On May 30 the KGRR announced the 20 teams that will compete June 19 at Kanagawa's Sagami Gion Stadium at the Kanto Region qualifier for November's 53rd National University Men's Ekiden Championships. Excluding schools already qualified based on their finishing position at last year's Nationals, eligible schools in the Kanto Region were ranked by the combined times of their eight fastest runners over 10000 m in official track races between July 1, 2020 and May 29, 2021. The 20 schools with the fastest combined times were chosen for the Nationals qualifier.
The qualifying event consists of four separate track 10000 m races, each race featuring two runners from each school. Schools will be ranked by the combined times of all eight of their runners at the qualifier, with the seven fastest teams going on to Nationals.
Chuo University occupies the top position in the pre-qualifier rankings. Koku Gakuin University is 2nd, with Chuo Gakuin University 3rd. Kazuyoshi Tokumoto, head coach of 16th-ranked Surugadai University, talked about the event's connection to the rest of the season, saying, "We want to place as high up in the field as we can. Thinking in terms of the Hakone Ekiden qualifier this fall, we need to make the top ten here. The team is good enough to do it."
17th-ranked Rikkyo University will be running the Nationals qualifier for the first time. Keio University is ranked #20, beating out Reitaku University by just 13 seconds on combined time.
A total of 27 teams including 25 universities from across the country and two select teams will compete at this year's National University Men's Ekiden Championships. Kanto Region teams swept the top eight places at last year's Nationals, meaning that including the seven teams from the qualifier the Kanto Region will take up 15 places in the field.
Combined 10000 m times of the fastest eight runners and average time per runner for the 20 teams competing at the Kanto Region qualifier:
Chuo University - 3:48:37.22 (28:34.65)
Koku Gakuin University - 3:49:53.67 (28:44.21)
Chuo Gakuin University - 3:51:07.60 (28:53.45)
Tokyo Kokusai University - 3:51:45.55 (28:58.19)
Nittai University - 3:51:58.64 (28:59.83)
Kokushikan University - 3:52:04.63 (29:00.58)
Soka University - 3:52:18.22 (29:02.28)
Nihon University - 3:52:24.19 (29:03.02)
Kanagawa University - 3:52:31.14 (29:03.89)
Yamanashi Gakuin University - 3:52:51.37 (29:06.42)
Takushoku University - 3:53:00.85 (29:07.61)
Daito Bunka University - 3:54:07.44 (29:15.93)
Josai University - 3:54:18.38 (29:17.30)
Jobu University - 3:54:42.04 (29:20.26)
Hosei University - 3:55:10.72 (29:23.84)
Surugadai University - 3:55:20.99 (29:25.12)
Rikkyo University - 3:56:19.95 (29:32.49)
Senshu University - 3:56:48.16 (29:36.02)
Asia University - 3:57:00.61 (29:37.58)
Keio University - 3:57:03.00 (29:37.88)
translated by Brett Larner