Skip to main content

University Ekiden Season Part Two at Saturday's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier - Preview

by Brett Larner


Just five days after a record-breaking start to Japan's university men's ekiden season at the Izumo Ekiden the next big race is set to go off Saturday in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park at the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifying race.  The January 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, where 20 universities from around the Tokyo-area Kanto Region send 10-man teams to race roughly a half marathon distance each, is Japan's biggest sports event.  The first 10 schools to cross the finish line on Hakone's second day score places at both the following season's Izumo Ekiden and Hakone Ekiden.  The rest line up with 40 other Kanto teams at the Yosenkai to try to make it back onto the Hakone start line.

This year 49 teams will start the Yosenkai, a 20 km road race in and around Showa Kinen Park in the western Tokyo suburb of Tachikawa.  Each school runs 10 to 12 men from a 14-deep entry list and is scored on the aggregate time of its first 10 finishers.  The 10 fastest teams go to Hakone.  10 of the fastest individuals from the teams that don't make it are chosen to round out the Hakone Ekiden field on a Select Team.  Every other runner at the Yosenkai is obliged to support the ones who did make it by volunteering as marshals and support staff along the 217.1 km Hakone course come January 2-3.



The atmosphere at the Yosenkai is unlike any other race in Japan, the park and course packed with dozens of school marching bands and cheerleader squads, tens of thousands of students, alumni and fans carrying school banners and soaking the runners in deafening noise.  Millions more watch at home thanks to the live TV broadcast, which includes the tense and dramatic announcement of the top 10 teams.  Winning individual times are usually in the 57 to 58-minute range, 60 to 61 minutes equivalent for the half marathon, and in terms of depth the size and quality of the field makes the Yosenkai historically the biggest and best 20 km road race in the world.



In terms of the team competition 11 schools come in with good chances of making the 10-deep Hakone bracket.  4 of them, Nittai University, Teikyo University, Chuo University and Koku Gakuin University, have 10-man half marathon averages under 1:04:00, Nittai with a slight lead over the others at 1:03:39 despite a recent exodus of most of its best runners under new head coach Masaaki Watanabe.  Last year's Yosenkai winner Kanagawa University is ranked 5th at 1:04:10 but has a history of performing well at this race and should contend with the faster top 4.  Things get interesting at 8th to 11th, where just 4 seconds separate the 4 schools shooting for the last 3 spots, Takushoku University, Jobu University, Hosei University and Nihon University.  Last year Hosei was the one who didn't make the grade, but this year it could be any of them.

In the individual race the winner is bound to be whichever of its two Kenyans Nihon University fields.  4th-year Daniel Muiva Kitonyi ran 58:00 at the Yosenkai two years ago and has better credentials over this kind of distance, but 1st-year Patrick Mathenge Wambui has the fastest current 10000 m best in the entire Kanto Region after running 27:54.98 this summer.  Takushoku University 1st-year Workneh Derese, a rare Ethiopian addition to the Kanto mix, is an unknown factor with a 10000 m best of just 28:46.37.  2015 World University Games half marathon bronze medalist Yuta Takahashi of Teikyo University leads the Japanese list with a half marathon best of 1:02:13, Tokyo Nogyo University 4th-year Masaki Toda right behind him in 1:02:14.



Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai Entry List Highlights
Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, Tokyo, 10/17/15
click here for complete entry list
school times listed are average half marathon PBs of top 10 members
individual times listed are half marathon PBs unless otherwise indicated

Nittai University - 1:03:39
Shoya Okuno, 4th yr. - 1:02:26
Akira Tomiyasu, 2nd yr. - 28:49.53 (10000 m)

Teikyo University - 1:03:40
Yuta Takahashi, 4th yr. - 1:02:13
Yusei Tsutsumi, 4th yr. - 1:02:37

Chuo University - 1:03:48
Sho Tominaga, 4th yr. - 1:02:52
Taiga Machizawa, 3rd yr. - 1:02:52

Koku Gakuin University - 1:03:55

Kanagawa University - 1:04:10
Ryohei Nishiyama, 4th yr. - 1:02:38
Kazuma Ganaha, 4th yr. - 1:02:45
Kengo Suzuki, 2nd yr. - 28:53.67

Juntendo University - 1:04:16
Hiroki Matsueda, 4th yr. - 28:46.42 (10000 m)

Tokyo Nogyo University - 1:04:16
Masaki Toda, 4th yr. - 1:02:14

Takushoku University - 1:04:27
Workneh Derese, 1st yr. - 28:46.37 (10000 m)

Jobu University - 1:04:29
Hiroya Inoue, 2nd yr. - 13:55.47 (5000 m)

Hosei University - 1:04:29

Nihon University - 1:04:31
Daniel Muiva Kitonyi, 4th yr. - 1:01:11
Soma Ishikawa, 3rd yr. - 1:02:46
Patrick Mathenge Wambui, 1st yr. - 27:54.98 (10000 m)
Shinnosuke Ogino, 4th yr. - 28:50.97

Soka University - 1:04:54
Shuhei Yamaguchi, 4th yr. - 1:02:41
Kodai Gozawa, 4th yr. - 28:51.87

Tokyo Kokusai University
Stanley Siteki, 2nd yr. - 1:02:44

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…