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Deki Sets Two Course Records in Three Days Ahead of Lake Biwa Marathon Debut

by Brett Larner

Video highlights of Day One including Terada's missed handoff.

The winner of the highly competitive Second Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden, Aoyama Gakuin University junior Takehiro Deki had two big runs in his final tune-up for his planned marathon debut at the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.  Running for his hometown Nagasaki team at the Feb. 17-19 Nagasaki Prefecture One-Circuit Ekiden, Deki broke the stage record on both of the two legs he ran.  On the first day of competition he took eight seconds off the record for the 14.0 km Fourth Stage, recording a new mark of 42:07.  On the third and final day of the race Deki again ran 14.0 km, this time taking a solid 33 seconds of the Seventeenth Stage record with an impressive time of 40:49, almost two minutes better than the next-fastest man on the stage.  Thanks in part to his efforts the Nagasaki team won the overall title in the event's 61st year, clocking 21:29:09 for the total 407.4 km distance to win by more than eight minutes over the runner-up Omura-Tohi team.

Several other runners set new stage records, with Ryota Matono of Goto also setting two new records, but one familiar face besides Deki made headlines at the start of the first day.  Natsuki Terada, the Koku Gakuin University sophomore who infamously took a wrong turn with just over 100 m to go on the anchor stage at the 2011 Hakone Ekiden, stole the show again.  When the Seihi-Saikai team's Keitaro Fukushima came to the first handoff zone in the lead Terada, the next Seihi-Saikai runner, was nowhere to be found.  Fukushima stood helplessly as a team went by before Terada showed up in the handoff zone, a loss of around eight seconds.  Terada managed to retake the lead and ran the fastest time on the Second Stage, but the incident quickly made the rounds on Twitter and added to his infamy.  All was forgiven, if not forgotten, when Terada returned the next day to set the stage record on the 14.6 km First Stage, running 43:49, nineteen seconds better than the previous record.

61st Nagasaki Prefecture One-Circuit Ekiden
Nagasaki, Feb. 17-19, 2012
11 teams, 42 stages, 407.4 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Nagasaki - 21:29:09
2. Omura-Tohi - 21:38:46
3. Seihi-Saikai - 21:42:07
4. Sasebo - 21:52:12
5. Tsushima - 21:58:01

Stage Record Performances
Day One, Stage Four (14.0 km) - Takehiro Deki (Nagasaki) - 42:07
Day One, Stage Eight (12.3 km) - Ryota Matono (Goto) - 36:52
Day Two, Stage One (14.6 km) - Natsuki Terada (Seihi-Saikai) - 43:49
Day Two, Stage Eleven (13.8 km) - Hideo Shimomura (Omura-Tohi) - 41:21
Day Three, Stage One (19.2 km) - Ayumu Sato (Nagasaki) - 57:09
Day Three, Stage Six (12.3 km) - Ryota Matono (Goto) - 36:51
Day Three, Stage Seven (3.0 km) - Hiroyuki Sakaguchi (Sasebo) - 8:22
Day Three, Stage Twelve (1.5 km, women) - Miki Moribayashi (Nagasaki) - 4:47
Day Three, Stage Seventeen (14.0 km) - Takehiro Deki (Nagasaki) - 40:49

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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