by Brett Larner
In the wake of yesterday's stunning Hakone Ekiden qualifier 20 km road race, three seeded Hakone schools, defending champion Toyo University, 2008 winner Komazawa University and Meiji University, sent their B-squads to run the Takashimadaira 20 km Road Race as a mid-season tuneup. Toyo's now-graduated Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) won Takashimadaira the last two years in an hour flat, and Tokai University's great Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku) set the course record for the four-loop criterion race the year before. This year the absence of a single big name coupled with unusually hot and sunny conditions, minus Takashimadaira's usual wind, meant relatively conservative times.
A large group of university runners ran together through 12 km before Toyo's Katsuya Honda broke away, pursued by teammate Kentaro Kami and Komazawa's Yoshihiro Tetsuka. Takanori Kawahara of Toyo hung back with Meiji's Junpei Tahara until after 15 km, when he made a move to take a definitive lead. Tahara formed a chase pack of four with teammate Todai Kogama, Tetsuka and Honda but the group was unable to regain contact. Kawahara took the win in 1:01:13, the slowest at Takashimadaira in years. Tahara was 2nd in 1:01:24, dropping the other three in the chase pack over the final km.
2009 Takashimadaira 20 km Road Race - Top Finishers
1. Takanori Kawahara (Toyo Univ.) - 1:01:13
2. Junpei Tahara (Meiji Univ.) - 1:01:24
3. Yoshihiro Tetsuka (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:27
4. Katsuya Honda (Toyo Univ.) - 1:01:31
5. Todai Kogama (Meiji Univ.) - 1:01:32
6. Kentaro Kami (Toyo Univ.) - 1:01:43
7. Takashi Chiba (Toyo Univ.) - 1:01:52
8. Katsunari Aoki (Meiji Univ.) - 1:02:09
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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