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Honda Takes First Asahi Ekiden Win

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20100112k0000m050027000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

17 teams competed in the 61st Asahi Ekiden on Jan. 11, a seven-stage, 99.9 km elite competition stretching from Fukuoka to Kita-Kyushu. Team Honda ran 4:47:33 to take its first-ever Asahi Ekiden win. Honda's Sixth Stage runner Yacob Jarso of Ethiopia started the stage in 3rd place 1:40 behind the leader but broke the existing stage record on his way to taking the lead. Honda anchor Suehiro Ishikawa managed to hold on to the lead to bring the team home on top. Trying for a fourth-straight win, Team Asahi Kasei anchor Tomoya Onishi ran the stage's best time but could not catch Ishikawa and had to settle for 2nd. Team Kyudenko finished 3rd, while last year's Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden winner Team Yasukawa Denki was 4th. Alongside Jarso's mark, Kenyan student runner Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) also set a new record on the first stage.

2010 Asahi Ekiden - 7 Stages, 99.9 km
Stage Best Performances
First Stage (14.6 km) - Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 41:06 - new stage record
Second Stage (9.9 km) - Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) - 29:50
Third Stage (11.2 km) - Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 30:37
Fourth Stage (14.8 km) - Paul Tanui (Team Kyudenko) - 42:26
Fifth Stage (15.9 km) - Minoru Okuda (Team Honda) - 46:09
Sixth Stage (16.8 km) - Yacob Jarso (Team Honda) - 46:11 - new stage record
Seventh Stage (16.7 km) - Tomoya Onishi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 46:48

Top Team Results
1. Honda - 4:47:33
2. Asahi Kasei - 4:48:00
3. Kyudenko - 4:48:43
4. Yasukawa Denki - 4:51:56
5. JFE Steel - 4:55:03
6. Nishitetsu - 4:56:02
7. Toyota Kyushu - 4:56:46
8. Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki - 4:57:29
9. Daiichi Kogyo Univ. - 5:04:20
10. Kurosaki Harima - 5:04:35

Comments

Simon said…
Interested to know a little background to the Asahi Ekiden: Is it a case of the corporate teams peaking for the New Year Ekiden and then trying to hold onto that form for a couple more weeks or does it take equal priority as part of ekiden season? Do the teams have to qualify? Info appreciated.

Enquiring minds et cetera...
Brett Larner said…
To be honest I don't know too much about it. I believe it predates the New Year Ekiden, and being in Kyushu it has a lot of local prestige. Kyushu is the heart of old-school men's distance running, with a large number of elite local races many of which, like the Asahi Ekiden, are only broadcast in Kyushu and the surrounding area.

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