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Update on races that hopefully will be held in 2021 from David Monti

Here’s the latest news on marathons and road races which have come across my desk:

ELITE-ONLY MARATHON SCHEDULED FOR TUSCANY – Thanks in part to funding from the Xiamen Marathon, a European Olympic Marathon qualification race will take place at the Ampugnano Airport in Tuscany, Italy, on Sunday, April 11. The event is called the Xiamen Marathon & Tuscany Camp Global Elite Race and will feature some of the sport’s most recognizable marathoners, like:

Marius Kipserum (KEN), Suguru Osako (JPN), Angela Tanui (KEN), Leul Gebresilase (ETH), Gerda Steyn (RSA), Daniele Meucci (ITA), and Valeria Straneo (ITA). The race will begin with a one-kilometer loop, followed by eight 5-kilometer loops and a short straight to the finish line to make the full 42.195-kilometer distance. The course is World Athletics-certified, so all athletes have a chance to record Olympic Games qualifying marks. 

PRAGUE MARATHON MOVES TO THE FALL – RunCzech has announced that the Volkswagen Prague Marathon will be held in the fall for the first time; the event traditionally takes place on the first or second Sunday of May. The planned date is Sunday, October 10, the same day as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The capacity of the event will be determined later in coordination with Czech health officials.

RunCzech will also hold a virtual version of the race from May 3, through May 31. “We must never stop dreaming and believing,” said RunCzech president Carlo Capalbo through a statement. “There is light at the end of this tunnel. We’ll be there to cheer you on every step of the way, and we look forward to greeting you at the finish line with shouts of joy.”

AUSTRALIA AND ARGENTINA ALSO HOST OLYMPIC QUALIFYING MARATHONS – Elite-only marathons will be held in both Australia and Argentina in April to give athletes a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In Australia, the race will be held in Sydney at the International Regatta Centre in Penrith on April 25, and be organized by Athletics Australia.

“In the same international calendar period, a number of our marathoners would normally be racing at the London Marathon, so this elite race in Sydney is an important opportunity,” said Athletics Australia president Mark Arbib through a statement. “By creating the course for elite athletes, we are allowing our marathoners to prepare with as much certainty as possible.” In Argentina, the race will be held in Santa Rosa, La Pampa on April 18. The Maraton Internacional A Pampa Traviesa will incorporate the Argentine national marathon championships.

SOME SPRING MARATHONS TO GO FORWARD – A few spring marathons will go forward as in-person races, despite the pandemic. Here is a summary (not a complete list):

April:

03 – Carmel Marathon (USA)

03 – Easter Marathon (AUS)

10 – Access Bank Lagos City Marathon (NGR), C&D Xiamen International Marathon (CHN)

11 – Beverly Wuxi Marathon (CHN), Canberra Times Canberra Marathon (AUS), Maratona Sao Paulo (BRA), Xuzhou Marathon (Chinese Olympic Trials)

18 – Debno Marathon (POL/elite only), Maraton Internacional A Pampa Traviesa (ARG), Zheng-Kai International Marathon (CHN)

24 – Valley O.NE Marathon Weekend (USA)

25 – Ascension Seton Austin Marathon (USA), Mercy Health Glass City Marathon (USA)

25 – Wrexham Elite Marathon & Half-Marathon (GBR)

May:

01 – Myrtle Beach Marathon (USA)

08 – Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon (USA)

16 – Belgrade Marathon (SRB), Alexander the Great Marathon (GRE), Copenhagen Marathon (DEN), Generali Milano City Marathon (ITA)

30 – Brescia Art Marathon (ITA)

MOST SPRING ROAD RACES MOVE TO THE FALL – One by one, race organizers are moving their spring road races to late summer or the fall. Here is a summary of some of those postponements:

August:

22 – Vitality Big Half (GBR), Generali Berliner Halbmarathon (GER), Kerzerslauf 15-K (SUI)

28 – Asics Sentrumsløpet 10-K (SWE)

September:

05 – Bath Half-Marathon (GBR), CSOB Bratislava City Marathon (SVK), Harmonie Mutuelle Semi-Marathon de Paris (FRA)

05 – Spar Women’s Challenge – Cape Town (RSA), Sportisimo Prague Int’l Half-Marathon (CZE)

06 – GTC Reedy River Run 10-K (USA)

11 – Göteborgsvarvet Half-Maraton (SWE)

12 – HASPA Marathon Hamburg (GER), Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile (USA), Meia-Maratona Internacional de Lisboa (POR)

12 – Brighton Marathon (GBR), Stramilano (ITA), Vienna City Marathon (AUT)

19 – Run Rome The Marathon (ITA)

25 – Cooper River Bridge Run (USA), Freihofer’s Run for Women (USA), NN City Pier City Half-Marathon (NED)

October:

02 – Azalea Trail Run 10-K (USA)

03 – Cardiff University Cardiff HM (GBR), 10-K Valencia Ibercaja (ESP), Virgin Money London Marathon (GBR)

10 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon (USA), Volkswagen Prague Marathon (CZE)

11 – Boston Marathon (USA)

17 – EDP Medio Maratón de Sevila (ESP), Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris (FRA), eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona (ESP), Tokyo Marathon (JPN)

24 – NN Marathon Rotterdam (NED), Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (HKG), Oberbank Linz Donau Marathon (AUT)

29 – Jerusalem International Marathon (ISR)

November:

07 – Los Angeles Marathon Presented by Asics (USA), Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP)

14 – Movistar Medio Maratón Villa de Madrid (ESP)

21 – New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon (TPE)

28 – Limassol Marathon (CYP)

(04/03/2021) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by David Monti Race Results Weekly
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Kengo Suzuki still in state of shock after setting Japan marathon record

A day after his blistering run at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Kengo Suzuki was still coming to grips with his status as a new Japanese national record holder on Monday.

Suzuki surprised even himself by setting the national men’s marathon record of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 56 seconds in Sunday’s race along the shores of Japan’s largest freshwater lake in Shiga Prefecture.

“It’s slowly sinking into my head that I actually set a new national record,” Suzuki said in an online press conference.

“(The race) has done more damage to my legs than I had imagined, so I’m going to take some time to rest before I move on to my next goal,” he said.

Suzuki’s win made him the first Japanese runner to complete a sub-2:05 marathon. He was among the more than 300 men lined up to run the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, one of the country’s most prominent races.

The unheralded Suzuki finished 12th in the same race last year, but this year he chopped more than five minutes off his previous personal best of 2:10:21, set in 2018.

Now the 25-year-old has set his sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“(I still lack) the physical toughness to endure high-intensity training and the mental toughness to fend off (other runners’) attempts to unsettle me,” he said. “It’s important that I work out consistently every day.”

The previous national record of 2:05:29 was set last March at the Tokyo Marathon by Suguru Osako, who secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge holds the official marathon world record of 2:01:39, which he set at the Berlin Marathon in 2018, as well as the unofficial world record of 1:59:40 from an event in Vienna, Austria, in 2019 held under several artificial conditions.

Suzuki believes himself capable of running a sub-2:04 marathon in the near future, provided he can steer clear of injury.

“I’m getting more comfortable with my marathon training program,” he said. “If I’m able to stay injury-free and I raise my fitness levels, then that time might just be reachable.”

Spectators at Sunday’s race were asked to refrain from cheering on the sidelines as a coronavirus countermeasure.

The event, first run in 1946 in Osaka, moved to Shiga in 1962. But top runners have recently been opting to run the Tokyo Marathon, held around the same time of the year and said to produce better records.

Toshihiko Seko, who booked his berth for the 1988 Seoul Olympics by winning that year’s Lake Biwa Marathon, said, “It was a fitting finale and wonderful. It was a history-changing race.”

(03/02/2021) Views: 200 ⚡AMP
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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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Kengo Suzuki clocked 2:04:56 National Record to Win final Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

Set to be absorbed into the mass-participation Osaka Marathon as its elite men's field next year the same way the old Tokyo International Marathon was swallowed whole by the Tokyo Marathon, the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon wrapped its 76 years as a freestanding event with a bang, a big one, Sunday in Otsu.

Everything was on. The conditions were good, light clouds, 7˚C, 57% humidity and light breezes at the start. The field was good, 24 men having run sub-2:10 in the last three years and 52 sub-2:12. The pacing was good, the lead trio of pacers hitting almost every split within a couple of seconds of the target 2:58/km and the second group pacers even closer to the 3:00/km target. The shoes were good, across brands.

30 or so people went out on pace to go under the 2:05:29 national record in the first group, with what looked like about a hundred on mid-2:06 pace in the second group. Everything went smoothly and steadily, nature taking its course and whittling down both groups until there were only 12 left up front and a couple of dozen in the second group at 25 km when most of the pacers stepped off. Just past that point, Hiroto Inoue (Mitsubishi Juko), the second-fastest man in the field at 2:06:54, made a surge to break away. Lone remaining pacer James Rungaru (Chuo Hatsujo) took his time reeling Inoue back in, just five others still with him when he regained contact 3 km later.

When Rungaru stopped at 30 km past Ageo City Half Marathon winner Simon Kariuki (Togami Denki) took over with five Japanese men, Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu), Hidekazu Hijikata (Honda), Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei), Masato Kikuchi (Konica Minolta) and Inoue, strung out single-file behind him. Kariuki slowed slightly to 2:59-3:00/km, but even so Dairokuno, Kikuchi and Inoue started to strain and lose touch. Suzuki and Hijikata, on the other hand, were even smoother and calmer than Kariuki, staying right there behind him.

The only changes until just after 36 km were the gap between the front and back trios widening and Suguru Osako's NR starting to slip out of reach. But at the 36 km drink station Suzuki made his move, one that will be studied for years to come. As they approached the #6 special drink table where Kariuki's bottle waited, Suzuki pulled out from behind him to his right. Just as Kariuki looked to his left to grab his bottle Suzuki attacked, and when Kariuki looked back up the gap was already about 5 m.

It was brilliant. And Suzuki, the 2017 National University Half Marathon champ in 1:01:36 and 2017 World University Games half marathon silver medalist and who made a similar move near 20 km in the MGC Race Olympic trials that ultimately helped his older teammate Shogo Nakamura win, was just getting going. For almost every one of the final 6 km he split in the 2:51~53/km range, bringing the NR back into sight, then 2:05:15, then 2:05:00.

With a final surge in the last 200 m of the track he stopped the clock at 2:04:56, the first Japanese man to break 2:05, 1:17 under former world record holder Wilson Kipsang's course record, and a PB by 5 and 1/2 minutes. "I didn't expect this kind of time at all," he said post-race. "In my other marathons to date I've slowed down in the last part, so the focus today was on finishing hard. I knew that was the right time to make my move." Still just 25, Suzuki's career goal is the Paris Olympics. Unluckily for him, the Project Exceed 100 million yen bonus program for a new national record has already run out. Let's hope he's got another chance to earn that kind of payday before Paris.

Behind him, Hijikata, only 23 and running just his second marathon after a 2:09:50 debut in Tokyo last year right before his graduation from Koku Gakuin University, dropped Kariuki for 2nd in 2:06:26. Likewise doing his second marathon after a 2:28:47 debut at Lake Biwa last year, 25-year-old Kyohei Hosoya (Kurosaki Harima) ran almost perfectly even splits, going through halfway in 1:03:21 to come up from the second group and run down Kariuki, Inoue, Dairokuno and half marathon NR holder Yusuke Ogura (Yakult) for 3rd in 2:06:35. Both Inoue and Ogura held on for sub-2:07 PBs, Inoue 4th in 2:06:47 and Ogura 5th in 2:06:51.

And behind them, the hits kept coming. 10 men ran 2:07. 13 ran 2:08. 14 ran 2:09. Almost all were PBs or debuts. 28 men sub-2:09, 42 sub-2:10. 174 men sub-2:20, the most ever, anywhere, by a long shot. With no Beppu-Oita, Nobeoka or Tokyo this season that may have been a factor of Lake Biwa being the only game in town, but still, can you believe those numbers, even with the usual Japanese depth? With the shoes these days times might not be worth what they used to be, but even if you factor in a couple of minutes this was about as good a demonstration of the sheer depth of quality of the marathon development system here as you could ask for.

And between that and a great race up front it was the perfect sendoff for Japan's oldest marathon before it disappears next year into the maw of Osakan modernity. Farewell, Lake Biwa. Long may you run.

(02/28/2021) Views: 194 ⚡AMP
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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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Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Japan's first World Athletics gold label race will be discontinued after 2021 Race

In an interview with a source involved in the decision, it was learned on Dec. 17 that the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will be discontinued after next year's 76th edition on Feb. 28, 2021. One of Japan's three major men's marathons, Lake Biwa's position on the calendar as the last chance to qualify for Olympic and World Championships teams meant it has had a long history of being the place where Japan's best marathoners earned to right to compete against the best in the world. But in recent years Lake Biwa has felt increasing pressure from the rise of the Tokyo Marathon, where national records and other fast times have been run almost every year, and Lake Biwa's relevance and value began to come into question. The Osaka Marathon is likely to replace Lake Biwa as a national team selection race in the future.

Having begun in 1946, Lake Biwa is the oldest existing marathon in Japan. Along with the Fukuoka International Marathon and the Tokyo Marathon it is counted as one of Japan's three major men's marathons. But now its long, colorful history is set to come to an end next year when Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (28, Fujitsu) and others stand on its starting line one final time. 

Starting and finishing on the track at Ojiyama Field, Lake Biwa has long been the final selection race for Olympic and World Championships teams. At both the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiru Olympics two of the three men's team members earned their places at Lake Biwa. At both the 1964 and 1968 Olympics all three members were chosen there. Its position on the calendar relative to Fukuoka and Tokyo meant the battles were always furious, and those who emerged victorious went on to take on the world.

There's no question that Lake Biwa has been the site of countless classic races and a vital part of Japan's marathon tradition, but in recent years its relevance has faded. One of the major factors in this was the Tokyo Marathon's change to a faster course in 2017. In 2018 Yuta Shitara (29, Honda) broke the Japanese national record in Tokyo, and two years later Suguru Osako (29, Nike) followed Shitara's lead and did the same. With that record of success, Tokyo has become the first choice for Japanese men targeting fast times. 

The outcome of that change for Lake Biwa, an elite-only marathon, was that the athletes who could have provided the fireworks started staying away. With the Tokyo Marathon having moved to Lake Biwa's traditional date the first Sunday in March two years ago, Lake Biwa's shift a week later meant it was now the same day as the Nagoya Women's Marathon, hiding it in the shadows even further. The race's viability, financial and otherwise, came into question.

According to those involved, the Osaka Marathon is the most likely candidate to replace Lake Biwa as a national team selection event. With 35,000 people running on a downtown urban course it is the second-largest marathon in Japan after only Tokyo. With that kind of modern prestige to it, Osaka is highly likely to pick up the selection race label.

Modernity has a way of burying history. The MGC Race, a one-shot selection race for the Tokyo Olympics, was a major success. Those in power are leaning toward using the same kind of single trials race for the 2024 Paris Olympics. With the coronavirus crisis an ongoing issue, this is a period of transition. The Japanese marathon world isn't immune to those transitional forces, and we can only hope that its reorganization and reformation produce even more exciting races.

(12/18/2020) Views: 269 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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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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Japanese national 10,000m championship sees 17 men break 28 minutes

The Olympic qualification window reopened on December 1, which means that this will be the biggest weekend of running we’ve seen in months. Over the next three days, there’s the Valencia half and full marathon, Track Meet and the Japanese National Distance Finale. In Japan, races have already gotten underway and seen some stellar results. Last night the men’s race saw 17 men go under 28 minutes in the 10,000m, with the first three all breaking the Japanese national record and the top two running Olympic standard. In 2019, over the course of an entire year, only one Canadian man broke 28 minutes (Mohammed Ahmed‘s national record of 26:59). 

The winner of the race, Akira Aizawa, set a new national record of 27:18.75. Second place went to Bernard Koech in 27:19.42 and third to Tatsuhiko Ito in 27:25.73. Nike’s Suguru Osako (who holds the national record in the marathon at 2:05:29) finished sixth in a personal best of 27:36.93. Full results can be found here. 

In the women’s race, national half-marathon record holder, Hitomi Niiya, ran a killer race to finish in 30:20.44. For context, in 2019 only 17 Canadian men ran faster. It’s nearly a minute and a half faster than our women’s national record.

Niiya broke an 18-year-old record of 30:48.89, which was held by Yoko Shibui. Women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama finished second, under the Olympic standard, in 31:11.56.

 

(12/05/2020) Views: 162 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Galen Rupp breezes to victory in a popup half marathon in Lane County

Galen Rupp Runs 60:22, Suguru Osako Runs 61:15 In Half Marathon

Galen Rupp cruised to victory in a special half marathon Friday near Row River in Lane County.

The former University of Oregon star and two-time Olympic medalist finished in 1 hour, 22 seconds, well in front of Japanese Olympian Suguru Osako, who crossed in 1:01:15.

This was Rupp’s first competition since he won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta last February.

“It’s been a challenging year for everybody because of COVID,” Rupp said. “I’m so thankful and grateful to have this opportunity just to race. That was my whole mentality coming in here -- get a race in. If it happened that I ran really fast, great.”

The race was set up by the Eugene Marathon. The precise location and start time were kept secret to discourage spectators and stay within Oregon’s coronavirus protocols.

The lack of reliable internet service at the scene prevented the race from being live-streamed. Few details of the action were available while the runners were in the course.

Rupp’s winning time was well short of the U.S. record of 59:43, held by Ryan Hall since 2007. But Rupp’s 10-mile spit of 45:53 betters the U.S. 10-mile record of 46:13 held by Greg Meyer since 1983.

Ian Dobson of the Eugene Marathon said Rupp’s 10-mile time met all record criteria.

“Any time you set a record, it’s a great day,” Rupp said. "I think this technically is my PR (personal record) for a half marathon too. I ran a little quicker in Rome a few years ago, but that wasn’t a record-eligible course.

“Technically I came out with a PR. So, it was a great day. Any time you can do that, you can’t leave disappointed. I would have loved to go faster. It just wasn’t in the cards today.”

(10/31/2020) Views: 285 ⚡AMP
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Galen Rupp and Suguru Osako are aiming for a fast half marathon on Friday near Eugene

Olympians Galen Rupp and Suguru Osako have signed on for what is expected to be a blazingly fast half marathon Friday at an undisclosed location in Lane County.

Eugene Marathon has set up the course and ensured it is certified. Organizers are declining to reveal the course’s location or time in deference to the coronavirus pandemic. All participants have been tested for the virus.

Rupp won the men’s race at 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last February in Atlanta. The former University of Oregon star is the 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000 meters and the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon. He holds the U.S. record for the 10,000.

Osako is the Japanese record-holder in the marathon, as well as the 3,000 and 5,000 meters.

The two runners are former teammates with the now defunct Nike Oregon Project. Both are based in Portland, although Osako has been training in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“Galen called me maybe a month ago,” said Pete Julian, Osako’s coach. "He asked if Suguru would be interested in throwing down somewhere in Oregon in this time frame.

“I was like, ‘Galen, you called at the perfect time. That’s exactly what we want to do.'”

Rupp has not raced since winning in Atlanta. Osako was active with Julian’s group in track races over the summer. He had begun training for December’s Honolulu Marathon before that was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think they’re pretty lined up,” Julian said of the two runners. “Galen hasn’t raced in a long time. But he is old enough and wise enough now that if he says wants to run a good, hard, fast half marathon, you have to believe he is ready to go. I know Suguru is ready to go. It will be cool.”

The course is said to be flat. And if the race is fast, well, the U.S. record for a half marathon of 59 minutes, 43 seconds has been held by Ryan Hall since 2007. The Japanese half-marathon record is of 1:00.00 was set earlier this year by Yusuke Ogura.

Julian wouldn’t call Friday’s race a record attempt.

“Hey, man, 13.1 miles is a long way to go,” Julian said. “It’s almost foolish to say we’re targeting something because I know nothing about the course. My assumption is if the weather is nice, it’s warm enough and it’s not windy, and you have two guys like that, running around an hour for a half marathon is certainly within their capabilities.”

Eugene Marathon will be posting more details on its Twitter and Instagram accounts as the race nears. On Friday, organizers will use those platforms to provide updates on the progress of the competition.

(10/28/2020) Views: 293 ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Ryu Takaku, Yuma Hattori and Taku Fujimoto Headline Fukuoka International Marathon

With strict limitations on immigration still a reality in Japan, the Dec. 6 Fukuoka International Marathon has announced an almost entirely domestic field of less than 100 that includes only five Japan-based foreign-born athletes plus an all-Japan-based Kenyan pacing crew led by Bedan Karoki (Toyota).

Not that the field is hurting for quality. Ryu Takaku (Yakult), 2:06:45 in Tokyo this year, 2018 Fukuoka winner and Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Yuma Hattori (Toyota), and Taku Fujimoto (Toyota), a bump up to the 2019 Fukuoka winner's position pending after the subsequent suspension of the Moroccan who crossed the line first for biological passport violations, make up the front end of a field that includes eleven current sub-2:10 men and seven of last year's top ten.

Hattori has said publicly that he'll be going for Suguru Osako's 2:05:29 national record, and with pacing support from teammates Karoki and Fujimoto, his former Toyo University teammate Takaku there with him, and no dirty athletes to effortlessly tear him in half at the end, if the weather is good his chances will be too.

Shizuoka-based Kenyan Michael Githae (Suzuki) is the top international in the field with a best of 2:09:21 from Lake Biwa in 2018, but sub-60 half marathoner Paul Kuira (JR Higashi Nihon) still has potential to improve on his 2:11:58 best, and likewise for former Takushoku University ekiden team captain Derese Workneh (Hiramatsu Byoin). Workneh's teammate Cyrus Kingori (Hiramatsu Byoin) looks promising in his debut with a 1:01:31 for 4th at last year's Gifu Seiryu Half. 

One promising name for a breakthrough in the Japanese field is Taiki Suzuki (Raffine), 9th last year in 2:12:09 in his marathon debut. It'll be interesting as well to see if Yuya Yoshida (GMO) can build on his inspiring at-the-time-career-ending 2:08:30 debut at Beppu-Oita this year, and it still feels like Olympic team alternate Shohei Otsuka (Kyudenko) has more waiting in him than his 2:10:12 best from Beppu-Oita two years ago.

Toyo fans will be hoping the same for Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu), twin brother of former NR holder Yuta Shitara.

(10/26/2020) Views: 306 ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Tokyo Marathon to be Held in Fall of 2021

On Oct. 4 it was learned from an involved source that the 2021 Tokyo Marathon, currently scheduled for Mar. 7, has made a final decision to move to the fall next year with a full field size of 38,000 rather than as an elite-only race.

The postponement is a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but the organizers do not plan to reduce the event's size. The decision has been approved by the board of directors of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation and a formal announcement is expected to be made on Oct. 9.The move puts the 2021 Tokyo Marathon in the aftermath of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to the source, the original Mar. 7 was viewed as simply not feasible given the current status of the coronavirus crisis.

The move will allow the race to be held without a reduction in the number of participants, roughly 38,000 people in normal years. The Foundation was keen to avoid a reduction in the number of participants for a second-straight year after this year's mass participation field was cut shortly before the race. One consequence of the coronavirus crisis has been a reduction in the event's income from sponsors.This year's Tokyo Marathon in March was held as an elite-only competition, with Suguru Osako (29, Nike) setting a new national record of 2:05:29. The cancelation of the mass-participation race came two weeks beforehand, with entrants given the option of shifting their entries to either 2021 or 2022.

Since then, marathons and road races all across the country have canceled, announced one-year postponements, or scaled down their event sizes. As the largest marathon in Japan, an announcement that Tokyo plans to go ahead with a full field may help to slow down this domino effect.The Foundation originally planned to make a final decision about next year's race by August of this year. That decision was delayed in order to make it possible to make a decision informed by the latest government policies regarding public events. Government policies currently call for events to reduce the maximum number of people present by 50% through the end of November, with the subsequent level still under study.

Based upon that timeline and its impact on preparations the Tokyo Marathon organizers decided the planned spring date was not feasible.

Foundation spokespeople had previously said that they were examining all options but did not plan to hold another elite-only race.

(10/05/2020) Views: 290 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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Tokyo Marathon 2021 could exclude non-elite runners again due to pandemic

Organizers of the Tokyo Marathon are considering excluding runners from the general public for a second consecutive year over coronavirus concerns, Jiji Press learned Thursday.

Next year’s Tokyo Marathon, scheduled for March 7, may accept elite athletes only. The Tokyo Marathon Foundation will make a decision on the matter early next month, informed sources said.

In this year’s race, held on March 1, participation by some 38,000 runners from among the public was canceled due to the spread of the new coronavirus. Spectators were asked to refrain from watching from along the marathon route as elite athletes ran in the race, which served as a qualifier for Japanese athletes for the men’s marathon in the Tokyo Olympics.

Suguru Osako set a new Japanese record of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds to place fourth in the race. He was later selected to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed by one year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tokyo Marathon, which started in 2007, is one of the largest marathon events in Japan in terms of the number of participants.

The foundation has already notified runners from the general public for this year’s race that they are eligible to participate in the Tokyo Marathon for next year or for 2022. They were initially asked to choose the year by last month, but the selection process has been postponed.

(08/28/2020) Views: 311 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 331 ⚡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) Views: 558 ⚡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) Views: 616 ⚡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) Views: 1,001 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 598 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 601 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 865 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 875 ⚡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) Views: 1,149 ⚡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) Views: 1,204 ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Gold Coast Airport Marathon

Gold Coast Airport Marathon

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is held annually in one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It is Australia’s premier road race and was the first marathon in the country to hold an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label. The event is held on the first weekend of July and attracts more than...

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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) Views: 976 ⚡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) Views: 1,236 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 1,093 ⚡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) Views: 1,114 ⚡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. Sponsored by Tokyo Metro, the Tokyo Marathon is an annual event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World...

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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) Views: 3,213 ⚡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) Views: 4,774 ⚡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 and more 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...

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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) Views: 1,102 ⚡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) Views: 1,959 ⚡AMP
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