Skip to main content

Hakone CR Holder Toyo University Celebrates Opening of New Four-Story Ekiden Team Building

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/feature/sports/hakone/news/20130328-OHT1T00091.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for a photo of the new running-dedicated Toyo University Kawagoe Training Center

Hakone Ekiden course record holder Toyo University is celebrating the opening of its new running program building at the school's Kawagoe campus.  The four-story reinforced concrete building takes up a spacious 2540 square meters and features dorm rooms for 100 team members, a weight room, training facilities and study rooms.  Until now the running team shared quarters with Toyo's rugby team, but with a 400 m track right outside their new building the school's runners are now in a perfect environment. This year rival Nittai University made off with the Hakone title, but from its state-of-the-art new home Toyo is poised to reclaim its position as Japan's #1 running university.

The new building contains 28 dorm rooms for either 2 or 4 students each.  Altogether 100 people can live in the facility.  Having been involved in every step of the design process, head coach Toshiyuki Sakai, 36, explained how the building's windows all face a nearby park, saying, "If you can see the track all day long it keeps you from relaxing properly."  Of the dining room's pink curtains he said, "We wanted an environment with a warm atmosphere for meals."  The weight room is equipped with a specialized flooring material. The bath facility, which can accomodate 30 people at a time, includes an ice bath for effective recovery. Overall, the building is more than capable of hosting visiting groups.

All of this is part of coach Sakai's plan to reform and shape his athletes' awarenesses.  For the lucky few who will spend their university years in this environment, he hopes it will be an opportunity to look beyond themselves to something higher.  "If you want to grow you have to change," he said.  "I hope that here our runners will learn a feeling of gratitude for those who support them, develop strong interpersonal relationships, and cultivate a desire to take on the best in the world."  The building's new walls hold not only the team but the highest of ideals.

Following an official opening ceremony, Toyo's men moved into the new facility after practice on Mar. 21. In a display case directly inside the front entrance where the team's athletes cannot avoid seeing them are Toyo's trophies and memorabilia from its 2009, 2010 and 2012 Hakone Ekiden victories.  The shoes that "God of the Mountain" Ryuji Kashiwabara wore in powering those victories occupy a central place in the display.

The disappointment at having lost to Nittai University by a wide margin this year has not faded, but the team has a cheerful outlook.  First-year Yuma Hattori, who finished 3rd on this year's Ninth Stage, said, "We can approach our training now with feeling fresh."  First Stage winner Masaya Taguchi, second-year, said, "We have the obligation to repay what they've invested in us."  With Mt. Fuji in sight from their new home, Toyo's eyes are looking toward reclaiming the Hakone title and to what lies above and beyond.

Toyo University Kawagoe Training Center
Grounds: 400 m track, warmup area, field area

First Floor: Head Coach's office, reception, weight room, training room, kitchen, dining room, equipment storage room, display area

Second Floor: eight two-person dorm rooms, bath facility, dressing room

Third and Fourth Floors: twenty four-person dorm rooms, study rooms, laundry room, staff meeting room, physiotherapy room, veranda

Comments

Brett Larner said…
JRN associate editor Mika Tokairin's comment on this story: "It's pretty safe to say that Kashiwabara was responsible for this building being built."

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

Two weeks to the day after running 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka International Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped his 2017 with a win, running one of the few negative splits of his career to win the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon for the third time in 2:10:03. Women's winner Misako Kato (Kyudenko), a 1:09:49 half marathon, soloed an almost perfectly paced 2:28:12 to take 3 minutes off her PB and 7 1/2 minutes off the course record. Further back, Rio Paralympics T12 marathon silver medalist Misato Michishita broke the own world record in her category with a time of 2:56:14.


Pacers Taiga Ito and Melaku Abera, both of whom ran Fukuoka alongside Kawauchi, were tasked with taking the field out in 3:06/km, 2:10:48 pace. Pre-race Kawauchi told JRN, "If they'd run 3:04 I ccoul definitely, 100%, go faster than I did in Fukuoka. In cold and windy conditions things went in his favor in the early going with 5 and 10 km splits of 15:19 and 30:44. Uncharacteristically wearing s…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…