Skip to main content

Miyazaki Holds Off Fukuoka for Grand Tour Kyushu Win

by Brett Larner

click here for video of the Grand Tour Kyushu 2011's finish

Defending champion Miyazaki Prefecture came to the final day of the eight-day Grand Tour Kyushu 2011 with a lead of 4:31 over rival Fukuoka Prefecture, comfortable but not safe.  Over the first of the stage's three legs Miyazaki's runners progressively widened the lead, but on the fourth and fifth of the stage's six legs Fukuoka fought back.  Its Leg Five runner Shuji Yoshikawa came within 10 seconds of catching the Miyazaki, still down on total time but almost enough for the lead heading into the final leg.  Miyazaki's anchor, Daegu World Championships marathon 7th-placer Hiroyuki Horibata, fought back and reopened the lead to bring Miyazaki in to a successful title defense, winning in a total time of 38:04:48 to Fukuoka's runner-up 38:10:11.  3rd-place Nagasaki Prefecture was the only other team to break 39 hours for the new 739.9 km course, clocking 38:55:12.

Four men in the field held the distinction of winning all three of their runs over the course of the Tour's eight days, three of them from Miyazaki.  Fukuoka's Kenji Takeuchi was the lone runner from elsewhere, winning three runs in six days.  Miyazaki rookie and former Nittai Univ. ace Kazuya Deguchi also managed three wins in six days, while Miyazaki's Yoshikazu Kawazoe did it in seven days and Takehiro Arakawa over the full eight days of competition.  Next up for the majority of the pros in the field will be the Nov. 23 regional qualifier for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships.

Grand Tour Kyushu 2011
Nagasaki-Fukuoka, 10/30-11/6/11
click here for complete results

Stage Eight - six legs, 83.8 km - Miyazaki Pref. - 4:13:42
Leg One (17.3 km) - Fumihiro Maruyama (Miyazaki Pref.) - 51:57
Leg Two (15.8 km) - Takehiro Arakawa (Miyazaki Pref.) - 47:05
Leg Three (14.6 km) - Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Miyazaki Pref.) - 44:11
Leg Four (10.8 km) - Hiroki Kubota (Fukuoka Pref.) - 34:27
Leg Five (10.8 km) - Shuji Yoshikawa (Fukuoka Pref.) - 30:32
Leg Six (14.5 km) - Hiroyuki Horibata (Miyazaki Pref.) - 42:37

Final Standings - 51 legs, 739.9 km
1. Miyazaki Pref. - 38:04:48
2. Fukuoka Pref. - 38:10:11
3. Nagasaki Pref. - 38:55:12
4. Kagoshima Pref. - 39:45.44
5. Oita Pref. - 40:04:10
6. Kumamoto Pref. - 40:17:19
7. Yamaguchi Pref. - 40:21:35
8. Saga Pref. - 40:41:17
9. Okinawa Pref. - 41:26:14

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…