Skip to main content

Seven Rio Medalists in Kawasaki - Weekend Preview

by Brett Larner

It's a busy weekend ahead both at home and abroad. The main road action happens overseas, with London Olympian and 2:07:48 marathoner Arata Fujiwara in Mongolia to run the Ulanbaatar Marathon where a victory will earn him a horse. A group of five Japanese men and women led by 1:01:37 runner Ken Yokote and 2017 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Ami Utsunomiya is in Sweden on a corporate league junket to the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon to gain valuable experience running and going to laundromats internationally.

Back home, many of their corporate league brethren and sistren will instead be lining up at one of four regional corporate league track championships. Up north in Akita, the East Japan Region meet features top-level Japan-based Africans Jonathan Ndiku, William Malel and Wesley Ledama, with Yuta Shitara, Masato Kikuchi and Azusa Sumi leading the Japanese crowd. The Kansai Region meet happens at the same time in Osaka, with the Chugoku Region meet, which held its 5000 m races last weekend, wrapping up its second half in Hiroshima. The Kyushu Region, home of 2017 New Year Ekiden national champion team Asahi Kasei, will hold its meet in Kita-Kyushu.

One of Asahi Kasei's top men, Tetsuya Yoroizaka, will give the corporate regional meet a miss in favor of racing Rio Olympis 10000 m silver medalist Paul Tanui in the 3000 m being held in Kanagawa as part of Sunday's Golden Grand Prix Kawasaki meet. Gold medalists Thomas Rohler (javelin throw) and Tiana Bartoletta (long jump) and silver medalist Wenxiu Zhang (hammer throw) lead the field events at the Kawasaki meet, which will be broadcast on TBS Sunday afternoon. Sprint events include Rio silver medalists Justin Gatlin, Asuka Cambridge and Shota Iizuka.

© 2017 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

CK said…
"...valuable experience going to laundromats internationally". Well at least they'll be good at it by the time they are selected for a championship event and so will be able to concentrate on packing their own koshi-hikari...

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…