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Ten Years of Japan Running News


Ten years ago today Japan Running News started with a story about the withdrawal of Wataru Okutani from the Japanese men's marathon team just before the start of the Osaka World Championships. The concept was to provide a high-quality and reliable source for information in English about as much of the fascinating and exciting but otherwise invisible world of Japanese distance running as possible, and in the ten years of almost daily updates since then that ideal hasn't changed.

The timing couldn't have been better, capturing the arcs of Samuel Wanjiru, Arata Fujiwara and Yuki Kawauchi, the rise of the Hakone Ekiden-driven university men's running circuit and of Japanese men's sprinting, and the buildup toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Along the way JRN has grown in ways we couldn't have expected, bringing writing jobs for publications worldwide and TV commentating work, the chance to work directly with some of Japan's best athletes and to travel around the world, and becoming the definitive English-language resource for both interested people and for other writers looking to add expertise to their own articles and books on the subject, credited or uncredited.

Below are four lists of some of JRN's best work over the last decade. The first lists our ten most popular stories by total read count, and the second gives the most-read story for each year excluding those on the first list. The third and fourth are lists of ten editor's picks of some of our favorite work that didn't necessarily rack up the views, the third made up of translations from Japanese media and the fourth of original contnet. There's no telling what the future holds, but we'd like to thank all the Japan Running News readers, supporters and colleagues over the last decade and hope that these stories remind you of some of the highs and lows of the years so recently gone by. Thanks for reading.

Brett Larner, editor in chief
Mika Tokairin, associate editor

JRN's All-Time Top Ten Most Popular Stories

  1. Last-Placer Named Winner After Entire Rest of Field Disqualified - Feb. 15, 2017
  2. Mekonnen Wins Tokyo Marathon, Amateur Kawauchi 3rd in 2:08:37 - Feb. 27, 2011
  3. Kipyego, Habtumu Win Tokyo Marathon, Fujiwara Back With 2:07:48 - Feb. 26, 2012
  4. Aoyama Gakuin University Breaks Izumo Ekiden CR in First-Ever Big Three University Ekiden Win - Oct. 8, 2012
  5. Hawkins and Kirwa Win Marugame Half, Takeshita Over Muiru in Kanagawa - Feb. 5, 2017
  6. Samuel Wanjiru Shares the Secret of Training to Win - Dec. 24, 2008
  7. History Comes Calling - Kipsang and Chepchirchir Run Japanese Soil Records at Tokyo Marathon - Feb. 26, 2017
  8. Kawauchi Breaks World Record for Half Marathon in a Suit by 18 Minutes - Mar. 13, 2016
  9. Hakone Champion AGU's Isshiki Leads 27 Under 1:03 and 265 Sub-1:06 at National University Half Marathon Championships - Mar. 1, 2015
  10. Joseph Gitau Takes Surprise Win in Fukuoka in 2:06:58 - Dec. 2, 2012

JRN's Most-Read Stories by Year (excluding above top ten)

397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 20, 2007

Deeper and Deeper Goes the Greatest Half Marathon in the World - Ageo 2008 - Nov. 17, 2008

Masters Runner Yoshihisa Hosaka Sets 60+ World Record at Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon - Feb. 2, 2009

Japanese University Select Team Takes First-Ever International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2010

Ndambiri With the Win, Kawauchi With the Wonder - Fukuoka International Marathon - Dec. 4, 2011

Kenya Over Japan for Second-Straight International Chiba Ekiden Win - Nov. 23, 2012

Mathathi Makes Transition to Marathon in Fukuoka, Kawauchi 3rd in Third Sub-2:10 of 2013 - Dec. 1, 2013

Chumba and Tsegaye Set Tokyo Marathon CRs as Five Japanese Men Break 2:10 - Feb. 23, 2014

Sonota and Nishiyama Make It a Komazawa 1-2, Yiu Breaks own NR at Ageo City Half Marathon - Nov. 15, 2015

Tsegay Over Makau for Fukuoka Win, Miracle-Worker Kawauchi 3rd - Dec. 4, 2016

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” - Mar. 28, 2017

Editor's Picks - Translations

Chunxiu Zhou's Japanese Coach Shinya Takeuchi Seeks to Make Personal Compensation to China for WWII - Aug. 14, 2008

Reiko Tosa's "Homemade" Training for Tokyo Finale - Mar. 18, 2009

The Man in the Wig Speaks - Mar. 25, 2009

From the Editor: Women's Marathoning and the Autumn Sky - July 2, 2009

"The Rocky of the Marathon World" - Saitama Governor Praises Kawauchi - Feb. 28, 2011

Arata Fujiwara - His Olympic Marathon Defeat in His Own Words - Aug. 22, 2012

A Group Overflowing With Individuality - Aug. 23, 2012

Aum Death Cult Defendant Kikuchi, On Trial for Tokyo Bombing, Claims She Seriously Trained to Break Marathon World Record - June 3, 2014

"I Was Afraid" - Japanese Long Distance's World Championships in Its Own Words - Aug. 31, 2015

Kawauchi on Tokyo 2020: "It Feels Like the War -- If You Step Out of Line People Call You a Traitor" - June 7, 2017

Editor's Picks - Original Content

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon - An Idea Whose Time Has Passed? - Nov. 13, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due: American and Japanese Men Aged 18-22 - Nov. 26, 2009

Wanjiru in the Words of Those Who Knew Him - May 16, 2011

Japan in Wanjiru - Dec. 19, 2011

How I Learned to Love the Ekiden and Why You Should Too - Dec. 20, 2012

A Second Chance to Make the Dream Come True - Yoshiko Sakamoto at the Zurich Marathon - Apr. 17, 2015

The Shape of Things to Come: Hakone, Where Things Are and Where They're Going - Jan. 11, 2016

Japan Surpasses U.S. as World's Largest Amateur Marathon Market - Jan. 22, 2016

The Kayoko Show: Long-Term Consequences of Agonistic Interactions Between Lobsters, and the Osaka Women's Marathon - Jan. 28, 2016

An Update on Eastern European Women in Japan - Apr. 26, 2017

Comments

Anonymous said…
10years already, time flies.
Congratulations Brett and keep them coming!!
Martin
TokyoRacer said…
Congratulations and thanks for 10 years of great reportage.
And thanks for listing the top ten stories. Somehow, I had missed the No. 1 - a classic!
koelmeyer said…
Thanks for the impeccable coverage, Brett.
I can't live without it!
Regards,
Gerard K

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men