Skip to main content

Another Change to Hakone Ekiden Select Team - Now Restricted Only to Athletes Without Hakone Experience

The Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (KGRR), organizers of the Hakone Ekiden, have announced that its Representative Committee, the highest voting body in its organization, has made the decision to change the qualification system for the Kanto Student Alliance select team made up of runners from universities that fail to qualify as a team for Hakone at October's Yosenkai qualifier. In its current incarnation the select team accepted athletes who had taken part in Hakone, including registration as an alternate, a maximum of once, but beginning with Hakone's 94th edition in 2018 it will be limited to only athletes who have never run in the actual race before.

In essence, the Kanto Student Alliance will now be made up entirely of rookies. A KGRR spokesperson explained, "We have made this decision after careful consideration of the Select Team's original purpose of sharing the Hakone experience with as wide a range of students and universities as possible." There will be no change to the use of individual results from the Oct. 14 Yosenkai 20 km for team selection.

One athlete who is expected to benefit from the change is Tokyo University third-year Shuichi Kondo. As a first and second-year he was twice an alternate for the Kanto Student Alliance team, meaning that he had used up his eligibility under the previous selection criteria. He will now get another chance to run in next year's Hakone Ekiden as a member of the team. Asked about the change Kondo calmly commented, "I just have to do everything I need to do to be ready for the Yosenkai."

An excellent road racer, Kondo ran 2:14:13 at February's Tokyo Marathon, ranking him 21st in the Japanese collegiate record books. If he runs for the Kanto Student Alliance team he will be most likely to run one of its most competitive stages such as the Second Stage. Both a scholar and athlete, he is likely to draw extra attention.

Tokyo University has only run Hakone once, making the 60th anniversary race in 1984 where it finished 17th of 20 teams. At the 81st Hakone Ekiden in 2005 Tokyo University first-year Sho Matsumoto ran the Eighth Stage as a member of the Kanto Region University Select Team, the precursor to the current Kanto Student Alliance team.

Translator's note: 2017 London World Championships Japanese national team captain Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), who ran Hakone twice as a member of the old Kanto Region University Select Team and credits the experience as critical to his development as an athlete, has been a vocal critic of the KGRR's continued push to restrict participation on the Kanto Student Alliance team. In 2012 he wrote an eloquent appeal to the KGRR asking them to reconsider their decision to change the team format.

source article:
http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/feature/hakone/20170727-OHT1T50269.html
translated by Brett Larner

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…