Skip to main content

Komazawa University Looking for 10th National Title This Sunday

by Brett Larner

The men's and women's East Japan Corporate Ekiden Championships, toughest of the regional corporate qualifying ekidens for the upcoming national championships, take place this Saturday, and the eight-day Grand Tour Kyushu 2012 ekiden wraps up Sunday, but there's no question that the biggest domestic Japanese race of the weekend is Sunday's National University Men's Ekiden Championships.  The second of the Big Three university ekidens following last month's Izumo Ekiden, the eight-stage, 106.8 km National University Championships in Nagoya are the next stop in a season culminating in the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.  TV Asahi's 5 1/2 hour live broadcast will cover the action in all its glory and should be viewable overseas via Keyhole TV starting at 8:00 a.m. Japan time.  JRN will be doing live English commentary as usual via Twitter @JRNLive.

With Izumo's average stage length of 7.4 km favoring schools with solid 5000 m credentials, Nationals's average length of 13.3 km is the next step along the way to Hakone's half marathon-length stages, a building up of endurance as the season progresses.  Twelve schools from within the Kanto region, home of Hakone, face off against fourteen more universities and regional select teams from around the country, but in reality only the upper echelon of Kanto really factors into the equation; it would be an achievement for any team from anywhere else in the country to break into the top ten let alone the 2013-seeded top six.  The qualifying races for the unseeded teams take place in June, a span of time that this year has resulted in several irregularities including the absence of Izumo Ekiden course record-setters Aoyama Gakuin University, whose aces Takehiro Deki and Ryotaro Otani were both injured for the qualifiers in June, and the presence of Tokai University, who failed to qualify for Hakone two weeks ago due to a serious Achilles injury to top-ranked collegiate Akinobu Murasawa.

Irregularities aside, defending champion Komazawa University is the clear favorite on paper, the top ten men on its Nationals entry list having an average 10000 m PB of 28:35.41, but despite its unrivalled roster the team was a shambles at Izumo as it finished only 5th.  Last year Komazawa returned from a failed Izumo to claim its 9th Nationals win, but where the problems at Izumo last year fell on a rocky debut by first-year national 5000 m collegiate champion Kenta Murayama, this year the team as a whole was off its game.  It will have taken a serious realignment in the four weeks since Izumo for Komazawa to be ready for a bid for a 10th national title.  Likewise for Waseda University, which despite a ten-man average of 28:54.63 over 10000 m was 6th in Izumo.

The favorite in reality, then, looks to be defending Hakone Ekiden champion Toyo University, led by identical twins Keita and Yuta Shitara.  2nd in Izumo and runner-up behind Komazawa at Nationals last year, with an average 10000 m best of 29:01.32 and a history of ekiden performances better than would be expected from its track times Toyo should be able to deal with all but a fully-functional Komazawa and Waseda.  Izumo 3rd and 4th-placers Chuo University and Yamanashi Gakuin University were less than 40 seconds behind Toyo last month, but with weaker distance credentials they should be hard-pressed to contend against the Toyo squad.  Other possibilities for the seeded top six include Nittai University and Teikyo University, who went 1-2 at last month's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km qualifying road race.

2012 National University Men's Ekiden Championships Team Entries
Nagoya-Ise, 11/4/12
click here for a complete listing of school uniform and sash colors

1. Komazawa University (Kanto)
2. Toyo University (Kanto)
3. Waseda University (Kanto)
4. Nihon University (Kanto)
5. Chuo University (Kanto)
6. Jobu University (Kanto)
7. Sapporo Gakuin University (Hokkaido)
8. Tohoku Fukushi University (Tohoku)
9. Meiji University (Kanto)
10. Yamanashi Gakuin University (Kanto)
11. Nittai University (Kanto)
12. Teikyo University (Kanto)
13. Kanagawa University (Kanto)
14. Tokai University (Kanto)
15. Shinshu University (Hokuriku)
16. Niigata University (Hokuriku)
17. Chukyo University (Tokai)
18. Nagoya University (Tokai)
19. Ritsumeikan University (Kansai)
20. Kansai Gakuin University (Kansai)
21. Osaka Keizai University (Kansai)
22. Hiroshima University (Chugoku/Shikoku)
23. Daiichi Kogyo University (Kyushu)
24. Nippon Bunri University (Kyushu)
25. Fukuoka University (Kyushu)
26. Tokai Region University Select Team (Tokai)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Tokyo Experiments With Spraying Water Along 2020 Marathon Course to Combat Heat

As part of its measures to deal with the hot conditions expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted an experiment to measure the effects on pavement surface temperature of spraying the road surface with water. Data from the experiments were released to the media.

The experiment was conducted from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. along a 120 m section of sidewalk along Uchibori Street in the Imperial Palace's outer gardens in Chiyoda Ward.  In the experiment, open-ended tubes used in agricultural work eres placed at the edge of the sidewalk  to supply water. Surface temperature readings were taken every 30 minutes for three different experimental scenarios:
spraying water beginning at 4:00 a.m.spraying water beginning at 7:00 a.m.not spraying any water The experiment found that where water had been sprayed, the road surface temperature remained in the 27 to 29˚C range even when the air temperature exceeded 30˚C. Where no wa…

On Broadcast Commentary

It's been 122 days since the 122nd Boston Marathon. Of what the two exceptional people who won that day accomplished, WilliamShakespeare summed it up better than any other commentator in his Sonnet 122:

Beyond all date, even to eternity;
     Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
     Have faculty by nature to subsist;
     Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
     Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.

What else needs to be said? But the other thing that remains from that day is, of course, this:

Worst punditry ever? #Yukipic.twitter.com/AwjeuZDtOt — Xempo Running (@xempouk) April 16, 2018
In the 122 days since Boston this clip has been on my mind a lot. The commentary here by Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig was exceptionally bad, but it wasn't unique to them and highlighted many of the problems with marathon TV broadcasts and especially their hosts and commentators. I'm fortunate to live in Japan where the announcers for the countless marathon live TV broadcas…

The Asian Games Marathon Course: An Early Morning Start for Loops of the City's Main Roads

Its skyline punctuated by skyscrapers demonstrating Indonesia's economic ascension. A lush plaza holding a famed tower, the symbol of the metropolis. When Jakarta hosts the Asian Games next week its marathon course will loop around the city's main streets, starting and finishing from the Games' main venue, Gelola Bungarno Stadium. In light of the heat and humidity of the races' summertime dates, Aug. 25 for men and 26 for women, the marathons will get off to early starts at 6:00 a.m. local time, 8:00 a.m. Japan time.

Leaving the stadium for the main streets, the Jakarta course turns to the north before turning back. Each of the two loops is about 20 km, both mostly flat and straight with the only hills coming in the gentle climbs onto and off the waterway bridges that dot the route. At a rotary about 5 km from the start, runners are greeted by a statue of a man and woman built in 1962 the last time Jakarta hosted the Asian Games. Running on amid the highrises, around …