Monday, April 27, 2015

Malel Runs World-Leading 10000 m in Hyogo - Weekend Track Roundup

by Brett Larner

Honda's William Malel led the results from the weekend's two big Japanese meets, Kobe's Hyogo Relay Carnival and Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials, frontrunning to a world-leading 27:42.99 in the Hyogo Grand Prix Men's 10000 m.  Malel and James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) ran together on low-27 pace for the first half of the race, while former Komazawa University star Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) ran at the front of a chase pack hoping to hit the 27:45.00 standard for the Beijing World Championships.  The pace in both groups slowed in the second half, and when Mwangi lost touch Murayama was quick to run him down for 2nd in 28:09.28.  Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University's Tadashi Isshiki, winner of last month's record-setting National University Half Marathon, was the top collegiate runner in 28:37.82.

With Isshiki already leading the World University Games half marathon team thanks to his National win most of the other top collegiate runners were in the World University Games Selection 10000 m heat, where Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) raced Isshiki's teammate Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) all the way to take the win in 28:36.61, Ogura just behind in 28:38.57.  Kazuto Kawabata (Tokai Univ.) took 3rd in 28:44.71 to round out the World University Games 10000 m team.  Women's World University Games selection happened at Nittai, where Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) won a close race over Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) and Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) in 33:03.03, all three finishing within just over a second of each other.

Back in Hyogo, Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) and Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya/Komori Corp.) ran meet record times, Mori winning the Asics Challenge women's 5000 m in 15:39.79 and Kwemoi the Grand Prix men's 1500 m in 3:37.94.  Year-leading Japanese half marathoner Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) added the leading 10000 m time to her resume, winning in 32:25.08 but coming up well short of the Beijing qualifying mark as most of her competition opted for next weekend's Payton Jordan Invitational in the U.S.A.

Other winners included Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) in the Hyogo Asics Challenge men's 10000 m in 28:10.29, 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) in the men's 10000 m A-heat at Nittai in 28:14.24, Daniel Kipkemoi (Kenya/Toyota Boshoku) in the Nittai men's 5000 m A-heat in 13:27.44, and Pauline Kamulu, an apparent new addition to the fledgling Route Inn Hotels team, in the Nittai women's 3000 m A-heat in 9:10.84.  At Nittai, Taiga Machizawa (Chuo Univ.) turned in what may have been the collegiate men's performance of the weekend, running a 10000 m PB of over one minute to finish 4th behind Mathathi in 28:43.51.  Nine university men broke 29 minutes at Nittai versus eight at Hyogo, despite the Hyogo Relay Carnival counting as the selection event for the World University Games team.

Hyogo Relay Carnival
Kobe, Hyogo, 4/25-26/15
click here for complete results

Grand Prix Men's 10000 m
1. William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:42.99 - WL
2. Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 28:09.28
3. James Mwangi (Kenya/NTN) - 28:20.21
4. Naohiro Domoto (JR Higashi Nihon) - 28:21.00
5. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Konica Minolta) - 28:22.92
6. Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 28:32.09
7. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) - 28:33.34
8. Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 28:35.76
9. Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:37.82
10. Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:49.10

Grand Prix Women's 10000 m
1. Michi Numata (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:25.08
2. Ai Inoue (Noritz) - 32:39.04
3. Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) - 32:40.53
4. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 33:02.59
5. Rika Shintaku (Shimamura) - 33:02.61
6. Hanami Sekine (JP Post) - 33:20.99
7. Misato Horie (Noritz) - 33:23.95
8. Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) - 33:26.34
9. Fumiko Hashimoto (Shimamura) - 33:28.73
10. Yuki Hidaka (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 33:29.58

Asics Challenge Men's 10000 m
1. Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 28:10.29
2. Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 28:17.16
3. Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 28:19.60
4. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/ND Software) - 28:22.64
5. Akihiko Tsumurai (Mazda) - 28:22.86
6. Sota Hoshi (Fujitsu) - 28:23.75
7. Yuki Matsuoka (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 28:25.97
8. Masaru Aoki (Kanebo) - 28:26.27
9. Ryo Kiname (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 28:36.51
10. Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:40.40

World University Games Selection Men's 10000 m
1. Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:36.61
2. Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:38.57
3. Kazuto Kawabata (Tokai Univ.) - 28:44.71
4. Kaido Kita (Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:45.42
5. Shin Kimura (Meiji Univ.) - 28:52.15
6. Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:54.40
7. Ryosuke Maki (Subaru) - 28:55.60
8. Yuki Muta (Meiji Univ.) - 28:59.03
9. Shinnosuke Ogino (Nihon Univ.) - 29:09.41
10. Tsukasa Koyama (Subaru) - 29:10.33

Asics Challenge Women's 5000 m
1. Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) - 15:39.79 - MR
2. Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Denso) - 15:41.37 (MR)
3. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:41.63
4. Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:47.45
5. Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) - 15:55.66
6. Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:57.32
7. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 15:59.14
8. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 16:00.77
9. Miyuki Oka (Denso) - 16:02.81
10. Naoka Akutsu (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:08.84

Grand Prix Men's 1500 m
1. Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 3:37.94 - MR
2. Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 3:38.78 (MR)
3. Masaki Noda (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 3:42.14
4. Daiki Hirose (Osaka Gas) - 3:42.15
5. Yuki Akimoto (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 3:43.92

Nittai University Time Trials
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 4/25-26/15
click here for complete results

Men's 10000 m Heat 9
1. Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 28:14.24
2. Mitchell Gizae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 28:36.12
3. Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:38.46
4. Taiga Machizawa (Chuo Univ.) - 28:43.51
5. Shohei Otsuka (Komazawa Univ.) - 28:44.31
6. Ryohei Nishiyama (Kanagawa Univ.) - 28:44.88
7. Hiroki Matsueda (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:46.42
8. Sho Tokunaga (Chuo Univ.) - 28:48.19
9. Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 28:48.92
10. Kento Hanazawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 28:49.96

World University Games Selection Women's 10000 m
1. Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 33:03.03
2. Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 33:03.18
3. Mai Shoji (Chukyo Univ.) - 33:04.22

Men's 5000 m Heat 29
1. Daniel Kipkemoi (Kenya/Toyota Boshoku) - 13:27.44
2. Paul Kuira (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:28.18
3. Rodgers Chumo Kemoi (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 13:30.20
4. Edwin Mokua (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:32.16
5. Silas Kingori (Kenya/Sendai Ikuei H.S.) - 13:43.28
6. Samuel Mwangi (Kenya/Konica Minolta) - 13:43.54
7. Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Monteroza) - 13:45.22
8. Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:47.04
9. Patrick Wambui (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 13:48.74
10. Tomoyuki Morita (Kanebo) - 13:49.50

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Moeno Nakamura (Universal Entertainment) - 15:52.65
2. Hitomi Nakamura (Panasonic) - 15:56.21
3. Wakana Itsuki (Fukuoka Univ.) - 15:57.21
4. Mizuho Nasukawa (Universal Entertainment) - 15:57.61
5. Akane Higashimura (Sysmex) - 15:58.07
6. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:59.17
7. Saki Fukui (Josai Univ.) - 16:00.97
8. Nana Sato (Starts) - 16:06.42
9. Shiori Yano (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 16:12.96
10. Eri Hashimoto (Shimamura) - 16:16.61

Women's 3000 m Heat 6
1. Pauline Kamulu (Kenya/Route Inn Hotels) - 9:10.84
2. Monica Margaret (Kenya/Aomori Yamada ) - 9:15.20
3. Maki Izumida (Rikkyo Univ.) - 9:19.13
4. Miho Shimada (Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S.) - 9:20.05
5. Rika Toguchi (Route Inn Hotels) - 9:20.83

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

'Lemi Berhanu Continues Unbeaten Marathon Streak in Warsaw'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/lemi-berhanu-warsaw-marathon

Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) ran 2:12:27 for 13th in Warsaw, just missing the 2:12:13 run in Zurich last week by Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) as the year's fastest time by a Japanese man outside Japan.  Click here for complete results.

Elsewhere, Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) was an apparent DNF at the Hamburg Marathon.  Click here for complete results.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Big 10000 m on Deck at Hyogo Relay Carnival

by Brett Larner

The first big 10000 m on the Japanese track calendar, this weekend's Hyogo Relay Carnival is geared up to be a shot at World Championships entry standards and World University Games national team places.  The Grand Prix men's 10000 m features sub-27 world-level medalists Kenyans Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) and Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) and four others with sub-27:30 bests to pull the top Japanese men along to clear the 27:45.00 Beijing standard.  The only man to do it so far, Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei) with a 27:38.99 last November in Hachioji, is not in the race, but two others who have cleared that time before, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) and Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) are, along with young stars who have come close like Kenta Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei) and Keita Shitara (Team Konica Minolta).  Especially worth watching is Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta), who tied the 20 km national record earlier this year on the way to a 1:00:32 half marathon.

2014 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist Sally Chepyego (Team Kyudenko) leads the Grand Prix Women's 10000 m.  None of the four Japanese women who have already run Beijing qualifiers are on the entry list, leaving Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) in the top Japanese position at 32:11.21 followed closely by Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) in 32:15.20.  Under-20 marathon national record holder Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) sits mid-field at 32:24.38. At 1:09:27 this year's fastest Japanese woman over the half marathon, 2015 National Corporate Champion Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) is also in the race and should make a pretty serious improvement to her 32:45.86 best.  One of the women who has cleared the Beijing 10000 m standard, Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) with a 31:53.69 at last year's Hyogo Relay Carnival, will be in the Asics Challenge Women's 5000 m, where she and her Yamada Denki teammates Yuika Mori, Shiho Takechi and Sakiho Tsutsui dominate the entry list.

Things are deep enough on the men's front that the Asics Challenge 10000 m, effectively the B-heat, also has a solid field.  Patrick Mwaka (Team Aisan Kogyo) leads seven men with sub-28 bests at 27:30.32, with solid competition from this year's 5000 m world leader Hiram Ngatia (Toyota) who is bound to take a big chunk off his 28:25.25 best.  A good number of 2015 Hakone Ekiden stars will be making their pro 10000 m debuts in the Asics Challenge heat, including Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu), Shuho Dairokuno (Team Asahi Kasei) and twins Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei).

Many of the current top Hakone stars get their seasons started in the men's World University Games National Team Selection 10000 m.  2015 Hakone course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University fields its big four, Tadashi Isshiki, Yusuke Ogura, Kazuma Kubota and, making a return from a post-Hakone stress fracture should he start, Fifth Stage star Daichi Kamino.  Isshiki is already on the World University Games after winning March's profound National University Half Marathon Championships, as are 19-year-old Naoki Kudo (Komazawa University) who will be making his 10000 m debut after already running PBs of 13:52.97 and 1:02:12 in 2015, and alternate Ryo Shirayoshi (Tokai Univ.).  Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) is the only big name from outside the Hakone Ekiden-focused Kanto Region, seeded #4 with a best of 28:36.72.  The other main competition comes from senior Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.), who set a stage record at November's National University Ekiden Championships before a superb half marathon best of 1:01:37 in February.

63rd Hyogo Relay Carnival Entry List Highlights
Kobe, Hyogo, 4/25-26/15
click here for complete entry lists

Men's Grand Prix 10000 m
Paul Tanui (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 26:49.41
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) - 26:52.36
Edward Waweru (Kenya/NTN) - 27:13.94
Leonard Barsoton (Kenya/Nissin Shokuhin) - 27:20.74
James Mwangi (Kenya/NTN) - 27:23.66
William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 27:25.56
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Konica Minolta) - 27:40.69
Chihiro Miyawaki (Toyota) - 27:41.57
Kensuke Takezawa (Sumitomo Denko) - 27:45.59
Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) - 27:49.94
Keita Shitara (Konica Minolta) - 27:51.54
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA) - 28:01.71
Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) - 28:04.25
Shota Hattori (Honda) - 28:22.79
Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 28:23.34

Women's Grand Prix 10000 m
Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 31:22.11
Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:11.21
Kotomi Takayama (Sysmex) - 32:15.20
Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Universal Entertainment) - 32:16 (road)
Yurie Doi (Starts) - 32:16.05
Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Starts) - 32:22.14
Reia Iwade (Noritz) - 32:24.38
Megumi Hirai (Canon AC Kyushu) - 32:38.59
Misato Horie (Noritz) - 32:40.82
Yukari Abe (Shimamura) - 32:41.38
Mao Kuroda (Wacoal) - 32:41.92
Michi Numata (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 32:45.86

Men's Asics Challenge 10000 m
Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 27:30.32
Joseph Kamathi (Kenya/Toyota) - 27:38.18
Alex Mwangi (Kenya/YKK) - 27:42.20
Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 27:42.35
Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 27:58.02
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 27:59.11
Yuki Matsuoka (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 27:59.78
Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) - 28:05.79
Ryo Yamamoto (SG Holdings) - 28:13.23
Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/ND Software) - 28:16.72
Hiram Ngatia (Kenya/Toyota) - 28:25.25
Charles Ndungu (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 28:36.77
Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) - 28:40.88
Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:43.93
Hiroshi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) - 28:51.43

Men's World University Games National Team Selection 10000 m
Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:23.40
Yusuke Ogura (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:27.73
Kazuma Kubota (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:30.78
Kentaro Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 28:36.72
Hironori Tsuetaki (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 28:36.85
Ken Yokote (Meiji Univ.) - 28:38.73
Yuki Muta (Meiji Univ.) - 28:43.20
Ryo Shirayoshi (Tokai Univ.) - 28:48.03
Koki Takada (Waseda Univ.) - 28:49.59
Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 28:51.98
Hazuma Hattori (Toyo Univ.) - 28:55.31
Naoki Kudo (Komazawa Univ.) - debut

Women's Asics Challenge 5000 m
Mari Ozaki (Noritz) - 15:12.76
Susan Wairimu (Kenya/Denso) - 15:20.49
Yuika Mori (Yamada Denki) - 15:25.58
Kasumi Nishihara (Yamada Denki) - 15:25.50
Shiho Takechi (Yamada Denki) - 15:29.85
Saori Noda (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 15:37.74
Miho Ihara (Sekisui Kagaku) - 15:41.67
Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Denki) - 15:42.23
Chika Nakama (Aichi Denki) - 15:48.79
Akane Yabushita (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 15:46.47

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Thursday, April 23, 2015

'Why Japan's Incredible Long-Distance Runners Will Never Win the London Marathon'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/why-japans-incredible-longdistance-runners-will-never-win-the-london-marathon-10182050.html

Two Japanese long distance runners have, in fact, won the London Marathon.  The coach cited in the article, Kenji Takao, is a middle and long distance track coach at Ritsumeikan University, a Kansai Region school in Kyoto that, being outside the Tokyo-centric Kanto Region, does not participate in the Hakone Ekiden.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sakamoto Wins Zurich Marathon in International Debut, Kawauchi 2nd Behind Kiyeng

by Brett Larner
photos by Chris Godfrey, Martin Yelling and Brett Larner

Making her international marathon debut in excellent conditions on an almost perfectly flat course, Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.) won the Zurich Marathon with an evenly-paced solo run that put her more than 8 minutes ahead of runner-up Nicola Spirig (Switzerland), the London Olympics triathlon gold medalist.  A 36-year-old mother of three, Sakamoto was a high school star who quit running completely for 9 years before starting again in her early 30s and set a PB 2:36:29 in January this year. Running in Zurich with support from JRN and targeting a 2:34 PB, Sakamoto was slightly off pace from the beginning but never flagged dramatically, going through halfway in 1:18:18 and facing headwinds on the return trip into town before crossing the finish line first in 2:37:47.

Australia's Jane Fardell, a late addition to the field, ran 2nd throughout the race but with a little over a km to go was run down by Spirig, the fastest in the field over the final quarter of the race.

"I'm so relieved and happy to have run a good time," Sakamoto said post-race.  "I had had some leg pain a couple of weeks ago that cut into my training, but it was no trouble during the race.  Partway through I thought I was going to fade and not break 2:40, but I started overtaking some men and that kept me going.  I can't believe I really did it.  I want to take it easy for a little while now and then race on the track.  My next marathon won't be until the fall."

The men's race was likewise slightly behind pace from the start, a ten-man group led by pacer Boaz Kipyego (Kenya), Edwin Kemboi Kiyeng (Kenya) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) staying right together on a pace hovering around 2:11 through 35 km before Kiyeng threw in a surge that put him in position for the win in 2:11:35.  Kawauchi fell to 7th in the wake of Kiyeng's move, but clawing his way back up he was in 4th by 41 km and outkicked Ethiopian Gebre Mekuant Ayenew by 4 seconds in the final 250 m to take 2nd in 2:12:13, his best time so far in a year in which he has struggled to recover from a bad ankle sprain in late December.

Post-race Kawauchi commented, "I'm disappointed not to win, but this was my first time making the podium in Europe so I'm very happy.  My time was not what I was going for either, but there was absolutely no pain or trouble with my ankle and it was just a case of my fitness not being up to where I thought it was yet.  In terms of level the Zurich Marathon was the perfect race for where I am right now and I'm extremely glad I chose it for my main spring race."

Zurich Marathon
Zurich, Switzerland, 4/19/15
click here for complete results

Women
1. Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/YWC) - 2:37:47
2. Nicola Spirig (Switzerland) - 2:46:09
3. Jane Fardell (Australia) - 2:46:39
4. Daniella Aeschbacher (Switzerland) - 2:47:38
5. Astrid Muller (Switzerland) - 2:53:18

Men
1. Edwin Kemboi Kiyeng (Kenya) - 2:11:35
2. Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:12:13
3. Gebre Mekuant Ayenew (Ethiopia) - 2:12:17
4. Richard Kiprono Bett (Kenya) - 2:12:38
5. Boaz Kipyego (Kenya) - 2:12:59
6. Emmanuel Sikuku (Kenya) - 2:13:10
7. Edwin Kiprop Korir (Kenya) - 2:13:34
8. Robert Ndiwa (Kenya) - 2:13:41
9. Aleksey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:14:45
10. Andrey Safronov (Russia) - 2:15:48
11. Martin Fagan (Ireland) - 2:16:09

Sakamoto finish photo (c) 2015 Chris Godfrey, all rights reserved
Sakamoto solo photo (c) 2015 Martin Yelling, all rights reserved
text and Kawauchi photos (c) 2015 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

'Chirchir and Toroitich Land Kenyan Double in Nagano'

http://www.iaaf.org/news/report/nagano-marathon-2015-chirchir-toroitich