Skip to main content

Hakone Ekiden Considering Plans to Shorten Fifth Stage After 2016 Race

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20151130-OHT1T50148.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Hakone Ekiden organizers KGRR announced on Nov. 30 that they are examining changing the lengths of the 18.5 km Fourth Stage and 23.2 km uphill Fifth Stage.  The race's 92nd edition on Jan. 2 and 3, 2016 will go ahead with the existing stage lengths, with the possibility of changes as early as the 93rd running in 2017.  Changes under discussion would likely involve lengthening the Fourth stage, Hakone's shortest, and reducing the Fifth Stage.

Beginning with the 2006 race the Odawara exchange point between the Fourth and Fifth Stages was moved 2.5 km toward Tokyo due to construction at its former location at Suzuhiro.  As a result the Fourth Stage became shorter and the Fifth Stage longer.  With the challenging uphill Fifth Stage now the longest, the success of its star runners Masato Imai (Juntendo Univ., now Toyota Kyushu), Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ., now Fujitsu) and Daichi Kamino (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) earned them the title "God of the Mountain" and widely expanded Hakone's popularity.

At the same time, since the Fifth Stage was lengthened every team that won it has gone on to take the overall title, leading to claims that the Fifth Stage has too large an impact on the overall team results.  The KGRR will discuss the issue at upcoming coaches' council meetings.

Translator's note: The 2006 change made the iconic Fifth Stage 23.4 km in length.  Subsequent road construction resulted in its length being cut to 23.2 km in 2015 without its start or finish points being moved.  At the time of the 2006 lengthening organizers cited the hope that the longer stage would become a proving ground for Japan's future top marathoners.  At the 2015 Tokyo Marathon Imai ran 2:07:39 to become Japan's 6th-fastest marathoner ever.  Click here for the KGRR's official press release on the possibility of shortening the Fifth Stage.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Tokyo Experiments With Spraying Water Along 2020 Marathon Course to Combat Heat

As part of its measures to deal with the hot conditions expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted an experiment to measure the effects on pavement surface temperature of spraying the road surface with water. Data from the experiments were released to the media.

The experiment was conducted from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. along a 120 m section of sidewalk along Uchibori Street in the Imperial Palace's outer gardens in Chiyoda Ward.  In the experiment, open-ended tubes used in agricultural work eres placed at the edge of the sidewalk  to supply water. Surface temperature readings were taken every 30 minutes for three different experimental scenarios:
spraying water beginning at 4:00 a.m.spraying water beginning at 7:00 a.m.not spraying any water The experiment found that where water had been sprayed, the road surface temperature remained in the 27 to 29˚C range even when the air temperature exceeded 30˚C. Where no wa…

On Broadcast Commentary

It's been 122 days since the 122nd Boston Marathon. Of what the two exceptional people who won that day accomplished, WilliamShakespeare summed it up better than any other commentator in his Sonnet 122:

Beyond all date, even to eternity;
     Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
     Have faculty by nature to subsist;
     Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
     Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.

What else needs to be said? But the other thing that remains from that day is, of course, this:

Worst punditry ever? #Yukipic.twitter.com/AwjeuZDtOt — Xempo Running (@xempouk) April 16, 2018
In the 122 days since Boston this clip has been on my mind a lot. The commentary here by Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig was exceptionally bad, but it wasn't unique to them and highlighted many of the problems with marathon TV broadcasts and especially their hosts and commentators. I'm fortunate to live in Japan where the announcers for the countless marathon live TV broadcas…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…