Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kiumbani, Shitara Break Stage Records at 65th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

by Brett Larner

A select team of corporate runners from the East Japan region outran strong corporate teams Honda and Fujitsu along with 2012 Hakone Ekiden winners Toyo University to take the overall win at the 65th running of the Towada Hachimantai Ekiden, Aug. 7 in Kazuno, Akita.

Toyo sophomore Masaya Taguchi took down all comers on the First Stage, opening a gap of 15 seconds over the 13.6 km leg.  His teammate Keita Shitara broke the course record on the Second Stage, covering 12.4 km in 37:04, but from behind him the East Japan team's Johnson Kiumbani, regularly with Team Konica Minolta, blazed a 36:17 record to put East Japan ahead by 22 seconds.  From there the team never looked back as they widened their lead to a final winning margin of 2:07 by the end of the 73.8 km race, clocking 3:43:10.

Toyo fell to 7th on the Third Stage after a poor run from Hiroaki Koike and remained around the same position the rest of the race, overtaken by five corporate teams but holding off collegiate rivals Nihon University's A-team to take the top university position.  The Honda corporate team had a weak start after opening runner Takahiro Yamanaka finished only 13th, but over the remaining three stages they progressively moved forward to 2nd.  Fujitsu anchor Norimasa Nishina started in 5th and gave Honda anchor Minoru Ikebe a good scare, advancing to within one second but unable to close the gap as Ikebe held on to cross the line in 3:45:17 with Nishina just behind in 3:45:18.

65th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden
Kazuno, Akita, 8/7/12
click here for complete results

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (13.6 km)
1. Masaya Taguchi (Toyo Univ.) - 40:34
2. Soji Ikeda (Team Yakult) - 40:49
3. Yoshiyuki Oseki (E. Japan Corp. Select Team) - 40:59

Second Stage (12.4 km)
1. Johnson Kiumbani (Kenya/E. Japan Corp. Select Team) - 36:17 - CR
2. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 37:04 (CR)
3. Yosuke Kantsuka (Team Honda) - 37:25

Third Stage (16.2 km)
1. Daniel Mwiba Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ. B) - 45:22
2. Benjamin Gandu (Kenya/Nihon Univ. A) - 45:31
3. Asmerau Mengistu (Ethiopia/Team Honda) - 45:46
4. Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 46:00
5. Masaki Ito (E. Japan Corp. Select Team) - 46:13

Fourth Stage (16.4 km)
1. Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Komori Corp.) - 49:17
2. Yusuke Hosaka (Team Yachio Kogyo) - 49:38
3. Keita Baba (Team Honda) - 49:39

Fifth Stage (14.1 km, uphill)
1. Hidehito Takamine (E. Japan Corp. Select Team) - 49:46
2. Norimasa Nishina (Team Fujitsu) - 50:03
3. Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 50:43

Top Team Results - five stages, 73.8 km, 37 teams
1. East Japan Corporate Select Team - 3:43:10
2. Team Honda - 3:45:17
3. Team Fujitsu - 3:45:18
4. Team Komori Corporation - 3:46:28
5. Team Yachiyo Kogyo - 3:46:56
6. Team JR Higashi Nihon - 3:47:20
7. Toyo University - 3:48:02
8. Team Yakult - 3:48:16
9. Nihon University A - 3:49:07
10. Team Nishitetsu A - 3:52:21

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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