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Showing posts from September, 2009

Tokyo's Olympic Bid in the Overseas Media

With two days to go until the selection of the host city for the 2016 Olympics here is a list of some interesting recent articles looking at Tokyo's bid from various overseas perspectives.

We Do Show Emotion, Says Tokyo Olympic Bid Chief - AFP: Olympic bid chair Ichiro Kono indirectly suggests cultural insensitivity by the IOC in its criticisms of Japan's bid committee as 'lacking emotional punch.'

Tokyo Hope [sic] Its Emphasis on a Green Games Will Help Deliver 2016 Olympics - Telegraph.co.uk: An essentially positive assessment of Tokyo's bid from an environmental perspective, but one which contends that the lack of a major celebrity pushing the bid will hurt Tokyo's chances.

Tokyo Olympic Bid and Hatoyama Risks Loosing [sic] His Credibility - The Seoul Times: A fascinating propaganda piece which uses Tokyo's Olympic bid to attack the xenophobia, racism and development policies of Tokyo mayor and principal Olympic (and Tokyo Marathon) backer Shintaro Ishihara…

Yuri Kano and Mary Wittenberg Discuss Kano's New York Debut

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The New York Road Runners held a press conference at Tokyo's Conrad Hotel on Sept. 28 to formally announce the ING New York City Marathon debut of World Championships women's marathon 7th place finisher Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC). Kano, her coach Manabu Kawagoe and, via conference call, NYRR CEO and NYCM race director Mary Wittenberg took part in the press conference with JRN editors Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin serving as the interpreters between Wittenberg and Kano, Kawagoe, and the Japanese media. Below is a transcript of comments and responses.

For clarification of the questions regarding Second Wind AC, most Japanese teams are corporate-sponsored and exist largely removed from and invisible to the everyday world of amateur runners and running fans. Second Wind is trying to operate on a new model in which amateurs can run in the same club with elite athletes such as Kano and 2009 Hokkaido Marathon 1-2 finishers Kiyoko Shimahara and Ake…

Mwaniki and Nakasu Win Hakodate Half Marathon

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/sports/191179.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 2009 Hakodate Half Marathon in Hakodate, Hokkaido on Sept. 27, Joseph Mwaniki (Team Konica Minolta) ran the Rikuren-certified course in a time of 1:01:57 to take his third-straight win and become Hakodate's first-ever three-time winner. Mwaniki aggressively took the lead from the start, beating runner-up Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) by over two minutes.

Keiko Nakasu (Team Noritz) won the women's race in 1:17:12, her first win. Nakasu ran the race in a dead heat with last year's runner-up Mizuho Kishi (Team Yamada Denki) before dropping Kishi on the final loop of the track in Hakodate's Chiyoda Park stadium.

1768 people including 305 women started Hakodate's 19th edition race with 1711 reaching the finish, 294 of them women. Temperatures at the start were a warm 18.5 degrees.

Kawasaki Sets National Record at Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

Having moved up to the A-list Team Fujitsu this year, women's race walker Mayumi Kawasaki captured the biggest headlines at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships with a national record in the 10000 m walk. Breaking her own national record from 2008 by over 30 seconds, Kawasaki set a mark of 43:21.90 to take the title in the event's first appearance at the Championships.

Another four meet records were set in other events. Kawasaki's male teammates at Fujitsu ran a meet record 39.55 to win the men's 4x100 m relay. Team members Naoki Tsukahara, Shinji Takahira and Yoshihiro Horigome also won the individual titles in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m, while Takahira and Horigome were also on Fujitsu's winning team in the 4x400 m relay along with the 4x100 m team's fourth man, Yohei Miyazawa.

Women's 400 m national record holder Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) took nearly a second off the nine year old meet record to win in 52.61, then re…

3 Races, 3 Wins in 24 Hours for Ongori at National Corporate Track and Field Championships

by Brett Larner

After winning the women's 10000 m on Friday night and then her heat of the 5000 m on Saturday morning, Kenyan ace Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) returned Saturday night to take the women's 5000 m final at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships in Okayama. Ongori's time of 15:28.11 was a far cry from her sub-15 PB but strong enough to hold off countrywoman Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and all Japanese competitors. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Giken) was the surprise top in the latter category, outkicking World Championships team members Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) for 3rd in a PB of 15:30.29.

After likewise winning the 10000 m and his heat of the men's 5000 m, Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) made a play for his own threepeat but came up short in his fatigue. Archrival Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) was waiting in the wings to take Ngatuny down, winning in 13:11.46 with Jonathan Ndiku (Team H…

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Day Two A.M. Session

by Brett Larner

Fifteen hours after running the 10000 m, most of the men's and women's fields at the 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships were back for the 5000 m qualifying heats. In both the men's and women's cases, the top eight finishers in each of the three equally-balanced heats along with the next three fastest times overall would make tonight's final. 10000 m winners Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) loped to easy wins in their heats, with Kenyans also taking the top spots in the other two men's and two women's heats. The runners will return at 7:20 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. for the final, in most cases their third race in 24 hours.

2009 National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Top Results
click event headers for complete results

Men's 5000 m - Heat One
1. Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:59.14
2. Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 13:59.31
3. Jonthan Ndiku (Team Hitachi Cable) - 14:0…

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Day One Results

by Brett Larner

The 2009 National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships got underway Sept. 25 in Okayama with the men's and women's 10000 m, the men divided into three heats by time and the women into two. Photo finishes were the order of the day.

Former Hakone Ekiden "God of the Mountain" 5th stage legend Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) kicked off the night with a 0.32 second win over Shinji Suzuki (Team Aisan Kogyo) in Heat One of the men's 10000 m, the slowest of the three. Aya Nagata (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) followed suit in the women's 10000 m Heat One, beating teammate Akane Wakita by just 0.02 seconds. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team JAL Ground Service) widened the margin of victory in the men's Heat Two, winning over Kenichi Kita (Team Kyudenko) by a luxurious 0.83 seconds.

In the women's Heat Two, the only race of the night with a margin of victory greater than one second, Kenyan Philes Ongori (Team Hokuren) had a predictable win in one of her last t…

National Corporate Track and Field Championships - Preview (updated)

by Brett Larner

The National Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships are the last major meet on the schedule for Japan's corporate runners before they head into the fall ekiden season next month. This year's meet takes place Sept. 25-27 in Okayama and kicks off with the men's and women's 10000 m.

The men's 10000 m promises to be one of the highlights of the meet. While it's unlikely everyone on the entry list will start, the names on the list include most of the best in the country, Japanese and foreign alike. Josephat Ndambiri (Team Komori Corp.) tops the list with his PB of 26:58.40 from this spring, accompanied by perpetual rivals Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yacob Jarso (Team Honda). Ngatuny's teammate Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) leads the Japanese contingent with his PB of 27:38.25. All told the field includes twelve 27 minute men alongside Ndambiri with another half dozen, among them Masato Kihara (Team Kanebo) in his pro debut, with…

Super Meet in Kawasaki 2009 - Results With Video

by Brett Larner

The big overseas names cleaned up at the Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki on Sept. 23, 2009. Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Gary Kikaya, Dwight Thomas, Perdita Felicien, Felix Sanchez, Tatiana Lebedeva, Teemu Wirkkala, Reese Hoffa and others all consigned the hosts' national champions to the runner-up spot or lower. Only women's 400 m national champion Asami Tanno (Team Natureal) and pole vaulter Takafumi Suzuki (Tokai Univ.) took the top spots in their events, while pole vault national champion Daichi Sawano (Team Nishi) and high jump national champion Naoyuki Daigo (Team Fujitsu) struggled with apparent injuries and could not clear the bar even once. Some highlights:



Tyson Gay ran a relatively desultory 10.13 to win the 100 m, running even with national champion Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) and Beijing Olympics 4x100 m relay bronze medalist Naoki Tsukahara (Team Fujitsu) until accelerating in the final stage just enough to ensure the win. Eriguchi appeared …

Watch Tyson Gay at the Super Meet in Kawasaki Live Online

Broadcaster TBS will present the 2009 Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki, featuring Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Felix Sanchez and a host of Japan's top track and field athletes, from 2:53 to 4:43 p.m. on Sept. 23, Japan time. International viewers should be able to watch the meet live online for free by clicking here. JRN will be onhand and will be uploading its own video coverage shortly afterward.

JRN Turns 1000

Japan Running News is now 1000 posts old. Thank you to all the athletes, coaches, agents, race officials, media colleagues and others who have contributed over the last nearly two years, and special thanks to associate editor Mika Tokairin. And very special thanks of course to our readers regular and otherwise.

I've taken this occasion to add a new 'Best of JRN' section to the 'Blog Resources' menu. In this section you'll find links to JRN's most-read articles, those which have prompted readers to contact me directly with comments, and some of our personal favorites. The best of section is still under construction but should be finished by the end of the week. Click here to go straight to it.

In the last year JRN has had opportunities to go beyond just translating and reporting; special recognition in this department goes out to Gavin Doyle of time-to-run.com for creating the chance for a double Japanese victory at May's Copenhagen Marathon. Along with mo…

30 Runners Stung by Killer Hornets During Mountain Race Near Kyoto

http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20090921ddm041040144000c.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2009092000128

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Click photo for full-sized version.

At about 12:25 p.m. on Sept. 20 on Mt. Oe near Kyoto, a swarm of the giant killer hornet suzumebachi attacked runners taking part in the Yosano Mt. Oe Mountain Race. Thirty runners out of the field of 370 were stung as they ran on the mountain's hiking trails, some receiving multiple stings.

Race officials helped incapacitated participants to return to the start via cars at road access points along the course. While most of the stings were mild, five people were injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital after police received word of the attacks from a nearby campground and from race officials. One athlete remained in the hospital to receive further medical treatment.

Translator's note: The suzumebachi is the hornet which produces the amino acids used by 2009 World Championships women&…

Josai University Men Sweep Ichinoseki International Half Marathon

http://www.iwate-np.co.jp/sports/2009sports/m09/spo0909211.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the 28th Ichinoseki International Half Marathon on Sept. 20 in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, Josai University senior Yuki Takamiya took the overall win in a time of 1:05:51. Takamiya launched an attack with 1 km to go to hold off junior teammate Ryo Ishita, famous for collapsing on the 8th stage of this year's Hakone Ekiden, by one second. Josai first-year Dai Nakahara came third to complete Josai's sweep.

Iwate native Yu Chiba, who ran the 8th stage for this year's Hakone winners Toyo University, was a special invited runner and finished 5th overall in 1:06:33. Fusai Narita (Team NEC Fuchu) won the women's division in a time of 1:24:23.

Berlin Marathon - Results

by Brett Larner

Hot conditions in the final kilometers of the 2009 Berlin Marathon kept times slower than anticipated. With Team Kanebo's Tomohiro Seto a no-show, three elite Japanese men joined the field behind the anticipated duel between Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia and Duncan Kibet of Kenya. Former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Fujitsu) and 2009 World Championships marathon alternate Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) ran together in the second pack, relaxing through a slow first 10 km in 30:53 before the pace began to ratchet downward. At halfway the pair were right together in 1:04:18, Fujita well on track for his sub-2:10 target and Takahashi looking smooth.

When the pack broke apart in the second half Takahashi began to drift away and by 40 km was 45 seconds behind Fujita, who had fallen off sub-2:10 pace himself. Takahashi rallied for a strong finish but could only come within 6 seconds of Fujita by the goal line. Fujita was 8th overall in 2:12:54, Takahashi 9th in …

Takahashi Leads Gang of Four in Berlin Marathon

by Brett Larner

There was a time when Japanese women controlled the Berlin Marathon, winning every year from 2000-2005 and setting a world record and three national records under 2:20. The men have had some success as well, including the country's first 2:06 way back in 1999. Fast-forward a few years and, despite big-name Japanese women lining up in Chicago and New York, not a single elite Japanese woman is entered in the 2009 Berlin Marathon. Four men, on the other hand, will take the stage in the Sept. 20th race.

Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - PB: 2:11:25 (Tokyo '09)
Leading the group is 2009 World Championships marathon team alternate Kensuke Takahashi. Takahashi has run only two marathons, most recently a 3rd-place finish in March's Tokyo Marathon in a PB of 2:11:25. While Takahashi's time doesn't look impressive, in reality he made the race with a breakaway move into a vicious headwind at 30 km, eventually breaking 2:04 marathoner Sammy Korir of Kenya and look…

Tokyo Marathon Upgraded to IAAF Gold Label

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2009091600682

translated by Brett Larner

Rikuren announced on Sept. 16 that the IAAF has awarded the February 28, 2010 Tokyo Marathon its prestigious Gold Label ranking, the highest rating the international organization offers to road races. Tokyo is now Japan's second Gold Label race, following March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon which received the accolade for the second year in a row.* Last year Tokyo received the secondary Silver Label.

In determining its annual rankings of the world's top road races, the IAAF takes into account the competitiveness of an event's elite fields, the distribution of its television broadcast, its organizational competence and other criteria during the previous year's edition. Overseas, major marathons such as New York, Boston, and Berlin all hold the Gold Label. The IAAF's current announcement covers races within the period from January to June, 2010. Within this window four Japanese races, the …

Two-Time Olympian Megumi Oshima on the Road Back, This Time as a Mother

http://www.47news.jp/CN/200909/CN2009091501000561.html

translated by Brett Larner

Sydney and Athens Olympics distance runner Megumi Oshima, 34, gave birth to a baby boy on Sept. 14. Looking for a sponsor, Oshima hopes to make a comeback to the running world and compete in the 2012 London Olympics together with her husband Kenta Oshima, 30, (Team Nissin Shokuhin).

Oshima and Kenta met during the course of their professional running careers and married in June, 2004. Both wanted children, so the couple planned to have one following the announcement of the teams for the Beijing Olympics. Having left her sponsoring company last year, Oshima was in the midst of looking for a way to continue her life as a professional athlete when she discovered she was pregnant in January. "Counting backward from my planned peak at the selection race for the London Olympic team and taking my age into account we decided that this was the only good chance we'd have for a child," she says. "I&…

Tomoyuki Sato Checks In From Boulder

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click photos for full-sized versions

Team Asahi Kasei runner Tomoyuki Sato posted on the company's blog on Sept. 7 while at a Rikuren-sponsored training camp with Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku), Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) and a group of younger runners. Sato, second from right in the above photo in pale blue, was a member of Japan's 2007 World Championships marathon squad. He holds a PB of 2:09:43 and ran 2:09:59 in both of his 2008 marathons.

Right now I'm at Rikuren's training camp in Boulder, Colorado. We've been here since Sept. 1. In the early morning here it's pretty cold at ground level, but during the day it gets hot and the air is really, really dry.

This is the first time I've ever done serious altitude training. Being my first time I think I'm going to gain a lot of new experience which will help me in my running career after this. I'm planning to run the Fukuoka International Marathon this y…

Noguchi Sees "Light at the End of This Long, Long Tunnel"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2009/09/14/07.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20090914-OHT1T00018.htm
http://www.47news.jp/CN/200909/CN2009091301000432.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Marathoner Mizuki Noguchi (31, Team Sysmex) made an appearance Sept. 13 in Nagano's Sugadaira Takahara region at a workshop organized by her coach, Nobuyuki Fujita. For the first time she spoke seriously of a comeback from the left leg injury which has plagued her ever since forcing her to withdraw from defending her Olympic gold medal at last year's Beijing Olympics, saying that her condition has improved to the point that she is now able to run 20 km. "I've been running again for a month now after taking four months completely off," she told audience members. "The pain is mostly gone. I feel like I can see the light at the end of this long, long tunnel growing brighter bit by bit."

Coach Fujita revealed that a medical examination in mid-July d…

Gay, Felix Headline Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki 2009

by Brett Larner

On Sept. 8 the organizers of the Super Track and Field Meet in Kawasaki 2009 released the entry lists for this year's meet to be held on Sept. 23. As in past years the meet has succeeded in signing a handful of marquee names to face off against the best domestic athletes. Topping the bill without a doubt are American sprinters Tyson Gay and Allyson Felix, along with hurdlers Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) and Perdita Felicien (Canada), shot putter Reese Hoffa (U.S.A.), and long jumper Tatiana Lebedeva (Russia).

The Japanese field includes most of this year's national champions and several World Championships and Olympic medalists and national record holders, among them Yukifumi Murakami (javelin), Masashi Eriguchi (100 m), Naoki Tsukahara (100 m), Chisato Fukushima (100 m), Momoko Takahashi (100 m), Yuzo Kanemaru (400 m), Kenji Narisako (400 mH), Daiichi Sawano (pole vault), Asami Tanno (400 m), Asuka Terada (100 mH), Satomi Kubokura (400 mH), Kumiko Imura (l…

Marathoner Tosa Expecting First Child and Already Looking Toward Comeback

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/news/p-sp-tp0-20090908-540984.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Sept. 7 Beijing Olympics women's marathoner Reiko Tosa (33, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) announced on her personal blog that she is pregnant and expecting her first child to be born in mid-April next year. "I hope everything goes smoothly from here on out," she wrote.

Tosa was a guest commentator on TBS' coverage of the Aug. 23 World Championships marathon. Shortly before leaving for Berlin she took a self-test which indicated she was pregnant. After returning to Japan she went to a clinic for confirmation and was told, "Congratulations."

In December, 2004 Tosa married Keiichi Murai (35), a former teammate at Matsuyama University. Following March's Tokyo Marathon she retired from competitive running. However, she maintains a position as "Techinical Advisor" with her sponsor Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo and is already considering making a comeback follo…

2009 National University Track and Field Championships - Results

by Brett Larner

The Japanese National University Track and Field Championships are strangely timed, coming at the start of the fall semester after several months of intense mileage training separating the spring track and fall ekiden seasons. It's a time when many of the best university runners are not aiming to peak, focusing instead on the roads, and as a consequence upsets are common. Last year Kenyan Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) staged a rare coup over the far superior Mekubo Mogusu (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) over both 5000 m and 10000 m, while unknown first-year Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) stole the women's 10000 m.

This year's Nationals took place Sept. 4-6 at Tokyo's National Stadium. Among the meet's highlights:

Gitau, the undisputed top man in Japanese university distance running following Mogusu's graduation this year, easily retained his titles in the 5000 m and 10000 m, running 13:41.77 and 28:34.71. The bigger story in the 10000 m was perhaps Tokai U…

Seike Third in Great Scottish Run

by Brett Larner
As in past years, Rikuren selected top male and female finishers from this year's Jitsugyodan Half Marathon corporate championships to run in the 2009 Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow, Scotland on Sept. 6. Leading the way with a 3rd place finish in the women's race was 2008 Shanghai Half Marathon winner Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex). 2009 Miyazaki Women's Half Marathon winner Maki Suzawa (Team Kyocera) was 5th in 1:18:24. Caroline Cheptonui Kilel of Kenya took the women's race in a solid 1:09:03. In February Kilel took the stage best honors on the third leg of the final Yokohama International Women's Ekiden before crashing in March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon.
A sizeable Japanese contingent in the men's race also took four of the top ten spots, with Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) the best Japanese man in 5th. Former Team Honda ace Hailu Mekonnen of Ethiopia was the runner-up in 1:01:29, ten seconds behind win…

Over 272,000 Apply for 2010 Tokyo Marathon

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=200909/2009090200915

translated by Brett Larner

The Tokyo Marathon organizing committee announced on Sept. 2 that 272,134 people have applied for next year's race to be held on Feb. 28. The number represents a 19% increase from applications for the 2009 race, with 46,000 more people applying for the marathon. The 10 km event also saw its largest-ever number of applications with 39,307 people vying for a spot.

The 2010 Tokyo Marathon's field size is limited to 32,000 with an additional 3000 in the 10 km. The application period closed at the end of August, and results of the lottery to choose runners from the applicant pool will be announced in mid-October.

Japanese Marathoners Begin Lining Up for the Fall Season

by Brett Larner

Less than two weeks after a strong showing in the Berlin World Championships marathons, Japan's top marathoners have started lining up for the fall and winter marathon season. The first to be confirmed is World Championships men's marathon team alternate Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota). The young Takahashi has run only a handful of marathons and holds a PB of just 2:11:25 from this year's Tokyo Marathon, but this slow time hides the quality of his performance and the potential it showed. Running into a headwind which cost the leaders at least 3 minutes, Takahashi made a bold solo break at 30 km in Tokyo, initially gapping Kenyans Salim Kipsang and Sammy Korir along with the rest of the Japanese field. Eventually overtaken by Kipsang and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), Takahashi managed to shake off Korir for 3rd. The performance demonstrated bravery, speed and talent. Having trained to be ready for the Berlin World Championships in the event of one of the fi…