Skip to main content

Hakone Stars Hattori and Isshiki to Head Outside the Mainstream

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20160705-OHT1T50100.html
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160705-00000225-sph-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Former teammates at 2012 National High School Ekiden champion Toyokawa H.S. and now two of the biggest stars on the Hakone Ekiden circuit, 2015 National University Half Marathon champion Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin University) and 2015 National University 5000 m champion Hazuma Hattori (Toyo University) are set to follow unconventional paths post-graduation.

At a press conference this week GMO Internet announced that Isshiki will join its new GMO Athletes team after his graduation next spring.  Isshiki finished as the third Japanese man overall and second university finisher in his marathon debut at February's Tokyo Marathon, running 2:11:45 to position himself as a hopeful for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Having received recruitment offers from ten different corporate league teams, after careful consideration Isshiki opted to join GMO in order to follow a path to the top of the world under the respected leadership of brand-new head coach Katsuhiko Hanada, 45.

Isshiki commented, "I will pursue my goal of making the Tokyo Olympics marathon as a member of this team.  I am very pleased to be able to receive first-class support from GMO chairman, president and CEO Masatoshi Kumagai and to receive the guidance from coach Hanada, both as an athlete and as a person, that I will need to make that goal a reality."

Isshiki has run the Hakone Ekiden's most competitive stage, the Second Stage, twice, finishing 3rd both times.  His Tokyo Marathon debut this February demonstrated his potential at longer distances, and his 4th-place finish as the top university man in last month's National Championships 5000 m showed he has speed as well.  Coach Hanada commented, "To begin with the goal will be to run 2:08.  Next after that will be the 2:06:16 Japanese national record or even Japan's first 2:05.  He has the talent to compete at the world level."

GMO Internet launched the GMO Athletes team this spring.  To pursue the goal of becoming #1, chairman Kumagai, 52, has promised to provide team member with first-class facilities and treatment.  Aoyama Gakuin University head coach Susumu Hara, 49, serves as advisor to the team.

This week 5000 m collegiate champ Hattori also announced that he will join the second-tier Toenec corporate team, just 35th at this year's New Year Ekiden national corporate championships, after graduating next spring.  Following the appointment of Tadaaki Matsuura, 48, to its head coach position last year, the Toenec team is in the midst of rapid growth, regularly doing altitude training at roughly 1800 m elevation at the Hida Ontake Plateau in Gifu Prefecture three hours from its home base in Nagoya, Aichi.

Hattori received offers from many of the strongest corporate league teams, but putting the training environment as a top priority he opted for Toenec.  His older brother Yuma Hattori, 22, joined the Aichi-based Toyota corporate team after graduating this spring.  Hazuma will compete with Yuma, Isshiki and others for a place on the Tokyo Olympic team.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Toyo University Leads Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin on Hakone Ekiden Day One

The team that brought Japan's greatest race into the modern era with its historic 2012 sub-3 min/km win, Toyo University came out swinging to win Day One of the 2018 Hakone Ekiden.

Intensely popular with fans, Toyo has struggled this season with its entire senior class out with injury. With its fate in the hands of its younger members Toyo 1st-year Kazuya Nishiyama, freshly 19 in November, stepped up and took control of the race with both hands. Midway through the fast First Stage Nishiyama surged hard to go out front alone, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.) and relative unknown Yuhei Urano (Koku Gakuin Univ.) the only ones to try to go with him. Nishiyama covered the 21.3 km stage in 1:02:16, equivalent to a 1:01:40 half marathon, with Urano and Katanishi around 15 seconds back. 3-time defending champ Aoyama Gakuin University was 25 seconds behind in 5th at the first exchange, 2017 Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University another …

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Nakamoto and Kawauchi to Run Boston

Japan's Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) will run the 2018 Boston Marathon as part of the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team. Kawauchi holds world records for everything from most career sub-2:12 marathons to most sub-2:20, while Nakamoto is Japan's best championships marathoner of modern times with four top 10 finishes at the Olympics and World Championships.

Longtime rivals, their duel at the 2013 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon was one of the classics of Japanese marathoning, both running sub-2:09 PBs as Kawauchi set a still-standing course record of 2:08:15. The pair has a 3-3 record in the marathon so far, their most recent meeting coming at last summer's London World Championships where Kawauchi ran Nakamoto down in the last kilometer to take 9th. Boston will be their 7th and likely final face-off.

Our 2018 #BostonMarathon International Elite Field includes 46 of the world’s best marathoners from 13 countries. Watch to see the …