Thursday, November 22, 2012

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

2 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!!!..))