Skip to main content

Waseda University to Unveil Its 'Secret Weapon' Nakayama Jr. at Izumo Ekiden

translated by Brett Larner

Twenty-two teams are lined up to compete in the first of the season's big three university ekidens, Oct. 13's 20th anniversary Izumo Ekiden, a six-stage 44 km event covering a course from Izumo Great Shrine's main gate to the Izumo Dome.

With a twelve-year gap since its last victory at Izumo, Waseda University is fielding a team featuring four first-year students,* among them Tomoya Nakayama. Nakayama's father is the legendary Takeyuki Nakayama, who finished 4th in the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic marathons and now coaches Team Aichi Steel,** leading many to view Tomoya as Waseda's 'secret weapon.' Waseda head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe commented, "I entered them [in Izumo] so I could try someone on one of the competitive stages. I'll definitely be using some of the first-years." Team captain Kensuke Takezawa (fourth-year), who ran the 5000 m and 10000 m at the Beijing Olympics, will lead Waseda's team.

Tokai University ace Yuki Sato (fourth-year) will attempt to pull Tokai to an unprecedented fourth straight Izumo Ekiden victory.***

Translator's notes:

*Waseda staged a recruiting coup this year by successfully landing the national top three men in the graduating high school class of '08, among them Nakayama.

**Besides the achievements listed, Takeyuki Nakayama was the national record holder at both 10000 m and marathon. He was also a bitter rival of Waseda's most famous running alumnus, Toshihiko Seko. Tomoya's choice of Seko's alma mater was deeply ironic.

***Tokai DNF'd at the 2008 Hakone Ekiden and must run in the 20 km Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai (Qualifying Road Race) on Oct. 18, just five days after the Izumo Ekiden.


Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

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 Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.

The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved