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Chiba Ekiden Relay

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Sian Edwards
Sian Edwards

Jon Brown continued his solid preparation for the upcoming Fukuoka Marathon and Sian Edwards gave herself an early 18th birthday present to help Britain’s teams perform well at the Ekiden International Relay in Chiba today.

 

Brown, fourth in the last two Olympic marathons, was third-quickest over his 10km stage, clocking 29 minutes 27 seconds, to lead Britain into seventh place in the men’s race. Their team of six covered the marathon distance in 2 hours 4 minutes 12 seconds in a race won by Kenya in 1:57:58 with Japan second (2:00:01) and USA third (2:01:56).

 

Edwards, the Kettering schoolgirl making her senior international debut after finishing 10th in the junior women’s race at last winter’s World Cross Country Championships, inspired the GB women’s team to fifth place, their highest position since 1993. She was fourth-fastest on the opening 5km stage, clocking 15:41, 14 seconds quicker than her previous best.

 

With the vastly experienced 1500m specialist Helen Clitheroe chipping in a 16:28 stage on a hillier part of the course, Britain finished in 2:20:49, their second-fastest time in the 17-year history of this race. Their quickest, 2:19:12, was fired by Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder. Kenya won in 2:13:35 with Russia second (2:14:51) and Japan third (2:17:00).

 

Ful Report Added November 25th:

 

The Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Women’s Team achieved fifth place, their highest position since 1993. Britain finished in 2 hours 20 minutes 49 seconds, their second fastest time in the 17-year history of this race. Their quickest, 2:19:12, was fired by Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder. Here is how their race evolved, stage by stage…

 

Stage1 (5km): On the day before her 18th birthday, Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers) gave the team a great start by clocking 15:41, 14 seconds quicker than her previous best, over a course that was mainly downhill with a couple of slight inclines at road junctions. Already pre-selected in the Norwich Union GB Team for the Junior Women’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in San Giorgio su Legnano, Italy, on 10 December, the Kettering schoolgirl flew out to Japan looking forward to being dragged on by faster Seniors and was obliged by Ongori Philes (Kenya), who put the reigning champions in front by covering the distance in 15:11, Noriko Matsuoka (Japan) 15:20 and Liliya Shobukhova (Russia)15:26. Edwards finished one second ahead of Lisa Corrigan (Australia).

 

Stage 2 (10km): Following on from her international debut at the IAAF World Road Racing Championships in Hungary last month, Wendy Jones (Cirencester AC) covered a gently downward stretch in 34:03, only 3 seconds outside her fastest of the year. It was the ninth fastest time of the stage and placed Norwich Union GB eighth. Evelyne Kimwei was fastest, clocking 31:20 to extend Kenya’s lead.

 

Stage 3 (5km): As the course flattened out, Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield AC) lifted the Team to sixth place, clocking 16:14, the fourth fastest time of the stage and a lifetime best by 44 seconds. Selly Chepyego was quickest with 15:31 to push Kenya even further out of sight.

 

Stage 4 (10km): Another flat part of the course; another rise for Norwich Union GB. Jo Wilkinson (Bedford and County AC) was fifth fastest with 33:41, seven seconds inside her lifetime best which she ran in 2002. The magnificent effort lifted the team to fifth place. Catherine Ndereba was quickest with 32:03 for the rampant Kenyans.

 

Stage 5 (5km): As the course began to rise, Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers) used all of her experience to consolidate Norwich Union GB’s position by running 16:28, the third fastest of the stage. Fastest was Russia’s Galina Bogomovola with 16.16 though Jane Gakunyi kept Kenya well clear by cruising through in 16.22.

 

Stage 6 (7.2km): It was a strange distance, mainly uphill but Jenny Blizard (Rotherham Harriers) coped well enough with the extra pressure of running the ‘glory leg’ on her international debut to retain fifth place. Her time of 24:42 was ninth fastest overall. Fastest was Maria Konovalova (Russia) with 22.36 as Lucy Kabuu clocked 23.08 to carry Kenya to victory.

 

Women’s Team result: 1 Kenya 2:13:35; 2 Russia 2:14:51; 3 Japan 2:17:00; 4 Japan College 2:18:44; 5 Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2:20:49; 6 China 2:22:44; 7 Belarus 2:22:51; 8 Chiba 2:23:08; 9 Romania 2:23:17; 10 USA 2:23:20.

 

The average finishing position of GB Men’s Teams over the years of the Chiba Ekiden is seventh and the current crop duly obliged with the considerable help of Jon Brown, who is preparing for the Fukuoka Marathon on Sunday 3 December.

 

Stage1 (5km): Adam Bowden (Harrow AC) was sixth fastest in 14.01, five seconds that his track PB for 5000m. Martin Mathathi put Kenya into a lead they never lost with 13:13; Edward Moran (USA) was second in 13:34; Collis Birmingham (Australia) third in 13:33;

 

Stage 2 (10km): Off-colour Peter Riley (Leigh Harriers) was 11th fastest with 30:06 and took the team to 10th place. Kenya was again fastest, Gideon Ngatuny clocking 26:51 followed by Andrew Carlson (USA) 29:02 and Lee Troop (Australia) 28:50.

 

 

Stage 3 (5km): Matt Barnes (Altrincham and District AC) responded to his late promotion to the team by lifting the team to ninth in clocking 14:25, the seventh fastest on the stage. The quickest: Josephat Ndambiri (Kenya) 13.29, Fasil Bizuneh (USA) 13:50, Yoshinori Oda (Japan) 14:05 and Michael Shelley (Australia) 14:08.

 

Stage 4 (10km): Jon Brown (Sheffield AC) was third fastest with 29:27 in lifting the team to seventh. Fastest: Atsushi Sato (Japan) 28:28 and Josh Moen (USA) 29.23. Sammy Korir ran 29:46 to keep Kenya ahead.

 

Stage 5 (5km): Glen Comish (Sale Harriers Manchester) ran the sixth fastest time of the stafe, 14:54, to retain seventh place for the team overall. At the front, Job Mogusus picked up the pace to such an extent for Kenya that his time of 14:01 was the fastest of the stage by threequarters of a minute.

 

Stage 6 (7.2km): Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers) ran the glory leg in style, clocking the fourth fastest time of 21:19 to make sure there was no chance of Norwich Union GB being pushed out of seventh. Gichobi Njui clocked the quickest time, 20:38, to clinch victory for Kenya in the most emphatic style. But Nicholls was “chuffed”, explaining: “I beat a couple of guys who have faster 10km times than me. I felt strong again and believe I’m improving with every race. I’m going for a fast 10km myself in my next race.”

 

Men’s Team result: 1 Kenya 1:57:58; 2 Japan 2:00:01; 3 USA 2:01:56; 4 Japan College 2:02:03; 5 Australia 2:03:13; 6 Russia 2:03:58; 7 Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2:04:12; 8 Sweden 2:05:53.