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Showing posts from May, 2011

Typhoon Slows Down Nittai Time Trials

by Brett Larner
With most of the country's top distance runners taking on 5000 m at Saturday's Golden Games in Nobeoka and a typhoon hitting the second day, the weekend's Nittai Univ. Time Trials meet was relatively low-key. The top result of the meet came in the men's 10000 m, where Nihon University's Yusuke Sato ran a strong solo 28:58.75 to win by nearly 30 seconds. Tomoya Yamaguchi (Team Kanebo) won the men's 5000 m A-heat in 14:04.83 with a well-executed race plan, overtaking Daegu World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) who surged into a wide lead midway through the race. The men's 5000 m also saw the return to competition of injury-plagued marathoner Arata Fujiwara (Remo System RC), who ran conservatively and advanced through the field from the rear of the pack to finish 13th in 14:17.44. The women's 5000 m A-heat was a match race between Azusa Saito (Niigata Albirex AC) and marathoner Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.). Saito…

Yuki Kawauchi's Message to Runners Around the World

Look for my interview with 2:08:37 amateur marathoner and full-time worker Yuki Kawauchi in the September issue of Running Times magazine, available Aug. 9 in time for the Daegu World Championships where Kawauchi will run the marathon.

Watanabe, Sato Clear World Championships 5000 m B-Standard at Golden Games in Nobeoka

by Brett Larner
The men's 5000 m Heat E.

Pre-typhoon rain couldn't hold back the times at the 2011 Golden Games in Nobeoka meet, May 28 in Noboeka. With a focus on the 5000 m, the meet's top men's heat saw two Japanese men, former middle-distance specialist Kazuya Watanabe (Team Shikoku Denryoku) and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) break the World Championships B-standard. Watanabe ran a PB of 13:23.15 to win outright over a largely African field and become the all-time 8th-best Japanese man over the distance, while Sato was just off his PB with a 13:25.53 clocking, his best in five years. The Japanese man with the best 10,000 and half-marathon times of 2011, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) also ran a PB of 13:30.30. Just behind him Waseda University sophomore Suguru Osako, the Asian half-marathon jr. area record holder, likewise ran a large PB of 13:31.52 for 8th after a gutsy push to the front at 4000 m. Although none of the Africans in the top ten ran PBs,…

Mok Ying Ren Runs Singaporean Men's 5000 m NR at Tokai Univ. Time Trials

by Brett Larner
Singaporean medical student and half-marathon national record holder Mok Ying Ren travelled to Japan this weekend to run in the May 28 Tokai University Time Trials meet in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo, with the aim of breaking the old Singaporean men's 5000 m national record of 14:57.61. In rainy conditions Ren succeeded in his goal, patiently following the advice of his training partner Jason Lawrence to start at the back of the field and progressively move up. Ren executed the plan perfectly and easily achieved his mark with a new national record of 14:51.09. "I'm so happy today," Ren said afterwards. "This year we did three 5000 m races. The first one was 15:17, then 15:06, and today 14:51. Jason organized this race in Japan because Japanese [meets] are known to have many heats and many people in one heat and they all run about the same time. So today I hoped to follow when the race started and hoped to catch them one by one, and then hopefu…

Kobe Marathon Entries Close at 3.7x Available Places

http://mytown.asahi.com/hyogo/news.php?k_id=29000001105250002
translated by Brett Larner
Entries statistics were released May 24 for the first edition of the Kobe Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 20. 77,421 people applied. In terms of the ratio of applicants to available places, in the marathon division 3.7 times the number of people applied, while in the 10.6 km quarter marathon division the number was 5.7 times.
Entries were open from Apr. 15 through May 20. 65,934 people applied for the 18,000 available spots in the marathon, with 52,337 applying as individuals and 13,597 as group entries. 11,487 people applied for the 2000 quarter marathon places. Results of the lottery for places are expected to be announced in late June.
To help support relief efforts in the disaster-hit northeast, organizers created a special "Charity Bib" entry which applicants could select for an extra 500 yen. 51% of those who entered chose the charity bib option. "That's a bigger response …

Fujimoto Wins 2nd-Straight Kanto Regionals 5000 m

by Brett Larner

Emerging from nowhere to win last year's Kanto Regional University T&F Championships men's 5000 m with the memorable words, "I feel like I woke up in someone else's life," Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.) did it again, winning a three-way sprint finish against #1-ranked university man Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.) and Asian half-marathon jr. area record holder Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) to take his second-straight Kanto 5000 m title on May 22 at Tokyo's National Stadium. Expected competition from rivals Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Meiji Univ.) and Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) never materialized as Murasawa, who missed a World Championships 10000 m qualifying mark by less than a second at last month's Hyogo Relays, was relentless in pushing the pace through humidity and wind. Osako and Fujimoto, both of whom broke 3:48 for the first time last weekend in the Kanto Regionals 1500 m, sat on his shoulders, steadily applying the pressure. Mu…

Kinukawa Takes a Major Win at East Japan Corporate Championships, Gives Credit to Wanjiru

by Brett Larner
The corporate regional spring track championships wrapped up this weekend with the East Japan Jitsugyodan T&F Championships in hot, humid and windy Kumagaya, Saitama. The big news at the meet came in the women's 5000 m, where 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno) emerged from nearly four years of illness and injury to take her first competitive win in memory, running 15:37.50 to beat Kenyan Felista Wanjugu (Team Univ. Ent.) and World Championships marathon team leader Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei). Although still short of a World Championships B-standard, Kinukawa's run was her first time under 15:40 in almost four years and a large step in the right direction ahead of next month's National T&F Championships. After the race Kinukawa, who was a star at Sendai Ikuei H.S. at the same time as the late Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya), told journalist Tatsuo Terada, "I didn't think I was ready to run like this. It…

Noguchi Back to Training at 1000 km a Month Level

http://www.topics.or.jp/localSports/122545398109/2011/05/2011_13055955239.html
translated by Brett Larner
Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) talked to reporters at the 55th Kansai Jitsugyodan T&F Championships, held May 13-15 at Tokushima's Pocari Sweat Stadium. Making a comeback from long-term injury at last December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships. she suffered a stress fracture in her left ankle which left her sidelined again. We talked to her about her injury and her timeline for recovery.
How is your leg? The bone is totally healed and it doesn't hurt at all. Recovery went smoothly, and from the beginning of March I've been back to training seriously. Right now I'm building a base of 20 km runs and am back up to the 1000 km a month level. I'm still feeling on-track for a full comeback.
When do you think you'll be back to racing? I don't have any solid plans yet b…

German Town to Hold Charity Event for Marathon Medalist Arimori's Disaster Relief Charity

The town of Karolinenhof, Germany will hold a charity run this Sat., May 21 to raise money for two-time Olympic marathon medalist Yuko Arimori's charity Hearts of Gold. Since the Mar. 11 disasters in the northeastern area of Japan, Arimori's group have established the Animo Project to raise funds to help rebuild schools in disaster-hit areas.
Click here for more information on Karolinenhof's "Die Nacht Im Grunauer Forst" run. For more information on Arimori's Animo Project, click here.

Wanjiru in the Words of Those Who Knew Him

Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, 1986-2011

I've put together this collection of quotes charting the life, career and environment of the late Samuel Wanjiru over the years by those who knew him and helped make him what he was, including Tsutomu Akiyama, Stephen Mayaka, Koichi Morishita, Takao Watanabe and Wanjiru himself. Wanjiru's achievements made him a great source of pride in Japan, as close as one can come to being considered one of their own.



"Wanjiru arrived in Japan on May 4, 2002. I was the one who went to pick him up. When he came he was only so-so, but even in high school he became strong at 10000 m, and at the half-marathon too. Wanjiru succeeded at the marathon because he was trained in Japan. He would never have been able to do this kind of running if he had stayed in Kenya. Athletes raised in Kenya don’t have the same kind of mental toughness. They come here and they learn discipline, focus, they begin to understand gaman: absolutely do not make a move before 30 km,…
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, 1986-2011
photo (c) 2010 Dr. Helmut Winter all rights reserved

Takayanagi's National Jr. and Collegiate SC Record Leads University Regional Championship Results

by Brett Larner
The bulk of the regional university championship track meets took place the weekend of May 14-15, including Tokyo's highly competitive Kanto Regional University T&F Championships. The most noteworthy result of the weekend, however, came at the small Chugoku-Shikoku Regionals, where first-year Aya Takayanagi (Matsuyama Univ.) set a new national junior and national collegiate record in the women's 3000 mSC. Takayanagi, coached by Keiichi Murai, the husband of two-time World Championships marathon medalist Reiko Tosa, ran 10:21.41 to set the pair of new marks, and excellent start to her university career.


The Kanto region is the site of the toughest men's racing in Japan, and the 10000 m is always the highlight of the meet. This year did not disappoint as junior Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) overcame strong winds to beat defending champion Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) for the win in a PB of 28:41.26 in the Div. 1 race. Hayakawa ran a patient race,…

Paul Tanui Just Off Men's 10000 m World Leader at Kyushu Corporate Champs

by Brett Larner
On the second of three consecutive weekends of regional corporate track championships, 2011 World XC Championships runner-up Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) had the biggest run in the country. He and Ethiopian Alemu Desta (Team Yasukawa Denki) set out in the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Championships 10000 m at a blazing 2:36 for the first km, well under world record pace. The pair held to sub-27 minute pace through 6000 m, Desta burning up but Tanui pushing on to a 27:18.58 meet record, just a second off his PB and the 2nd-fastest time in the world so far this year. With Tanui's mark the top four men worldwide for 10000 m are currently all Japan-based Kenyans. His teammate Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) had the fastest 5000 m of the weekend in Japan, taking the Kyushu Jitsugyodan women's 5000 m in 15:46.69.
The Hokuriku Jitsugyodan Championships, traditionally the weakest of the major corporate league regions, had the next-strongest performances, with meet reco…