Skip to main content

Komazawa the Favorite for Sunday's National University Ekiden

by Brett Larner

Defending national champion Komazawa University returns as the favorite for Sunday's 45th edition of the National University Men's Ekiden Championships, eight stages of road action covering the 106.8 km from Nagoya to Ise.  Last year Komazawa set a new course record of 5:12:43 to take a record tenth national title under head coach Hiroaki Oyagi.  This year its chances of adding to that legacy look good after a course record win three weeks ago at the first of the Big Three university ekidens, the Izumo Ekiden.  At that point all Komazawa's cylinders looked to be firing, and with longer average stage lengths Nationals should again play to the champions' strengths if the team has maintained peak fitness and can complement its Izumo squad with two more equally strong members.

Its main competition is a familiar group of schools led by Toyo University, runner-up at both the 2012 Nationals and this year's Izumo with 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University, 3rd at Izumo, and 2010 national champion Waseda University right there in the fold.  With eleven men on its squad holding sub-14 bests for 5000 m Meiji University looks like another contender, but the team struggled to put together a quality performance at Izumo as it finished only 7th there.

Kanto Region schools dominate the field, but there is no shortage of talent from elsewhere in the country. Kyoto Sangyo University, the top-placing program from outside Kanto at Izumo, leads Ritsumeikan University, whose women's team won an eighth title at last weekend's National University Women's Ekiden Championships, and other schools hungry to get a piece of the Kanto action.

TV Asahi will broadcast the National University Men's Ekiden Championships live nationwide from 7:00 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. Japan time on the 3rd.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch the race online via Keyhole TV.  Check back for detailed coverage as the race unfolds.

45th National University Men's Ekiden Championships
Nagoya-Ise, 11/3/13
8 stages, 106.8 km, 25 teams

Kanto Region
Komazawa Univ.
Toyo Univ.
Waseda Univ.
Nittai Univ.
Meiji Univ.
Nihon Univ.
Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.
Hosei Univ.
Aoyama Gakuin Univ.
Chuo Gakuin Univ.
Teikyo Univ.
Daito Bunka Univ.
Juntendo Univ.

Kyushu Region
Daiichi Kogyo Univ.
Nippon Bunri Univ.

Kansai Region
Kyoto Sango Univ.
Kwansei Gakuin Univ.
Ritsumeikan Univ.
Osaka Keizai Univ.

Tokai Region
Chukyo Univ.
Gifu Keizai Univ.

Hokuriku Region
Niigata Univ.

Hokkaido Region
Sapporo Gakuin Univ.

Tohoku Region
Tohoku Univ.

Chugoku/Shikoku Region
Hiroshima Univ.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …