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New Year Ekiden Fourth and Sixth Stages Changed After Course Found Slightly Short

Around 80 representatives of the National Corporate Track and Field Association, Gunma Prefectural Government and related media organizations met Nov. 15 at the prefectural government offices to discuss course changes and upcoming promotional efforts for the 62nd running of the New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships on Jan. 1. It was confirmed that two of the ekiden's seven stages, the Fourth Stage and Sixth Stage, will be changed for this season's race.

The New Year Ekiden has been run on a 100 km course since 2001, but it was recently found that its actual distance was slightly insufficient. The course changes are intended to increase the distance to make up for the overall shortfall as well as to improve the course's runnability. The Fourth Stage has traditionally headed east from the Shiyakusho-mae intersection in Imaizumi-cho in Isesaki, but its new course will instead send it south along Route 354 for a increase in length from 22.0 to 22.4 km. The Sixth Stage formerly ran in a counterclockwise direction from the northeast around the Kiryu boat racing course in Kasuka-cho in Midori. In its new incarnation it will run clockwise, its length adjusted from 12.5 to 12.1 km.

As in the past, 37 teams will compete in the New Year Ekiden after having qualified at their regional events. The race will begin at 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 1 in front of the Gunma prefectural government offices. The Subaru corporate team will represent Gunma in the race. After the meeting, Association managing director Yoshiharu Tomonaga commented, "As this is an event early in the new year I plan to step up our promotional efforts right away."

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translated by Brett Larner


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