Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Great North Run Entry Lists

2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon team members Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) and Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) lead the best-ever Japanese contingent at Sunday's Great North Run half marathon, appearing with support from JRN.

2014 Great North Run
Newcastle, U.K., 9/7/14
click here for complete entry list

Men
Mike Kigen (Kenya) - 59:58
Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 1:00:10a / 1:00:59
Mark Kiptoo (Keya) - 1:00:29
Ezrah Sang (Kenya) - 1:01:03
Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 1:01:15
Masato Kikuchi (Japan/Team Konica Minolta) - 1:01:17
Paulo Roberto de Almeida Paula (Brazil) - 1:02:30
Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) - 1:02:32
Keisuke Tanaka (Japan/Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:38
Hiroaki Sano (Japan/Team Honda) - 1:02:40
Sho Matsueda (Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 1:02:41
Ian Hudspith (Great Britain) - 1:02:53
Tariku Bekele (Ethiopia) - 1:02:59
Jonathan Mellor (Great Britain) - 1:02:59
Takamitsu Hashimoto (Japan/Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:13
Luis Feiteira (Portugal) - 1:03:43
Tadele Geremew (Ethiopia) - 1:04:33
Andy Vernon (Great Britain) - 1:04:43
Jonny Hay (Great Britain) - 1:04:45
Neil Renault (Great Britain) - 1:04:47
John Beattie (Great Britain) - 1:04:50
Luke Caldwell (Great Britain) - debut - 28:47.39

Women
Mary Keitany (Kenya) - 1:05:50
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 1:06:56a
Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:07:41a / 1:08:48
Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 1:07:48a / 1:08:48
Caroline Kilel (Kenya) - 1:08:16
Ana Dulce Felix (Portugal) - 1:08:32
Polline Wanjiku (Kenya) - 1:09:06
Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 1:09:09a / 1:09:41
Annie Bersagel (U.S.A.) - 1:10:09
Risa Takenaka (Japan/Team Shiseido) - 1:10:10
Gemma Steel (Great Britain) - 1:10:19
Susan Partridge (Great Britain) - 1:10:32
Alyson Dixon (Great Britain) - 1:10:37
Haruna Takada (Japan/Team Yamada Denki) - 1:11:46
Sonia Thomas-Samuels (Great Britain) - 1:12:36
Julie Briscoe (Great Britain) - 1:13:28
Carrie Dimoff (U.S.A.) - 1:14:41
Charlotte Purdue (Great Britain) - debut - 32:03.55

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kawauchi Gets Fifth Course Record of Year in Perth



by Brett Larner

In his last marathon before focusing his energies on the Oct. 3 Incheon Games Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to Australia for the Aug. 31 Perth City to Surf Marathon.  Much of the race went by with a pack of four featuring Kawauchi, fellow 2:08 man Samuel Woldeamanuel Gebremichael (Ethiopia), course record holder Luka Chelimo (Kenya) and his countryman Simon Kirui (Kenya) up front.  Gebremichael, who lost out to Kawauchi at July's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, was the first casualty.  A move by Chelimo around 29 km looked like it might add Kawauchi to the casualty list as Chelimo and Kirui pulled around 100 m ahead, but as per his usual pattern Kawauchi came back aggressively in the final 5 km to pass both Kenyans.  Crossing the line in 2:12:55 he took 21 seconds off the record Chelimo set at last year's race, his fifth marathon course record win in eight starts so far this year.  Joan Rotich (Kenya) was the women's winner in a modest 2:43:29.

After returning to Japan Kawauchi will join the Japanese Federation's new marathon National Team training camp in Hokkaido, a program with the aim of maximizing Japanese athletes' hot weather performance ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  On Oct. 3 he runs the Incheon Asian Games marathon alongside fellow National Team member Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), 2:08:09 at February's Tokyo Marathon.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Nojiri and Tsuji Win Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

Taking on increased importance as the Japanese Federation focuses on hot weather racing in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's and women's marathons, the Hokkaido Marathon featured one of its deepest men's fields in memory.  The women's field was smaller but featured at least three good up-and-coming talents.  Getting the better of them all in the mid-20s temperatures was former pro-XC skier and mountain running champion Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease), a 2:24:57 marathoner while at the Sachiko Yamashita-coached Daiichi Seimei corporate team but mostly unsuccessful since leaving to follow an Arata Fujiwara-inspired route of independent sponsorship.  In Hokkaido Nojiri easily dropped the rest of the field to win in 2:30:26, a quality mark in a typically hot race that rarely sees sub-2:30 winning times.  Debuting runner-up Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was nearly five minutes back in 2:35:10, just beating pre-race favorite Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) who took 3rd in 2:35:22.  Seemingly immortal masters' runner Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC), 44, the 1997 and 2003 Hokkaido winner, was 6th in 2:41:48.

Despite its depth the men's race played out slower than expected.  Last year's runner-up Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), coached by Japan's first 2:06 man Takayuki Inubushi, used his experience to his advantage to outdo over a half dozen runners with faster times, taking the win by more than a minute over the promising Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) in 2:15:24.  3rd through 8th came in in a tight pack that saw Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) outkick National Team member Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) for 3rd in  2:17:22.  Etsu Miyata (Arata Project), another runner to leave the corporate team system in search of independence and finding it with support from Olympian Fujiwara, was 8th in 2:17:46 in a step back from injury problems shortly after going his own way.  Look for Miyata, Fujiwara and other corporate league expatriates in Fujiwara's Arata Project club team to run November's East Japan Corporate Ekiden in a shot at making the New Year Ekiden national corporate championships.

Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/31/14
official results coming shortly

Women
1. Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:30:26
2. Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:35:10 - debut
3. Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:35:22
4. Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:37:42 - debut
5. Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) - 2:41:00
6. Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec AC) - 2:41:48

Men
1. Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:15:24
2. Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:32
3. Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:17:22
4. Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) - 2:17:24
5. Yuji Iwata (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:17:26
6. Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:17:32
7. Takuya Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 2:17:35
8. Etsu Miyata (Arata Project) - 2:17:46
9. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:19:06
10. Shingo Igarahi (Team Subaru) - 2:19:10
11. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:19:19
12. Masaki Hori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:19:53

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sakai and Yano Lead Sunday's Hokkaido Marathon

by Brett Larner

The fall elite marathon season gets underway this Sunday with Sapporo's Hokkaido Marathon.  Two years organizers did away with their elite fields, leaving top amateurs Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) to win in two of the slowest winning times in event history.  Last year the elite fields returned with a small international contingent that proved mostly superfluous as Japanese runners swept the podium in both the men's and women's race.  Organizers have trimmed the fat this year to focus on a good domestic field that on paper any other country outside Africa would have a tough time matching.

Leading the men's field is the 4th-fastest Japanese man of the year, Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko), who ran 2:09:10 in Tokyo in February.  Named to the federation's new marathon National Team program on the strength of that performance, with Hokkaido's always-hot conditions Sakai will be the first guinea pig in the program to be subjected to the program's objective of developing marathoners who can excel in heat for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sakai is the class of the field by a considerable margin, but his competition includes last year's runner-up Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) who improved his PB to 2:13:41 at March's Lake Biwa Marathon, 2010 Asian Games silver medalist Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN), multiple-2:11 man Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and the up-and-coming Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) and Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu).  Unsuccessful in the marathon so far but hoping for more are Hakone Ekiden Sixth Stage record holder Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu) and one of Japan's all-time best high school runners Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin).  Of special note among the first-timers is Hiroyuki Yamamoto, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University now running for two-time corporate national champion team Konica Minolta.  2013 Hakone winner Nittai University will also field its entire squad, aiming to run between 2:20 and 2:30 as a training run.

The top end of the women's field is packed with former corporate-league athletes pursuing different directions.  Yuri Kano (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) and Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) were longtime teammates who balanced each other well.  On the dark side, Kano has had a complicated career trajectory that saw her leave the Shiseido corporate team with Shimahara, head coach Manabu Kawagoe and others to form the Second Wind club team, then leaving Second Wind to return to Shiseido, then finally quitting Shiseido this spring to run as an independent.  Representing the light, Hokkaido course record holder took time off a few years ago to have a child, and since returning has been running in the mid-2:40s.  Kumi Ogura (Kochi T&F Assoc.) is another former pro now running as an independent.  Former pro skiier and mountain runner Azusa Nojiri quit the Daiichi Seimei corporate team to run with private sponsor Hiratsuka Lease, mostly without success so far with a 2014 best of only 2:33:39.

All of which leaves Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu), winner of this year's inaugural Kitakyushu Marathon in a solo 2:31:02, as the favorite.  Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi), 2:31:34 in Tokyo this year, should bring a solid challenge along with debuting Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), a training partner of Daegu World Championships marathoner Mai Ito.

2014 Hokkaido Marathon Elite Field
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/31/14
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
Masanori Sakai (Team Kyudenko) - 2:09:10 (2014 Tokyo Marathon)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51 (2010 Biwako Mainichi Marathon)
Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:54 (2013 Biwako Mainichi Marathon)
Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:15 (2013 Tokyo Marathon)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:11 (2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Yuki Oshikawa (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:13:24 (2014 Biwako Mainichi Marathon)
Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business) - 2:13:38 (2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Shigeki Tsuji (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:13:41 (2014 Biwako Mainichi Marathon)
Shingo Igarashi (Team Subaru) - 2:13:46 (2011 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Yudai Yamakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:14:28 (2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Kazuyoshi Tokumoto (Team Monteroza) - 2:14:48 (2012 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon)
Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:15:15 (2010 Tokyo Marathon)
Yasuaki Kojima (Team Subaru) - 2:15:38 (2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Takuya Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) - 2:15:40 (2014 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon)
Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:16:15 (2014 Biwako Mainichi Marathon)
Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu) - 2:18:07 (2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 2:18:37 (2014 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon)
Masaki Hori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:18:55 (2014 Nagano Marathon)
Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:27:15 (2010 Tokyo Marathon)
Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Team Konica Minolta) - debut - 1:32:20 (2013 Ome 30 km)
Shun Suzuki (Nanyo City Hall) - debut - 1:34:26 (2013 Kumanichi 30 km)
Takahiro Yamanaka (Team Honda) - debut - 1:01:57 (2012 Marugame Half)
Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai Univ.) - debut - 1:02:09 (2014 National University Half)
Minoru Ikebe (Team Honda) - debut - 1:02:47 (2013 National Corporate Half)
Yuma Morii (Team SGH Group Sagawa) - debut - 1:03:57 (2014 Marugame Half)
Norimasa Yoshida (Team Subaru) - debut - 28:46.56 (10000 m)

Women
Yuri Kano (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) - 2:24:27 (2008 Tokyo Int'l Women's Marathon)
Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:24:57 (2012 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (2009 Hokkaido Marathon)
Yuka Yano (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:31:02 (2014 Kitakyushu Marathon)
Manami Kamitanida (Team Hitachi) - 2:31:34 (2014 Tokyo Marathon)
Kumi Ogura (Kochi T&F Assoc.) - 2:34:01 (2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon)
Sayuri Baba (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:37:38 (2012 Nagano Marathon)
Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - debut - 1:11:41 (2010 Sanyo Women's Half)
Megumi Amako (Canon AC Kyushu) - debut - 1:12:44 (2013 Sanyo Women's Half)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Kawauchi Looking for the Win in Asian Games Dry Run at Perth Marathon

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2014/08/29/kiji/K20140829008829260.html

translated by Brett Larner

Incheon Asian Games men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) left from Narita Airport to for Perth, Australia where he will run the Aug. 31 City to Surf Marathon.  Due to a significant delay to his scheduled flight leaving Japan Kawauchi was not going to be able make his connecting flight in Australia, but it was no problem to reroute his booking to take a connecting flight on another airline.  Excited for his final full marathon before Incheon, Kawauchi said, "If I win it'll be a good dry run for the Asian Games."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Incheon Asian Games Unveils 15000-Person Athletes' Village

http://www.47news.jp/smp/CN/201408/CN2014082601001851.html

translated by Brett Larner

With one month to go until the start of track and field competition, the 2014 Incheon Asian Games athletes' village where competitors will stay during the Games was unveiled to the media on Aug. 26.  With 2200 rooms in 22 newly-built apartment buildings in Incheon, South Korea, the village is capable of hosting up to 15000 people.  The 10000 square meter dining hall will be open 24 hours a day, with room for 3500 people to eat at the same time.

Along with accommodations, the athletes' village includes a medical center and service center in its international zone, with press conference space and other facilities located in the public area.  The athletes' village is located 40 minutes by car from the main stadium.  It will officially open on Sept. 12.  The Korea Broadcasting Corporation made up of three domestic South Korean broadcasters also announced on Aug. 26 that it would offer Incheon Asian Games broadcast rights to North Korea free of charge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kikuchi and Takenaka Join Farah, Kiprotich, Kiplagat and Keitany at Sept. 7 Great North Run

by Brett Larner
photos by rikujolove

2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon Japanese national team members Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) and Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) will join London Olympics and Moscow World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m double gold medalist Mo Farah (GBR), London and Moscow marathon gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), Daegu and Moscow World Championships marathon gold medalist Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Birmingham World Half Marathon gold medalist Mary Keitany (Kenya) and others at the Sept. 7 Great North Run half marathon in Newcastle, U.K.

Kikuchi, formerly captain of Meiji University's Hakone Ekiden team, has broken 62 minutes for the half marathon three times so far this year including a 1:01:17 PB for 2nd at February's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships and a 1:01:23 at March's Copenhagen World Half Marathon, where he was the only athlete born outside Africa to make the top 25.  Takenaka, a former captain of National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University, made her half marathon debut at this year's National Corporate Half in 1:10:10 for 2nd, following up with a 1:10:30 at the World Half to help the Japanese women win the team bronze medal.

2014 National Track and Field Championships men’s 1500 m winner Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) and 2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) will also race with support from JRN, along with Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corporation), Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) and Haruna Takada (Team Yamada Denki).

With over 60,000 participants making it the largest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run this year will celebrate its 1 millionth finisher, the first race in the world to reach that milestone. It will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido)
PB: 1:10:10 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
17th, 2014 World Half Marathon - 1:10:30

Haruna Takada (Team Yamada Denki)
PB: 1:11:46 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)

Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta)
PB: 1:01:17 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
18th, 2014 World Half Marathon - 1:01:23

Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu)
PB: 1:02:38 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
2014 national 1500 m champion
2010 national university 1500 m champion

Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda)
PB: 1:02:40 (2014 Sendai International Half Marathon)
top Japanese man, 2013 Chicago Marathon - 2:10:29
1st, 2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon - 2:12:14 (debut)

Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki)
PB: 1:02:41 (2013 Marugame International Half Marathon)

Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corp.)
PB: 1:03:13 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
anchor, 2007 National High School Ekiden champion Sendai Ikuei H.S.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
photos (c) 2014 M. Kawaguchi, all rights reserved

Monday, August 25, 2014

Onogawa and Takamatsu Take Gold at 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics - Day Five and Six Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

Following up on Sunday's double silver medal haul, girls' 3000 m favorite Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu and 10000 m race walk entrant Minoru Onogawa delivered PB performances to bring Japan a pair of gold medals on the fifth day of athletics competition at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics.

#1-seeded Takamatsu, 4th at the Eugene World Junior Championships in a then-PB 9:02.85, showed the wisdom of her conservative opener by outclassing the crowd of Africans who PBd in the qualifying round.  Sitting on #2 seed Alina Reh (Germany) through 2000 m, Takamatsu dropped a 2:55 final 1000 m to take over a second off her best and score gold in 9:01.58, almost four seconds better than Reh's silver medal-winning time.  Berhan Demiesa Asgedom (Ethiopia), who PBd in the qualifying round, ran another PB of 9:06.10 to pick up the bronze medal.

In the boys' 10000 m race walk, Onogawa likewise sat on Noel Ali Chama Almazan (Mexico), twice taking the lead before breaking away for good at 9000 m.  Onogawa's time of 42:03.64 was a sizeable PB, his last surge putting him well clear for gold by seven seconds over Russian Vladislav Saraikin.  Almazan held on to bronze another four seconds back in 42:14.11.

The day's sole low point came in the boys' 200 m, where Jun Yamashita, 3rd at this year's National High School Championships, faltered in his quest for a sub-21 clocking and finished 6th in the A final in 21.62 (+0.3). In the last individual event A final for the Japanese contingent, Nagisa Mori delivered a surprise in the girls' javelin throw.  Only 5th at the National High School Track and Field Championships earlier this month, Mori threw a PB 52.27 m to take the bronze medal, the latest addition to the ongoing Japanese javelin renaissance.  With five of the thirteen athletes on the team winning medals, two gold, two silver and one bronze, the second edition of the Youth Olympics wound up on a high note for Japanese fans.

2014 Youth Olympics Day Five and Six
Nanjing, China, Aug. 24-25, 2014
click here for complete results

Women's 3000 m A Final
1. Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Japan) - 9:01.58 - PB
2. Alina Reh (Germany) - 9:05.07
3. Berhan Demiesa Asgedom (Ethiopia) - 9:06.10 - PB
4. Fatuma Chebsi (Bahrain) - 9:12.66
5. Cavaline Nahimana (Burundi) - 9:14.45
6. Jackline Chepkoech (Kenya) - 9:20.43
7. Janat Chemusto (Uganda) - 9:22.42
8. Behafeta Abreha (Azerbaijan) - 9:22.60
9. Maria Magdalena Ifteni (Romania) - 9:29.53
10. Gebrekrstos Weldeghabr (Eritrea) - 9:30.65 - PB

Men's 200 m A Final +0.3
1. Noah Lyles (U.S.A.) - 20.80
2. Baboloki Thebe (Botsawa) - 21.20
3. Chun-Han Yang (Taiwan) - 21.31
4. Akanni Hislop (Trinidad and Tobago) - 21.57
5. Brian Kasinda (Zambia) - 21.61
6. Jun Yamashita (Japan) - 21.62
DQ - Chad Walker (Jamaica)

Men's 10000 m Race Walk
1. Minoru Onogawa (Japan) - 42:03.64 - PB
2. Vladislav Saraikin (Russia) - 42:10.95 - PB
3. Noel Ali Chama Almazan (Mexico) - 42:14.11
4. Cesar Rodriguez (Peru) - 42:26.49
5. Heyonmyeong Joo (South Korea) - 43:51.89 - PB

Women's Javelin Throw A Final
1. Hanna Tarasiuk (Belarus) - 59.92 m - PB
2. Fabienne Schonig (Germany) - 53.68 m
3. Nagisa Mori (Japan) - 52.27 m - PB
4. Laine Donane (Latvia) - 51.90 m
5. Aleksandra M. Ostrowska (Poland) - 51.79 m

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved