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Articles tagged #Suguru Osako
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Like everywhere else, lives and plans in Japan have been put on hold by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus

Japan was one of the first countries after China to detect cases of the virus, its first on 16 January, but taking until 7 April for official numbers to climb enough for the national government to declare a state of emergency.

The official response within Japanese athletics has been similar, simultaneously fast and slow. The Tokyo Marathon on 1 March was one of the first outside China to put a stop order on this year’s edition, announcing that it would cancel its mass-participation race and go ahead as an elite-only event. The Nagoya Women’s Marathon on 8 March echoed that days later.

But while other road races joined Nagoya in following Tokyo’s lead, outdoor track season appeared ready to go forward. Some individual events in early April were voluntarily cancelled, but after 2008 Olympic 4x100m silver medallist Naoki Tsukahara was diagnosed with the coronavirus on 30 March, the JAAF Athlete Committee submitted a formal written request to the JAAF that all competitions through the end of May be cancelled or postponed. The JAAF went one better, cancelling or postponing everything through the end of June, including the National Championships.

So where did this leave Japan’s athletes? For some, it put fresh-caught dreams straight on to ice. Tokyo, Nagoya and Lake Biwa were the culmination of a three-year process to put together the best Olympic marathon teams Japan could. After these races, on 8 March the JAAF confirmed the line-ups of Honami Maeda, Ayuko Suzuki, and Mao Ichiyama for women, and Shogo Nakamura, Yuma Hattori and Suguru Osako for men.

On 15 March at the 20km race walk Olympic trials, Nanako Fujii and Koki Ikeda joined Kumiko Okada, Toshikazu Yamanishi, Yusuke Suzuki and Masatora Kawano on the Olympic race walk teams. Eiki Takahashi was added a few weeks later.

Japanese athletes have it easier. Low official infection numbers and the absence of a lockdown have meant comparatively fewer restrictions, but it’s still meant changes. Yuki Saito, assistant coach for both marathon runner Suzuki and 5000m Olympic team favourite Ririka Hironaka, said: “Suzuki was supposed to get physiotherapy at the Japan Institute of Sport Science, but it’s been closed and that’s been an issue. With 11 athletes on our team, we never have more than four or five running together. We can’t do out-of-town training, and since the declaration of emergency, the university where we do workouts has been closed. We’re probably going to use some nearby parks twice a week. With more people working from home there’ll be more around, so we have to be careful not to come too close.”

Post-collegiate Japanese athletes also have a little more peace of mind thanks to the corporate team system. Team members are salaried employees of the sponsor company, meaning that if the situation stretches on for months, they should still get paid whether or not they compete. That means less financial vulnerability than many professional athletes elsewhere.

But there is still the frustration of carefully worked-out plans thrown out the window and no races on the immediate horizon. Brendan Reilly, agent for all three women on the Olympic marathon squad, said: “We had race and/or training plans in place, and the last of those was scrapped in early April.”

For now, like everywhere, it’s a holding pattern. Like everywhere, Japanese athletes are doing what they can to stay optimistic and focused, and to help transmit the same feelings to the general population as the situation becomes more serious. From the members of the 4x100m team to high jump national record-holder Naoto Tobe to marathon runner Hattori, they’ve been posting workouts the average person can do at home, baking tips, and just positive messages.

“Sport is not only essential to maintain and elevate our physical and mental health,” wrote National Sports Agency commissioner and Olympic gold medallist Daichi Suzuki, “but also gives people pride, joy, dreams, excitement, courage. I hope all of us in the sport community can work together as one to help bring this public health threat under control.”

It’s a sentiment everyone in the sport worldwide can take to heart as we all face uncertainty in the year to come.

(04/29/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner for world Athletics
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28 of Top 30 Men at Tokyo Marathon Used Nike's Latest and Previous Platform Shoe Models

Nike's recent generations of thick-soled platform racing shoes swept the 2020 Tokyo Marathon, with 28 out of the top 30 placing men wearing them, including international entrants. Of these, 9 including new Japanese national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) wear wearing the new Air Zoom Alphafly Next% model with a 3.95 cm thick sole complying with new regulations from World Athletics. With 10 Japanese men running under 2:08 in a single race for the first time in history, all 10 were wearing models of the platform shoes.

Despite a mix in choice of models, the shoes dominated the market in the race. One after another, thick green, black, pink, and green and orange shoes crossed the finish line in Marunouchi, Tokyo. From winner Birhanu Legese to 30th-place Shuho Dairokuno, 28 men had the Nike shoes on their feet. The other 2 were wearing Adidas and Asics. Wearing the latest model of the Nike shoes for his latest national record, Osako said, "Every race feels different afterwards. It's hard to say how much of a role the shoes played, but being able to take advantage of Nike's latest technology is a strength for us."

On Jan. 31 World Athletics established a new rule setting the maximum shoe sole thickness at 4 cm. On Feb. 5 Nike unveiled its new model with a thickness of 3.95 cm. With the shoes going on sale in Japan, the Tokyo marathon represented their Japanese debut.

Switching from the previous model to the new one for this race and finishing 27th in 2:09:41, Kenji Yamamoto (Mazda) commented, "My left foot starting hurting at 10 km, and something felt wrong. In the second half my legs felt like sticks, but I still felt like I was getting a lot of assistance. Somehow I still managed to squeeze out a sub-2:10. The rebound in these is amazing." Comparing them to the previous model he wore at last fall's MGC Olympic trials race he said, "The softness is completely different. When you step in them it feels like you're on top of a balance ball, and you get a real feeling of rebound."

There's no denying that the hard work and dedication that athletes put in on a day-to-day basis plays the biggest role in their success, but it's equally true that the last few generations of these platform shoes were in the director's seat of a race that saw an unprecedented 10 Japanese men run under 2:08.

(03/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Japan Running News
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An assault of Wilson Kipsang's course record on tap at the 75th edition of the Lake Biwa Marathon

An assault of Wilson Kipsang's 2:06:13 course record from 2011 is on tap at the 75th edition of the Lake Biwa Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, in Otsu, Japan, on Sunday.

Three sub-2:06 and two sub-2:07 runners are in the line-up. Four of those have career bests faster than Kipsang's nine-year-old record. All of those performances came in 2019, suggesting that quartet is on top of their game.

The fastest in the field is Evan Chebet who clocked 2:05:00 in winning last year's Buenos Aires Marathon. Chebet has also produced sub-2:06 runs in Valencia, Berlin and Seoul and also finished fourth in the Tokyo Marathon with 2:06:42.

The next fastest is Filex Chemonges who broke the Ugandan national record with a 2:05:12 performance in Toronto last year. He has run three marathons and each time improved his personal best.

Felix Kiprotich, the third fastest in the field, won the 2019 Daegu Marathon with 2:05:33, and also has three more sub-2:07 runs to his credit. Samuel Ndungu, the Lake Biwa winner in 2015, improved his personal best to 2:06:02 in Lisbon last year. The final sub-2:07 man in the field is Dutch national record holder Abdi Nageeye who improved clocked 2:06:17 in Rotterdam, also last year.

Former winners joining Ndungu are 2018 champion Joseph Ndirangu and 2019 winner Salah Bounasar. Other contenders include Stephen Mokoka who was third in 2019 in 2:07:58, the second-best time of his career.

The race also serves as the final chance for Japanese men to win a spot on the Olympic Marathon team. To secure their spot, a runner must run faster than the 2:05:29 national record set last week by Suguru Osako.

The fastest among the five invited Japanese runners is Yuki Kawauchi, with a lifetime best of 2:08:14. Other high-profile Japanese include Takuya Noguchi, with a 2:08:59 best; Kohei Ogino, who's clocked 2:09:36; Shohei Otsuka, a 2:10:12 man; and Kengo Suzuki, who has a 2:10:21 best.

(03/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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Birhanu Legese win the Tokyo Marathon clocking 2:04:15 while Suguru Osako sets a new Japanese record with 2:05:29

The Tokyo marathon mass race was cancelled  because of the worldwide panic concerning the Coronavirus.  However, the elite race took place as scheduled.  What a race it was.  Perfect running weather.  Birhanu Legese from Ethiopia was the overall winner clocking 2:04:15.  He also won last year. 

Suguru Osako was the first Japanese across the line  setting a new national record with 2:05:29. This giving him a big pay day.  Lonah Cemtai Salpeter set a new course record in winning the women's race clocking 2:17:45.  Legese, wearing Nike's much-discussed carbon-plated shoes, hit the front before the 40 kilometre mark, winning by more than half a minute but missing out on Wilson Kipsang's 2017 record of 2:03.58.

Somali-born Belgian Bashir Abdi (2:04.49) pipped Ethiopian Sisay Lemma (2:04.51) to second place in a race for the line.

Japan's Suguru Osako finished fourth in 2:05.29, improving his own national record by 21 seconds and locking up Japan's third and final spot in the men's field for the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

Lonah Korlima Chemtai Salpeter, who runs for Israel, won the women's race in a record time of 2:17.45, 50 seconds ahead of Birhane Dibaba with her fellow Ethiopian Sutume Asefa Kebede a distant third two minutes back.

Sarah Chepchirchir owned the previous women's record of 2:19:47 from the 2017 race.

Suguru Osako's national record brought him a 100 million yen bonus (US$950,000) from the Japan Corporate Track and Field Federation as part of their "Project Exceed" initiative to improve performances in the build-up to the Olympics Games.  "It is not clear if the same person can be paid the bonus twice," says Bob Anderson, MBR editor.  "This is still being confirmed."

Suguru Osako (Ōsako Suguru, born 23 May 1991) is a Japanese long-distance runner. He won the 10,000 metres gold medal at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen and holds the Asian junior record for the half marathon. He held the Japanese National Record for the marathon of 2:05.50 set at the 2018 Chicago Marathon, where he finished third.

 

(02/29/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Defending champ Ruti Aga and last year's winner Birhanu Legese will be back for 2020 Tokyo Marathon

Ethiopia is pretty far down the road to overtaking Kenya as the world's leading marathon nation, and its presence is heavy in both the women's and men's fields for the Olympic year 2020 Tokyo Marathon. Lacking London's star power the Tokyo fields won't win many nominations for best of 2020, but with loads of World Marathon Majors top three finishers and winners of next-tier gold label marathons they're still fields at a level most other races would love to be able to pull off.

On the women's side, with PBs of 2:18:34 and 2:18:46 defending champ Ruti Aga and past winner Birhane Dibaba lead a main of twelve top-tier invited elites, of which nine were born in Ethiopia. The other three, Valary Jemeli Aiyabei, nationality transfer Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, and Selly Chepyego Kaptich, were all born in Kenya.

With Tokyo not counting in last-chance Olympic qualification for Japanese women the top entrant from outside those two countries is Japan's Haruka Yamaguchi, an amateur who took 7th in this past weekend's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:26:35. Former Canadian national record holder Rachel Cliff and locals Kaori Yoshida, Risa Noguchi, Shiho Kaneshige and Yurie Doi fill out the rest of the sub-2:30 set.

On the men's side Ethiopians make up five of the eleven invited internationals including the top four, with last year's winner Birhanu Legese leading the way in 2:02:48. Things are heavily stacked in the 2:04 to low-2:05 range, perfectly designed to set it up for the Japanese men. Their task and its payoff are simple: be the top Japanese guy in 2:05:49 or better and replace national record holder Suguru Osako (Nike) on the Sapporo 2020 Olympic marathon team.

Osako's there to stop them, fresh off a 25 km tempo in Dubai. His main competition is previous national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), who said last week that 2:05 isn't good enough and that if he doesn't run 2:04 in what he's calling his final marathon in Japan then he'll turn down the Olympic team spot.

Shitara's got that crazy edge working, which can count for a lot, but the biggest danger to Osako is probably going to be the ultra-disciplined Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), who ran 2:06:54 in Asics behind Shitara's NR two years ago, then made the switch to the Next% this season and promptly crushed the course record on the New Year Ekiden's longest stage. Put him in the same shoes as Osako and Shitara and they'd better watch out.

Kenta Murayama has the goods to be the other three's equal, but with his sponsor team Asahi Kasei having lost the plot when it comes to marathoning it would be a surprise to see him go much below 2:08. With twelve current sub-2:10 Japanese men in the field it's one of the best domestic races ever assembled, but apart from Murayama and possibly his talented teammate Shuho Dairokuno it's hard to see any darkhorses breaking through to the level of Osako, Shitara and Inoue. 

Mizuki Matsuda's 2:21:47 win in Osaka last weekend bumped her up into the 3rd Olympic women's spot but left her vulnerable to others in Nagoya, but with all the main men in Tokyo it's even harder to see anyone in Lake Biwa a week later going better than what they might do here.

(01/28/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Japanese Yuta Shitara plans for the Tokyo Marathon and his last chance to make the Olympic team

In an interview in Miyazaki on Jan. 23, former men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, talked in no uncertain terms about his plans for the Tokyo Marathon, his last chance to earn a ticket to the 2020 Olympics.

It's going to take breaking current record holder Suguru Osako's 2:05:50 national record to take the third spot on the Olympic team. But, said Shitara, "Even if I break the national record and am chosen, unless I run 2:04 I won't deserve to run in the Tokyo Olympics.

" If he runs a 2:05 national record, he said unambiguously, "I'll probably turn it down."Commenting on Shitara's statement, his coach Satoshi Ogawa said, "I think he has complete confidence about winter races, but when it comes to summer races he's not as sure he can perform as expected.

He probably thinks that there are other people who can do better in summer races."Shitara also said, "Tokyo will be the last marathon I run in Japan," indicating that he plans to shift his focus to competing in high-level races abroad. The Tokyo Marathon is more than sufficiently high-level, regularly featuring athletes who have run in the 2:02 to 2:03 range, but, said Ogawa, "He wants to take on the challenge of competing internationally.

He doesn't want conservative races, he wants to go fast and hard. For him it's all or nothing.

"At the 2018 Tokyo Marathon Shitara ran a then-national record 2:06:11. After a planned confrontation with the man who broke his record failed to materialize at last year's Tokyo, the anticipation for his showdown with Osako this year is already building.

(01/25/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Japanese Yuta Shitara will Go For National Record in Tokyo Marathon, I Care About the 100 Million Yen Bonus More Than the Olympics, he says

There's a lot of attention right now on the last remaining spot on the 2020 Olympic marathon team. The first two spots were secured by the 1st and 2nd-placers at the MGC Race, Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) and Yuma Hattori (Toyota).

To claim the last remaining spot, someone has to break the Japanese national record and run at least 2:05:49 at this winter's Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon or Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. If nobody succeeds, the spot will go to MGC 3rd-placer and current national record holder Suguru Osako (ex-Nike Oregon Project).The favorite to pull it off, after his run at East Japan Shitara talked about his plans for next year's Tokyo Marathon. But he did so in a characteristically Shitaresque way. "As long as you're competing in sports, [the Olympics] are something you aim for," he said.

"I'm running the Tokyo Marathon next year, but I don't really care that much about the Olympics. I care more about getting the 100 million yen bonus [$920,000 USD]. That's my priority. I'm running it for the money. The MGC Race didn't have any prize money, and I'm living right now because I can run. It takes money to run."Making clear his focus on scoring the Project Exceed bonus for breaking the marathon national record again, Shitara seemed to suggest that if he succeeds in winning a place on the 2020 Olympic team he might turn it down. "

"I'm not going to say myself that I'll run [the Olympics]," he said. "The public would probably rather see Osako run there. He's got better achievements in international competitions.

He'd definitely get the job done, and if you leave it to him there won't be any doubt. I'll leave it to the public to decide." Of the Olympic marathon's move to Sapporo he said, "If that's what has been decided then there's no choice but to obey."Now 27 years old with his own unique way of looking at the world, Shitara expressed a sense of frustration with the current state of the marathon as an event. "It's really boring to run all these races set up by old people these days," he said. "I think we're going into an era when change is going to come from the athletes.

I want to change, and I can't wait for that day to come." The first step is to try to score his second 100 million yen bonus in Tokyo. "It's a race against Osako's record," he said. "I'll be going for it as long as I can run."

(11/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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NAKAMURA AND MAEDA WIN JAPAN’S MARATHON GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP

Japan’s selection process for their 2020 Olympic marathon team culminated in victory for Shogo Nakamura and Honami Maeda at the Marathon Grand Championship in Tokyo on Sunday (15).

Japan’s Olympic marathon squad is arguably the toughest national team to make. Several nations may have great depth in one particular area – the US and Jamaica in the sprints and hurdles, Kenya and Ethiopia in the distance events – but for Japan’s MGC there were strict qualifying criteria simply to make it to the start line.

The qualifying window for the MGC opened in August 2017. Anyone who clocked the MGC qualifying standard (2:08:30 for men, 2:24:00 for women) or achieved a sub-2:11/2:28 average for their two fastest marathons in the qualifying window could compete at the MGC. Such was the fierce qualifying battle, the men’s long-standing Japanese record was broken by two different men during the qualifying period.

Forty athletes – 30 men and 10 women – eventually lined up for the MGC. Six of the men in the field had PBs faster than 2:08 while all but two runners in the women’s field had previously bettered 2:25.

And as if the tough qualifying process and competitive line-up wasn’t hard enough, the MGC itself – a marathon in 24-28C heat and 75% humidity – was one final brutal hoop for Japan’s best distance runners to jump through.

Even then, only the top two finishers are guaranteed a spot on Japan’s Olympic team. The third-place finishers are given a provisional place, but if another Japanese man runs 2:05:50 (the Japanese record) or a woman clocks 2:22:23, they can be given the third spot instead.

Fittingly, both races were not short on drama. Yuta Shitara, who broke the Japanese half-marathon record with 1:00:17 in 2017 and followed it with a since-bettered Asian record of 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February 2018, had promised before the race that he was going to set off fast and he stayed true to his word.

The 27-year-old shot into the lead, covering the first 5km in 14:56 and reaching 10km in 29:52. By the time he reached 15 kilometres (44:59), his lead had grown to more than two minutes. Shitara reached the half-way point in 1:03:27 while the four-man chase pack – comprising Kengo Suzuki, Shogo Nakamura, Yuma Hattori and national record-holder Suguru Osako – followed in 1:05:28, showing Shitara’s lead was already starting to dwindle.

The chasing pack grew to seven men at 30km. Shitara continued to lead, but his margin had reduced to 77 seconds. Two more men caught up with the chasers over the next five kilometres, reaching 35km in 1:49:12, and Shitara was now in sight, just 35 seconds in front after covering that five-kilometre section in 16:57.

The inevitable happened two kilometres later as the chase pack breezed past Shitara at the drinks station. With eight men now in contention, Ryo Hashimoto pushed the pace and was followed by Osako, Nakamura and Hattori.

Nakamura was the next to make a move and opened up a few seconds on Hattori and Osako at 40km with Hashimoto dropping back. But with 28 seconds separating the top seven men and little more than two kilometres remaining, the race was far from over. Hattori briefly dropped Osako, but they regrouped moments later and appeared to make up ground on Nakamura. Osako managed to bridge the gap to Nakamura but had nothing left as Nakamura pulled away in the closing stages to win by eight seconds, crossing the line in 2:11:28.

First place may have been decided but the race for Olympic team places wasn’t over. Hattori caught a struggling Osako before the line to take second place in 2:11:36. Osako finished third in 2:11:41. Shohei Otsuka, fourth in 2:11:58, was the only other finisher inside 2:12. Long-time leader Shitara eventually finished 14th in 2:16:09.

The women’s race was effectively decided just before half way when Honami Maeda broke away from the pack.

Eight of the 10 women in the field had passed through 10km in 33:34 and five of them were still together at 15km. Maeda made her move just before 20km, which she passed in 1:07:27, two seconds ahead of two-time world finalist Ayuko Suzuki, who was contesting just her second marathon to date.

A 16:41 split for the next five-kilometre segment was enough to drop the last of Maeda’s pursuers and by 30km her lead had grown to 82 seconds. She continued to pull away from Suzuki over the final quarter of the race and went on to win convincingly in 2:25:15.

Suzuki had a comfortable 33-second margin over Rei Ohara at 40km, but she started to struggle during the last two kilometres. Ohara made up significant ground but couldn’t quite catch Suzuki before the line as Suzuki – the slowest qualifier for the MGC – claimed second place in 2:29:02 with Ohara taking third in 2:29:06. Mizuki Matsuda was fourth in 2:29:51.

(09/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Yuta Shitara said after running 2:07:50 and winning the Gold Coast Marathon, If We Ran the Trials Right Now I'd Win

Former marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (27, Honda) returned to Narita Airport on July 8 after scoring his first-ever marathon win at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon.

Shitara won clocking a course record time of 2:07:50, lending momentum to his buildup for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials just over two months away.

During the race Shitara suffered a mishap, bleeding from both nipples early on. "It rained right before the start," he said, "and once I started running it started chafing. I was a little worried about it, but if you want to compete at the top of the game then there are no excuses."

Shrugging it off, even as his uniform soaked up the blood Shitara kept up his fast pace. "My training paid off in this result," he said with obvious satisfaction.

"Winning gives me confidence, and I want to make good use of that after this."Up to now Shitara has followed his own training program, never running longer than 30 km. But, having had problems maintaining his speed in the second half of the race, this time he increased his longest runs to 35 km starting in June. The results paid off on the Gold Coast as he was tough over the last stage of the race, pulling away for the win in the final kilometers.

"In the training camp for this race I had the feeling that I could go 2:07," he said.In the buildup to the MGC main event Shitara plans to begin training together with his twin brother Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) in Hokkaido for ten days starting in late July.

Keita, who starred at the Hakone Ekiden alongside Yuta during their days at Toyo University, didn't qualify for the MGC Race. But he will still play a valuable role as Yuta's main training partner like when the two of them were in university, dreaming of someday going to the Olympics as a pair.

"We're going to win this together, the two of us," Yuta said. "At the MGC Race nobody's going to be able to say our training was a waste.

"At the MGC Race Shitara will face the man who broke his national record, Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) and other tough competition. But, he said, throwing down an intimidating challenge to them all, "I've got nothing but confidence that I'm going to win. Even if we ran it right now I'd win."

(07/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by Japan Running News
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan Kenneth Mungara, Bernard lagat, Zane Robertson and Yuki Kawauchi are ready to compete at Gold Coast Marathon

Can the man dubbed ‘King Kenneth’ by race organizers, Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara, continue to hold back the years to achieve a fourth victory on the Gold Coast? Has Bernard ‘Kip’ Lagat learned enough from a humbling marathon debut in New York last year to mount a credible challenge? Can New Zealand’s Zane Robertson, who missed last year’s Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast through injury, atone with a victory this time and perhaps take the family record off twin brother Jake into the bargain?

First, let’s take Mungara, as befits an athlete who is the defending champion and holds the race and Australian all-comers’ records with his 2:08:42 in 2015. Sunday will be precisely two months before his 46th birthday, but he shows no signs of slowing down. Should he win again, Mungara will join Pat Carroll, who himself has the credentials to be considered king of the Gold Coast, and Margaret Reddan as four-time winners of the event.

He may not even be first in category. Bernard Lagat turns 45 in December. By any measure, Lagat is the best all-round distance runner to compete in the Gold Coast race. A silver and bronze Olympic medallist at 1500m and second-fastest ever at the event, world over 1500m and 5000m in Osaka in 2007 – he sits comfortably in any conversation of track distances up to, and including, the 10,000m. The marathon is another matter. His debut of 2:17:20 in New York last year was a harsh learning experience and left him with something to prove.

“One of the most important things I learned from running the New York Marathon,” Lagat said when his Gold Coast commitment was announced, “was the experience of ‘hitting the wall’. A lot of people warned me about it and told me to watch for it, but nothing quite teaches you like living through that experience… I panicked a bit, questioned myself if I could finish.”

If Lagat has conquered those doubts, he could be a big factor on the Gold Coast.

Zane Roberston believes he could have won the Commonwealth Games race. A half-marathon PB of 59:47 suggest that is more than just idle talk. He was happy to talk up his chances pre-race.

“First and foremost, I always target the win,’ Robertson said. “I want to run as fast as the pacemakers allow and once they step off the road anything can be possible. Perhaps a new Oceania record?”

Robert de Castella holds the Oceania record at 2:07:51, his winning time the first year the Boston marathon went open in 1986. Of equal note, Zane’s twin brother Jake holds the New Zealand, and family, record at 2:08:26.

The Gold Coast race also serves as the Oceania championships, so the Oceania champion will accrue valuable rankings points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Kenyan pair Ezekiel Chebii and Philip Sanga Kimutai both boast personal bests of 2:06:07, the former from 2016 in Amsterdam, the latter from 2011 in Frankfurt. But the man with the most recent 2:06-clocking is Japan’s Yuta Shitara who ran a national record 2:06:11 in Tokyo last year, a mark subsequently bettered by Suguru Osako’s 2:05:50 in Chicago. Along with the indefatigable Yuki Kawauchi, he gives Japan a strong hand in what has been traditionally a strong race for them.

(07/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Gold Coast Airport Marathon

Gold Coast Airport Marathon

2020 In considering the uncertainty of our ability to deliver an event in July, the Board of Events Management Queensland yesterday decided to suspend planning and entry registrations for the 2020 Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon, effective immediately. This suspension will be reviewed no later than 19 May 2020, or when a revised public health order provides us...

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Legese pulled away at 30k and ran alone to the finish line of the Tokyo Marathon clocking 2:04:48

 Ethiopian Birhanu Legese cruised to victory at the Tokyo marathon on Sunday, winning in a time of two hours, four minutes and 48 seconds in miserable conditions to claim his first major title.  It was raining and 41 degrees at the start and throughout the race.  

The 24-year-old was part of a small leading group for the first 30 kilometres before pulling away easily from runnerup Kenyan Bedan Karoki (2:06:48) and strolling to victory.

Karoki's compatriot Dickson Chumba, twice a winner in Tokyo, was third.

With rain lashing down for much of a frigid morning, it was never likely to be a fast race.

Japan fancied their chances of a homegrown male victory for the first time since 2010 but Suguru Osako, who set a new Japanese national record in October, struggled to stay with the leading group and pulled out with an injury 30 kilometres in.

The 27-year-old, touted as Japan’s best hope of delivering Olympic marathon gold when Tokyo hosts the Games in 2020, was distraught as he limped from the route.

Ethiopian Ruti Aga won the women’s race in a time of 2:20:40, edging out compatriot Helen Tola by 21 seconds.

While the cold and wet conditions served as an enemy for many of the elite runners, Legese put on a convincing performance and posted the second-best time in the event’s history, behind only Wilson Kipsang’s record 2:03:58, set in 2017.

“The weather was tough and it affected the result a little bit,” Legese said through an interpreter. “There were a lot of difficulties like the cold and the breeze, but because this course is a good course, if the weather had held up, I’m confident that I would’ve been able to run under 2:04.”

Ethiopians have now won the women’s marathon in Tokyo in six of the last eight editions.

(03/02/2019) ⚡AMP
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Can Japan’s Suguru Osako Win the Tokyo Marathon on home soil? Yes it is possible but there are five Africans in the field with faster times

Japan’s national record holder Suguru Osako, is running Japan’s biggest marathon, Tokyo. And that’s exciting. Because as great as Japan has been at the marathon in recent years, Kenya and Ethiopia have still been way better.

Prior to last year, no Japanese man had broken 2:07 since 2002, which is almost a prerequisite to win a WMM these days: since 2013, 89% of men’s WMM champs have entered the race with a sub-2:07 PR. 23 Kenyans had broken 2:07 in 2018 alone.

But Japan is narrowing the gap to the East Africans. Last year, after going 15 years without a sub-2:07 marathoner, Japan produced three: Osako (2:05:50), Yuta Shitara (2:06:11), and Hirohito Inoue (2:06:54). And both Osako (3rd in Chicago) and Shitara (2nd in Tokyo) were in the mix for the win at majors.

This weekend kicks off an incredible 18 months of marathoning in Japan. It begins with the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, the first WMM of 2019, and continues in September with the Japanese Olympic Trials, also in Tokyo.  Then there’s the 2020 Tokyo Marathon and, of course, the Olympic marathon in August 2020.

The biggest reason to be excited about this year’s Tokyo Marathon is Osako, who is based in the US and trains under Nike Oregon Project coach Pete Julian.

A win by Japan’s best marathoner on home soil just 17 months before they host the Olympics would be a huge story, and it could actually happen. That doesn’t mean it will happen — there are five guys entered with faster PRs than Osako, including four under 2:05 — but it certainly can happen!

(02/28/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Japan’s Suguru Osako ran an impressive 1:03:00 half-marathon to break the course record at the Surf City Half Marathon

Osako, who holds the Japanese National Record for the marathon of 2:05:50, ran a majority of the race with his training partner Tetsuya Yoroizaka. The duo put the hammer down from the beginning, clocking a 4:50 opening mile and hitting 14:24 at 5k. Both athletes finished with identical times, which were more than 7 minutes ahead of third place finisher Patrick Hearn (1:10:48) from Irvine.

 “It was really good today, a nice tough course, super flat but a little windy,” said Osako, who split the 10-K mark in 29:43. “My goal today was a solid effort at marathon pace and it helped to have some many runners out there cheering for me. I really like this city and today’s crowd was really good.”

Despite recently overcoming an IT band injury, Saguro, 27, who used the Surf City Half Marathon as a tune-up for next month’s Tokyo Marathon, was optimistic about his preparation for the March 3 race.

“My training is going well, I am up in Flagstaff right now, I’ve been training good for the past 3 weeks and we have 4 weeks left from today,” added Saguro, who admitted there is a “little pressure” competing in Tokyo for the first time as a national record holder. “I’m going into the race that I’m a challenger, and I‘m going to enjoy the challenge of running with (Kenenisa) Bekele and the other great athletes running in Toyko.”

(02/05/2019) ⚡AMP
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

The Surf City USA Marathon and Half-Marathon attracts more than 20,000 runners from around the world. The exclusive oceanfront course runs along the Pacific Coast Highway (which is more like a street than a highway in this area), past the Huntington Beach Pier and the famous Southern California surfing beaches. Weekend highlights include many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

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Two-time Tokyo marathon champion Dickson Chumba going for victory again March 3

Dickson Chumba, who also won the Tokyo Marathon in 2014, has a life time best of 2:04:32 having finished inside 2:05 in both of his Tokyo victories. He also finished third at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of the race. He faces a stellar line-up that includes multiple world and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele.

Bekele set a national record of 2:03:03 when winning the 2016 Berlin Marathon but he has struggled in some of his races since then. He failed to finish in Dubai in 2017 but rebounded to finish second in London in 2:05:57 three months later.

He then withdrew from the Berlin Marathon later the same year before returning to action at the 2018 London Marathon, where he finished sixth in 2:08:53,. He recorded another ‘DNF’ at the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2018.

Bekele’s last race in Japan was at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, where he won the 10,000m—one of his six global titles at the distance.

He is one of five men in the field with PBs faster than 2:05. Fellow Ethiopian Birhanu Legesse ran 2:04:15 in Dubai on his debut at the distance last year and will contest his third career marathon in Tokyo.

Bahrain’s Asian record-holder El Hassan El Abbassi and Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura, both of whom recorded their sub-2:05 lifetime bests last year, are also in the mix.

Most of the local fans, however, will be focused on Suguru Osako, who broke the Japanese record when finishing third at the Chicago Marathon last year in 2:05:50.

Two sets of pacemakers are planned for the men’s race. The first set will aim for 2:57-2:58/km pace until 30km, targeting a finishing time in the region of 2:04:30 to 2:05:10. The second set will run at 3:00/km pace with a target finishing time of about 2:06:35.

(01/27/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. (2020) The Tokyo Marathon Foundation said it will cancel the running event for non-professional runners as the coronavirus outbreak pressures cities and institutions to scrap large events. Sponsored by Tokyo...

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Japan's Suguru Osako wins nearly one Million Dollars in placing third at the Chicago Marathon

Japan's Suguru Osako placed third at the 2018 Chicago Marathon clocking 2:05:50, a new national Japan record.  

This beats the record of 2:06:11. The Japanese Corporate Track and Field Federation (Project Exceed program) will pay him a 100-million-yen bonus ($879,465 U.S. dollars) for setting a new national record.  

Before the race Suguru Osako said, ““I want to try to break the national record, but the most important thing to me is to be competitive with the other runners.  I’ am really excited and proud to run with Mo and Galen. I’m going to enjoy the challenge.”” 

Osako trains in Oregon and is part of the Nike Oregon Project.  Osako was born May 23, 1991.  He won the 10,000 meters gold medal at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen and holds the Asian junior record for the half marathon. Born in Machida, Tokyo, he attended Saku Chosei High School and began to establish himself nationally in 2010.  

Suguru Osako made his marathon debut at the 2017 Boston Marathon, landing on the podium in third in 2:10:28. At the time, he was the first Japanese man to finish among the top three since Seko won Boston in 1987.

He closed out 2017 with an impressive personal best and third place finish at the Fukuoka Marathon, 2:07:19.  He becomes the first Japanese man and just the second non-African-born runner to break 2:06. 

(10/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Mo Farah sets European Record to Win The Chicago Marathon

This was Great Britian's Sir Mo Farah's first marathon win in three attempts today October 7.  He looked smooth the whole way and took control of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon over the last few miles when he stepped up the pace to 4:35 per K.

The lead group had passed the half way mark in 1:03:03.  At the finish Mo Farah clocked 2:05:11 winning his first US marathon and setting a new European record.  (Breaking Sondre Nordstad Moen record of 2:05:48 set in Japan Dec 3, 2017.)   

24-year-old Brigid Kosgei from Kenya running her ninth marathon and second place finisher last year ran the last miles by herself to clock an outstanding 2:18:35, making her the 10th fastest women's marathon time ever. 

"I like the rain," Brigid said after winning. "I enjoy the rain and I swallowed the pain, no struggling," she said. Roza Dereje (Eth) was second cocking 2:21:18.  First American was Sarah Crouch finished sixth with 2:32:37.  

"Amazing to come across the finish first," Mo said after he finished.  Ethiopia's Mosinet Geremew Bayih finished second clocking 2:05:24.  Suguru Osako from Japan finished third in 2:05:50 setting a national Japan record winning 100 million yen (almost one million US dollars) in doing so. 

In fourth was Kenneth Kipkemoi from Kenya clocking 2:05:57.  Galen Rupp who fell off the pack at around 22 miles came back strong and finished fifth with 2:06:21 just 14 seconds off his PR.  Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) finished 19th clocking 2:16:26, his 82nd sub 2:20 marathon. Mo, a  two-time Olympic champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, native of Great Britain finished third in the London Marathon earlier this year. 

The men’s field include three former champions and 11 racers who have registered times faster than 2:08.  In the end 11 men ran faster than 2:10, nine under 2:08.  The temperature was 58 degrees at the start with light to heavy rain most of the way. Of more impact were the north-northeast winds coming off Lake Michigan as runners headed north from the start.  

Mo is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, he was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both the 5000m and 10,000m. Farah is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000m and 10,000m titles at successive Olympic Games. 

Mo moved from the track to the roads after the 2017 World Athletics Championships.  61-year-old Joan Samuelson clocked 3:12:13 not reaching her sub three hour goal. 

(10/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states andmore than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and fast...

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Past champions Abel Kirui and Dickson Chumba join the elite field at this year's Chigago Marathon

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that several international running stars are joining the 41st annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite athlete competition. Past champions Abel Kirui (KEN) and Dickson Chumba (KEN) are confirmed, and 2017 runner-up Brigid Kosgei (KEN) and two-time podium finisher Birhane Dibaba (ETH) stand out among the women. They will join previously announced global sensations Galen Rupp (US), Mo Farah (GBR), Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) and Suguru Osako (JPN). This year’s elite field includes 11 men who have run 2:07 or faster and nine women (including three Americans) who have run 2:25 or faster. Moreover, it features five of the top eight men who placed on top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI leaderboard and two of the top seven women. “We have put together an exciting elite field, and it should be a fast race to the top of the podium,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “This year’s elite field is a collection of some of the best international and American athletes running on the global stage today. We are confident that they will continue the great tradition of memorable and record setting performances in Chicago.” Dickson Chumba set his personal best, 2:04:32, in Chicago in 2014 when he finished third on a historic day that witnessed three of the top five times ever run in Chicago (Chumba is the fifth fastest runner in Chicago’s history). He came back to win in 2015 and while he tried to defend his title in 2016, he came up three seconds short, finishing second to Abel Kirui. Since he embarked on his marathon career in 2010, he has finished 17 marathons and he boasts an impressive record: five wins, five runner-ups and four third place finishes. He lines up this fall after opening his 2018 season with his second win at the Tokyo Marathon. His time, 2:05:30, was the second fastest winning time in Tokyo’s history.  (08/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi will be facing Mo farah and Gallen Rupp at Chicago Marathon men elite field

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said.

"I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Race Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Carey Pinkowski.

“Yuki has taken an unconventional path to marathon stardom; there’s no other elite runner competing today like him. And Suguru is young in his marathon career with a real chance at breaking the Japanese national record in Chicago.”

Before becoming the 2018 Boston Marathon champion amidst freezing temperatures and pouring rain where he said, “for me, these are the best conditions possible,” Kawauchi gained global renown for his prolific racing schedule. He holds the record for the most marathons run under 2:20 (79), he boasts a PR of 2:08:14, he has won more than 30 career marathons and he finished 12 marathons in 2017 alone.

He has raced more than 20 times in 2018, including running the Kuki Half Marathon dressed in a panda suit and setting a course record at the Yatsugatake Nobeyama 71K ultramarathon in May. He won there by 30 minutes.  

(06/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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