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National Men's Ekiden Championships Entry Lists Released

by Brett Larner

On Jan. 12 the organizers of the Jan. 23 National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden Championships, also known as the Hiroshima Ekiden, released the provisional entry lists for this year's 16th running. An interesting event featuring teams from each of Japan's 47 prefectures made up of runners from the top pro teams, universities, high schools and junior high schools, the Interprefectural Ekiden is in essence the overall national championship. Among the noteworthy names on the entry lists:

The first stage features Takashi Ichida (Kagoshima), one of 2010 National H.S. Ekiden Champions Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.' star twins, against H.S. Nationals First Stage winner Kazuto Nishiike (Hyogo) and Kota Murayama (Miyagi), twin brother of 28:23 high school Kenta Murayama. Led by Shogo Nakamura (Mie), six men on the H.S.-only stage hold 5000 m PBs under 14 minutes, making it the most competitive of the H.S. stages.

The J.H.S. Second Stage is led by 2000 m J.H.S. national record holder Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi Gakuin), son of Yamanashi Gakuin Univ. head coach Masahito Ueda. Ueda should face a challenge from rival Taishi Sakamoto (Kagoshima). The top runners on the stage hold 3000 m PBs in the 8:30-8:40 range.

The Third Stage features mostly top university talent with a few corporate runners mixed in. 2011 Hakone Ekiden stage winners Akinobu Murasawa (Nagano) and Ryuji Kashiwabara (Fukushima), whose battle at last year's Interprefectural Ekiden made it one of the highlights of the race, both return. Also on the stage are Yuki Yagi (Hyogo) and Yo Yazawa (Kanagawa) of 2011 Hakone champs Waseda University, and 2010 Kanto Regional 5000 m champion Taku Fujimoto (Kokushikan Univ.). The top jitsugyodan runner is the talented Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Tochigi).

The Fourth Stage, the weakest of the three H.S. stages, is led by sub-14 runner Takuya Otani (Tochigi) and the other Ichida twin, Hiroshi Ichida (Kagoshima). They hand off to the longest H.S. leg, the Fifth Stage, which prominently features Komazawa University-bound 28:23 high schooler Kenta Murayama (Miyagi). The top five men on the stage all hold 5000 m PBs under 14 minutes. Following is the Sixth Stage, the secondary J.H.S. stage featuring primarily runners in the 8:40-8:50 range. Shigeki Fujiwara (Hyogo) is the favorite on the stage.

The anchor leg, the Seventh, is the ekiden's longest and accordingly is made up almost entirely of pro jitsugyodan runners. Four men on the stage hold 10000 m PBs under 28 minutes, including 2010's #1-ranked 10000 m and half marathon runner Tomoya Onishi (Gifu) and the holder of the fastest-ever 10000 m run on Japanese soil by a Japanese man, Yu Mitsuya (Fukuoka). 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Nagano), who anchored Nagano to the win in 2009, returns, along with hosts Hiroshima's 2010 anchor Tetsuya Yoroizaka. 2010 National University 5000 m champion Hiroki Mitsuoka (Kyoto) and talented amateur Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama), who nearly stole the show at last year's Tokyo Marathon, join Yoroizaka as the top anchor runners from outside the jitsugyodan corporate world.

The 2011 National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden Championships will be broadcast live and commercial-free on NHK on Jan. 23. Check back next week for online viewing details and updates on starting lists.

2011 National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden
Provisional Entry List Highlights
Jan. 23, 2011, Hiroshima
7 stages, 48.0 km
click here for complete entry lists
bib numbers: team - stage

First Stage - 7 km (H.S.)
stage record: 19:51 - Yuki Matsuoka (Kyoto/Rakunan H.S.), 2003 / Yuki Sato (Nagano/Saku Chosei H.S.), 2005
23-1. Shogo Nakamura (Mie/Ueno Kogyo H.S.) - 13:50.38
28-1. Kazuto Nishiike (Hyogo/Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 13:54.33
24-1. Mitsunori Asaoka (Gifu/Chukyo H.S.) - 13:55.02
46-1. Takashi Ichida (Kagoshima/Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 13:55.44
9-1. Genki Yagisawa (Tochigi/Nasu Takuyo H.S.) - 13:57.37
35-1. Genki Matsumura (Yamaguchi/Saikyo H.S.) - 13:59.54
5-1. Kengo Namioka (Akita/Akita Kogyo H.S.) - 14:01.23
4-1. Kota Murayama (Miyagi/Meisei H.S.) - 14:04.18


Second Stage - 3 km (J.H.S.)
stage record: 8:30 - Yuta Katsumata (Shizuoka/Fujioka J.H.S.), 2009
15-2. Kenta Ueda (Yamanashi/Kofu Kita J.H.S.) - 8:30.48
46-2. Taishi Sakamoto (Kagoshima/Akune J.H.S.) - 8:31.89
19-2. Ryutaro Ichitani (Ishikawa/Tsuya Minami J.H.S.) - 8:34.57
11-2. Kazuki Takeshita (Saitama/Higashi Matsuyama Higashi J.H.S.) - 8:38.14
9-2. Wataru Tochigi (Tochigi/Ohira J.H.S.) - 8:38.58


Third Stage - 8.5 km (univ./pro)
stage record: 23:26 - Terukazu Omori (Kochi/Team Kuroshiro Tsushi Service), 2005
9-3. Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Tochigi/Team Konica Minolta) - 28:01.54
16-3. Yusuke Hasegawa (Niigata/Jobu Univ.) - 28:07.47
34-3. Naoki Okamoto (Hiroshima/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:07.99
7-3. Ryuji Kashiwabara (Fukushima/Toyo Univ.) - 28:20.99
4-3. Takuya Noguchi (Miyagi/Nittai Univ.) - 28:25.27
35-3. Taku Fujimoto (Yamaguchi/Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:27.66
8-3. Kazuya Deuchi (Ibaraki/Nittai Univ.) - 28:34.02

13-3. Yuta Takahashi (Tokyo/Team S&B) - 28:36.86
17-3. Akinobu Murasawa (Nagano/Tokai Univ.) - 28:44.23
14-3. Yo Yazawa (Kanagawa/Waseda Univ.) - 28:45.56
20-3. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Fukui/Tokai Univ.) - 28:47.37
44-3. Ikuto Yufu (Oita/Komazawa Univ.) - 28:51.71
28-3. Yuki Yagi (Hyogo/Waseda Univ.) - 28:55.24


Fourth Stage - 5 km (H.S.)
stage record: 14:10 - Hirotaka Tamura (Aomori/Aomori Yamada H.S.), 2010
9-4. Takuya Otani (Tochigi/Sano Nichidai Prep H.S.) - 13:58.31
46-4. Hiroshi Ichida (Kagoshima/Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 14:01.59
23-4. Ryo Nakagawa (Mie/Ueno Kogyo H.S.) - 14:10.42
21-4. Yuki Matsumura (Shizuoka/Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - 14:20.21
17-4. Junichi Fukuzawa (Nagano/Saku Chosei H.S.) - 14:23.19


Fifth Stage - 8.5 km (H.S.)
stage record: 23:55 - Akinobu Murasawa (Nagano/Saku Chosei H.S.), 2009
4-5. Kenta Murayama (Miyagi/Meisei H.S.) - 13:49.45
7-5. Norihisa Imai (Fukushima/Ishikawa H.S.) - 13:52.52
46-5. Yuki Arimura (Kagoshima/Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) - 13:56.02
9-5. Ken Yokote (Tochigi/Sakushin Gakuin H.S.) - 13:58.93
28-5. Shota Shinjo (Hyogo/Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) - 13:59.61


Sixth Stage - 3 km (J.H.S.)
stage record: 8:31 - Taiga Machizawa (Chiba/Minami Nagareyama J.H.S.), 2010
28-6. Shigeki Fujiwara (Hyogo/Hiraoka J.H.S.) - 8:38.75
10-6. Yusuke Koike (Gunma/Nakano J.H.S.) - 8:43.01
12-6. Yuichi Yasui (Chiba/Tokiwadaira J.H.S.) - 8:44.16
46-6. Shunya Nomura (Kagoshima/Shibushi Ariake J.H.S.) - 8:45.74
9-6. Yusuke Ban (Tochigi/Ujiie J.H.S.) - 8:47.54


Seventh Stage - 13 km (pro/univ.)
stage record: 37:09 - Kenta Oshima (Kochi/Team Kuroshiro Tsushi Service), 2004
40-7. Yu Mitsuya (Fukuoka/Team Toyota Kyushu) - 27:41.10
24-7. Tomoya Onishi (Gifu/Team Asahi Kasei) - 27:50.72
46-7. Satoshi Irifune (Kagoshima/Team Kanebo) - 27:53.92
23-7. Yusuke Takabayashi (Mie/Team Toyota) - 27:57.46
28-7. Satoru Kitamura (Hyogo/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:00.22
13-7. Daisuke Shimizu (Tokyo/Team Kanebo) - 28:10.68
35-7. Takuya Ishikawa (Yamaguchi/Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 28:17.39
10-7. Hiroyuki Ono (Gunma/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:26.61
17-7. Yuichiro Ueno (Nagano/Team S&B) - 28:27.39
34-7. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Hiroshima/Meiji Univ.) - 28:34.12
26-7. Hiroki Mitsuoka (Kyoto/Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 28:48.23
11-7. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 29:02.33


(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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