by Brett Larner
University men's distance running has been full of surprises this year. The latest came on Oct. 24 at the Takashimadaira 20 km Road Race in Tokyo's northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira as unheralded Aoyama Gakuin University sophomore Takehiro Deki tied the 58:51 course record set four years ago by former Tokai University ace Hideaki Date as a junior. Deki, aged 20, had no previous results on record to suggest a run of this caliber, equivalent to a 13:26 using the McMillan Running Calculator. His personal bests prior to this performance were 14:01.50 for 5000 m, 29:49.57 for 10000 m, 1:01:58 for 20 km and 1:06:22 for half marathon.
Deki ran a completely solo race, winning by exactly 1 1/2 minutes over Masuo Nishiyama of two-time Hakone Ekiden champions Toyo University. While Deki was the only man to break the hour mark, overall results were the deepest in Takashimadaira history with 14 men under 61 minutes and 37 under 1:02:30. The only non-university runner to break 1:02:30 was, surprisingly, 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B), who finished 23rd in 1:01:48.
Deki's performance adds him to the list of 2010 standouts who should make an impact at January's Hakone Ekiden, on a par with Kenyans John Maina (Takushoku Univ.) and Benjamin Gando (Nihon Univ.) at last week's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km. The overall strong showing by Aoyama Gakuin at Takashimadaira also does much to make up for the team's weak showing at the recent Izumo Ekiden and suggests the it is ramping up nicely toward a peak designed for Hakone's longer distances.
2010 Takashimadaira Road Race
click here for complete results
Men's 20 km
1. Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 58:51 - CR tie
2. Masuo Nishiyama (Toyo Univ.) - 1:00:21
3. Naohisa Matsuda (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:24
4. Takahiro Gunji (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:00:25
5. Yuya Kayahara (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:00:28
23. Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) - 1:01:48
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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