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Hirosawa Breaks 400 m Region Record - Kanto Regionals Day Two Highlights

Despite windy conditions that put legal marks out of reach in most events, day 2 of the Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships saw one notable new record. In the D1 women's 400 m Mae Hirosawa (Nittai Univ.) ran 53.45 to break the meet record by 0.30 and the Kanto Region record by 0.11. Both of the previous records were set by Kazue Kakinuma (Chuo Univ.) back in 1995 before Hirosawa was born. Hirosawa now stands at all-time #6 among Japanese collegiate women.



In its first season without now-graduated national record holder Yoshihide Kiryu, Toyo University showed continued growth in its sprinting. First-year Daisuke Miyamoto (Toyo Univ.) won the D1 men's title in 10.11 (+3.2 m/s), then boosted the Toyo men's 4x100 m team to a 39.03 school record for the win. Toyo's investment in first-rate facilities for Kiryu looks like it will continue to pay dividends in the years to come.



Times were slow across the 1500 m, with indoor mile national record holder Ryoji…
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Kisaisa, Sekiya and Wambui Lead Kanto Regionals Day One

Japan's biggest university meet kicked off Thursday at a new home in the wildlands of suburban Kanagawa. Day 1 of the 97th Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships started off hot, humid and sunny, shifting toward cool and windy as the afternoon wore on. Not ideal for the day's main final, the women's and men's 10000 m.

The women's 10000 m was probably the best race of the day. #1-ranked Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.), the only woman in the race with a PB under 32:30, predictably took control early, challenged mid-race by the talented Rino Goshima (Chuo Univ.) but effortlessly dropping her after 7000 m. An unexpected challenge to Sekiya's second-straight Kanto 10000 m title came from unknown mid-33 runner Yukina Ueda (Tsukuba Univ.). As the other competition dropped away Ueda stayed locked to Sekiya looking fresh and ready to go. But in the back straight on the final lap Sekiya inched away, opening a 5-second lead to win in 33:29.53. Ueda shav…

What Value Does Four-Straight Hakone Ekiden Titles Have for Aoyama Gakuin's Athletes and Staff?

An editorial by Nikkan Gendai.

Nothing rings in the New Year like the Hakone Ekiden. With TV viewership ratings around 30% it's one of the most popular sports programs in Japan. The king of that cash cow is Aoyama Gakuin University, winning four-straight Hakone titles since its first victory in 2015. But no matter how well its students perform, every school in Hakone gets the same share of the proceeds, a uniform 2,000,000 yen [~$18,000 USD at current exchange rates].

The AGU team currently includes 44 athletes on its roster. Although athletes can get preferential admission, their tuition is the same as for other students and there are no exemptions or reductions. First year tuition in the Department of Social and Information Studies is around 1,520,000 yen [~$14,000 USD], and with additional fees including dormitory and training camp expenses the burden upon students' parents is considerable.

By comparison, in the United States the NCAA has made its collegiate sports a succes…

Olympian Kobayashi Gives Lecture to New Employees at Echizen City Hall

1500 m women's national record holder and Beijing Olympian Yuriko Kobayashi, 29, gave a lecture on the value of having a dream to new employees at Echizen City Hall as part of their training. The lecture was part of the "Dream Classroom" series, a partnership project between the city government and the Japan Football Association to have top-level athletes teach classes at local elementary and junior high schools. Kobayashi's session was the first in the series aimed at recognizing the dreams of adults.

Speaking to a group of thirty city employees, Kobayashi spoke about her experience running in the National Championships while still in high school, the dedication she and her friends put into becoming the best ekiden team in Japan, and other parts of her career as an athlete, stressing the importance of steady achievement at small goals in the pursuit of a larger dream.

At the Beijing Olympics, one of her major goals, she missed her objective of making the top eight …

Weekend Track Roundup

As regional corporate track meets wound themselves down, the weekend's biggest results came at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Osaka. A quick women's 3000 m saw 10 of the 11 starters go under 9 minutes, six in PB times. Japan-based Ethiopian Shuru Bulo (Toto) led the way in 8:47.24, with the Pre Classic-bound Rina Nabeshima (Japan Post) running 8:51.72 to land 4th both overall and on the Japanese all-time rankings. First-year Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu (Meijo Univ.) ran 8:58.63 for 8th overall, just missing the 1994-era national collegiate record by 0.31 seconds.

The men's 3000 m was also solid, with seven men breaking 8 minutes, six of them Japanese and five in PB times. Kenyan Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) won in 7:54.05 with Hazuma Hattori (Toenec) just behind in a best of 7:54.73. Shota Onizuka (Tokai Univ.) broke into the all-time Japanese collegiate top ten, running 7:57.56 for 6th. Australian Ryan Gregson won the men's 1500 m in 3:37.72 over American Patrick Casey

Weekend Overseas Road Race Results

2nd in the women's race at last year's Riga Marathon, Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Noritz) returned to take 4th in 2:35:03 in this year's record-breaking edition, three and a half minutes slower than her solid run last year but still good enough to be the second-fastest time run outside Japan this year by a Japanese woman. More on the men's and women's races here.

At Sweden's Goteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, 2015 National University Half Marathon champion and 2015 World University Games half marathon silver medalist Tadashi Isshiki and his GMO teammate Hiroki Yamagishi were ineffectual, Isshiki five minutes off the win in 1:06:37 for 17th and Yamagishi 23rd in only 1:08:20.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…