Skip to main content

Biwako University Ekiden Suspended With Possible Move to Tango Peninsula Examined

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/sports/article/20130422000135

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Apr. 22 the organizers of the Biwako University Ekiden, held each November between Nagahama and Otsu along the west coast of Lake Biwa, announced that the event has been suspended.  With Biwako to have served as the 75th anniversary edition of the Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships this year, a move to an alternate course in the Tango peninsula north of Kyoto is being examined.

With various locations having staged the Kansai championships over the years, the Biwako University Ekiden became the host event in 2005, expanding the championships' scale by bringing together invited schools from the Tokai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions along with the best of Kansai to battle for the title of #1 in Western Japan. With an eight-year history, last year 21 schools competed over Biwako's eight-stage, 83.6 km course. Following difficulties in achieving the event's original target of a course extending all the way around Lake Biwa and tremendous responsibility for the safety and well-being of the student athletes, debate began after last year's race about the feasibility of continuing to hold the ekiden.

The members of the executive committee taking part in the announcement included personnel from the Kansai Region University Athletics Federation, the Prefectural Government and local city government officials.  With no objections voiced to a proposal to shut the race office, the measure passed.  According to a Federation official, the possibility of staging this November's 75th anniversary Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships on an existing course in the Tango peninsula.  Still requiring the approval of participating universities in the Kansai region, the proposal has not yet been approved.

Almost simultaneously with the announcement of the Biwako University Ekiden's suspension, many of the best athletes from Kansai region schools ran the half marathon division of the 90th Kansai Region University Track and Field Championships Apr. 24 in Osaka.  Kyoto University's Kan Hirai was a surprise win, beating out athletes from more accomplished programs including Ritsumeikan University and Kansai Gakuin University to take the title in 1:06:01 by a margin of seven seconds over Kohei Koyama (Kansai Gakuin Univ.).  Kenyan Titus Kihara (Nara Sangyo Univ.) struggled, finishing only 11th in 1:07:28.

90th Kansai Region University Championships
Men's Half Marathon
Nagai Park, Osaka, 4/24/13
click here for complete results

1. Kan Hirai (Kyoto Univ.) - 1:06:01
2. Kohei Koyama (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:08
3. Naoma Araki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:13
4. Naoto Nakanouchi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:16
5. Masaki Okada (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:22
6. Shu Hamano (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 1:06:22
7. Takahiro Kawaguchi (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:06:28
8. Akihiro Tanimoto (Osaka Keizai Univ.) - 1:06:29
9. Daisuke Mizobuchi (Osaka Keizai Univ.) - 1:06:28
10. Yuki Niko (Kansai Gakuin Univ.) - 1:07:22
11. Titus Kihara (Kenya/Nara Sangyo Univ.) - 1:07:28

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…

List of Japanese Athletes Qualified for 2017 London World Championships

It's 50 days to go to the 2017 London World Championships and just over a week out from the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka where the country's best will be trying to earn places on the London team. Athletes will have the chance to chase standards in the weeks after Nationals, but excluding the marathon, walks and combined events, all of which are held separately from the National Championships, the following is a list of Japanese athletes already holding valid qualifying marks for London.

Things are looking very thin right now, with only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m currently capable of fielding complete contingents, although at least the men's 200 m, men's pole vault and conceivably the men's 10000 m could join that short list. With sixteen women currently holding the London standard the women's 10000 m looks to be the toughest to make even if marathon squad members Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu…