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Showing posts from July, 2013

'Citizen Can'

I will never become the fastest runner, but I'm doing my best to become the strongest.
                                                                                                          --Yuki Kawauchi

The August/September issue of Australia's Run For Your Life magazine features my extended story on Gold Coast and Sydney Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) including the most in-depth interview with Kawauchi available in English.  Click here for ordering information.  Single-issue purchase is available.

'Karoki in Favour of Searing Pace to Burn Opposition'

http://www.nation.co.ke/sports/athletics/Karoki-in-favour-of-searing-pace/-/1100/1929848/-/4huomuz/-/index.html

Note: The photo caption in the linked article incorrectly identifies the athletes on the Kenyan 10000 m squad.  Kyushu-based Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) is third from the right in red, while Tokyo-based Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC) is rightmost in blue.

Five Meet Records at Twilight Games - Weekend Roundup

by Brett Larner

The threat of heavy rain held off for Sunday's 10th edition of the Twilight Games meet at Tokyo's Oda Field, allowing meet records in five of the meet's twenty-three events.  Both the men's and women's 1500 m saw new records, the men's by Kanto Regionals 1500 m champion Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) just off his PB in 3:40.84 and the women's via Daito Bunka University ace Chikako Mori, who just held off Maya Iino (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) in the last 100 m for the record in 4:20.24 with Iino 0.23 seconds behind and also under the old record.

The men's 4x100 m and women's 4x400 m relays both saw multiple teams break the record, Chuo University winning the 4x100 m in 39.18 without its star member, 200 m national champion Shota Iizuka, and Nittai University leading four women's 4x400 m teams under the old record in 3:43.75 thanks in large part to a spectacular anchor run from senior Misaki Ishibashi.  The men's high ju…

Kawauchi Breaks Own Course Record for Third-Straight Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km Win (updated)

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/p-sp-tp0-20130729-1164794.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

After withering in the heat of last weekend's Suffolkland Shibetsu Half Marathon, Moscow World Championships men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) was back in form July 28 with a win at the 41st Kushiro Shitsugen 30 km road race in Hokkaido.  Running an entirely solo race in 27-degree temperatures, Kawauchi broke his own 1:33:55 course record from two years ago with a new mark of 1:33:27 to take his third-straight Kushiro title just three weeks after his win at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon.   While he struggled in similar conditions in Shibetsu, this time Kawauchi ran full-strength, staying on his feet after finishing and able to walk back to the change room under his own power.

Kushiro was Kawauchi's last race before the Aug. 17 World Championships marathon and followed his 22nd-place finish in 1:06:45 in Shibetsu.  &quo…

Matsumoto and Daugherty Win Fuji Mountain Race

http://mainichi.jp/feature/news/20130727k0000m040056000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

With Mt. Fuji newly named to the World Heritage Site list, the 66th Fuji Mountain Race took place July 26 on a course starting at 769 m elevation in front of Fujiyoshida City Hall and ending 21 km and more than 3000 m climb later at the summit, along with a 15 km race halfway up the mountain ending at its Fifth Stage.

In the summit division, Dai Matsumoto (29, Gunma Pref.) won the men's race in 2:49:40.  American Leah Daugherty (28) won the women's race in 3:23:47.  In the Fifth Stage race, Naoto Ikuta (33, Tokyo) won for the second time, while veteran Yoshimi Hoshino (47, Shizuoka) won a third title.

Quotes From Niiya, Sato, Kawauchi, Yamagata and Iizuka at Japan's Pre-World Championships Press Conference

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles at bottom

The Japanese national team for August's Moscow World Championships appeared at a press conference on July 25 at the Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita-ku, Tokyo.

10000 m national champion Hitomi Niiya (25, Team Univ. Ent.) revealed that recently she has gotten into an eccentrically bizarre new hobby.  "Watching videos of animals giving birth," she said.  As she gained more international experience at the Daegu World Championships and last year's London Olympics, anxiety became more and more of an issue because, she said,  "I'm in pursuit of perfection."  To help relieve the stress and anxiety she took up watching the videos on an online site.  "Did you know that when dogs give birth the mother eats the umbilical cord?  It's true," she said.  "We're not allowed to have pets in our team dormitory, so I go to pet shops all the time.  It helps me forget about runn…

DeNA's Seko Holds Team's First Public Coaching Session

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130718-1159625.html

translated by Brett Larner

Late last week in Tokyo the DeNA Running Club held its first public coaching session since the team was founded in April.  DeNA head coach Toshihiko Seko (57) greeted fifteen amateur runners who responded to ads for the session, joking, "Let's have a good time running today.  This is a class, but the training session will be pretty leisurely.  School will really be in session when we go drinking afterwards."

The session started at 7:00 p.m. in the busy Udagawacho shopping district of Shibuya, heading up Spain Hill to Yoyogi Park.  Meeting up with other runners already waiting in the park, the group ran together in Yoyogi Park before returning to the Tip.X Tokyo training gym in Udagawacho.  Altogether the session took around 1 1/2 hours.

The DeNA Running Club formed to absorb the remnants of the S&B Foods team.  "DeNA was kind enough to take us on, and we wi…

Imai and Ito Win Shibetsu Half Marathon in 29-Degree Temperatures

http://www.niigata-nippo.co.jp/world/sports/20130721055950.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130721/ath13072115580000-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Former Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage star Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) won the July 21 SuffolklandShibetsu Half Marathon, tying the course record of 1:03:24.  Defending champion Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) won the women's race in 1:12:27, with rookie Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) taking the women's 10 km in 33:24. Last year's men's winner, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), ended his day in 22nd after running only 1:06:45.

With temperatures climbing to 29 degrees, Kawauchi lost touch with the lead pack after 7 km.  By halfway he was 15 seconds behind, and in the second half he rapidly lost speed.  "My legs felt a little heavy," said Kawauchi.

Having done the race as part of his training it was something of a miss for the amateur runner.  &q…

Diamond League Monaco Men's 5000 m Results

Monaco, 7/19/13
click here for complete results

1. Edwin Soi (Kenya) - 12:51.34 - MR
2. Albert Rop (Bahrain) - 12:51.96 - AR
3. Isiah Koech (Kenya) - 12:56.08
4. Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) - 12:59.81
5. Lawi Lalang (Kenya) - 13:00.95 - PB
6. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 13:05.17
7. Augustine Choge (Kenya) - 13:11.02
8. Ben True (U.S.A.) - 13:13.98
9. Hayle Ibrahimov (Azerbaijan) - 13:27.94
10. Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 13:29.48
11. Alberto Lozano de Pedro (Spain) - 13:32.32
12. Yuki Sato (Japan/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 13:34.18
13. Andrew Bayer (U.S.A.) - 13:36.61
14. Yigrem Demelash (Ethiopia) - 13:39.97
15. Chris Thompson (Great Britain) - 13:40.26
DNF - Gideon Gathimba (Kenya)
DNF - Bernard Lagat (U.S.A.)
DNF - Vincent Rono (Kenya)
DNF - Nouredine Smail (France)

Spitzen Leichathletik Luzern Men's 3000 m Results

Mittwoch, Switerland, July 17, 2013
click here for complete results

1. Cornelius Kangogo (Kenya) - 7:42.51
2. Evan Jager (U.S.A.) - 7:43.36
3. David Torrence (U.S.A.) - 7:43.48
4. Chris Derrick (U.S.A.) - 7:44.01
5. Daniel Huling (U.S.A.) - 7:44.42
6. Diego Estrada (Mexico) - 7:47.77
7. Gideon Gathimba (Kenya) - 7:48.74
8. Moses Mukono Letoyie (Kenya) - 7:51.71
9. Hicham Sigueni (Morocco) - 7:59.01
10. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan/Team Asahi Kasei) - 7:59.82
11. Ryo Kiname (Japan/Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 8:01.66
12. Andreas Kempf (Switzerland) - 8:15.08
13. Shinobu Kubota (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 8:15.66

Yamagata, Kiryu and More Getting Ready for World Championships in Domestic Meets This Month

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20130714-1157211.html

translated by Brett Larner

With August's Moscow World Championships drawing near, the members of the Japanese national team are building toward their sharpening phase.  While the world focues on the Diamond League, some of the Japanese team's star members will be competing domestically at the Twilight Games and National High School Championships.

The July 28 Twilight Games at Shibuya's Oda Field will feature three members of the Moscow team, Ryota Yamagata (21, Keio Univ.) and Kei Takase (24, Team Fujitsu) in the men's 100 m, with Miyuki Fukumoto (36, Konan Gakuen AC) leading the women's high jump.  Yamagata, who beat teen sensation Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.) at last month's National Championships, comes to the Twilight Games in excellent shape after winning silver at last week's World University Games.  He is a strong contender in the race for Japan's first sub-10, …

Relays and Walks Bring Japan World Youth Championships Medals

by Brett Larner

Despite several close calls, Japan went empty-handed for the first three days of the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.  Not until the July 13 race walks did its fortunes turn around.  In the women's 5000 m race walk, far behind Russian winner Olga Shargina's world-leading 22:13.91, Momoko Mizota narrowly held off Noemi Stella (Italy) for silver in a PB 22:42.77.

Less than an hour later, Toshikazu Yamanishi turned in Japan's only gold medal of the championships with a PB 41:53.80 in the men's 10000 m race walk, ten seconds ahead of silver medalist Maksim Krasnov (Russia) and bronze medalist Diego Garcia (Spain).  Just behind in 4th, Yuga Yamashita clocked a PB 42:07.94 but could not match Krasnov and Garcia on the final lap.

On the final day of competition, both the women's and men's medley relay teams picked up bronze, the women behind the U.S.A. and, by a step, British Virgin Islands, and the men behind Jamaica and the U…

Kawauchi Satisfied With "Heavy Training" at Mt. Zhao

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130714/ath13071416510002-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Moscow World Championships men's marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't.) talked to the media July 14 at his training camp at Mt. Zhao, Yamagata, his face showing satisfaction as he told reporters, "I've gotten good training done here where it's cool.  [The heat in] Saitama is unbelievable right now."

At 900 m altitude the mid-afternoon temperatures scarcely reach 25 degrees, making for good conditions for running.  On the 14th, just a week after running 2:10:01 to win Australia's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Kawauchi completed 30 km on an undulating 2.5 km cross-country course.  "You could say my body was a bit heavy, so I wanted to see how much it could take," he said.

Kawauchi has been doing summer training at Mt. Zhao since his days at Kasukabe Higashi H.S. and Gakushuin University, always heading straight to a hot sprin…

Sato Runs All-Time Japanese #3 5000 m in Heusden

by Brett Larner

A large Japanese men's contingent returned this year to Heusden, the site of Takayuki Matsumiya's 13:13.20 national record for 5000 m, for the July 13 KBC Nacht meet. Moscow World Championships 10000 m team members and Saku Chosei H.S. graduates Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) ran the 5000 m A-heat in pursuit of A or B-standard times that would allow them the option of doubling in Moscow.  Sato, already all-time Japanese #2 over 3000 m and #3 over 10000 m, surprised by chopping ten seconds off his best to finish 8th just off the national record in 13:13.60 for another all-time Japanese #3 ranking.  Osako, who recently turned 22, came up short of the B-standard but went under 13:30 for the first time, finishing 17th in a new PB of 13:27.54.  Having cleared the World Championships A-standard, Sato is now the only Japanese man with the 5000 m A or B and could line up in both the 5 and 10, something that would have been hard to ima…

Japan Scores Five Half Marathon Medals to Cap World University Games

by Brett Larner

Five days after winning bronze in the women's 10000 m behind gold medalist Ayuko Suzuki (Nagoya Univ.) Mai Tsuda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) bookended Japan's 2013 World University Games with another gold as she outkicked 10000 m silver medalist Alina Prokopyeva (Russia) by five seconds over the final kilometer to win the women's half marathon in 1:13:12 on the final day of athletics competition.  Tsuda and Prokopyeva sat in a pack of nine made up entirely of Japanese and Russian athletes through 15 km before pulling away as a pair, crossing 20 km in 1:09:42 with Yukiko Okuno (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) alone four seconds back in 3rd.  Prokopyeva was outclassed in the final stage of the race and could only watch Tsuda surge away for the gold medal as she took silver in 1:13:18. Okuno held on to the bronze medal position in 1:13:24, nine seconds ahead of Russian Lyudmila Lebedeva.  Although the Russians' third runner came through ahead of Japan's, on aggregate tim…

Kawauchi Tells Crowd of 1000 at High School World Championships Sendoff Ceremony: "I Will Make Top Six"

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20130710/ath13071011260000-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

On July 10, Moscow World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) appeared at a sendoff ceremony at his alma mater Kasukabe Higashi H.S.  Speaking to the entire school body of 1000 in the school gymnasium, Kawauchi told them confidently, "I will make top six, so please continue to give me your support as I prepare to achieve that goal."  He smiled as he received a bouquet of flowers from student representatives and an enthusiastic round of applause from the entire crowd.

On the commemorative placard he signed for students at the ceremony Kawauchi wrote to them the message "Overthrow the status quo."  In interviews after the ceremony Kawauchi was earnest and determined as he said, "I will never give up and will run people down one by one to keep moving up in the standings at the World Championships.  I want to give the students he…

Yamagata Earns Japan's Third-Ever 100 m Medal: "I Did My Best"

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2013/07/10/kiji/K20130710006186850.html

translated by Brett Larner

On day three of the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, Ryota Yamagata (21, Keio Univ.) ran 10.21 in the men's 100 m final for 2nd, becoming the third man in Japanese history to win a 100 m medal after Hideo Ojima's gold at the 1965 Budapest Games and Masashi Eriguchi's bronze in Beograd in 2009.

With the silver medal hung around his neck, Yamagata had a bright, delighted expression as he stood on the podium.  Although he missed becoming Japan's first gold medalist in 48 years, his second place finish came in the midst of a pack of three athletes all clocking the same time.  "I lost, but I gave it what I had and did my best," he said with calm maturity.

In the final the athletes on both sides of Yamagata were black, but he showed no signs of being intimidated and was the second-fastest out of the blocks after the starting pistol with a reaction t…

Summary of Japanese Medalists at Asian Athletics Championships

Overall:   gold: 4   silver: 6   bronze: 10
Men:   gold: 1   silver: 3   bronze: 4
Women:   gold: 3   silver: 3   bronze: 6

20th Asian Athletics Championships
Pune, India, July 3-7, 2013
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Final+0.7 m/s
1. Xie Zhenye (China) - 20.87
2. Fahad Mohammed Alsubaie (Saudi Arabia) - 20.912
3. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.918

Men's 400 m Final
1. Yousef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia) - 45.08
2. Ali Khamis (Bahrain) - 45.65
3. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 45.95

Men's 110 m Hurdles Final+0.1 m/s
1. Jiang Fan (China) - 13.61
2. Abdulaziz Almandeel (Kuwait) - 13.78
3. Wataru Yazawa (Japan) - 13.88

Men's 400 m Hurdles Final
1. Yasuhiro Fueki (Japan) - 49.86
2. Cheng Wen (China) - 50.07
3. Satinder Singh (India) - 50.35

Men's 3000 m SC
1. Tarek Mubarak Taher (Bahrain) - 8:34.77
2. Dejene Regassa Mootoma (Bahrain) - 8:37.40
3. Tsuyoshi Takeda (Japan) - 8:48.48

Men's 4x100 m Relay Final
1. Hong Kong - 38.94
2. Japan - 39.11
3. China - 39.17

Men's 4x400 m …

Akaba and Kawauchi Win Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) lived up to pre-race talk as they won the women's and men's divisions at the 35th running of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.  In a moderate headwind over the opening 15.5 km that grew in strength as the morning progressed, Akaba ran a characteristically controlled and steady race, ignoring the fast early pace set by Kenyans Alice Ngerechi and Helen Mugo and going out at a steady 2:27 course record pace before picking it up over the second half of the race aided by the growing tailwind.  By 25 km she had overtaken Mugo, Ngerechi's turn coming just minutes later.

Rounding the second turnaround at 36.5 km Akaba suffered in the now-stronger headwind and her pace dropped, but she was never in danger of missing the antique 2:29:29 course record set 20 years ago by Eriko Asai.  Akaba took more than two minutes off that record, setting a new mark of 2:27:17.   "I didn't worry about th…

Grand Tour Kyushu to End With This Year's 62nd Running

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_sougou/article/24670

translated by Brett Larner

A fixture in local culture with runners from Kyushu, Okinawa and Yamaguchi handing off the tasuki on the late autumn roads of Kyushu, the organizers of the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden announced that the historic event will come to an end following this year's 62nd running from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3.  Organizing board chairman Hiroshi Okazaki told reporters, "This race has long played an important role for the athletics world in Kyushu and across Japan, but we were forced to make this decision due to a combination of growing traffic and budget problems."

With enthusiastic support from dedicated athletes and fans alike the organizers have tried to make adaptations to keep the race alive.  To cope with increased automobile traffic timing rules for the white sash starts were tightened, the number of lead and accompanying vehicles was reduced and more police were employed along the course, but in recen…

Akaba and Kawauchi Aiming for Course Records at Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

In its 35th edition the Gold Coast Airport Marathon makes its debut as an IAAF bronze label event, the first Australian race to earn an IAAF label.  Both the women's and men's races feature fields worthy of an even higher level, and on both sides course records look likely.

The clear favorite in the women's race is this year's London Marathon 3rd-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren).  Having been left off the Japanese World Championships team in favor of two empty seats, Akaba told JRN that she came to Gold Coast to go for the 20 year-old 2:29:29 course record in a moderate mid-summer effort ahead of an ambitious fall. Speaking later at the press conference she commented, "The field is a lot better than I expected and so getting the win will be a challenge, but I'll be going for the course record either way and hopefully that will put me up front."  Asked whether the $20,000 bonus for clearing Naoko Takahashi's 2:23:14 Australian all-co…

Kawauchi Talks About Racing Overseas Ahead of Return to Gold Coast Airport Marathon

by Brett Larner

Last year Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) made his Australian debut at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, finishing 4th in 2:13:26.  In September he was back to set a course record of 2:11:52 at the Sydney Marathon.  This weekend he returns to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon for the 25th marathon of his 4 1/2-year career to try to become the first man under 2:10 in the IAAF bronze label event's 35-year history.

As part of an article for Australia's Run For Your Life magazine, JRN talked to Kawauchi about his return to the Gold Coast, racing outside Japan, and the appeal Australia holds for him.  The full-length interview covering his evolving training and racing methodology and how he copes with serial racing at a high level, his views on doping and drug testing in the wake of a positive EPO test by last year's GCAM women's winner Kaori Yoshida, and his goals, hopes and dreams for the rest of his competitive career and beyond, will be published i…

5000 m and 10000 m Olympian Kensuke Takezawa to Join Sumitomo Denko Corporate Team

http://www.sei.co.jp/news/press/13/prs079_s.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Sumitomo Denko corporation is proud to announce today that Beijing Olympics 5000 m and 10000 m Olympian Kensuke Takezawa, with bests of 13:19.00 and 27:45.59, has joined the company as a member of its men's long-distance running team.  "I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to make a new start now at Sumitomo Denko," Takezawa said.  "A lot of people have supported and encouraged me through some difficult times, and from the heart I offer my sincerest gratitude for being able to stand here today for this announcement.  Since the Olympics I haven't been able to become the kind of internationally-competitive athlete I hoped to become, but in this new environment I will dedicate myself to becoming the best I can be, not just as an athlete but as a human being. I ask for your continued support and encouragement."

Sumitomo Denko head coach Toshihiro Matsumoto commented,…