000 m

The 2017 National Sports Festival took place over the long weekend, the last major track meet on the Japanese calendar as ekiden season gets into full swing. This year saw one of the greatest women's 3000 m races and certainly the best high school 3000 m ever held on Japanese soil, as 18-year-old Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) led five high school women under nine minutes to win in 8:54.27.

えひめ国体
女子 少年A3000m決勝ラスト一周

優勝🥇兵庫・田中選手8:54.27 pic.twitter.com/Z4l0wMDr6n — 城戸康志 (@dokidokikouji) October 9, 2017
The daughter of Japan's best female amateur marathoner, 2:29:30 runner Chihiro Tanaka, Tanaka broke nine minutes for the first time in August with a runner-up finish to Kenyan Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) at the National High School Championships in 8:59.83. Last month she took that to 8:58.81 at a time trial meet in Shizuoka. At the National Sports Festival she ran at the front of a lead pack of eight featuring five Japanese runners and three Kenyans, the pace close to…

Tokai University Outruns Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin to Win First Izumo Ekiden Title in Ten Years

Kanagawa's Tokai University outran two-time defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University to win the 2017 Izumo Ekiden, its first win at one of the Big Three university men's ekidens under head coach Hayashi Morozumi and Tokai's first Izumo title since 2007.

Formerly head coach at Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. where he produced the fastest-ever all-Japanese high school team and standout Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) on a cross-country based training regimen, since taking over at Tokai in 2011 Morozumi has set about systematically developing the Tokai program into one with the greatest depth in Japanese university running. On paper AGU had a slight advantage over Tokai over the first half of Izumo's six stages, but with Tokai's second half runners, including its top two men Shota Onizuka and Hayato Seki, ranked at the top of their stages AGU needed a decent lead by halfway to stand a chance.

From the start it wasn't to be. In hot and sunny conditions Tokai&#…