Monday, November 4, 2013

Komazawa Wins Third-Straight National University Men's Ekiden Title

by Brett Larner

Komazawa University rode the momentum of its course record win at last month's Izumo Ekiden to score its third-straight and eleventh total national title Nov. 3 at the 45th National University Men's Ekiden Championships.  2013 national university half marathon champion Shogo Nakamura blew things open on the 14.6 km First Stage by opening a gap of over 30 seconds that never closed.  Five of Komazawa's eight runners scored stage bests to seal the deal, anchor and captain Shinobu Kubota falling just short of breaking last year's overall course record of 5:12:43 for the full 106.8 km distance as he crossed the line in 5:13:09.

By far the star of the show was Komazawa junior Kenta Murayama.  Let's say that again. Kenta Murayama.  Remember that name.  Kenta Murayama.  After crushing Japanese domestic 10000 m record holder Tsuyoshi Ugachi's stage record at Izumo last month, Murayama did the inconceivable and ran 39:24 to take 8 seconds off the 14.0 km Fourth Stage record set five years ago by Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu of Yamanashi Gakuin University.  It's worth a paragraph or so to pause and consider how good a mark that is.  In the year prior to setting the old record of 39:32 Mogusu broke 60 minutes for the half marathon three times.  Murayama's time for the 14.0 km stage prorated over the 10 mile distance equates to 45:17, well under the 45:40 national record set 29 years ago by Hisatoshi Shintaku.  That's almost a minute better than the U.S. national record of 46:13. 14 km to 21 km is more of a stretch, but based on Murayama's pacing Atsushi Sato's 1:00:25 half marathon national record also looks in range.  1:01:19 at February's Marugame Half Marathon at age 19 to break into the all-time Japanese top ten followed up by a 1:02:02 for 10th at March's New York City Half Marathon, Murayama may well have run the best-ever performance by a Japanese collegiate today.

2013 Hakone Ekiden and Izumo Ekiden runner-up Toyo University was 2nd yet again, running well but finishing nearly three minutes slower than last year.  Meiji University, with eleven sub-14 men on its roster, overcame the difficulties it experienced in Izumo to take a solid 3rd over 2010 national champion Waseda University.  Yamanashi Gakuin University took 5th after a brilliant run from anchor Enock Omwamba, with 2012 Izumo Ekiden course record setter Aoyama Gakuin University holding off Daito Bunka University by 11 seconds to round out the top six spots seeded for 2014.  2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University was only 8th as anchor Keigo Yano ran into serious dehydration problems.

University ekiden season, the crown jewels of Japan's distance running calendar, continues in two weeks with the Ageo City Half Marathon where Hakone Ekiden-bound universities' coaches will send forth their complete squads to have them duke it out for contention for places on the final roster for the Jan. 2-3 Hakone main event.  Look for exclusive coverage of Ageo from JRN.

45th National University Men's Ekiden Championships
Nagoya-Ise, 11/3/13
26 teams, 8 stages, 106.8 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top six seeded for 2014
1. Komazawa University - 5:13:09
2. Toyo University - 5:16:19
3. Meiji University - 5:18:32
4. Waseda University - 5:19:22
5. Yamanashi Gakuin University - 5:20:07
6. Aoyama Gakuin University - 5:22:09
7. Daito Bunka University - 5:22:20
8. Nittai University - 5:23:26
9. Nihon University - 5:23:40
10. Juntendo University - 5:25:23

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (14.6 km)
Shogo Nakamura (Komazawa Univ.) - 42:38

Second Stage (13.2 km)
Hiroto Inoue (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 38:08
Hideto Yamanaka (Nittai Univ.) - 38:08
Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.) - 38:08

Third Stage (9.5 km)
Ikuto Yufu (Komazawa Univ.) - 27:07

Fourth Stage (14.0 km)
Kenta Murayama (Komazawa Univ.) - 39:24 - CR

Fifth Stage (11.6 km)
Keisuke Nakatani (Komazawa Univ.) - 34:18

Sixth Stage (12.3 km)
Shota Baba (Komazawa Univ.) - 36:08

Seventh Stage (11.9 km)
Shin Kimura (Meiji Univ.) - 35:19

Eighth Stage (19.7 km)
Daniel Kitonyi (Kenya/Nihon Univ.) - 57:14

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Jesús B G said...

amigos y compañeros de este bonito deporte aqui os dejo la dirección de mi blog para que podais disfrutar de algunas de nuestras carreras por Spain, somos de Córdoba. Un saludo

Tenemos traductor en el blog.

TokyoRacer said...

Quite a surprise that Osaka did not win his stage.