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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

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