Skip to main content

Shitaraless Honda Wins East Japan Corporate Ekiden

Qualification for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships got underway on the Nov. 3 holiday in Japan's most competitive region, East Japan, with the 58th East Japan Corporate Men's Ekiden Championships. Running without half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 2015 winner Honda returned to the top with an exciting anchor stage win in 3:47:55 for the 7-stage, 77.5 km course.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team's leading man Yuki Muta got them off to a good start on the opening stage, but a 1-2 punch from DeNA's Kenta Murozuka and Bedan Karoki put DeNA 20 seconds ahead of the early leaders. 7th on the First Stage, Honda worked its way up to 3rd by the end of the Third Stage just a second behind Hitachi Butsuryu.

Honda moved into 2nd on the next stage, but its gap to leader DeNA stayed steady at 21 seconds. Fujitsu passed Hitachi Butsuryu for 3rd thanks to a stage win from Ken Yokote, and a new stage record of 22:52 for the 7.8 km Fifth Stage from Yusuke Sato put Fujitsu ahead of Honda and 21 seconds behind DeNA. In his debut with the Hitachi Butsuryu team Keita Shitara, twin brother of Honda's Shitara, also broke the Fifth Stage to keep hold of 4th, a solid performance ahead of his marathon debut in Fukuoka next month.


Hitachi Butsuryu's Toshiyuki Yanagi followed Shitara with the fastest time on the Sixth Stage, passing all three teams ahead of him and returning Hitachi Butsuryu to 1st with one stage to go and a 3-second lead over Honda. With just 32 seconds separating the top four the 13.5 km anchor stage was bound to be close, and a 40:27 from Yuki Matsumura was enough to put Honda ahead and into the winner's position. Fujitsu moved back into 2nd, DeNA taking 3rd and Hitachi Butsuryu dropping back to 4th. A stage win from Tomohiro Tanigawa brought the Konica Minolta team within 9 seconds of Hitachi Butsuryu but was only enough to put the past national championships 5th.

Back at the cutoff for New Year Ekiden qualification, past regulars Komori Corporation and JR Higashi Nihon fell out of the bracket, caught by the Police Headquarters, which put ten officers under 30 minutes at last month's Takashimadaira 10 km, and the Sunbelx supermarket team, which runs an entertaining advertising campaign featuring its Kenyan ace Ezekiel Cheboitibin hawking the week's specials to the Japanese public. They and the eleven more mainstream teams ahead of them now head into prep for the raison d'être for the entire corporate team system, the New Year Ekiden national championships.

58th East Japan Corporate Men's Ekiden Championships

Kumagaya, Saitama, 11/3/17
25 teams, 7 stages, 77.5 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top 13 qualify for New Year Ekiden
1. Honda - 3:47:55
2. Fujitsu - 3:48:42
3. DeNA - 3:48:51
4. Hitachi Butsuryu - 3:49:10
5. Konica Minolta - 3:49:19
6. Nissin Shokuhin - 3:49:46
7. Yachiyo Kogyo - 3:50:02
8. Kanebo - 3:50:51
9. Yakult - 3:52:26
10. Subaru - 3:52:29
11. Press Kogyo - 3:54:07
12. Police Headquarters - 3:54:13
13. Sunbelx - 3:54:14
14. Komori Corporation - 3:54:46
15. JR Higashi Nihon - 3:55:19

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage (11.6 km) - Yuki Muta (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 34:09
Second Stage (15.3 km) - Kenta Murozauka (DeNA) - 45:08
Third Stage (9.2 km) - Bidan Karoki (DeNA) - 25:33
Fourth Stage (9.5 km) - Ken Yokote (Fujitsu) - 28:06
Fifth Stage (7.8 km) - Yusuke Sato (Fujitsu) - 22:52 - CR
Sixth Stage (10.6 km) - Toshiyuki Yanagi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 30:16
Seventh Stage (13.5 km) - Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 40:22

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …