Skip to main content

Tokai University Head Coach Morozumi Goes Heavy on First-Years in Hakone Ekiden Lineup

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles at bottom


Powered by its formidable lineup of talented first-years, Tokai University is shooting for top three in Japan's biggest race.  On Dec. 16 the Tokai University men's ekiden team held a public practice session in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa ahead of the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden.  Of its sixteen-man Hakone entry roster, eight are first-years.  Four of those have run 13 minutes for 5000 m, four have run 28 minutes for 10000 m, and two have run 62 minutes for the half marathon.  Head coach Hayashi Morozumi, 50, told reporters, "I think you'll probably see a lot of the first-years on the final start list too.  It's jump or die.  If we take an interesting approach, we can make it a good race.  We have to take it to the champs Aoyama Gakuin University and not be afraid of failing.  Our goal is 3rd place.  I hope that we can go into it with every team member bringing the best of his abilities."

Morozumi plans a strong start.  On the First Stage he intends to put Shota Onizuka, who ran an all-time Asian junior #2 time of 1:02:03 at November's Ageo City Half Marathon, following on the Second Stage with Hayato Seki, winner of the Third Stage at October's Izumo Ekiden.  Both are first-years. "I'm excited to see what this kind of fresh blood can bring to those stages," Morozumi commented.  Onizuka promised to get things started fast, saying, "I want to get us into a good flow, whether that's running with Aoyama Gakuin or ahead of them."  Seki added, "I want to keep the team's momentum up on the most competitive stage.  I think we can take 1st as a team."

Morozumi also intends to use first-years on Hakone's two most important stages, the uphill Fifth Stage and the downhill Sixth Stage.  Conducting trial runs in training to identify potential candidates, Morozumi identified first-years Ryoji Tatezawa and Junnosuke Matsuo as possibilities for the Fifth Stage.  "Neither of them is affected by the demands of the climb," he said. "Tatezawa sits low down on his solid legs, an old-school style.  Matsuo has a lighter style like [former Aoyama Gakuin uphill star] Daichi Kamino. Both are well-suited.  They're not going to be called 'God of the Mountain' like Kamino but they are better on tough courses."  For the downhill he also identified a first-year.  "I am thinking of Reiri Nakashima," Morozumi said. "He showed something special during the trial run."

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1752780.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1752798.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20161217/ath16121705020001-n2.html
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/12/17/kiji/20161217s00063000088000c.html

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…