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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

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…