Skip to main content

Kashiwabara Sets Stage Record as Team Honda Wins 64th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

by Brett Larner

A midsummer tuneup for corporate, university and amateur teams training in northern Japan to escape the heat and humidity, the Towada Hachimantai Ekiden saw its 64th running on Aug. 7.  Team Honda, led by 2010 Tokyo Marathon winner Masakazu Fujiwara, took the team title as it covered the five stage, 73.8 km course in 3:48:38.

Honda started the race in 3rd and gradually worked its way to within 21 seconds of the lead by the end of Fujiwara's stage second-best run on the 16. 3 km Third Stage.  Fourth Stage runner Minoru Ikebe ran a stage best time to overtake leader Nihon University for 1st.  Honda anchor Takashi Toyoda was only sixth-fastest on the brutal uphill Fifth Stage but still held on for the win after Nihon's anchor Shingo Hayashi struggled and finished 12th on stage time.

Hayashi in turn barely held off Toyo University's brilliant uphill specialist Ryuji Kashiwabara, who took Toyo from 8th to 3rd and from nearly five minutes off the lead to less than two with a stage record 49:01.  It was senior Kashiwabara's best run this year after months of injury followed by the stress of his hometown of Iwaki, Fukushima being badly affected by March's disasters.  His result bodes well for Toyo in the upcoming fall ekiden season leading to his final run at the Hakone Ekiden in January.

64th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden - Top Results
Kazuno, Akita, 8/7/11
click here for complete results
Stage Best Results
First Stage (13.6 km) - Yusuke Sato (Nihon Univ. A) - 41:04
Second Stage (12.4 km) - Naohiro Domoto (Nihon Univ. A) - 37:39
Third Stage (16.3 km) - Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 47:19
Fourth Stage (16.4 km) - Minoru Ikebe (Team Honda) - 49:44
Fifth Stage (14. 1 km uphill) - Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ. A) - 49:01 - CR

Top Team Results - Five Stages, 73.8 km
1. Team Honda - 3:48:38
2. Nihon Univ. A - 3:50:09
3. Toyo Univ. A - 3:50:28
4. Team Yachiyo Kogyo - 3:50:32
5. Team Komori Corp. - 3:51:38
6. Team JR Higashi Nihon - 3:52:06
7. Tamagawa AC - 3:52:10
8. Team Nissin Shokuhin - 3:52:38
9. Kokushikan Univ. A - 3:57:06
10. Team Press Kogyo - 3:57:43

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…