Skip to main content

International Chiba Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner

Continuing on with its unique and entertaining format of alternating men and women on each stage the Nov. 23 International Chiba Ekiden boasts its strongest overall field since switching from separate men's and women's races, with London Olympics medalists Priscah Jeptoo and Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya and American Galen Rupp crowning the lists.  The race will be broadcast live nationwide on Fuji TV beginning at 1:00 p.m. local time.  Keyhole TV has reportedly not been working recently, leaving limited viewing options for international fans.  JRN will cover the ekiden via Twitter @JRNLive.  Please note that this is not the regular @JRNHeadlines feed, so follow both to be sure to get all updates.  Live results should be available after each stage on the official race website.  Fuji's race website is also worth a check.

Defending Chiba winner and course record holder Kenya is the favorite again this year, with Jeptoo, Longosiwa, Edwin Soi and Philip Mosima the top-ranked athletes on four of Chiba's six stages, but the Russian team holds the other two top individual spots with women Yelena Zadorozhnaya and Elizaveta Grechishnikova and is close behind overall, third woman Svetlana Kireyeva ranked second on her stage and all three men, Egor Nikolaev and twins Evgeny and Anatoliy Rybakov, having been close to winning their Chiba stages in the past.  If both teams run up to ability it could be a close race for the win between them.

The Japan team last won Chiba in 2009, outrun by the Japanese University Select Team the next year and Kenya last year despite breaking the course record.  This year's lineup, featuring Olympians Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) and Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) and top collegiates Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) and Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) and with the home-soil and familiar race format advantages, is a solid bet for 3rd, higher if either Kenya or Russia falters.

The U.S.A. and the 2010 Chiba-winning Japanese University Select Team, featuring Takehiro Deki and Ryotaro Otani of 2012 Izumo Ekiden course record setters Aoyama Gakuin University and 2012 national collegiate 10000 m champion Haruka Kyuma (Tsukuba Univ.), are not far behind.  The U.S.A. looks likely to spend the first two-thirds of the race around 5th or 6th place; much of its success will depend on how much ground Rupp can make up on the hilly 10 km Fifth Stage.

Look also for Poland, opening with its best athletes Lukasz Parszczynski and Lidia Chojeckaand Canada, leading with the solid trio of Geoff Martinson, Tarah Korir and Reid Coolsaet, to factor into the first half of the race, with hosts Chiba Prefecture coming up in the second half to join Poland and Canada in rounding out the top eight for a podium finish.

2012 International Chiba Ekiden Start List Highlights
Chiba, 11/23/12
six stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete running order

Teams
Australia
Canada
Chiba Prefecture
Czech Republic
Finland
Japan
Japanese University Select Team
Kenya
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Romania
Russia
South Korea
U.S.A.

First Stage - 5.0 km, men
Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) - 12:49.04
Suguru Osako (Japan) - 13:31.27 / 27:56.94
Egor Nikolaev (Russia) - 13:35.33
Lukasz Parszczynski (Poland) - 13:42.21
Geoff Martinson (Canada) - 13:43.45
James Strang (U.S.A.) - 13:44.18 / 28:12.03
Keisuke Tanaka (Chiba Pref.) - 13:50.15
Zane Robertson (New Zealand) - 13:58.00
Ryotaro Otani (Japanese Univ. Team) - 13:58.75

Second Stage - 5.0 km, women
Yelena Zadorozhnaya (Russia) - 14:40.47
Lidia Chojecka (Poland) - 15:04.88 / 32:55.10
Mika Yoshikawa (Japan) - 15:15.33 / 31:28.71
Ayuko Suzuki (Japanese Univ. Team) - 15:33.47
Kaila McKnight (Australia) - 15:33.77
Chelsea Reilly (U.S.A.) - 32:40.01
Gladys Cherono (Kenya) - 15:39.50 / 32:41.40
Tarah McKay-Korir (Canada) - 15:47.00 / 32:00.07
Son-Un Kim (South Korea) - 15:55.86

Third Stage - 10.0 km, men
Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya) - 12:52.40 / 27:14.83
Reid Coolsaet (Canada) - 13:21.53 / 27:56.92
Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 13:22.38
Evgeny Rybakov (Russia) - 13:31.36 / 28:05.75
Jake Riley (U.S.A.) - 13:32.82 / 28:08.36
Seung-Ho Baek (South Korea) - 13:42.98 / 28:25.19
Radoslaw Kleczek (Poland) - 13:43.37
Shota Hiraga (Japanese Univ. Team) - 13:45.83 / 28:41.42
Shinobu Kubota (Japan) - 13:49.53 / 28:07.01
Mitchell Brown (Australia) - 13:55.47 / 28:53.00
Kazuma Ito (Chiba Pref.) - 13:59.01/28:48.02

Fourth Stage - 5.0 km, women
Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:20:14
Svetlana Kireyeva (Russia) - 15:08.36
Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:32.88
Victoria Mitchell (Australia) - 15:36.15
Haruka Kyuma (Japanese Univ. Team) - 15:39.86 / 32:59.33
Azusa Kurusu (Chiba Pref.) - 15:47.60
Emma Kertesz (U.S.A.) - 32:51.00
Ho-Sun Park (South Korea) - 15:49.21 / 32:52.96

Fifth Stage - 10.0 km, men
Philip Mosima (Kenya) - 12:53.72
Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 12:58.90 / 26:48.00
Yuichiro Ueno (Japan) - 13:21.49 / 28:12.37
Anatoliy Rybakov (Russia) - 13:30.43 / 28:06.54
Jussi Utriainen (Finland) - 13:42.64 / 28:50.20
Arkadiusz Gardzielewski (Poland) - 13:53/56 / 28:44.19
Takehiro Deki (Japanese Univ. Team) - 13:54.09
Makoto Hasegawa (Chiba Pref.) - 13:56.83
Marius Ionescu (Romania) - 28:54.83

Sixth Stage - 7.195 km, women
Elizaveta Grechishnikova (Russia) - 15:02.38 / 31:07.88
Hitomi Niiya (Japan) - 15:10.20 / 30:59.19
Joyce Chepkirui (Kenya) - 31:26.10
Neely Spence (U.S.A.) - 15:27.72 / 32:50.00
Mai Tsuda (Japanese Univ. Team) - 15:48.41
Mai Shinozuka (Chiba Pref.) - 15:57.40

Alternates - men
Vyacheslav Shalamov (Russia) - 13:38.10
Taku Fujimoto (Japan) - 13:38.68 / 28:27.66
Brendan Gregg (U.S.A.) - 13:46.49 / 28:54.41
Hugo Beamish (New Zealand) - 13:51.00
Kazuma Kubota (Japanese Univ. Team) - 13:59.16

Alternates - women
Alfiya Muryasova (Russia) - 15:26.31
Riko Matsuzaki (Japan) - 15:34.69
Mai Shoji (Japanese Univ. Team) - 15:51.25

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Thanks! That's what I wanted. I'll be out there cheering for the 4th and 5th runners - glad that I get to see Galen Rupp.
Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain.
Alberto Stretti said…
Congrats Brett!!Very inspired article!!..already linked it on my blog!!!..))

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…