2017 saw Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) saw him extending his range at both ends of his spectrum with two sub-2:10s, breaking Ethiopian great Abebe Mekonnen's world record for most career sub-2:12 marathons, and, in his final race of the year, tying American Doug Kurtis' sub-2:20 world record. Along the way he set at least 10 course records, won 5 marathons, and took the top Japanese spot at 9th in the London World Championships, altogether making for one of the better years he's had so far.
Based on the assumption that his performance at the 2016 Fukuoka Marathon, the "Miracle in Fukuoka," was going to be enough to get him on the London team Kawauchi spent the New Year running on the London course and in preparation for August's World Championshps planned to run one overseas marathon a month starting in April. He tuned up at February's amateur-level Ehime Marathon, where an unexpectedly aggressive debut by local boy Yohei Suzuki (Waseda Univ.) …
Ten-time national champion Ritsumeikan University added an eleventh National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships title to its resume, winning the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden title for the fifth-straight year since the National Championships' 2013 move to the Mt. Fuji course.
— 馬場遼 (@bmbryo126) December 30, 2017
Running on a hilly course under perfect blue skies and the watchful eye of Mt. Fuji looming above, Ritsumeikan got off to a slow start as third-year Ena Kagayama was only 13th on the 4.1 km opening stage. Ritsumeikan's next two runners Naruha Sato and Ayano Tanaka picked up the slack with new course records on their stages to put Ritsumeikan up where it feels most comfortable in 1st.
On the race's longest stage, the 10.5 km Fifth Stage, the team's lead fell as close as 13 seconds over Daito Bunka University, one of the two teams…
The 100th anniversary year of the ekiden as a race format wraps up Saturday at the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden, the season-ending national championships for university women. Run on a scenic but tough course in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, it has been dominated for the last four years by ten-time national champion Ritsumeikan University. Last year Ritsumeikan was beaten by Matsuyama University at October's Morinomiyako Ekiden but returned to win a fourth-straight national title. This year it fell to 3rd at Morinomiyako, with last year's Mount Fuji runner-up Meijo University and #1 Kanto Region program Daito Bunka University taking the top two spots. All four schools will square off again at Mount Fuji this year, with Morinomiyako 4th-placer Osaka Gakuin University and Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden winner Osaka Geijutsu University in the mix. The Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden will be broadcast live on Fuji TV starting at 10:00 a.m. local time on Dec. 30.
After a slow start to the year Yuta Shitara (Honda) exploded with one of the most memorable debut marathons in Japanese history, building momentum that carried him all the way to a half marathon national record and the top of JRN’s 2017 men’s rankings.
After a mediocre New Year Ekiden and a decent run at the Marugame Half, Shitara turned heads with a fearless 1:01:55 first half in his debut at February’s Tokyo Marathon. Shitara died a thousand deaths over the second half but still lasted to a 2:09:27, a promise of more to come. Track season was unremarkable, but entering the fall he planned to tune up for the Berlin Marathon with a 10 km and half marathon in the Czech Republic. After a 28:56 in Prague, Shitara shocked the country with a 1:00:17 national record at the Usti nad Labem Half, a seemingly suicidal move a week out from Berlin.
There he vowed to go out with top group Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele no matter what, and Shitara did his best to live up to t…
After becoming only the second Japanese in woman in history to make an Olympic 5000 m final last year in Rio Miyuki Uehara (Daiichi Seimei) was a slow burner in 2017, absent any flashes of particular brilliance but putting together a string of strong performances capped by a year-leading half marathon in late December that put her atop the women’s rankings.
In her last race of the year, the Dec. 23 Sanyo Ladies Road Race half marathon, Uehara sat back behind frontrunning Japanese women Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) and Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal), craftily running them down in the final stages to finish in 1:09:13, the fastest time of the year by a Japan…
In 2017 Japan Running News celebrated its 10th anniversary. From the Hakone Ekiden to the London World Championships to the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, looking back over the year here are its top ten stories as determined by JRN readers.
1.Last-Place Finisher Named Winner After Entire Rest of Field Disqualified - Feb. 15
At a children's road race in Okayama runners were misdirected on the course and ran a shorter distance. Followed by a sweeper, only the last-place runner ran the correct 3.0 km course, and when the other 262 participants were disqualified the last-placer was named the winner.
14 seconds back from the lead after the opening leg of the five-stage, 21.0975 km girls' race, Sendai Ikuei's Helen Ekarare blasted a 12:25 course record for the 4.0975 km Second Stage to put her team 34 seconds ahead of early leader Nagano Higashi H.S. Stuck in 3rd, 2016 national champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. Osaka Kunei's third and fourth runners Ayaka Murao and Saya Nakajima tried to turn it around with back-to-back stage wins but could only come within 3 seconds of Nagano Higashi by the start of the anchor leg.
There first-year Sendai Ikuei anchor Rina Kimura dropped the best performance of the after Ekarare's stage record, covering the 5.0 km anchor stage in 15:34. Bringing Sendai Ikuei home in 1st for the first time since long before …
Japan-based Kenyan Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) outran defending champion Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) and three of Japan's best upcoming young talents to cut 13 seconds off the course record as she won the 36th edition of the Sanyo Ladies Road Race half marathon.
Kamulu, Ohara and 2017 national cross country champion Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) set off near 1:08-flat pace, a time no Japanese woman has cleared in almost 12 years. Behind them, Rio Olympian Miyuki Uehara and the debuting Azusa Sumi (Univ. Ent.) went at a more conservative pace while keeping the leaders in sight. After 5 km Kamulu through in a surge to drop her Japanese competition, going through 10 km in 32-flat and pushing on alone to finish in 1:08:04, a new course record and a PB by well over a minute and a half.
John Hancock said today that Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi has been invited to participate in the company’s 2018 Boston Marathon Elite Team.
During a visit to Boston the last week of December, Kawauchi will train on the Boston Marathon course. And on New Year’s Day, he will to attempt to break the world record for most sub-2:20 marathons ever run. Currently the co-record holder with American Doug Kurtis, each having run 75 marathons under the 2:20 mark, Kawauchi will attempt to break the record at the USATF certified Marshfield Road Runners New Year’s Day Marathon.
“I can think of nothing better than breaking the record in Marshfield on New Year’s Day and then improving that record in Boston on Patriots’ Day,” said Kawauchi. “There is no place more appropriate than Boston for writing new pages in marathoning history.”
An international icon for his high-volume, high-quality racing, Kawauchi is a self-coached amateur who wo…
Japan's selection process for marathon national teams, with a committee picking runners based on results at three, sometimes four official selection races plus previous international championships, has always been opaque and open to controversy, confusion and other words starting with the letters c and o. The selection for the 2015 Beijing World Championships women's team set off an uproar that led the JAAF to tread more carefully for Rio and London, and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics looming they're going for a full-on one-shot trials race along the lines of the U.S. Olympic Trials that worked so successfully in Rio.
The U.S. Olympic Trials approach to team selection is clear enough: run an achievable time to get into the Trials, where the first three across the finish line make up the team. That's the same basic concept for Japan's new Marathon Grand Championship trials race, the MGC Race for short, but nothing in Japan is ever so simple, straightforward and clear…