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Osaka International Women's Marathon Preview - Watch Online

by Brett Larner

With six elite marathons in seven weeks, the crowded 2010 Japanese marathon season gets rolling this Sunday, Jan. 31 with the Osaka International Women's Marathon. With only an Asian Games spot at stake in a year without a major worldwide championships this year's Osaka has nevertheless attracted an interesting field containing a good number of relative newcomers and a few solid pros.

Osaka has been the site of some very memorable marathon debuts. Last year it was the site of track and half marathon star Yukiko Akaba's first marathon, 2nd overall in a credible 2:25:40. The Team Hokuren runner has been one of the main forces in the domestic track and ekiden scene for the last two years but her shaky appearances at the Olympics, the World Half Marathon and especially her disastrous run in the World Championships marathon have all weakened Akaba's reputation. With some expecting her to become Japan's next sub-2:20 woman Akaba is returning to Osaka to get…

Seko and Nakayama Bury the Hatchet

http://www.daily.co.jp/newsflash/2010/01/27/0002669025.shtml
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2010/01/27/04.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20100126-OHT1T00224.htm
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/tm/2010/news/20100126-OYT1T01262.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Toshihiko Seko and Takeyuki Nakayama, Jan. 26 at Tokyo Midtown. Click photos for full-sized versions.

For the first time since their glory days in the 80's, two of Japan's greatest marathoners, Toshihiko Seko (53) and Takeyuki Nakayama (50) appeared together in public Jan. 26 at Tokyo Midtown. The two former rivals gave a two-way discussion of Japanese men's marathoning as part of the Tokyo Marathon Tune-Up Week series of events promoting the Feb. 28 2010 Tokyo Marathon.

Both Seko and Nakayama ran the 1988 Seoul Olympic marathon. When Seko was injured and unable to run in the Olympic selection race at the 1987 Fukuoka International Marathon but was given special clearance by Rikuren to run ano…

Next Yokohama International Women's Marathon to be in Feb 2011

http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/TKY201001240150.html

translated by Brett Larner

At a meeting in Hiroshima on Jan. 24, Rikuren announced that the second edition of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon, sponsored in part by the Asahi Newspaper Group, will be held on Feb. 20, 2011. The first running of the new race was last November. The three major domestic elite women-only marathons in 2011 will thus be lined up in a row, with Osaka in January, Yokohama in February and Nagoya in March.*

The first Yokohama International Women's Marathon was held in November to commemorate its predecessor, the Tokyo International Women's Marathon. However, in November this year Yokohama will host a general meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) alliance, leading to security concerns with regard to the marathon.

*Translator's note: The date given for the race is one week before the date of the 2011 Tokyo Marathon, which also hosts an elite women's field.

Tokyo Marathon Announces Elite Field - Nasukawa and Kipsang Defend

by Brett Larner

click here for complete elite field details

On Jan. 25 the Tokyo Marathon announced its elite field for the race's fourth edition on Feb. 28. Last year's winners Salim Kipsang (Kenya) and Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Universal Entertainment) return to defend their titles.

Tokyo's organizers have done a good job of putting together a solid men's field at the start of the crowded spring marathon season. Kipsang may be back, but the 2:06:48 by Rachid Kisri (Morocco) at last year's Paris Marathon makes him a potential favorite despite a lack of other comparable performances. Six other men in the field have run under 2:08 within the last two or three years, meaning the course record of 2:07:23 should be in danger. Domestic hopes lie with half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku). Sato's 2:07:13 PB against Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) and Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) in Fukuoka '07 makes him the third-fastest man in the field, and his p…

Tenmaya and Kojokan Win Kita-Kyushu Women's Ekiden

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20100125k0000m050090000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

At the last major women's ekiden of the season, the 21st Kita-Kyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden on Jan. 24 in Kita-Kyushu, Team Tenmaya won the five-stage, 32.8 km open division for the first time in 15 years. Top-ranked Kojokan H.S. took its first win the six-stage, 32.8 km high school division. Both teams hail from Okayama Prefecture and carried over the momentum from Okayama's win at last week's National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden.

Tenmaya's Second Stage runner Yuka Izumi took the lead which Third and Fourth Stage runners Yoshie Kurisu and Kaori Urata lengthened with stage best runs. Tenmaya's anchor, Beijing Olympian Yurika Nakamura, was never seriously threatened as she cruised home for the win. Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo took 2nd after advancing in the later stages, while early leader Team Juhachi Ginko fell to 3rd. Team Acom, which will disba…

Shades of Seko - Kensuke Takezawa Outkicks Atsushi Sato for Win, Murasawa Over Kashiwabara at National Interprefectural Ekiden

by Brett Larner

click here to read detailed race commentary on JRNLive

Kensuke Takezawa (Hyogo) outkicks Atsushi Sato (Fukushima) for the win. Click photo for video highlights.

Waseda University graduate and first-year Team S&B elite Kensuke Takezawa (Hyogo Pref.) ran in the image of his coach and mentor Toshihiko Seko, closely tailing half marathon national record holder and fellow Waseda alum Atsushi Sato (Fukushima Pref.) throughout the 13 km anchor leg of the seven stage, 48 km 2010 National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden in Hiroshima on Jan. 24. With 280 m to go Takezawa dispatched Sato with a blazing kick, bringing Hyogo home in 2:20:02 to deliver Hyogo its first National Interprefectural Ekiden win in 3 years and robbing Fukushima of its first-ever National win. "I had a pretty bad year last year," said Takezawa after the race, "so it's nice to get this one off to a good start."

Two-time defending champion and course record holder Nagano Prefecture wa…

National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden Preview

by Brett Larner

The 15th National Interprefectural Men's Ekiden takes place this Sunday, Jan. 24 in Hiroshima. A seven-stage, 48 km race between teams from each of Japan's 47 prefectures, like last weekend's Interprefectural Women's Ekiden the Men's Ekiden features an interesting format in that each team is made up of top runners of all levels from junior high school to seasoned pro. It's one of the only opportunities to see the university-aged Hakone Ekiden stars go up against the top pros, and the junior high school and high school stages frequently provide the first glimpse of future stars. This is the race where Ryuji Kashiwabara first made his name in 2008 as a high school student by taking down national champion Yuki Yagi, and the one where Akinobu Murasawa came to attention last year by setting a stage record of 23:55 for 8.5 km.

Murasawa's native Nagano Prefecture is the undisputed king of the hill, with five wins in the last six years including a cou…

Mitsuya "Running to Win" Debut Marathon in Beppu-Oita While Targeting 10000 m NR (updated)

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20100120153.html
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/spomain/detail/20100121-OYS1T00215.htm
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/item/147512

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Click photo for full-sized image.

2005 and 2007 World Championships track runner Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) held a press conference in Fukuoka on Jan. 20 to formally announce that he will run his debut marathon at the Feb. 7 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. He was unambigious about his plans for his debut. "Ever since I went pro my goal has been the marathon. I'm running this to win it."

Ranked #3 for 5000 m and #4 for 10000 m on the all-time Japanese lists, Mitsuya made a big step toward the marathon a year ago with a 1:29:55 win at the Kumanichi 30 km, his first time racing such a long distance. Now looking toward the example of double 10000 m and marathon national record holder Toshinari Takaoka, Mitusya is attacking with two swords. Since last summe…

Kashiwabara and Murasawa to Attend Rikuren Marathoner Training Camps

http://www.47news.jp/CN/201001/CN2010011901000781.html
http://www.47news.jp/CN/201001/CN2010011801000967.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

With an eye toward strengthening Japanese men's marathoning and distance running in the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Rikuren announced on Jan. 19 that it will sponsor a series of national training camps for promising marathoners in New Zealand and other overseas locations. Among the first to be named for the camps are Hakone Ekiden stars Ryuji Kashiwabara, who earlier this month led Toyo University to its second-straight Hakone win, and first year Akinobu Murasawa of Tokai University, who won October's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km in a strong 59:08.

Rikuren's Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee revealed that the first camp will take place in New Zealand in March and April. Following June's National Track and Field Championships the camp's athletes will head to the United States for road racing and high-a…

Njenga, Mungara, Mitsuya and Suwa Headline 59th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon (complete field update)

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20100118119.html
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2010011800601
http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20100119k0000m050076000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Jan. 18 the organizing committee for the 59th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon announced the elite field of 15 for this year's Feb. 7 running. At the top of the list of ten Japan-based athletes is Kenyan Daniel Njenga (Team Yakult), who won last summer's Hokkaido Marathon and holds a PB of 2:06:16. Lining up against Njenga in his marathon debut is 2007 World Championships track runner Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu). Athens Olympics marathon 6th place finisher Toshinari Suwa (Team Nissin Shokuhin) is also in the field, and 2:08 man Tadayuki Ojima (Team Asahi Kasei) will be running as his final race before retirement.

The 5 overseas invited athletes are led by Kenyan Jonathan Kipkorir, who set his PB of 2:07:31 last year at the Paris Marathon. Joining him …

Yamauchi and Mogusu Return to Marugame Int'l Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

With three weeks to go until the 2010 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon race officials announced the complete elite men's and women's fields on Jan. 18. Last year's Japan-based winners Mara Yamauchi (U.K.) and Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya) are scheduled to return to defend their titles. Yamauchi has been out of competition since an injury kept her away from August's Berlin World Championships and is making a welcome return to the scene. The popular Mogusu is likewise making a miniature comeback after his abortive marathon debut last month in Fukuoka.

The elite women's field includes 24 invited athletes along with 25 general division elites. 2004 Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Bruna Genovese (Italy) and 2009 Great Australian Run winner Nicole Chapple (Australia) are Yamauchi's main overseas competition, while the Japanese runners are led by the Ominami twins Hiromi and Takami (Team Toyota Shatai) and 2008 Shanghai Half Marathon w…

Yurika Nakamura Brings Okayama in to First National Interprefectural Ekiden Win

by Brett Larner

click here for JRNLive's detailed race commentary













Yurika Nakamura scores Okayama Prefecture's first win at the National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden Jan. 17 in Kyoto. Click photo for video highlights.

An Okayama Prefecture team made up primarily of members of the pro Team Tenmaya and the elite Kojokan H.S. derailed hometown hosts Kyoto Prefecture's bid for a sixth-straight National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden win on Jan. 17. Okayama took its first-ever national title, winning the nine-stage, 42.195 km event in 2:16:24 thanks to stage best runs by members Kaori Urata and Katsuki Suga and a new stage record by Kojokan H.S. first-year Mahiro Akamatsu. Okayama's anchor, Olympic marathoner and World Championships track runner Yurika Nakamura, was only 8th on stage time but had a big enough lead to hold off Chiba Prefecture anchor Hitomi Niiya by 15 seconds.

Chiba's best-ever 2nd place showing was a surprise and came thanks in large part to str…

2010 National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden - Preview

by Brett Larner

The annual women's and men's National Interprefectural Ekidens are some of Japan's most interesting races. This year's women's race takes place tomorrow, Jan. 17, in Kyoto. Each of Japan's 47 prefectures fields a team of nine women ranging from junior high school students to top professional marathoners, running as one team representing their home ground. With nine legs totalling 42.195 km all but the 6 km First Stage and 10 km Ninth stage are under 5 km, making a faster-paced race than is often the case.

Part of what makes the Interprefectural Ekidens interesting is that rather than emphasizing the big names they are often the site of the national coming out of talented young athletes. Toyo University's Ryuji Kashiwabara was an unknown as a high school senior at the 2008 Men's Interprefectural Ekiden but grabbed attention for the first time by frontrunning against national high school champion Yuki Yagi (Waseda Univ.) on the First Stage a…

Master Shoe Craftsman Mimura Joins Adidas

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0002639286.shtml
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=ind_30&k=2010011300822

translated and edited by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

L-R: Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki, Adidas Japan president Pascal Martin, shoe master Hitoshi Mimura, and 1991 World Championships gold medalist Hiromi Taniguchi in Tokyo on Nov. 13. Click photo for full-sized image.

Sports maker Adidas Japan held a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 13 to announce the signing of Hitoshi Mimura, the master craftsman known for the handmade shoes he has long produced for the world's top athletes, to an exclusive advisor position with the company. Mimura, 61, will continue to develop his shoes at his 'M. Lab' workshop in Takasago, but said, "I want to make shoes that will set a world record."

Beginning in April, Mimura's shoes will be an Adidas-branded product. Focusing on running and baseball, he will supervise product development for elite athletes, the design…

Nakamura and Shimahara to Run Boston Marathon

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0002637438.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Beijing Olympics women's marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) will begin her move back toward the marathon as the 2012 Olympics approach. In the year and a half since Beijing, Nakamura has stayed away from the marathon and instead focused on developing her speed on the track and over the half marathon. On Jan. 12 she announced that she plans to run in April's Boston Marathon.

Nakamura won her marathon debut at the spring, 2008 Nagoya International Women's Marathon, and finished 13th in Beijing. As she begins her buildup toward the 2012 London Marathon she plans to race overseas more frequently to gain experience racing against top foreign competition.

At last summer's World Championships in Berlin she became the first Japanese woman in 10 years to crack the top 8 in the 10000 m, running a PB to finish 7th overall. She also recorded PBs in both the heats and final of the 5000 m. At the Wor…

'Bastos, Mizutani Win Disney Marathon Crowns... Again'

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jan/10/sp-bastos-wins-disney-again/sports/

Note: Mizutani is a last-year medical student at Tsukuba University. With her final exams coming up next month she has been busy recently. On Nov. 15 she was 18th in the Yokohama International Women's Marathon in 2:47:33. Disappointed, a week later on Nov. 22 she won the Tsukuba Marathon in 2:43:14. Two weeks after that on Dec. 6 she won the tropical Naha Marathon in 2:50:42. She may well have raced elsewhere between her Naha and Disney wins.

Honda Takes First Asahi Ekiden Win

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20100112k0000m050027000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

17 teams competed in the 61st Asahi Ekiden on Jan. 11, a seven-stage, 99.9 km elite competition stretching from Fukuoka to Kita-Kyushu. Team Honda ran 4:47:33 to take its first-ever Asahi Ekiden win. Honda's Sixth Stage runner Yacob Jarso of Ethiopia started the stage in 3rd place 1:40 behind the leader but broke the existing stage record on his way to taking the lead. Honda anchor Suehiro Ishikawa managed to hold on to the lead to bring the team home on top. Trying for a fourth-straight win, Team Asahi Kasei anchor Tomoya Onishi ran the stage's best time but could not catch Ishikawa and had to settle for 2nd. Team Kyudenko finished 3rd, while last year's Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden winner Team Yasukawa Denki was 4th. Alongside Jarso's mark, Kenyan student runner Kiragu Njuguna (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) also set a new record on the first stage.

2010 Asahi Ekiden - 7 Stages, 99.9…

Course Records Fall at 50th Oita Godo Half Marathon (updated)

http://www.e-obs.com/obs-news/genko/DD01110011914.html
http://www.oita-press.co.jp/localNews/2010_126318885586.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Nearly 600 runners took part in the 50th anniversary Oita Godo Road Race on Jan. 11 in downtown Oita. Intended to help raise the level of distance running within Oita prefecture, the race takes place each year on the Coming of Age Day national holiday and is the frequent site of breakthrough performances by new stars. This year's 50th edition saw course records in the men's half marathon and high school men's 10 km as well as the first women's 10 km race in 22 years. With extended checkpoint cutoff times helping to swell the numbers, this year saw 406 finishers in the men's half marathon, 137 in the high school men's 10 km, and 36 in the women's 10 km.

In the men's half marathon, Oita Tomei H.S. graduate Fumihiro Maruyama (19, Team Asahi Kasei) dropped his rivals with an attack over the last km, winning in…

Tadayuki Ojima to Retire After Beppu-Oita

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/0002629542.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

1999 World Championships marathoner Tadayuki Ojima (33, Team Asahi Kasei) announced on Jan 8 that he will retire from competition following his run at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. After retirement Ojima plans to concentrate on his work obligations with Asahi Kasei.

A native of Sasayama, Ojima went to the competitive Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. where he was part of the school's two year-straight national champion ekiden team. Following his older brother Muneyuki to Team Asahi Kasei, Ojima had a remarkable string of successes as a pro. He was a member of the Japanese national team at the 1999 World Championships marathon in Seville. At the 2004 Biwako Mainichi Marathon he ran 2:08:18, 2nd overall and the top Japanese finisher. The mark put him into contention for the Athens Olympics marathon team but ultimately he was not selected.

Ojima commented, "Before I joined Team Asahi Kasei, Nishiwaki …

22 Universities Participate in "Another Hakone Ekiden" Trash Cleanup

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0109/TKY201001090313.html

translated by Brett Larner

100 students from 22 universities including 10 schools which ran in the main event are taking part in "Another Hakone Ekiden," a two-day event in which students pick up trash while running along the Hakone Ekiden course, began on Jan. 9. Starting from Tokyo's Otemachi district and ending the second day at Ashinoko in Hakone, each team in the event consists of five runners who hand off a tasuki like the real Hakone runners. In determining the winner teams are scored on both time and the amount of garbage they collect.

Carrying a cell phone and bag, one finished runner said, "There was a lot more trash than I expected." A member of the organizing committee commented, "We used the word 'another' in the event title because we want university students to take another look at the environmental problems we face today."

Atsushi Sato to Run Tokyo Marathon

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/news/20100101k0000m050022000c.html
http://www.47news.jp/CN/200912/CN2009123101000436.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2009 World Championships men's marathon 6th place finisher Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has announced that he will run in the Feb. 28 Tokyo Marathon. The 31 year old Sato has worked his way back from the disaster of being the last finisher at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, coming in 8th in last April's London Marathon before his strong 6th place in Berlin. In his first domestic marathon since the December 2007 Fukuoka International Marathon, where he was 3rd in a PB of 2:07:13 against Beijing gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru (Kenya) and Beijing 4th place finisher Deriba Merga (Ethiopia), Sato is one of the best hopes for returning Japan to a competitve position in the era of the high-speed marathon.

Katsumata Wins Final Miyazaki Women's Half Marathon

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/item/144738
http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/SEB201001070003.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 30th and final edition of the Miyazaki Women's Road Race took place Jan. 6 in Miyazaki city. Running the event's half marathon for the first time, Misaki Katsumata (Team Daiichi Seimei) won in a time of 1:10:27. 27 seconds behind in 2nd place was Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera), with Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) another 30 second back in 3rd. 2009 Berlin World Championships marathoner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) was 4th in 1:11:33. Women's 1500 m national champion Mika Yoshikawa (Team Panasonic) won the 5 km in 16:15.

The Miyazaki Road Race began in 1981 and has seen world records set on its fast course. Past winners of the race have included many famous runners such as Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex), Sydney Olympics silver medalist Lidia Simon (Romania), Elana Meyer (RSA), Akemi Masuda, Masako Chiba…

Announcing JRNPremium Interview Series

Beginning in Feb., 2010, Japan Running News will introduce its new JRNPremium monthly subscription series of original in-depth and personal interviews with Japanese and Japan-based distance runners, coaches and others involved in the Japanese long-distance running industry. Get a look into a previously-closed world as you read about training, life as a professional jitsugyodan athlete or as a runner in the toughest university system in the world, and the personal sides of those who until now may have been little more than a name next to a time, if even that. You won't find interviews with most of these people anywhere else. In the first half of 2010 JRNPremium will feature original interviews with:

Arata Fujiwara, the man who came from nowhere with a 2:08:40 at the 2008 Tokyo Marathon, crashed and burned at the 2009 World Championships, and dreams of doing things his own way.
Takeyuki Nakayama, anger-fueled former 10000 m and marathon national record holder, twice 4th in the Olympic…

ARRS Releases Updated Worldwide Road Race Rankings

by Brett Larner

The Association of Road Running Statisticians (ARRS), released its annually-updated rankings of the world's top road races at the end of December. Using a formula which scores races in terms of both quality and depth of performances, the ARRS listings give an indication of a race's overall level over the course of its history relative to other comparable races. The top three races worldwide at each distance in which at least one scored over 1000 points are reproduced below. Click table for a larger image. Click here to see more detailed listings on the ARRS website.


International championship events held in different countries each edition are excluded from the above summary. Three races fall into this category: the IAAF Women's 15 km World Championships and the IAAF Men's and Women's World Half Marathon Championships.

The table below lists the 25 highest-scoring races worldwide for both men and women. International championship events held in differen…

Toyo University Gets the Star Treatment

by Brett Larner
Toyo photos by Mika Tokairin

A day after winning its second-straight Hakone Ekiden title, Toyo University had a busy Monday morning. The entire team and coaching staff appeared on the nationally-broadcast Sukkiri morning talk show, equivalent to Good Morning America, which devoted today's episode to interviewing team members and asking for their comments on clips from Saturday and Sunday's race. Sukkiri brought in marathon legend Toshihiko Seko for additional expert commentary and questioning.

Following the TV appearance, a good deal of which focused on second-year Ryuji Kashiwabara's record-setting Fifth Stage run, the team went straight to Toyo sponsor Nike's flagship store in the heart of the Harajuku/Omotesando fashion district for a lunchtime in-store appearance.

Nike had done up the large display windows along Omotesando, Tokyo's most fashionable street, with Hakone uniforms from the four teams it sponsors and oversized lettering which read "…

Toyo Wins Second-Straight Hakone Ekiden

This is Nihon TV's end-of-broadcast highlight video. Click here for a video recap of Day One.

by Brett Larner

Click here for JRNLive's detailed live commentary on Twitter.

Riding on the 3:36 lead singlehandly built by second year Ryuji Kashiwabara on the final stage of yesterday's Hakone Ekiden Day One, Toyo University not only held off all rivals but succeeded in extending the lead over the course of Day Two to take its second-straight and second-ever Hakone win. In a repeat of last year's winning pattern, Toyo lost ground on the downhill Sixth Stage, then widened its lead by taking the stage best title on the Seventh Stage and second-best on the Eighth stage, the latter thanks again to team member Yu Chiba. Ninth Stage runner Masaya Kudo had a weak showing, but the team's margin was safe enough for anchor Ryo Takami to bring the team in again to its second win as Toyo covered the 217.9 km course in 11:10:13. With only Kudo and Fourth Stage runner Hiroki Seko graduat…

KASHIWABARA - 2nd-Straight Hakone Record Run

by Brett Larner

Click here for JRNLive's detailed live race commentary.

For the second straight year, Toyo University sophomore Ryuji Kashiwabara was the key figure on the first day of the Hakone Ekiden. Starting the fifth and final stage of the day in 7th place 4:26 behind leader Kimiya Hisakuni of Meiji University, Kashiwabara blew by the competition as he attacked the 874 m climb stage, taking the lead with ease after just 12.7 km. Where last year Kashiwabara had rival Masayuki Miwa of Waseda University to battle until the last 2 km, this year he had only his own record to race over the last 10.7 km. Kashiwabara finished in a stunning new record of 1:17:08, but even more impressively went from a 4:26 deficit to a 3:36 lead. As Toyo begins the second day tomorrow morning it is in an excellent position to defend its 2009 Hakone title.

Where last year's Hakone Day One was a complex, turbulent mix of four stage records, surprise meltdowns and the last runs by three of the most tal…