Skip to main content

A Day After 2nd-Place Hakone Ekiden Finish, Toyo University Back to Training in Pre-Dawn Light



With a mix of confidence and regret in their hearts a day after their third-straight runner-up finish and tenth-straight top 3 placing at the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, the members of the Toyo University men's ekiden team assembled early in the morning on Jan. 4 for their first training session of the new year. The session began with a 6:30 a.m. team meeting at its dormitory in Kawagoe, Saitama. Head coach Toshiyuki Sakai, 41, was passionate as he told the team members, "The way we finished 2nd this year was different from last year. This time we won Day One and led for the first 15 km of the Sixth Stage on Day Two. This was the first step in our counterattack."



The 2014 Hakone champion, Toyo's margin of loss behind four-time winner Aoyama Gakuin University has shrunk from 11:55 in 2015 to 7:11 in 2016 to 7:21 in 2017 and finally to 4:53 this year. Its Day One winning lineup of First Stage winner Kazuya Nishiyama (1st yr.), Second Stage 3rd-placer Akira Aizawa (2nd yr.), Third Stage winner Shuji Yamamoto (3rd yr.), Fourth Stage runner-up Hirotsugu Yoshikawa (1st yr.) and uphill Fifth Stage 9th-placer Ryusei Tanaka (1st yr.) was a fresh lineup full of rookie underclassmen full of potential for further growth next season. Combined with an outstanding record of stability demonstrated by its decade of top 3 finishes there's no doubt that Toyo is the best hope to overcome AGU's hegemony.

On the morning of the 4th the sun rose over Kawagoe at 6:52 a.m. A night after Hakone, by the time its light touched their faces Toyo University's athletes were already on the road to next year's 95th running.

source article: 
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/feature/hakone/20180104-OHT1T50236.html
translated by Brett Larner

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

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…