Skip to main content

Nagano Becomes First Team to Win Sixth National Men's Ekiden Championship Title

by Brett Larner
click photo for video highlights courtesy of NHK

Five-time national champion Nagano made history at the 19th edition of the National Men's Ekiden Jan. 19 in Hiroshima, anchor Keigo Yano (Nittai Univ.) breaking away to make his team the first in event history to win a sixth national title as he broke the tape in 2:19:20, the third-fastest ever in National Championships history.

Never a clear leader in a pack race throughout the day, Nagano made its first move to the front on the 8.5 km Third Stage when past 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) dropped a pack of Hakone Ekiden stars to take the lead.  With the mixed team of junior high, high school, university and pro athletes that makes the National Ekiden format one of the most interesting in national championship ekiden season, Nagano lost ground after Ueno and remained roughly even with a pack of four rivals. Not until halfway through the 13.0 km anchor stage did it gain a clear lead when last year 's stage winner Keigo Yano of Hakone Ekiden 3rd-placer Nittai University, winner of the Hakone Ekiden Ninth Stage just over two weeks ago, dropped pro rivals Ryo Kiname (Nagasaki) and Keiji Akutsu (Team Gunma) to win in 37:28, a full 26 seconds faster than his 2013 winning time.

Yano's Nittai teammate Shota Hattori (Saitama) ran big to advance through the field to 2nd, like Yano overtaking and dropping Kiname and Akutsu to make it a Nittai 1-2 in Saitama's best-ever placing of 2nd.  Akutsu outkicked Kiname for 3rd, both breaking the 2:20 barrier for the 48.0 km course with Akutsu crossing the line in 2:19:56.

19th National Men's Ekiden
Hiroshima, 1/19/14
47 teams, 7 stages, 48.0 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Nagano - 2:19:20 - all-time #3
2. Saitama - 2:19:55
3. Gunma - 2:19:56
4. Nagasaki - 2:19:58
5. Miyazaki - 2:20:05
6. Fukushima - 2:20:16
7. Mie - 2:20:17
8. Fukuoka - 2:20:19
9. Kanagawa - 2:20:36
10. Hyogo - 2:20:41

Top Stage Performances
First Stage (7.0 km)
1. Tatsuhiko Hori (Fukuoka) - 20:11
2. Suguru Hirosue (Miyazaki) - 20:13
3. Kazuto Kawabata (Kyoto) - 20:14

Second Stage (3.0 km)
1. Kazuya Nishiyama (Gunma) - 8:30
2. Hyuga Endo (Fukushima) - 8:38
2. Munehiro Harada (Nagasaki) - 8:38
2. Yuta Kamibayashi (Kanagawa) - 8:38
2. Kiseki Shiozawa (Mie) - 8:38

Third Stage (8.5 km)
1. Yuichiro Ueno (Nagano) - 23:49
2. Yuma Hattori (Niigata) - 23:54
3. Masaya Taguchi (Miyazaki) - 23:56
4. Aritaka Kajiwara (Kanagawa) - 23:57
5. Keita Shitara (Saitama) - 23:59
6. Hideto Yamanaka (Osaka) - 24:00
6. Masato Kikuchi (Hokkaido) - 24:00
8. Naoko Okamoto (Hiroshima) - 24:07
8. Takumi Honda (Kumamoto) - 24:07
10. Genki Yagisawa (Tochigi) - 24:08

Fourth Stage (5.0 km)
1. Taishi Sakamoto (Kagoshima) - 14:32
2. Shuichiro Kondo (Kumamoto) - 14:34
3. Shota Onizuka (Fukuoka) - 14:36
3. Tomohiro Watanabe (Gifu) - 14:36

Fifth Stage (8.5 km)
1. Kohei Mukai (Nagasaki) - 24:43
2. Masaki Takamoto (Fukushima) - 24:44
3. Kenta Shimizu (Gunma) - 24:45
3. Hiroya Inoue (Hyogo) - 24:45

Sixth Stage (3.0 km)
1. Haruka Onodera (Shizuoka) - 8:38
2. Ryo Kayama (Fukuoka) - 8:43
3. Yuki Torikai (Chiba) - 8:44

Seventh Stage (13.0 km)
1. Keigo Yano (Nagano) - 37:28
2. Kaoru Hirosue (Miyazaki) - 37:40
3. Shota Hattori (Saitama) - 37:41
4. Shogo Nakamura (Mie) - 37:43
5. Taichi Takase (Okayama) - 37:57
6. Sota Hoshi (Fukushima) - 38:03
7. Yusei Nakao (Shizuoka) - 38:04
8. Akihiko Tsumurai (Hiroshima) - 38:05
8. Daiki Kubota (Kumamoto) - 38:05
10. Keiji Akutsu (Gunma) - 38:06

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
The high school kids on the first, fourth and fifth stages were really impressive. What depth of talent!
Brett Larner said…
I was pretty impressed with the junior high runners on Second Stage as well. They ran like university guys.
Metts said…
I too was impressed with both groups. How would the US JHS and HS runners hold up in this race environment?

Most-Read This Week

60-Year-Old Hiromi Nakata Wins Tottori Marathon Overall Women's Race

The Tottori Marathon held its 12th running on March 10. In light rain and 11˚C temperatures 3717 people ran Tottori's one-way course that passes local historic sites such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Tottori Castle ruins. Running 3:12:44 for the overall women's win was 60-year-old Hiromi Nakata.
"I was as surprised as anyone that I won," said Tanaka. "I had to stop at the toilets early on and lost some time, but I tried using the double inhale, double exhale breathing method that the actor Kankuro Nakamura uses on the Idaten TV show and got into a good rhythm. Thanks to that I could just keep going and going. I had no idea I was in 1st, and when they put up the finish tape as I was coming in I thought, 'No way!'""
Nakata is a resident of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 2017 she ran the fastest time of the year in Japan by a 58-year-old, 3:05:02. In the mornings she does housework and works in her garden for an hour, fitting in 30 to 60-minute run…

Japan's Oldest-Ever Olympic Marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa Retires at 39

At a press conference in Sayama, Saitama on Mar. 20, 2016 Rio Olympics marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa, 39, announced that he will retire from competition at the end of the month. At the time of the Rio Olympics Ishikawa was 36 years and 11 months old, surpassing 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner Hiromi Taniguchi's record of 36 years and 3 months to become Japan's oldest-ever Olympic marathoner. He finished 36th.

"Since I started running high school it's been 24 years," said Ishikawa at the press conference. "I've been with Honda for 17 years, and I made it all the way to the top, the Olympics. I'm glad that I've kept going this long. I thank you all."

Ishikawa ran the Mar. 10 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon but dropped out after only 10 km. It was to be the last race of his career. "It was the first time in my career that I'd ever DNFd, and I thought, 'OK, this is where it ends,'" said Ishikawa. Shortly after the race he made …

Yoshitomi Survives Four Marathons in Four Weeks to Win Saga Sakura Marathon

Arguably the highest-volume elite-level marathoner in the world, Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) survived four straight weekends of marathons to win her hometown Saga Sakura Marathon yesterday.

Starting the month off at the Mar. 3 Tokyo Marathon Yoshitomi ran 2:32:30 for 13th. A week later at the Mar. 10 Nagoya Women's Marathon it was 2:34:49 for 31st. Last weekend she headed overseas in a bid to win the Mar. 17 New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon in Taiwan, but in a rare off day she finished 6th in only 2:48:45. Heading back home she rallied to win the Mar. 24 Saga Sakura Marathon in 2:42:02.

At an expo talk show appearance the Wan Jin Shi organizers billed Yoshitomi as "the female Kawauchi," but not even he has come close to the kind of volume of racing Yoshitomi has been turning out over the years while working at her parents' botanical farm. Expect to see more, and more, and more from her in the months to come.



photos courtesy of Wan Jin Shi Marathon organizers
text …