Skip to main content

New Year Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner



The raison d'être for the Japanese men's corporate team comes bright and early every Jan. 1 with the New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships.  37 teams from 6 regions square off over 100 km in a race that sees most of the athletes bringing their peak performance of the year; at the 2012 New Year Ekiden, winner Team Nissin Shokuhin ace Yuki Sato's record of 1:02:51 for the 22.0 km Fourth Stage was equivalent to a 1:00:16 half marathon, faster than the Japanese national record.  TBS will broadcast the race live starting at 8:30 a.m.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch online with Keyhole TV, with coverage also available via Twitter @JRNLive.

Nissin Shokuhin comes to the 2013 New Year Ekiden in range of a title defense, but much of its chances depend on Sato.  At November's East Japan regional qualifier he was only 4th on his stage, contributing to the team's loss to the Tsuyoshi Ugachi-led Team Konica Minolta.  It will take a performance close to his stage record last year, along with a solid debut from Nissin's junior Kenyan Leonard Barston, for Nissin to make up the distance to Konica Minolta, the favorite for the overall win.

Running without either of its Ethiopians, Team Honda was only one second behind Nissin at the East Japan qualifier and should also be up front throughout the race.  Noteworthy on Honda's lineup is the entry of Asmerow Mengistu rather than 2011 10000 m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan.  Team JR Higashi Nihon and Team Fujitsu were also strong in East Japan and have to be counted among the favorites.  The most-anticipated moment of this New Year Ekiden will surely be the pro ekiden debut of Fujitsu's Ryuji Kashiwabara, a celebrity throughout Japan after his four-straight Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage wins while at Toyo University.

If any team can break East Japan's dominance it will be Kyushu's Team Asahi Kasei.  One of Japan's most legendary old-school teams, Asahi Kasei has recently been accumulating a tough lineup including Komazawa University and Meiji University aces Takuya Fukatsu and Tetsuya Yoroizaka along with Hiroyuki Horibata, who ran 2:08:24 in Fukuoka earlier this month.  If Horibata has recovered adequately then Asahi Kasei should be a player.  Kyushu runner-up Team Yasukawa Denki and Kansai region winner Team Sagawa Express, featuring Olympic marathoners Kentaro Nakamoto and Ryo Yamamoto, should be in contention for the top five, along with Chugoku champion Team Chugoku Denryoku.

Despite Jeilan's absence, the 8.3 km "International Stage" should provide some of the best race of the day.  The entry list includes the likes of Paul Tanui (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), Clement Langat (Kenya/Team Subaru), Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel), Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.), Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and Alemu Desta (Ethiopia/Team Yasukawa Denki).  Most of the top Japanese talent will be lined up on the 13.6 km Third Stage and 22.0 km Fourth Stage.

2013 New Year Ekiden
National Corporate Men's Ekiden Championships
Maebashi, 1/1/13
37 teams, 7 stages, 100.0 km

Top Team Entries
Konica Minolta (East Japan)
Nissin Shokuhin (East Japan)
Honda (East Japan)
Asahi Kasei (Kyushu)
JR Higashi Nihon (East Japan)
Sagawa Express (Kansai) 
Yasukawa Denki (Kyushu)
Shikoku Denryoku (Kansai) 
Toyota Kyushu (Kyushu)
Fujitsu (East Japan) 
Otsuka Seiyaku (Kansai)
Chugoku Denryoku (Chugoku) 
Toyota Boshoku (Chubu) 
Toyota (Chubu) 
Aichi Seiko (Chubu)
YKK (Hokuriku)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…

Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

complete report coming shortly
48th Hofu Yomiuri MarathonHofu, Yamaguchi, 12/17/17
click here for complete results

Women
1. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 2:28:12 - CR, PB
2. Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) - 2:39:56
3. Noriko Sato (First Dream AC) - 2:46:59

Men
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:10:03
2. Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) - 2:11:26 - PB
3. Asuka Tanaka (Yutori Running Club) - 2:12:17 - PB
4. Shinichi Yamashita (Takigahara SDF Base) - 2:12:32 - PB
5. Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:12:36 - PB
6. Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:58 - PB
7. Shohei Kurata (GMO) - 2:13:16 - debut
8. Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) - 2:15:43
9. Boniface Kirui (Kenya) - 2:18:30
10. Yuki Yagi (Yagi Running Team) - 2:18:41 - PB

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved