Skip to main content

Why Tokyo Kokusai University's First-Ever Ekiden Tasuki Will Be Deep Blue When it Makes Hakone Debut

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/feature/hakone/20151018-OHT1T50196.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Oct. 17 at the 92nd Hakone Ekiden qualifier 20 km road race in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Tokyo Kokusai University finished 9th to make Hakone for the first time in its short five-year existence.  On Oct. 18th head coach Shuji Oshida, 53, revealed that the color of the team's first-ever tasuki [sash] will be Deep Blue, a term also meaning konjo, symbolizing pure guts and spirit.  Like the fearless Dokonjo Gaeru [Big Guts Frog] anime character, these Dokonjo Runners will target making the seeded top ten in their Hakone debut.

The morning after achieving its historic accomplishment of making the sport's biggest stage in their school's 50th anniversary year, the runners gathered to make even bigger plans.  Meeting at 10 a.m. at the team's training facility in Sakado, Saitama, they listened as coach Osuda told them with conviction and a grin, "We're the 19th-ranked team, but we have a chance to make the seeded bracket.  Your New Year's journey to Hakone is yet to come."

The team's tasuki, the heart and soul of the ekiden, is already ready.  Immediately after the team secured its qualification, Tokyo Kokusai University president Nobuyasu Kurata presented them with a blue tasuki.  "This color shall be known as Deep Blue, a term also meaning courage and spirit," he told them, his face profoundly serious.

Aoyama Gakuin University Fresh Green, Komazawa University Wisteria, Toyo University Iron Blue, Waseda University Scarlet.  Each of the powerhouse schools' tasuki color is synonymous with its name.  Deep Blue is also known as Prussian Blue, the name associated with Yamanashi Gakuin University.  In its fifth year as a program this ascendant team is ready to take its first step to carve a place in Hakone history for Tokyo Kokusai University Deep Blue.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

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…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…