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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.


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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…