Skip to main content

National University Half Marathon Champion Yamanaka Quits Nittai University Team

https://twitter.com/kun304/status/646833692770332672/photo/1

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2014 Hakone Ekiden First Stage winner Hideto Yamanaka, a fourth-year at 2013 Hakone Ekiden champion Nittai University, has quit the school's ekiden team.  Left without its star runner, Nittai will shoot for its 68th-straight Hakone Ekiden appearance when it runs the Oct. 17 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifying race.

Yamanaka ran the Third Stage at the 2013 Hakone Ekiden as a first-year, playing a key role in Nittai's first overall Hakone win in 30 years.  As a second-year he won the 21.4 km First Stage in 1:01:25, with a 1:02:09 course record win two months later at the National University Half Marathon Championships cementing his position as a top-class collegiate athlete.  Shortly afterward, however, he suffered a long-lasting string of injuries that kept him out of competition throughout his third year until a surprise return at the start of his fourth year to win the 10000 m at May's Kanto Region University Track and Field Championships under new head coach Masaaki Watanabe.

A team spokesperson commented, "Yamanaka has left university athletics early in order to ensure a full recovery from his injuries.  This decision comes from numerous discussions and is in no way a result of any conflict within the team."  After graduating next spring Yamanaka plans to enter the corporate leagues to continue his athletic career.

Translator's note: Yamanaka came to Nittai in 2012 under longtime head coach Kenji Beppu.  At the start of the 2015-16 academic year in April Beppu was replaced by Watanabe, who had previously left his position at Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. after a major scandal in 2013 involving his physical and mental abuse of male and female Toyokawa Kogyo ekiden team members, going on to spend a year coaching at the Nittai-related Ebara H.S. before moving up to the university this year.  It is relatively common for coaching changes to result in team members leaving, and with online talk suggesting four other Nittai members have also quit the spokesperson's claim of no conflict within the team must be viewed with skepticism.

Comments

CK said…
Thanks for the contextual comments, all of which would otherwise have passed me by (and presumably other readers too). Will be interested to see how this plays out.
yuza said…
All you can do is laugh at how things work sometimes. Watanabe is essentially sacked from his high school coaching job for abusing his athletes, yet now is coaching one of the top university teams. Life is good for some.

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Shitara Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

In a year that saw him deliver one of the most memorable debut marathons in history, a half marathon national record, 10000 m and marathon PBs and more, Yuta Shitara (Honda) ended 2017 on a high note, beating three-time defending champion Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) to win the 42nd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. Shitara, Karemi, London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), Ethiopian Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) and track ace Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran together in a lead group through the early going, but Shitara was just too much for the others to handle.

Shitara broke the tape in 45:58, only the fourth Japanese man to ever clear 45 minutes. Karemi was well under last year's winning time but nowhere close to catching Shitara, finishing 2nd in 46:10 and Inoue only 2 seconds behind him. With many corporate and university teams using Kosa to tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, it regularly produces the deepest 10 mile results i…