Monday, February 4, 2013

Toyota Boshoku and Toyokawa H.S. Take Meigi Ekiden Titles

by Brett Larner

The 67th running of the Meigi Ekiden joined other races across the country in being blessed with good weather on Feb. 3, the kind of weather that produces course records. In the 6-stage, 52.6 km open men's division Team Toyota Boshoku unseated defending champion and course record holder Team Toyota for the win in 2:31:17, just 32 seconds off Toyota's 2012 record.  Toyota Boshoku started slow, its opening man Yoshiaki Shiota only 7th, but steadily advanced through the field until Kenyan ace Patrick Mutunga ran down Toyota's Chihiro Miyawaki to put Toyota Boshoku ahead by 10 seconds.  Both Toyota Boshoku and Toyota's fifth men Yuya Taguchi and Kenta Matsubara broke the stage record, Matsubara closing to within 1 second as he fought desperately to retake the lead, but on the anchor stage his teammate Minato Oishi was no match for Toyota Boshoku anchor Yoshihiro Yamamoto, who ran a stage best 34:14 for the 11.8 km leg to secure the overall win.  Absent 2007 World Championships 10000 m bronze medalist Martin Mathathi, the Suzuki Hamamatsu AC team could not mount its expected challenge and finished only 6th.

In the 6-stage, 40.2 km high school boys division, 2012 national champion Toyokawa H.S. continued to redefine high school ekiden running, taking nearly 3 minutes off the course record as it won in 1:56:55.  Toyokawa's first runner Takumi Minaura took the lead with a stage record-tying run and the rest of the team simply never looked back.  Only one other Toyokawa runner, Third Stage ringer Jeremiah Karemi, won his stage, but as an overall team there was no matching them.  Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. broke the course record by 3 seconds in the runner-up position thanks to a brilliant stage-best run by anchor Kento Kawaguchi, but it was an indication of how superlative Toyokawa was that its margin of victory over Saku Chosei was 2:46, nearly a kilometer.  Locals Chukyo H.S. took 3rd in 2:00:42, with the scandal-plagued Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. a short distance back in 4th in 2:00:53 off a stage record by its fourth runner Kazuma Taira.

2013 Meigi Ekiden
Nagoya-Gifu, 2/3/13
Open men: 6 stages, 52.6 km, 37 teams
High School boys: 6 stages, 40.2 km, 88 teams
click here for complete results

Open Men
Stage Best Performances
First Stage (12.4 km): Hiroaki Inoue (Team Toenec) - 36:16
Second Stage (7.3 km): Edward Waweru (Kenya/Team NTN) - 20:27 - CR
Third Stage (6.0 km): Taku Fujimoto (Team Toyota) - 16:59
Fourth Stage (9.8 km): Patrick Mutunga (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 27:05
Fifth Stage (5.3 km): Kenta Matsubara (Team Toyota) - 14:51 - CR
Sixth Stage (11.8 km): Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 34:14

Top Teams (52.6 km)
1. Toyota Boshoku - 2:31:17
2. Toyota - 2:31:46
3. Aichi Seiko - 2:32:44
4. NTN - 2:33:08
5. Aisan Kogyo - 2:33:26

High School Boys
Stage Best Performances
First Stage (7.3 km): Takumi Minakura (Toyokawa H.S.) - 21:33 - CR
Second Stage (6.0 km): Yasuyuki Ishida (Hamamatsu Nittai Prep H.S.) - 17:43
Third Stage (9.8 km): Jeremiah Karemi (Kenya/Toyokawa H.S.) - 26:47 - CR
Fourth Stage (5.3 km): Kazuma Taira (Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.) - 15:08 - CR
Fifth Stage (5.2 km): Akira Tomiyasu (Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.) - 15:21
Sixth Stage (6.6 km): Kento Kawaguchi (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 19:43

Top Teams (40.2 km)
1. Toyokawa H.S. - 1:56:55 - CR
2. Saku Chosei H.S. - 1:59:41 (CR)
3. Chukyo H.S. - 2:00:42
4. Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. - 2:00:53
5. Iga Hakuho H.S. - 2:01:22

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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