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Nagoya International Women's Marathon Announces Elite Field

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/feature/niwm/CK2008022802191336.html

The organizing committee of the 2008 Nagoya International Women's Marathon, sponsored in part by Rikuren and the Chunichi Newspapers Group, announced the names of the 20 invited elite runners for this year's Olympic selection edition of the race. The field of 325, including 305 individual entrants, will start the 42.195 course at 12:15 p.m.

The domestic elite field includes 2000 Sydney Olympics marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten), 2006 Nagoya winner Harumi Hiroyama (Team Shiseido), 2004 Athens Olympics marathon team member Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya), and 8-time Nagoya competitor Takami Ominami (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) along with 11 others. The foreign elite field of 5 is led by Kenya's Joice Kirui.

Invited Domestic Elites
Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten), 35, PB: 2:19:46
Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya), 27, PB: 2:21:51
Harumi Hiroyama (Team Shiseido), 39, PB: 2:22:56
Takami Ominami (Team Toyota …

Naoko Takahashi Returns From High Ground Ready for Nagoya

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/feature/niwm/CK2008022802091213.html

In the leadup to the final selection race for the Beijing Olympics Japanese women's marathon team, the Mar. 9 Nagoya International Women's Marathon, Sydney Olympics marathon gold medalist Naoko Takahashi (Team Phiten) returned to Japan on Feb. 27 after 2 months at her high-altitude training camp in Kunming, China.

Takahashi, 35, failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics 4 years ago. This last chance to make the Beijing Olympics will be everything for her. Speaking to reporters at Tokyo's Narita Airport, Takahashi said of her training in Kunming, "Everyday, I did exactly what I needed to do. I feel ready now. My goal is to run my own race."

While at the training camp Takahashi might have gotten discouraged when she ran into problems, but, she explained, "I try to live by my motto, 'Your dreams will come true if you don't give up.' The only thing I am thinking about is winning…

Shimizu Scores a Perfect Victory at Team Asahi Kasei's Home Ground Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/20080225/20080225_001.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Cutting through the strong headwind without struggle to run away to the goal line, Masaya Shimizu's 4th marathon was his 1st perfect race. "I ran 120% today. Knowing I won by running perfectly is the best feeling I've ever had," the laurel-crowned king of the Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon said with a shaky voice.

Shimizu, 27, took a potential disaster and reshaped it into a tool with which to forge his dream race. At the drink station just after the pace makers dropped out at 30 km, he was unable to grab his special drink. "Some dumbass put my bottle too far back on the table to reach. I missed it and didn't have any choice except to just go without it." Instead, he put on a spurt which caught most of the other leaders off guard, breaking up the pack and reducing it from 10 runners to 4.

Shimizu led the pack into the biting headwind. "I didn't want to get i…

Masaki Shimoju Wins Kumanichi 30km Road Race

http://kumanichi.com/fsports/30km/index.cfm
http://kumanichi.com/fsports/30km/30km52/20080225.1.cfm
http://kumanichi.com/fsports/30km/30km52/20080225.2.cfm
http://kumanichi.com/fsports/30km/30km52/20080225.3.cfm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Feb. 24 individual entrant Masaki Shimojo (Team Konica Minolta) won the 52nd Kumanichi 30 km Road Race in Kumamoto in 1:30:33. He became only the 3rd individual entrant to ever win the event, the last being Tomoya Shimizu (Team Sagawa Express) 2 years ago. Only 2 women were entered in the race, but winner Miho Notagashira (Team Wacoal) set a new course record by 13 seconds, running 1:44:00.

Although windy conditions prevented a predicted 1:29 finish time, the men's race yielded the first dead heat finish in years. It started with a slow pace. At the 10 km point, Kodai Tanabe (Team Mazda) broke from the lead pack and opened a gap, but at the halfway point it looked likely that the finish time would be in the 1:33 range. The chase pack reto…

'Wanjiru to Buy Mother a Tractor From Winnings'

http://www.gulfnews.com/sport/Athletics/10193629.html
http://www.gulfnews.com/sport/Athletics/10193631.html

Wanjiru's time was apparently 1:00:33. Although this article doesn't mention it, Wanjiru has elsewhere been reported to be slated to run another half marathon in The Hague, where he set the world record last year, prior to running London.

Sorry for not posting this week.....

Sorry, I've been really busy this week with planning my trip over to run Around the Bay and Boston. I have a stack of articles I've been working on which I hope to put up tomorrow. Topics include:

-Kumanichi 30k report
-Biwako Mainichi Marathon and Olympic selection scenarios
-Q-chan back from Kunming
-Noguchi goes to Kunming
-Mekubo Mogusu
-Kensuke Takezawa

I'll also have up reports on the 3/1 Fukuoka International Cross Country meet and 3/2 Biwako as soon as I can, although Ken Nakamura will probably beat me to it.

Next week I'll be making my debut as one of the participants on the Runnerville Weekly podcast, apparently alongside the likes of Amby Burfoot, Mary Wittenberg, the Letsrun Johnson brothers, etc. Yoroshiku.

Also, if you read this blog semi-regularly then please take a minute to answer the polls I'm putting up. Thanks. Prices listed are for one year's worth of monthly interviews.

Team Asahi Kasei's Masaya Shimizu Takes First-Ever Victory in Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20080224-OHT1T00205.htm
http://www.umk.co.jp/news/headline/20080224.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Masaya Shimizu of Team Asahi Kasei won the Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon on a windy Feb. 24 in a time of 2:13:06. It was his 4th full marathon and first time winning at the distance.

18 seconds behind Shimizu was Team Kyudenko's Tomonori Onitsuka, with Kentaro Nakamoto of Team Yasukawa Denki 3rd in his marathon debut. Team Asahi Kasei's Muneyuki Ojima, running his final marathon, was 9th.

Shimizu launched a spurt at 30 km, breaking up the lead pack and turning the event into a match race against Onitsuka. Attacking at 41 km, he managed to break contact with Onitsuka and run away to his first victory. Both runners were slightly off their PB times.

Conditions at the start were 6.4 degrees with 35% humidity and NNW winds at 6.1 m/s.

Translator's note: Team Asahi Kasei continues its strong showing in the marathon this year. Asah…

Team Asahi Kasei's Fumiyuki Watanabe Ready for Great Leap Forward at Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/20080221/20080221_001.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

His heart races when he thinks about his long-delayed first time at 42.195 km. "I've got nothing to lose. I'm going to run aggressively." Fumiyuki Watanabe is finally set for his big run.

With this decision, the strength of the rivalries inside Team Asahi Kasei has weakened. At 24 it has been 2 years since Watanabe entered Team Asahi Kasei, but this month he has lost out to his juniors. On Feb. 3, Tomoya Adachi, 2 years Watanabe's junior, won the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in 2:11:59. On Feb. 17, Hiroyuki Horibata, 3 years younger than Watanabe, ran 2:11:47 to finish 9th at the Tokyo Marathon. Both were debut marathons. "I can't give in either," he says.

Watanabe was scheduled to run Nobeoka last year but had to withdraw 1 month before the race due to injuries to his left leg. Nevertheless, his motivation remained. "I really underestimated what marathon …

Atsushi Sato to Go For 10,000 m National Record, Ogata and Date Head to New Zealand Training Camp

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200802220082.html

translated by Brett Larner

Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) left for New Zealand on Feb. 21 to attend a Rikuren-sponsored training camp where he will begin preparations for this summer's Beijing Olympics. Membership on the Olympic marathon team will be announced Mar. 10, but, Ogata says, "To have good results in summer races this is the most important time to train hard. I'm just going ahead with preparations without worrying about the selection."

Ogata was 5th at last summer's Osaka World Championships. His Chugoku Denryoku teammate Atsushi Sato was the top Japanese finisher at December's Fukuoka International Marathon, meaning that he will probably also be selected for the team. The 3rd and final chance for runners to qualify will be the Biwako Mainichi Marathon on Mar. 2., so Ogata's fate will not be decided until after that race. "I'm not worrying about it," he said. "I'l…

Yuriko Kobayashi: "I Want to Lead Our Team" at Yokohama International Women's Ekiden

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008022200916
http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2008/02/22/0000846994.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Yokohama International Women's Ekiden takes place this Sunday, Feb. 24. The 42.195 km course consists of 6 stages through the streets of downtown Yokohama. The Japanese team met the press at a pre-race conference on Feb. 22.

A victory here would be Japan's first Yokohama win in 3 years. Team member and 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi, 19, (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), said, "I'm the youngest person here but I want to lead our team to win. I don't want to let us down. I want to learn about international running culture from the foreign runners too." Kobayashi brushed aside questions about her conflict with Rikuren over being banned from jitsugyodan races for enrolling in university after joining a jitsugyodan team. "I'm leaving that to the coaches. I don't let it distract me."

Beiji…

Fujita and Kisaki Headline, Ono Returns From Disaster in Kyoto City Half Marathon

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/article.php?mid=P2008022000192&genre=L1&area=K10

translated by Brett Larner

On Feb. 20 the elite field for the 15th Kyoto City Half Marathon on Mar. 9 was announced. Headlining the men's field is former full marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), while last year's winner Ryoko Kisaki (Bukkyo University) is back to defend her title in the women's race. Facing Fujita will be Helsinki World Championships men's marathon competitor and Kyoto Sangyo University graduate Michitaka Hosokawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and top Japanese finisher at the 2006 World Road Running Championships Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko).

Also entered in the men's race are a number of Hakone Ekiden star runners including Soji Ikeda (Komazawa University, 2008 Hakone winners) who was 2nd on the 1st stage, East Japan Intercollegiate 10,000 m 2nd place finisher Hiroyuki Ono (Juntendo Univesity), Hakone Ekiden 3rd place finisher Chuo Gakuin …

Kinukawa, Hayakari, Aburaya and More to Run Fukuoka International Cross Country Meet

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20080220-OYT1T00480.htm
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008022000877

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Rikuren released the entry lists today for this year's Fukuoka International Cross Country Meet to be held Mar. 1 in Fukuoka's Uminonakamichi Seaside Park. The women's 6 km race features 64 entrants including 3000 m steeplechase national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Koka AC), last year's winner Megumi Kinukawa (Sendai Ikuei High School) and 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki).

The men's 10 km race will see a field of 128 starring Athens Olympics men's marathon 5th place finisher Shigeru Aburaya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Chiba International Cross Country 12 km 3rd place finisher Makoto Tobimatsu (Team Yasukawa Denki). Also appearing are Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu) and Yuki Sato (Tokai University).

The meet is a qualifying event for the World Cross Country Cham…

Tokyo Marathon Post-Race Quotes

http://journal.mycom.co.jp/articles/2008/02/18/tm03/index.html
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/sports/news/CK2008021802088341.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Click names for photos from the post-race press conference.

"I'm very happy to have won in the land of the marathon, Japan. Setting a PB by a minute was also not bad. The secret of why I always race well in Japan is that I use made-in-Japan shoes."
--Viktor Rothlin, winner, 2:07:23 (PB, NR)

"This was my first race after being injured. My time was so-so. The cheering along the course was fantastic, though. Thank you to everyone who supported me."
--Claudia Dreher, women's winner, 2:35:35

"The pacemakers were fast but I just wanted to go with them as far as I could even though everything after 30 km was a new world for me. When I was training for this race I tried a lot of different things, but I've figured out what works the best for me and what doesn't. In practice I also visualized …

Arata Fujiwara: An Unknown Contender for Beijing

by Brett Larner

Arata Fujiwara, 26, came from the obscurity of professional running with the undistinguished JR East Japan team to finish 2nd overall and in the top Japanese position at the Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 17. His finish time of 2:08:40 was a major PB; more impressive than the time itself was the way in which Fujiwara overcame severe leg cramping in the final few kilometeres to hold off Olympian Julius Gitahi of Kenya. Fujiwara's result puts him into good position as a contender for the Beijing Olympic marathon team, yet he is almost completely unknown.

Born Sept. 12, 1981 in Nishi Sonogi, Nagasaki Prefecture, Fujiwara attended Isahaya High School, one of the stronger running high schools in Japan. He went on to Takushoku University, a relatively minor school which in its better years qualifies for one of the bottom slots in the Hakone Ekiden. Fujiwara ran Hakone twice, finishing 10th on the 1st stage as a 1st year student in 2001, and 4th on the 4th stage as a 3rd year stude…

Tokyo Marathon Award Ceremony Photos

Top three finishers Julius Gitahi (L, 3rd place), Viktor Rothlin (C, 1st place) and Arata Fujiwara (R, 2nd place).


Winner Rothlin, Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara, and runner-up Fujiwara.
Top seven finishers, L-R: Viktor Rothlin, Arata Fujiwara, Julius Gitahi, Toshinari Suwa, Satoshi Irifune, Kurao Umeki and Seiji Kobayashi.all photos (c) 2008 Mika Tokairinall rights reserved

Rothlin Wins Tokyo Marathon in Swiss NR 2:07:23

by Brett Larner

Osaka World Championships bronze medalist Viktor Rothlin of Switzerland won the 2008 Tokyo Marathon in a Swiss national record of 2:07:23, aggressively frontrunning the later stages of the race to break apart the rest of the pack. Unknown individual entrant Arata Fujiwara of Team JR East Japan overcame severe leg cramps which almost forced him to stop in the last 6 km to run a massive PB of 2:08:40, finishing 2nd and putting his name on the shortlist for the Beijing Olympic team. Kenyan Olympian Julius Gitahi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) had a strong second marathon, running 2:08:57 to take 3rd place. His teammate Toshinari Suwa, the pre-race favorite to be top Japanese, conformed to his history and failed to take the top Japanese slot, settling for 4th in 2:09:16. Rounding out the top 5 was Helsinki World Championships marathoner Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo), who ran a PB of 2:09:40. All 5 runners broke last year's winning of time 2:09:45, set by Kenyan Daniel Njenga. N…

'The World-Famous Seko' Wows Celebrity Runners With His Comedy Stylings During Tokyo Marathon Training Session (updated)

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/society/news/2008/02/16/01.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/entertainment/news/20080130-OHT1T00080.htm
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/flash/KFullFlash20080129024.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/general/p-gn-tp0-20080129-313417.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

13 comedians and announcers from Nihon Television are scheduled to run in the 2008 Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 17. Legendary marathoner Toshihiko Seko (51) oversaw the group's training at a practice session at Tokyo's Yumenoshima track on Jan. 29, overwhelming the entertainers with his wit and humor.

The group included 6 pretty young female announcers and 5 well-known comedians, but the one who made the biggest impression with his jokes was 'The World-Famous Seko.' Talking about Nihon Television's plans for a 7-hour broadcast of Tokyo, Seko commented, "They have too much free time. It's boring. This isn't the Hakone Ekiden!" After comedian Cunning Takeyama lo…

Team Chugoku Denryoku's Umeki 'Running for Beijing' in Tokyo Marathon

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200802160125.html

translated by Brett Larner

The invited domestic elites who will try for a spot on the Beijing Olympic team at this year's Tokyo Marathon assembled in Tokyo for a press conference on Feb. 15. Among the well-known runners is Kurao Umeki of Team Chugoku Denryoku. "First of all," commented Umeki, "I want to run strong. The ticket to Beijing is going to be settled in the 2nd half of this race."

Umeki has worked hard this season, running the Berlin Marathon in September, the Nagoya Half Marathon in November, and the New Year Ekiden and Yamaguchi Ekiden in January, along with training camps in Okinawa and Kunming, China. "I've done a lot of long, slow, careful preparation," Umeki said with confidence. "I'll be coming to the start line well-prepared."

At age 32, Umeki has run 14 marathons and is one of the veterans in the domestic field. He holds a PB of 2:09:52, but the fastest of his domes…

Komazawa's Hakone Ekiden Ace Shingo Sato to Debut at Tokyo Marathon

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/tm2008/news/20080209-OYT1T00326.htm

translated by Brett Larner

A member of Komazawa University's Hakone Ekiden team during 3 straight years of victory, Shingo Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) will be trying to make the Beijing Olympics on the Japanese men's marathon team when he runs his debut marathon at the Feb. 17 Tokyo Marathon, sponsored in part by the Yomiuri Newspapers Group.

It has been 2 years since Sato, 24, joined the jitsugyodan running world. He went to Komazawa with the intent to run hard in the Hakone Ekiden and then to move up to the marathon. As a high school student he saw Komazawa alumnus Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) set the then-national record in the marathon. Watching this electrifying performance, Sato became fixed on attending the same university as Fujita and then following the older runner into the marathon.

While at Komazawa, Sato ran in the Hakone Ekiden all 4 of his student years. He earned stage best honors on the 3rd leg a…

Tokyo Marathon Preview: Japanese Men's Olympic Marathon Selection pt. 2

by Brett Larner

Click here for a photo of four of the Tokyo Marathon's main contenders.

The 2nd of the three selection races for the Japanese men's marathon team at the Beijing Olympics takes place this Sunday, Feb. 17 at the 2008 Tokyo Marathon. With none of the three places on the team sealed for certain the situation is wide open, but a seasoned veteran looks poised to take one of the spots.

The Standings
Japanese runners first had a chance to secure a slot on the Beijing team at last summer's World Championships in Osaka. Any Japanese runner who earned a medal in the marathon would be guaranteed a Beijing spot. Helsinki World Championships bronze medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata ran a brilliant race, running conservatively in the heat then attacking in the final kilometers to catch the pack of bronze medal contenders. Unfortunately for Ogata, Swiss runner Viktor Rothlin and Eritrean marathoner Yared Asmerom had something left and were able to kick away, consigning Ogata to 5th plac…

Noguchi Withdraws From Kumamoto 30 km

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008021200792

translated by Brett Larner

The Kumamoto 30 km Road Race reported on Feb. 12 that Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) has withdrawn from this year's race, to be held Feb. 24 in Kumamoto.

Noguchi won November's Tokyo International Women's Marathon in a course record time, almost certainly securing a spot on the Beijing Olympic team. She is now training in Kunming, China to prepare for a 30 km world record attempt in Kumamoto.

Team Sysmex coach Nobuyuki Fujita commented, "We entered Kumamoto specifically as a world record attempt, but Mizuki's training since the Interprefectural Ekiden in January hasn't been good enough to get up to that level. Instead, she's switched the focus of her training to the All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon in March and the Sendai Half Marathon in May."

Takaoka Wins Himejijo 10 Miler (updated)

http://osaka.nikkansports.com/news/f-on-tp2-20080211-319855.html
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20080211030.html
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0000834508.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Japanese men's national marathon record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo) won the Himejijo 10 Mile Road Race in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture on Feb. 11, running a time of 47:40. Takaoka accelerated with 1.5 km to go, passing Takashi Toyota (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko) with 1 km left to take the lead for good. Kenji Noguchi (Team Shikoku Denryoku) took 2nd in 47:44, with Toyota 1 second back in 3rd. The 6th place finisher in last summer's Osaka World Championships marathon, Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon), was 4th in 47:46.

"It's been a long time since I won something," Takaoka smiled after the race. He was scheduled to run last weekend's Ome Marathon 30 km road race until the race was cancelled due to heavy snow, but was able to negotiate a …

Kojima Runs 1111th Full Marathon; "Next up is my 1234th!"

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=200712/2007120300033&rel=j&g=spo

translated by Brett Larner

Giichi Kojima, 65, of Iwatsuki, Saitama Prefecture recently ran his 1111th marathon, the Japanese national record and all-time world #2 ranking. "When I hit my 70's and 80's I still want to be running. My next target is my 1234th marathon," he laughs.

Mr. Kojima ran his first marathon in Feb., 1983 when he was 40 years old. Just under 25 years later, at a race in Fukushima on Nov. 11 he ran 7:01:11 to finish his 1111th marathon. To pull off this perfect match between date and race number he had to run about one marathon a week throughout 2007. The weather was bad on race day, "On the way there I didn't want to do it, but I forced myself to so I could get the record."

Mr. Kojima's best time of 3:07:37 came in 1985. As he has gotten older, "I used to pass people, but now I'm the one being passed." He is not slacking off in his training however, as…

Naoko Takahashi in Kunming: Running On to Her Beijing Dream (with photos)

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/feature/niwm/CK2008020902086438.html

Click link above for photos of Takahashi training in China.

translated by Brett Larner

"Your dream will come true if you don't give up." This is what Naoko Takahashi (35, Team Phiten) wants to tell people through her running. Takahashi, the Sydney Olympics marathon gold medalist, has been in high-altitude training in Kunming, China since last year in preparation for the Mar. 9 Nagoya International Women's Marathon, sponsored in part by the Chunichi Newspapers Group.

Takahashi failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics 4 years ago, but "Beijing is my last challenge." She is completely focused on making the last slot for the Beijing Olympic team. Kuming rests at an altitude of 1900 m. It is the Chinese New Year now and in Kunming the atmosphere has the merry feeling of a festival, but Takahashi's mood is deadly serious and concentrated on the next month of training.

"Captain Naoko"…

Tokyo Marathon Increases Supplies of Sports Drink, Bananas and Food

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/tm2008/news/20080208-OYT1T00503.htm?from=navr
http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2008/02/07/056/

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tokyo Marathon 2008 sponsor Otsuka Seiyaku announced that it will be increasing the amount of its sports drink Amino Value which will be available to support the 30,000 runners at this week's race. Otsuka Seiyaku supplied 230,000 cups of Amino Value at last year's race, but in response to requests from runners it will be supplying 280,000 cups at this year's event. The drink will be offered in its double-strength format, containing 4000 mg of amino acids rather than the standard 2000 mg format.

Sports drink, water and other assistance for runners will be available at 10 stations, including the start, goal, and 8 locations along the course. A map showing the locations of the aid stations is available here.

The Tokyo Marathon also announced that it is increasing the number of bananas available along the course to 60,00…

Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon Announces Elite Field

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/20080208/20080208_001.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

On Feb. 7 the organizing committee of the 46th Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon, sponsored by Kyushu Rikuren, Nobeoka City and the Nishi Nihon Newspaper Group, held a press conference at Nobeoka City Hall in Miyazaki Prefecture to announce the elite field for this year's race, to be held on Feb. 24. The invited field includes 24 athletes, 7 more than last year, with total entries standing at 356 runners, also up from last year.

The elite field includes several members of local team Asahi Kasei. Muneyuki Ojima, the fastest man in the field with a PB of 2:08:43, will be running his final race before retiring. Also appearing from Asahi Kasei are Fumiyuki Watanabe, who was injured and had to withdraw from last year's race, and Masaya Shimizu. These athletes will all be spurred on by the extra motivation of having watched their teammate Tomoya Adachi win the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon on Feb. 3…

Murasawa Wins Junior Men's Race at Chiba International Cross Country Meet

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/080210/oth0802101755003-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

At the Chiba International Cross Country meet in Showa no Mori, Chiba on Feb. 10, 2nd year Saku Chosei High School student Akinobu Murasawa won the junior men's 8 km race in a time of 24:17.

In the men's 12 km event Makoto Tobimatsu (Team Yasukawa Denki) was the top Japanese finisher, 3rd overall in 36:12. Hakone Ekiden star Yuki Sato (Tokai University) was a disappointing 28th, while Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) did not start.

Kazuka Wakatsuki (Team Toto) was the top Japanese finisher in the women's 6 km race, also 3rd overall in 20:20.

Along with the Fukuoka International Cross Country meet on Mar. 1, this race was one of the selection events for the World Cross Country Championships to be held on Mar. 30 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Complete results from all the meet's races are available here.
The IAAF's report on the meet is here. Their preview, with some good athle…

'Ngatunyi Takes Prisons Title' and Mogusu 5th in Ras Al Kaimah

http://iaaf.org/WXC08/news/kind=100/newsid=43288.html

Gideon Ngatuny is based in Tokyo, where he runs for the Nissin Shokuhin jitsugyodan team. He has been dominant on the ekiden circuit since coming to Japan in 2006. Speaking of this spring's World Cross Country Championships, Ngatuny said after today's victory, "I will certainly be on the team to Edinburgh and I can assure Bekele and Tedesse that they must prepare well to beat me."

http://www.iaaf.org/news/kind=100/newsid=43269.html

Meanwhile, Mekubo Mogusu, a 3rd-year Kenyan 'exchange student' at Yamanashi Gakuin University who ran three solo sub-60 minute half marathons in Japan last year, had his major international debut at the Ras Al Kaimah Half Marathon. He ran a solid if somewhat disappointing 1:00:35 to finish 5th, with the top four runners all breaking one hour.

Brother's Sister's Daughter

Nothing really to do with elite Japanese distance running, but it was an interesting day today.I went out to Ome in the morning for the 2nd time this week to run trails in the mountains above the town. Monday the snow was pretty thick but today was pure ice. Skates would have been better. Former Josai University ekiden runner Eiji Kobayashi came with me this time. Somehow neither of us fell. I found someone's cell phone in the snow about 7 km up the mountain.

Tonight I went to Superdeluxe for the first time since last summer to see Brother's Sister's Daughter, kind of a bizarre supergroup. L-R: Kramer (bass), Han Bennink (snare), Samm Bennett (kit), Mike Watt (bass and vox). Photo courtesy of Mika Tokairin.

Tokyo Marathon Examines Adding Elite Women's Field in 2009

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/f-sp-tp0-20080128-313344.html

translated by Brett Larner

The official meeting of the Tokyo Marathon organizing committee opened Jan. 28 at the Tokyo metropolitan government's office complex. At the top of the agenda was ratification of the Mar. 22 date for next year's race. Another major topic of discussion was the addition of an elite women's race to the existing elite men's component of the event.

Because next year will see a World Championships (Berlin), The Tokyo Marathon committee, "...would like to see [top] men and women together in the same race." Rikuren [JAAF] said it will consider all points of view in making its decision on approving the plan.

In its first 2 years, the Tokyo Marathon has been held in February. Because of concerns about top athletes' ability to recover from a March selection race in time for a summer championship event, the committee discussed further possible date changes as well as potential cou…

Reiko Tosa to Appear At Matsue Ladies Half Marathon

http://www.sanin-chuo.co.jp/sports/modules/news/article.php?storyid=499933094

translated by Brett Larner

On Feb. 6 the organizing committee of the 29th Matsue Ladies Half Marathon released the names of the invited field for this year's event. Appearing at the race is Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), who will be running the women's marathon at this summer's Beijing Olympics. The winner of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, Mara Yamauchi (Second Wind AC; U.K.), and 2nd place finisher in the 2006 Tokyo International Women's Marathon Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC) are also entered. Yamauchi and Ozaki will be racing in the half marathon, while Tosa will be appearing as a guest runner in the girls' 10 km event.

The race will take place in Matsue on Mar. 16 in front of Matsue Castle and includes 4 events: a nationally-certified official half marathon and 10 km, a 10 km for girls aged 16 or older, a 2.5 km elementary school girls' and boys' …

Yoichi Watanabe: Better Running Through a Better Body

http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/spomain/sp_08020651.htm

translated by Brett Larner

At the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon on Feb. 3, individual runner Yoichi Watanabe (27, Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) ran 2:15:17 to finish 6th overall. Despite falling and sustaining some injuries during the race, Watanabe was able to sail on to a sizeable PB.

"The course is completely flat so it is easy to run a PB," Watanabe said of his performance in only his 2nd marathon. His accident happened at the 19 km aid station. Colliding with a foreign runner ahead of him, he fell and suffered cuts on his thighs and hip. Although it was very painful, despite having broken his concentration Watanabe was able to relax and run a PB of over 10 minutes.

Watanabe is originally from Kirishima in Kagoshima Prefecture. At Shonan High School he was a no-name runner. When he went on to become a jitsugyodan athlete Watanabe weighed less than 50 kg despite being 1 m, 70 cm tall. When practicing he frequently suf…

Looking Forward to Running With Naoko! Hara and Kano Join Nagoya Field

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/feature/niwm/CK2008020602085895.html
http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2008/02/06/0000827072.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Feb. 5, two of the top contenders for the Beijing Olympic women's marathon team, both of whom withdrew from last month's Osaka International Women's Marathon, were added to the field for the final Olympic selection race, the Nagoya International Women's Marathon on Mar. 9.

Yumiko Hara (Team Kyocera) ran in the women's marathon at last summer's World Championships. She withdrew from Osaka, where she was the defending champion, the day before the race after coming down with a cold. Hara won her debut marathon at the 2005 Nagoya to qualify for the 2005 World Championships. She will be keen to qualify for the Olympics here as well.

Also joining the Nagoya field after withdrawing from Osaka is Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), the winner of last summer's Hokkaido Marathon. Kano retired from this year'…

A Strong Tailwind Spurs Q-chan On: Takahashi to Put Her Whole Running Life on the Line in Nagoya

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2008020400738

translated by Brett Larner

The winds of chance are blowing strongly. At the Osaka International Women's Marathon on Jan. 27, Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) failed spectacularly in her highly-anticipated debut marathon. Speaking about this race from her high-altitude training camp in Kunming, China, Takahashi said, "Regardless of what happened in Osaka, I will be running to win in Nagoya with the kind of time nobody will be able to criticize." The Nagoya International Women's Marathon on Mar. 9 is the last of the selection races for the Beijing Olympics team, and is open to question whether Takahashi's feeling about her race are the same in the wake of Osaka.

Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), winner of the bronze medal in the women's marathon at last summer's World Championships, has already been selected for the Beijing team. Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sys…

A Profile of Local Boy Beppu-Oita Winner Tomoya Adachi

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/baseball/20080204/20080204_003.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Nothing is sweeter than a hometown win! At the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon on Feb. 3, Tomoya Adachi (22, Team Asahi Kasei) of Oita was the first runner back to the Oita Civic Track, winning his debut marathon in a time of 2:11:59. Moving up from the chase pack as an individual entrant rather than as one of the invited elites, Adachi overtook leader Elijah Mutai (Kenya) just before the 39 km point, maintaining the lead unchallenged all the way to the goal line. Yoichi Watanabe (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) was 6th in 2:15:17 and Tomokazu Sakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) was 9th in 2:17:00. Running in his team's last event before it is disbanded later this year, Tokio Yamazaki of Team Toshiba LSI finished well in 10th place. Mutai dropped out of the race at the 40 km point. Conditions at the start were 10.5 degrees and 68% humidity, with 1.5 m/s NW winds.

After breaking the goal tape…

Japanese Marathon Record Holder Takaoka to Run Himejijo Road Race

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0000826157.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Japanese national full marathon record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo) will be running in the 10 mile (16.093 km) Himejijo Road Race on Feb. 11 in Himeji, sponsored in part by the Kobe Newspaper Group. Takaoka joined the Himejijo lineup on Feb. 4 following the cancellation of the Ome Marathon 30 km due to heavy snowfall. Takaoka had planned to run Ome as part of his preparation for a spring marathon.

Originally from Kitsugawa in Kyoto Prefecture, Takaoka ran track events in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics, finishing 7th in the men's 10000 m in Sydney. At the 2002 Chicago Marathon he set the Japanese national record of 2:06:16. He also holds the national record for 3000 m and 10000 m. Takaoka attempted to qualify for the Beijing Olympics at last December's Fukuoka International Marathon but finished 10th. Many have wondered where he would go next.

Also scheduled to run Himejijo are Satoshi Osaki…

Tokyo Marathon 2007 Through Foreign Runners' Eyes

With less than two weeks to go until the 2nd mass-participation Tokyo Marathon I will be focusing on articles about this race and its impact. First is an article by JRN's Mika Tokairin which appeared in the May 2007 issue of Japan's largest running magazine, Runners. This issue of Runners was dedicated exclusively to coverage of the first Tokyo Marathon; one article sought the opinions of non-Japanese participants.



by Mika Tokairin
translated by Brett Larner
photo by Robin Orlansky
Among 30,000 runners, 1200 foreigners ran through the streets of Tokyo. What did the first Tokyo Marathon look like through their eyes? How did it compare to marathons overseas? What is the running culture like in their countries? We interviewed three foreign runners to find the answers.

Bob Poulson was born in New York and has worked in Tokyo as a copywriter for over 30 years. He is the founder of Tokyo’s international running club Namban Rengo. He frequently runs marathons, road races and ekidens.

Dayan…