Team USA 5th At Chiba Ekiden

Japan University Select team wins 22nd edition on final leg.

Written by: Jim Estes and Ken Nakamura for RunningUSA

INDIANAPOLIS — Team USA took fifth-place at the 2010 International Chiba Ekiden on Tuesday in Chiba, Japan, finishing in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 54 seconds. The Japan University Select team won the marathon relay in 2:07:52. The format of the 22nd edition featured mixed teams of men and women running six alternating legs totaling 42.195K or 26.2 miles.

Under cloudy conditions, 77% humidity, 60F temperature and slight winds, the competition was spirited between the host team and defending champion Japan, the Japan collegiate team and Kenya, and after the fifth leg, the former two were tied (1:44:15), but during the anchor leg Hanae Tanaka of the Japan collegiate team pulled away from Team Japan for the upset win.

With the fastest anchor leg by Pauline Korikwiang, Kenya took the runner-up spot in 2:08:06 with Japan third in 2:08:12 and Russia fourth (2:09:35).

For Team USA, Bobby Curtis (Ardmore, Pa.) led off with the opening 5K stage, running 13:36, good for fourth fastest leg. Stephanie Pezzullo (Charlotte, N.C.) ran the second 5K stage in 16:28, as the U.S. slipped to fifth. Ed Moran (Flagstaff, Ariz.) then took the sash to cover the 10K third leg in 29:50, and Kim Conley (West Sacramento, Calif.) ran the 5K fourth leg in 16:41 maintaining Team USA’s fifth-place position. On the fifth leg, Aaron Braun (Flagstaff, Ariz.) turned in a solid 29:33 10K to move Team USA into fourth as he turned the sash over to Meghan Armstrong (Minneapolis, Minn.). With a fast anchor 7.195K leg, Russia overtook Team USA for fourth.

22nd Hanji Aoki Cup Int’l Chiba Ekiden Road Relay
Chiba, Japan–Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1) Japan Collegiate, 2:07:52
2) Kenya, 2:08:06
3) Japan, 2:08:12
4) Russia, 2:09:35
5) USA, 2:10:54
6) Chiba, 2:12:56
7) Australia, 2:14:07
8) Italy, 2:14:55
9) Romania, 2:15:02
10) Canada, 2:15:13
11) Czech Republic, 2:15:23
12) Norway, 2:17:01

1st – 5K
13:23, Yuichiro Ueno (JPN)
13:36, Bobby Curtis (USA), 4th best
2nd – 5K
15:27, Yuriko Kobayashi (JPN)
16:28, Stephanie Pezzullo (USA), 8th best
3rd – 10K
28:57, Titus Mbishei (KEN)
29:50, Ed Moran (USA), 6th best
4th – 5K
16:02, Kasumi Nishihara (JPN Collegiate)
16:41, Kim Conley (USA), 3rd best
5th – 10K
28:51, Tsuyoshi Ugachi (JPN)
29:33, Aaron Braun (USA), 2nd best
6th – 7.195K
23:20, Pauline Korikwiang (KEN)
24:46, Meghan Armstrong (USA), 9th best

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