Skip to main content

Tokyo Kokusai University Qualifies for Its First-Ever National University Ekiden With Kanto Region Win



Tokyo Kokusai University made history Sunday night at Kanagawa’s Sagamihara Gion Stadium, winning the Kanto Region Qualifier for November’s National University Ekiden to make the national championship ekiden for the first time.

One of the wave of new programs to break onto the Hakone scene in recent years, won by a margin of just 13 seconds for the combined times of its eight runners in four heats of 10000 m, downing major established schools like Meiji University, Waseda University and Nittai University to take the top spot. A big part of that was first-year Vincent Yegon, who won the most competitive heat in 28:04.56 to give Tokyo Kokusai an edge on cumulative time. But with a margin of more than 2:40 over the final qualifying team, 5th-place Chuo Gakuin University, the rest of the team pulled its weight and would have almost certainly qualified even without the boost from Yegon.

Chuo University was the unlucky 6th-placer at less than 18 seconds behind Chuo Gakuin, about 2 seconds per runner. Perpetual Hakone qualifiers Yamanashi Gakuin University, Nihon University, Daito Bunka University and Kanagawa University also struck out, landing 7th through 10th. Although the fastest heat was dominated by Kenyans with Yegon leading a sweep of the top six spots, Tokyo Kokusai was the only team with a non-Japanese runner to qualify, with Yamanashi and Nihon the only other two in the top ten. All five qualifiers will join the seeded group of schools from last year and the best of the rest of the country Nov. 3 at the National University Ekiden in Nagoya.

51st National University Ekiden Kanto Region Qualifier

Sagamihara Gion Stadium, Kanagawa, 6/23/2019
20 teams, 8 runners per team, 2 each in 4 heats of 10000 m
complete results

Team Scoringtop five qualify for National University Ekiden
1. Tokyo Kokusai University – 3:57:13.15
2. Meiji University – 3:57:26.03
3. Waseda University – 3:58:46.84
4. Nittai University – 3:59:29.30
5. Chuo Gakuin University – 3:59:53.89
-----
6. Chuo University – 4:00:11.12
7. Yamanashi Gakuin University – 4:00:31.56
8. Nihon University – 4:01:15.62
9. Daito Bunka University – 4:01.52.58
10. Kanagawa University – 4:02:11.25

Individual Results
Heat Four
1. Vincent Yegon (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 28:04.55
2. Titus Wambua (Musashino Univ.) - 28:06.51
3. James Bunuka (Surugadai Univ.) - 28:09.09
4. Muiru Muthoni (Soka Univ.) - 28:15.68
5. Noah Kiplimo (Nihon Yakka Univ.) - 28:18.93
6. Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.) - 28:47.79
7. Shu Hasegawa (Senshu Univ.) - 28:51.09
8. Hideto Kosode (Meiji Univ.) - 28:52.49
9. Kiyoto Suzuki (Meiji Univ.) - 28:55.84
10. Tatsuhiko Ito (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 28:58.58

Heat Three
1. Shunpei Maeda (Meiji Univ.) - 29:28.51
2. Takuya Kitasaki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 29:31.71
3. Mizuki Nagayama (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 29:33.16
4. Ryosuke Nara (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 29:35.77
5. Kaito Tsuboi (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 29:36.60

Heat Two
1. Soshi Suzuki (Waseda Univ.) - 30:02.85
2. Taisei Kato (Meiji Univ.) - 30:04.45
3. Takaki Shuto (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 30:04.95
4. Shoya Takahashi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 30:05.19
5. Yushi Sato (Tokyo Kokusai Univ.) - 30:05.76

Heat One
1. Hiroki Abe (Meiji Univ.) - 29:25.36
2. Kazuya Yamaguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 30:01.91
3. Tatusya Aoyagi (Chuo Gakuin Univ.) - 30:03.04
4. Mamoru Sasaki (Jobu Univ.) - 30:03.62
5. Fumito Yano (Chuo Univ.) - 30:03.92

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

How Things Played Out - Hakone, Marathon Development, Where Things Went, and What's Still Ahead

Four and a half years ago JRN published a look at 20 years' worth of the Hakone Ekiden and the relationship between development at the university level on Japan's Hakone circuit and later success in the marathon. There are a lot more important things going on right now, but, since we've got some time on our hands, let's follow up on where things have gone since then and what might still be ahead.



In the original article I wrote, "In the next 4-6 years we are going to see a lot more Japanese marathoners running fast times, the first really significant overall change in Japanese men's marathoning since Barcelona ('92).....Once that ball gets rolling we should see an impact on the all-time marathon lists and when that happens you are talking real times. There's nothing to suggest Japanese men are going to start running 2:03 or 2:04 marathons, but given the numbers involved 2:07 and 2:08 should become normal, with 2:06 in range of the top men the way 2:07…

Osaka Governor Admits "It Would be Pretty Difficult" to Put On Osaka Marathon This Year

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, 44, appeared remotely on a morning news talk show on May 31. Asked by one of the hosts whether the Nov. 29 Osaka Marathon, one of the world's ten largest marathons, would be held this year, Yoshimura answered, "I think it would be pretty difficult this year, but the organizers are in the final stages of their decision-making process. They will make an announcement soon."

Held annually since its launch in 2011, this year the Osaka Marathon is set to celebrate its tenth edition and its first running as a World Athletics label race. As mayor of the city of Osaka Yoshimura himself ran and finished the 2017 race. With a new course finishing at Osaka Castle Park, last year's race had 32,989 finishers. With that number of people it is likely that they would come into close proximity to each other at the start in front of the Osaka Metropolitan Government offices.

"We are in discussion with all involved parties," said Yoshimura. …

Ageo City Half Marathon Canceled - AGU Coach Hara Calls for "Medical Worker Support Half Marathon" Instead

On June 2, the organizers of the Nov. 15 Ageo City Half Marathon announced that this year's race has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Every year Ageo attracts hundreds of collegiate runners hoping to impress their coaches over the distance and have a chance of making their Hakone Ekiden dreams come true. Marathon national record holder Suguru Osako showed his talent there in 2010, winning Ageo his first year at Waseda University in a still-standing Asian junior record 1:01:47. Since the 2011 race, every year the top two Japanese collegiate finishers have been invited to run March's NYC Half Marathon. This year Ageo was certified by World Athletics as a world-class event, but its cancelation means that a key part of the fall season has been lost.

Susumu Hara, the outspoken head coach of this year's Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University, was quick to take to Twitter to comment. "One of the most important fall university races, the Ageo Half, …