Skip to main content

Omwamba Leads Yamanashi Gakuin Back to National University Ekiden

by Brett Larner

A year after ending its 24-year streak of National University Men's Ekiden Championships appearances, Yamanashi Gakuin University returned to the fold with a win at the Championships' Kanto Region Qualifer June 30 at Tokyo's National Stadium.  A meet consisting of four 10000 m heats each with two men from each of the twenty entered universities, team scores are calculated by the combined times of all eight of a school's entered runners.  The five teams with the fastest cumulative time go on to November's National Championships.

Nittai University held a 17-second lead over Yamanashi Gakuin coming into the fourth and fastest heat, where Yamanashi Gakuin's new Kenyan recruit Enock Omwamba led start to finish to take the individual win in 28:39.13 and, together with his teammate Hiroto Inoue's 29:01.28 PB, give Yamanashi Gakuin a 15-second win over Nittai in the final scoring.  Omwamba was accompanied for a large part of the race by Josai University's Kota Murayama, who despited fading and being caught by a chasing pack rallied to hold on to 2nd in a PB of 28:53.33. Daito Bunka University's Hiroshi Ichida took 3rd a step behind in a PB 28:53.98 with his identical twin brother Takashi Ichida 10th in 29:12.01. Curiously, Murayama also has an identical twin brother, Komazawa University ace Kenta Murayama.

Last year's winner Aoyama Gakuin University came up short when its two leaders, last year's Heat 3 and Heat 4 winners Ryotaro Otani and Takehiro Deki, both ran poorly.  Aoyama Gakuin was 14th of twenty in 4:02:42.38.  Had both Otani and Deki, who has had a rough recovery from his 2:10:02 marathon debut at Lake Biwa in March, run up to last year's level it would have meant around three minutes off Aoyama Gakuin's time, enough for a shot at top five and a Nationals place. Top seed Juntendo University was the other big breakdown of the day, only 7th after lackluster performances from its Heat 4 men Yuki Matsumura and Hideyuki Tanaka.

Top five-seeded Teikyo University and Tokai University came through as expected, Tokai without stars Tsubasa Hayakawa and Akinobu Murasawa, but the big surprise of the day came from 17th-seeded Kanagawa University which somehow mustered up a 4th-place finish ahead of Tokai in 3:59:10.21.  It was a solid team performance in the absence of many standout individual runs, with only Heat 1's Hiroki Akamatsu and Heat 2's Ryo Yoshikawa cracking the top five in their heats for Kanagawa.

The five qualifying schools join big names Toyo University, Komazawa University, Waseda University and others from within Kanto and across Japan in the lineup for this fall's National Championships.  With their last big race of the summer out of the way all the teams will now shift focus to their intensive summer training in Hokkaido and elsewhere.

2012 National University Ekiden Championships Kanto Region Qualifier
National Stadium, Tokyo, 6/30/12

Team Scores (eight men total, two per four heats)
click here for complete team results

1. Yamanashi Gakuin University - 3:57:28.32
2. Nittai University - 3:57:43.48
3. Teikyo University - 3:58:38.53
4. Kanagawa University - 3:59:10.21
5. Tokai University - 3:59:35.81
----- (top five teams qualify for championships)
6. Daito Bunka University - 3:59:48.10
7. Juntendo University - 3:59:55.93
8. Chuo Gakuin Univeristy - 4:00:01.93
9. Josai University - 4:00:16.05
10. Koku Gakuin University - 4:01:04.39

Individual Results
click here for complete individual results

Heat 4
1. Enock Omwamba (1st yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ./Kenya) - 28:39.13
2. Kota Murayama (2nd yr., Josai Univ.) - 28:53.33 - PB
3. Hiroshi Ichida (2nd yr., Daito Bunka Univ.) - 28:53.98 - PB
4. Ryo Nakagawa (2nd yr., Tokai Univ.) - 28:57.66 - PB
5. Hiroto Inoue (2nd yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:01.28 - PB
6. Toshikatsu Ebina (3rd yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:03.28 - PB
7. Shota Hattori (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:05.77
8. Keisuke Fujii (4th yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:06.97
9. Takumi Honda (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:08.38
10. Takashi Ichida (2nd yr., Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:12.01
36. Takehiro Deki (4th yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 31:13.01

Heat 3
1. Tatsuya Oike (3rd yr., Juntendo Univ.) - 29:20.19
2. Yuji Murota (4th yr., Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:20.29 - PB
3. Keigo Yano (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:22.44
4. Kiyoshi Ota (4th yr., Soka Univ.) - 29:24.33 - PB
5. Yuta Obitsu (2nd yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:24.89 - PB

Heat 2
1. Toshinori Tsuchida (4th yr., Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:53.25
2. Kiichi Yoshimura (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:55.15
3. Ryo Yoshikawa (4th yr., Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:55.49
4. Norihiko Matsuda (3rd yr., Hosei Univ.) - 29:56.45
5. Manabu Yamada (2nd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:56.50 - PB

Heat 1
1. Ryo Shirayoshi (1st yr., Tokai Univ.) - 29:52.42 - PB
2. Hiroki Akamatsu (2nd yr., Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:53.54 - PB
3. Shohei Hayakawa (2nd yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:58.59
4. Takashi Mino (2nd yr., Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 29:58.87 - PB
5. Shota Kai (3rd yr., Nittai Univ.) - 30:02.46

Heat 5 (reserves)
1. Yutaro Fukushi (4th yr., Nittai Univ.) - 29:48.32
2. Ryota Sakurai (2nd yr., Kokushikan Univ.) - 29:54.73 - PB
3. Fumiaki Goto (4th yr., Teikyo Univ.) - 29:55.99 - PB

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…