Skip to main content

Honda Kicks Off Season With Win at 66th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

by Brett Larner

Ekiden season got off to an early start with the 66th running of Akita's Towada Hachimantai Ekiden on Aug. 7.  The Honda corporate team, less Moscow World Championships marathoner Masakazu Fujiwara and other A-list members, outran rival Yakult for the win after a slow start.  The Yakult A team led for the first three of the day's five stages thanks in part to a superb stage record of 36:12 on the 13.4 km Second Stage by new Kenyan ace Bernard Kimani, while Honda fell as low as 4th.  On the 16.4 km Fourth Stage new Honda recruit Wataru Ueno, a graduate of Komazawa University and Sendai Ikuei H.S., had a strong corporate ekiden debut as he made up the 30-second gap to leader Yutaro Fukushi of Yakult before opening a lead of nearly two minutes.

With Fukushi having fallen to 3rd behind Komori Corporation, Yakult anchor Soji Ikeda, another Komazawa alum, did his best to run down Honda's Hayato Saito on the tough uphill Fifth Stage, but although he overtook Komori's Tatsunori Hamasaki and closed the gap to Saito to 1:30, Saito was just too far away.  Honda covered the 73.7 km course in 3:48:03 for the win.  Yakult A was next in 3:49:33, Ikeda holding off Hamasaki in the final stretch.  With a Third Stage win by marathoner Keita Akaba, Komori Corporation was 3rd in 3:49:35.

66th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden Top Results
Kazuno, Akita, 8/7/13
5 stages, 73.7 km, 32 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - 73.7 km
1. Honda - 3:48:03
2. Yakult A - 3:49:33
3. Komori Corporation - 3:49:35
4. Fujitsu - 3:50:46
5. JR Higashi Nihon - 3:51:35

Individual Results

First Stage - 13. 6 km
1. Yuki Takamiya (Yakult A) - 40:57
2. Yusuke Sato (Fujitsu) - 41:04
3. Takehiro Yamanaka (Honda) - 41:05
4. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (JR Higashi Nihon) - 41:15
5. Yasuhito Ikeda (NTT Nishi Nippon) - 41:27

Second Stage - 13. 4 km
1. Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Yakult A) - 36:12 - CR
2. David Njuguna (Kenya/Yakult B) - 37:25
3. Takuya Yokoyama (JR Higashi Nihon) - 38:27
4. Kenta Kitazawa (Yachiyo Kogyo) - 38:43
5. Shogo Matsugaki (NTT Nishi Nippon) - 38:47

Third Stage - 16.2 km
1. William Malel (Kenya/Honda) - 46:31
2. Joseph Onsarigo (Kenya/Nanyu City Hall) - 47:10
3. Kazuyoshi Shimozato (Komori Corp.) - 47:31
4. Kassa Mekashaw (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 48:23
5. Tomohito Takenaka (NTT Nishi Nippon) - 48:33

Fourth Stage - 16.4 km
1. Keita Akiba (Komori Corp.) - 50:04
2. Kazuhiro Kuga (Fujitsu) - 50:35
3. Wataru Ueno (Honda) - 50:44
4. Masahiro Kawaguchi (Yakult B) - 51:00
5. Makoto Harada (JR Higashi Nihon) - 51:25

Fifth Stage - 14.1 km, significant uphill
1. Soji Ikeda (Yakult A) - 50:28
2. Hayato Saito (Honda) - 50:44
3. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Komori Corp.) - 50:53
4. Norimasa Nishina (Fujitsu) - 51:26
5. Yasuaki Kojima (East Japan Corp. Select Team) - 51:37

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…