Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hakone Ekiden Entry Lists and Rankings

by Brett Larner

The KGRR, organizers of the Hakone Ekiden, have released the 16-member entry lists for the 21 university teams running the 92nd edition of Japan's biggest sports event on January 2 and 3.  For the first time ever JRN has made the complete entry lists available in English, with name, class year, 5000 m, 10000 m and half marathon bests for all 334 athletes in the field and top ten average 5000 m, 10000 m and half marathon times for all 21 teams.  Click any listing below to enlarge.

With the Hakone Ekiden's ten stages averaging 21.71 km each, half marathon times are the most relevant to a team's performance.  Teams are listed below in order of the average half marathon PB of their ten fastest men.  In some cases half marathon PBs are extrapolated from 20 km times.  The averages for Yamanashi Gakuin University and Nihon University, both of which have two Kenyan members apiece, include the times of only their faster Kenyan as only one can run Hakone.

JRN will publish its annual detailed Hakone preview closer to the end of the month, but a quick analysis breaks the field into four clear groups:
  • One group of four possible winners, or rather of three universities hoping to take down defending champion and heavy favorite Aoyama Gakuin University which has a spectacular ten-man half marathon average of 1:02:36.
  • A second group of five universities with a lock on making the ten-deep seeded bracket and which will be shooting to make the top five.
  • A group of six schools in range of taking 10th, the last seeded place for the 2017 Hakone Ekiden.
  • A final group of six also-rans including the debuting Tokyo Kokusai University and the Kanto Region Student Alliance Team made up of high-placing individuals at October's Hakone Ekiden Qualifier whose schools did not make the cut.  Among them, Jobu University has only entered 14 runners instead of the full allowance of ten starters and six alternates.
Six universities in the field have 10-man 5000 m averages under 14:00, four have 10000 m averages under 29:00, and two have half marathon averages under 1:03:00.  Only Aoyama Gakuin hits all three categories.  The quality of the race up front and the density of teams in contention for the last seeded position promise another spectacular year.  Look for detailed pre-Hakone coverage on JRN in the weeks to come and for live coverage throughout the race on @JRNLive.

©2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Anna Novick said...

That must have been a huge amount of work! A huge otsukaresama deshita :) I hope to get out along the course and cheer this year.

Brett Larner said...

Thanks, it was. I'm indebted to the fantastic Mattari Ekiden site for help with tracking down many of the lesser-known runners' PBs. A highly recommended site for anyone who can read Japanese: http://sat-ekiden.info/
Also helpful was the searchable ARRS database site: http://more.arrs.net/