Skip to main content

Federation Eliminates International Chiba Ekiden Citing Overcrowded Calendar and Declining Significance

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH5X5RP5H5XUTQP02J.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201505/2015052800724&g=spo 
http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/150529/spo1505290004-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo courtesy of STITCHrunner

On May 28 the JAAF announced that it is cancelling the International Chiba Ekiden, scheduled for Nov. 23 this year, and will no longer stage it.  The event's organizing committee at the Federation made the decision today, citing difficulty in recruiting top-level athletes in the midst of a calendar already crowded with marathons and other ekidens and a decreasing significance in staging Chiba as both Japanese and international athletes focus on other international races.

The International Chiba Ekiden was first held in 1988.  Beginning in 2007 it featured mixed teams alternating men's and women's legs over a six-stage, 42.195 km course.  At last year's 26th running 13 teams from 11 countries took place including a team of top Japanese university students, with the Japanese national team winning for the first time in 5 years.  Federation officials summarized Chiba's legacy by saying, "It played a large role in developing our athletes as well as in providing opportunities for international exchange."  Marathon great Toshihiko Seko, who ran the first International Chiba Ekiden as the final race of his career, commented, "It's really sad news."

Translator's note: With the cancellation of the Yokohama International Women's Ekiden in 2009 in favor of the now-defunct Yokohama International Women's Marathon, the elimination of the International Chiba Ekiden means that the last vestige of internationalism in Japan's ekiden circuit is the Ivy League alumni team at October's Izumo Ekiden.  Combined with the announcement a few months ago of the corporate federation's million dollar bonus for a new marathon national record and concomitant bonuses for other quality time performances in the marathon it seems clear where priorities lie in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Too bad! I enjoyed going to Makuhari in Chiba and watching that race.
However, I will say, there were not so many spectators.
I run #ChivaEkiden in 2001. It was a great experience arroun Japan, Ekiden races and Intercontinental flies ;-)


My experience in my Blog

http://pablovillalobosextremadura.blogspot.com.es/2015/06/cancelacion-ekiden-chiva-japon.html

Most-Read This Week

Niiya to Make 10000 m Return at Zatopek:10

All-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) makes a return to the distance at Australia's Zatopek:10 next week with support from JRN after five years away from the sport. Niiya's history at the distance is short with only four track 10000 m races to her name, but good ones they were, one and all:
31:28.26, 2012 Hyogo Relay Carnival - 1st30:59.19, 2012 London Olympics - 9th31:06.67 MR, 2013 Japanese National Championships - 1st30:56.70, 2013 Moscow World Championships - 5th Following her crushing defeat over the last lap in Moscow after leading the entire race Niiya quit running and everything to do with it. But in the spring this year, now 30, she decided to try to make a comeback in hope of making the 2020 Olympic team in the 10000 m, telling the media, "I still totally hate running, but unfortunately it seems like this is where I belong." 
After three track races from 3000 m to 5000 m between June and October she made a definitive statement of in…

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…