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

Toyota On Fire - Weekend Road Race Roundup

Everything right now in Japanese distance is about qualifying for September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials. On the men's side Toyota currently leads the way, Yuma Hattori running 2:07:27, Taku Fujimoto 2:07:57 and Chihiro Miyawaki 2:08:45 last year to qualify. Five more Toyota runners ran big today to set up some exciting last-shot bids at qualifying in Tokyo and Lake Biwa.

The National Corporate Half Marathon men's race went out relatively conservatively with a pack of 30 rolling through 10 km in 29:28. A series of runners including 35-year-old full-time-working amateur Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) took turns trying to get it moving before Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) took off for good to win unchallenged in 1:01:06. Along with Kenyans Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) and Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) Toyota's trio of Hideyuki Tanaka, Tsubasa Hayakawa and Minato Oishi emerged at the front of a chase group of 14.

As the pace picked up over the last 5 km th…

Endo and Matsuzaki Break National Records in Boston

Indoor track is pretty much non-existant in Japan, but in the last few years more Japanese athletes have been heading to the States after ekiden season to give it a go and coming back with national records. Two more records fell at Friday's David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston.

First up, in his indoor debut 20-year-old Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) ran 13:27.81 to break the indoor 5000 m national record set five years ago in New York by Suguru Osako by 0.19. Endo was one of Japan's all-time best high schoolers. Now in his second year in the corporate leagues after opting to skip university he is coached by Yasuyuki Watanabe, Osako's former coach at Waseda University. Also in the same race, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) was 6th in 13:47.64.

Three hours later, Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) ran 9:00.86 in the women's 3000 m, taking 0.53 off the national record set way back in 1999 by Akiko Kawashima at the Maebashi World Indoor Championships. Matsuzaki is in the mid…

Beppu-Oita Marathon to Review Staff Training After Interpreter Refers to African Athletes as "Chimpanzees"

On Feb. 14 the organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon confirmed that a local woman in her fifties who served as an interpreter at this year's race had published a blog post in which she referred to the African athletes on whose behalf she had worked as "chimpanzees." The woman said she had no malicious or racist intent behind her comments, but a spokesperson for the organizers called her choice of words "inappropriate." Organizers plan to review their training and guidance procedures for all race management staff members.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon took place in the two cities on Feb. 3. According to the spokesperson, the blog to which the woman posted the comments is for members of a sports club to which she belongs to report on what they have been doing. On Feb. 10 she wrote about her work with the African athletes, posting it with public access so that anyone could read it. She described the struggle of talking to the African athletes, saying …