Monday, February 8, 2010

Martin Mathathi 25:55 for 9.8 km at Meigi Ekiden

by Brett Larner

2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist and 10 mile junior world record holder Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Team Suzuki) set a stunning new stage record at the 64th Meigi Ekiden on Feb. 7, the last major ekiden of the season. On a day of ideal conditions Mathathi covered the 9.8 km Fourth Stage, a point-to-point leg with a net elevation loss of 1 m, in 25:55. With a flat conversion to 10 km Mathathi's time would be a stunning 26:27, well ahead of the road 10 km world record of 27:01 set last year by Kenyan Micah Kogo. Mathathi also held the previous Fourth Stage record of 26:19 set in 2007. Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) likewise set a new stage record, running 17:20 for the 6.2 km Fifth Stage.

Despite Mathathi's sensational run, which advanced Team Suzuki to 3rd place, Suzuki finished only 4th. Team Toyota took the win, never lower than 2nd place but battling the entire way against Team Aichi Steel. Kumamoto's stage record run put Toyota into position, and thanks to a stage-best performance by anchor Takashi Uchida the team clipped Aichi Steel by just one second. Uchida started four seconds behind Aichi anchor Norio Kamijo. In a duel which saw Kamijo run the 2nd-best time on the stage, Uchida prevailed in the final sprint finish to give Toyota the win, 2:31:18 for the six-stage, 52.6 km distance over Aichi Steel's 2:31:19. Suzuki remained a considerable distance back in 4th, finishing in 2:33:09 behind Team NTN. Team Suzuki's corporate sponsor is discussing downgrading the team from full jitsugyodan status to a club team, meaning the performance may be one of its last.

In the six-stage, 40.2 km high school boys' race, defending champion Ueno Kogyo H.S. successfully defended its title, holding off the powerful Saku Chosei H.S. by 25 seconds despite taking only one stage best to Saku Chosei's pair of individual titles. Chihiro Miyawaki of 4th placer Chukyo H.S. set a new stage record of 17:15 on the 6.0 km Second Stage to put Chukyo briefly into the lead, the only interruption to Ueno Kogyo's otherwise flawless frontrunning win.

2010 Meigi Ekiden - Top Results
click here for complete results
Men - Stage Best Performances
First Stage - 12.4 km: Hiroyoshi Umegae (Team NTN) - 36:10
Second Stage - 7.3 km: Tomoya Shirayanagi (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 21:28
Third Stage - 6.0 km: Masatomo Sugimoto (Team Toyota) - 17:03
Fourth Stage - 9.8 km: Martin Mathathi (Team Suzuki) - 25:55 - new stage record
Fifth Stage - 6.2 km: Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) - 17:20 - new stage record
Sixth Stage - 10.9 km: Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota) - 31:35

Top Team Results - six stages, 52.6 km
1. Toyota - 2:31:18
2. Aichi Steel - 2:31:19
3. NTN - 2:32:28
4. Suzuki - 2:33:09
5. Toyota Boshoku - 2:33:31

High School Boys - Stage Best Performances
First Stage - 7.3 km: Kenta Matsumoto (Ueno Kogyo H.S.) - 21:59
Second Stage - 6.0 km: Chihiro Miyawaki (Chukyo H.S.) - 17:15 - new stage record
Third Stage - 9.8 km: Shun Morozumi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 28:13
Fourth Stage - 6.2 km: Hiroyuki Fujii (Hamamatsu Nittai H.S.) - 18:14
Fifth Stage - 4.3 km: Naoya Nishio (Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.) - 12:30
Sixth Stage - 6.6 km: Toshiya Agekura (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 19:45

Top Team Results - six stages, 40.2 km
1. Ueno Kogyo H.S. - 1:59:06
2. Saku Chosei H.S. - 1:59:31
3. Hamamatsu Nittai H.S. - 2:00:08
4. Chukyo H.S. - 2:01:01
5. Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. - 2:01:23

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

2 comments:

Adeel said...

Is that for real? Running a 26:30 on the roads? Doesn't that put him close to 26 flat on the track?

Brett Larner said...

It's pretty solid. It appears to have been a breezy day so there may be some tailwind factor, but it's still a great performance.