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Yachiyo Kogyo Leads Start to Finish to Win 70th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

25 teams from 11 prefectures took part in the 70th anniversary running of the 5-stage, 73.7 km Towada Hachimantai Ekiden on Aug. 7. Saitama's Yachiyo Kogyo corporate team scored its first-ever victory in 3:50:00. ND Software took 2nd and Subaru 3rd, with two-time defending champion Yakult falling to 4th. Kazuno T&F Assoc. was the top local team at 10th overall.

The race began at 8:00 a.m. on the shores of Lake Towada in Aomori. Mid-race temperatures around 30 degrees were recorded in Kazuno, but despite the heat and strong sunlight the athletes on each team gave it their best to ensure their tasuki would make it to the next runner.

On the tough and hilly 13.6 km First Stage Yachiyo Kogyo's Abiyot Abinet took an early lead. Yakult rookie Yuji Asaishi was only 7th. On the downhill 13.4 km Second Stage Yakult's Bernard Kimani ran the fastest time on the stage to move into 3rd, but Yachiyo Kogyo's Takahiro Yagihara ran a strong stage 3rd-best time to maintain the lead.

On the 16.2 km Third Stage through central Kazuno, Yakult's Yusuke Ogura, a two-time stage winner at the Hakone Ekiden, ran the stage's second-best time to close to within 51 seconds of Yachiyo Kogyo. The race's longest stage, the 16.4 km Fourth Stage, saw ND Software move into 2nd thanks to a stage best by Akito Terui. Yakult rookie Rintaro Takeda struggled, losing ground as he finished only 10th on the stage on time.

Subaru anchor Tsukasa Koyama ran the second-fastest time on the 14.1 km, 575 m climb Fifth Stage to go from 6th to 3rd overall, but Yachiyo Kogyo's Kazuyoshi Chiba was out of range. Yachiyo Kogyo led the entire race from start to finish. Head coach Yoshiki Koichi commented, "Every one of our athletes had the will to win. We were able to take our first title thanks to the growth produced through serious training, and I am very happy."

Of the five local teams to take part, the Kazuno T&F Assoc. team had the best placing at 10th. Akita T&F Assoc. was 13th, Daisen-Senboku T&F Assoc. 22nd, Akita University 23rd and Odate Hokushu  T&F Assoc. 25th. Kazuno Fourth Stage runner Takaaki Abe, a graduate of Hanawa H.S., commented, "Everyone on our team ran their best. Personally speaking, I had lost some time in training due to injury so my result wasn't what I was hoping for, but it was a lot of fun to be able to run on home ground being cheered on by local friends."

70th Towada Hachimantai Ekiden

Aomori, Akita, 8/7/17
25 teams, 5 stages, 73.7 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Yachiyo Kogyo - 3:50:00
2. ND Software - 3:52:13
3. Subaru - 3:53:16
4. Yakult - 3:53:35
5. Komori Corp. - 3:54:03

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (13.6 km) - Abiyot Abinet (Yachiyo Kogyo) - 39:06
Second Stage (13.4 km) - Bernard Kimani (Yakult) - 36:14
Third Stage (16.2 km) - Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) - 46:23
Fourth Stage (16.4 km) - Akito Terui (ND Software) - 51:20
Fifth Stage (14.1 km, 575 m climb) - Yuya Yamashita (Sunbelx A) - 51:18

source article:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/local/akita/news/20170808-OYTNT50195.html
translated by Brett Larner

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