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2013 Hakone Ekiden Winner Nittai University to Run Aug. 31 Hokkaido Marathon

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20140821-OHT1T50125.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

University runners aiming for the Hakone Ekiden spend their harsh summers building a base of around 40 km a day.  They have a saying about the importance of their summer training camps: "Those who win the summer win the winter."  To protect its legacy of ten overall Hakone wins, the prestigious Nittai University is not afraid of new challenges that take it even beyond.

As usual, Nittai arrived in Yamagata on Aug. 8 for primary training at Zhao Onsen and Zhao Bodaira, breaking camp after morning practice on Aug. 18.  Team members had the rest of the day to spend as they like and to figure out how to get themselves to their scheduled assembly at Sendai Port at 6:30 p.m.  "If you can't think about everything for yourself as an athlete, you'll never be strong," says head coach Kenji Beppu, 48.  From Sendai the team boarded a ferry bound for Hokkaido, where it would go straight on into the next stage of its training camp.

Up to this point it's the same schedule they've always had, but this year the camp will be stretched out an extra three weeks.  For the first time, the Nittai team will run the Hokkaido Marathon, scheduled for Aug. 31.  They will run as a pack at a predetermined pace until 30 km, free to run the remaining 12.195 km however they like.  The target for members' final finish times is between 2:20 and 2:30.

Nittai's captain for its 2013 Hakone Ekiden win, Shota Hattori, 22, graduated this spring and is now running for the Honda corporate team.  "Up until last year we had a strong individual runner who could affect the outcome of the race all by himself," says this year's captain Hikaru Kato, a senior.  "This season every single one of us needs to deliver his absolute best."  To build the strength needed for the winter's greatest road relay, Nittai University will seek to conquer the summer's 42.195 km.

Comments

Anna Novick said…
This decision is so demonstrative of the relative importance of ekiden as compared to marathons among younger runners in Japan. I'm sure many of them will cream the field, but I wonder what they could accomplish if they trained to race the marathon as opposed to using it as a training race.

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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
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Weekend Road Race Roundup

Saturday's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon was the main event of the weekend, but between that and early ekiden season track time trials across the country there were a few other notable results at home and abroad.

In Sendai, the second running of the Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon took place, an event launched last year to commemorate those lost in the 2011 tsunami and to show the area's recovery. In its first running organizers brought in then-future 2:06 man Hiroto Inoue to lead the field. This year it was 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winnerTakuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), who took more than 5 minutes off the course record with a workout-effort 2:18:37 for the win. Aki Odagiri (Takemura Seisakusho) won the women's race in 2:46:07.

In Toyama, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the Namerikawa Hotaruika Half Marathon a week after a disappointing run at the Chicago Marathon. Running completely solo he won in 1:05:18, beating 2nd place b…