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Miyazaki Takes Sweeping Overall Win at Kyushu One-Circuit Ekiden

by Brett Larner

With 8 individual day wins and 37 single-stage victories, Miyazaki prefecture easily took down defending champion Fukuoka prefecture to win the 10-day, 72-stage, 1056.6 Kyushu Isshu Ekiden. The Tour de France of Japanese distance running, the Kyushu Isshu Ekiden consists of one loop of the coast of Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu beginning in Nagasaki, heading south, turning and heading north through Miyazaki, and ending in Fukuoka.

Miyazaki's team was made up almost entirely of runners from the Asahi Kasei corporate team based in the prefecture. 2010 World Half Marathon 9th placer Tomoya Onishi led the way, winning all three of his stages including a sizzling 43:55 stage record for the 15.3 km Day Three Fourth Stage. First-year Asahi Kasei member Takuya Fukatsu also won all his stages, as did veteran marathoner Tomoyuki Sato, 2009 World Championships 10000 m runner Yuki Iwai and the solid Satoru Sasaki. Olympian Ryuji Ono, out for the entire year with injury, made a notable return with wins on the second and third of the 3 stages he ran. Based on its results from the Kyushu Isshu Ekiden, Team Asahi Kasei's chances for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden look very, very good.

Runner-up Fukuoka scored 26 stage bests but only 1 individual day victory. Most of its success came from 13:18 / 27:41 ace Yu Mitsuya of Team Toyota Kyushu, who won all but one of his stages and marked one new stage record. 3rd-placer Nagasaki had 9 stage bests and 1 individual day victory. None of the other 6 teams in the ekiden scored even a single stage best title.

2010 Kyushu Isshu Ekiden
72 stages, 1056.6 km
click here for complete results
1. Miyazaki - 53:30:01
2. Fukuoka - 54:15:21
3. Nagasaki - 54:49:44
4. Kagoshima - 56:12:20
5. Oita - 56:20:21
6. Yamaguchi - 57:02:09
7. Saga - 57:02:54
8. Kumamoto - 57:22:29
9. Okinawa - 58:19:31

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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