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Weekend Track Roundup

As regional corporate track meets wound themselves down, the weekend's biggest results came at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Osaka. A quick women's 3000 m saw 10 of the 11 starters go under 9 minutes, six in PB times. Japan-based Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Toto) led the way in 8:47.24, with the Pre Classic-bound Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) running 8:51.72 to land 4th both overall and on the Japanese all-time rankings. First-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Meijo Univ.) ran 8:58.63 for 8th overall, just missing the 1994-era national collegiate record by 0.31 seconds.

The men's 3000 m was also solid, with seven men breaking 8 minutes, six of them Japanese and five in PB times. Kenyan Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) won in 7:54.05 with Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) just behind in a best of 7:54.73. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) broke into the all-time Japanese collegiate top ten, running 7:57.56 for 6th. Australian Ryan Gregson won the men's 1500 m in 3:37.72 over American Patrick Casey
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Weekend Overseas Road Race Results

2nd in the women's race at last year's Riga Marathon, Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz) returned to take 4th in 2:35:03 in this year's record-breaking edition, three and a half minutes slower than her solid run last year but still good enough to be the second-fastest time run outside Japan this year by a Japanese woman. More on the men's and women's races here.

At Sweden's Goteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, 2015 National University Half Marathon champion and 2015 World University Games half marathon silver medalist Tadashi Isshiki and his GMO teammate Hiroki Yamagishi were ineffectual, Isshiki five minutes off the win in 1:06:37 for 17th and Yamagishi 23rd in only 1:08:20.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

Ekiden Runner Who Got Team Disqualified at National Championships Arrested on Fraud Charges

A woman who received cash from scam victims as part of a swindling group was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department after attempting to defraud an elderly woman. The arrested woman was a former member of one of the top corporate league women's ekiden teams.

Miho Shimada, 20, an unemployed resident of Gotemba, Shizuoka, was arrested on suspicion of calling an 80-year-old woman in Taito-ku, Tokyo and telling her, "I lost a check for funds to set up a company. I need 3 million yen," in an attempt to steal the elderly woman's cash. "I did it because I wanted money," she said in admitting to the charges.

Translator's note: A star member of the Yamanashi Gakuin High School girls' ekiden team who ran times of 9:01.23 for 3000 m and 15:43.35 for 5000 m while still in high school, Shimada joined the Toyota Jidoshokki corporate women's team after her graduation in 2016. The 2nd-place team at the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships t…

Debate Continues on Tokyo Olympics Ticket Pricing Scheme

On May 15 the organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games held a hearing to consider expert opinion on sales strategies for tickets for the games. The plans presented included setting the maximum ticket price for the opening ceremony at the same level as for the 2012 London Olympics, 288,000 yen [~$2600 USD], but others called for a wider range of pricing options. With no agreement reached discussion of ticket pricing is set to continue.

The committee did manage to set pricing for some Olympic events, ranging from 2000 yen [~$18 USD] for first-round soccer matches to as high as 108,000 yen [~$980 USD] for athletics. Opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games will max out at 144,100 yen [~$1300 USD], with individual event tickets ranging from 1000 yen [~$9 USD] to 6500 yen [~$59 USD]. However, saying, "This has become a debate about creating a more dynamic range in pricing," session chairperson Sadahiko Kano, professor emeritus at Waseda University, …

Weekend Track Roundup

The first round of regional corporate track and field championship meets made up most of the weekend’s track action. Fresh back from going sub-32 at Payton Jordan, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) was the star of the Kansai Region meet as she repeated her 5000 / 10000 m double from last year with 15:45.58 and 33:00.26 wins. Men’s times were unremarkable, Shohei Morikawa (Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) taking the 5000 m in 14:06.58 and Aoyama Gakuin University grad Kazuki Tamura (Sumitomo Denko) the 10000 m in 29:16.56 in his corporate league debut.

Split between two weekends, the Chugoku Region meet featured only 5000 m this week. Yudai Okamoto (JFE Steel) won the men’s race in 13:59.82, with Miharu Aoki (Tenmaya) claiming the women’s title in 16:19.79.

The Chubu Region meet produced some quality men’s 10000 m times, with two-time defending champ Rodgers Shumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) leading three Kenyan men under 28 minutes in 27:53.73, the fastest of his three wins to date. Daiji Kawai (Toenec) was the to…

Matsumoto and Abe Win Sendai International Half Marathon

In a race that came down to an uphill battle near 20 km, Ryo Matsumoto (Toyota) emerged on top of a lead pack of five to win the men's race at the 28th Sendai International Half Marathon. Matsumoto outkicked Rio Olympics marathon team member Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) on the track to take the win in 1:03:05, the fastest winning time by a Japanese man in Sendai history. Sasaki returned from the injury that kept him out of March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marahton to finish 2nd in 1:03:10, holding off collegiate runners Kengo Nakamura (Toyo Univ.) and Akihiro Gunji (Tokai Univ.).

Defending champion Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel) suffered some sort of injury in the late going, shuffling down the home straight and almost walking across the finish line to take 5th in 1:03:39. Just behind him, 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) nicked 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) at the line after sitting on Kawauchi the entire race, both…