The 25th edition of the Chiba International Ekiden is set to be held in the Chiba prefecture on November 23rd, with 12 international teams named to compete in what is an event of nationally-televised status in Japan. The race follows a mixed-gender format of a Men’s 5km leg, Women’s 5km, Men’s 10km, Women’s 5km, Men’s 10km, finishing with a Women’s 7.195km leg to complete the relay marathon distance.
With the event still over a month away, team announcements have been limited to Australia, Japan, Canada and Kenya, with Japan likely to name a strong team which regularly features Olympic or World Championship level representatives.
The international drawcards this year are significant, with the Kenyan team naming the elusive Joseph Ebuya, a man who has experienced mixed form in the past few years, experiencing the lofty heights of a 2010 World Cross Country Championships victory, followed by missing out on selection entirely in 2011, the 26-year old Kenyan will be one to watch closely given his 12:51 5000m credentials. The Kenyan women haven’t shied away from the competition, naming the reigning World Cross Country Champion Emily Chebet, a 30:47 10,000m runner.
New Zealand have named a competitive team, confirming the attendance of 2008 1500m Olympic Silver medallist Nick Willis who is set to run the 5000m leg, giving a possible insight towards his future distance on the track, accompanied by the Robertson twins of East-African residence, Jake and Zane who hold respective personal bests on the track of 27:45/13:15 and 3:35/13:13.
Canada have made their intentions clear leading up to the highly competitive road race, naming a team of Olympic and World Championship representative calibre, with the likes of 2:10 marathon duo Reid Coolsaet and Dylan Wykes, backed up by Moscow 2013 steeplechase representatives Chris Winter and Alex Genest, the latter of whom boasts an 8:19 steeplechase personal best and a 13th place finish at the recent IAAF World Championships. Lanni Marchant will also feature for the Canadian Women, with her recent 2:28 marathon performance in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon breaking a 28-year old Canadian National Record.
The Australian contingent is highlighted by the current National Women’s Cross Country Champion in Bridey Delaney, accompanied by the 2nd placegetter in the same event, Melissa Duncan. On the Men’s side Steve Kelly leads the charge, with personal bests of 13:53 and 28:52 over 5,000m and 10,000m respectively, followed by young gun Anthony Aloisio, fresh off a breakout 4th placing at this year’s National Cross Country Championships.
Australia will be setting out to improve on their best placing of 5th in 2008, with the battle for the win likely to be close between defending champions Kenya and previous 2nd placegetters Japan, with Kenya holding off Japan in a course record of 2:05:06 with Japan a mere 10 seconds behind.
Team List (confirmed athletes listed where possible):
Japan Student Section