After finishing the Hakone Road, Komadai’s Ren Tazawa and director Hiroaki Ohyagi walked for 4 years and where they are aiming Road to Hakone Ekiden 2023 (7) | JBpress signature


Road to Hakone Ekiden 2023

Text by Masato Sakai

January 3, 2023, the 99th Hakone Ekiden, Komadai athletes such as Ren Tazawa (back center), who are happy to have won the overall victory and threw coach Hiroaki Ohyagi.

Ren Tazawa, The Last Hakone Road

Perhaps the most surprising person at this year’s Hakone Ekiden is Komadai ace Ren Tazawa (4th year). Infected with the new coronavirus in early December. Although there was a period when he could not train for a week or so, he did a good job in the 2nd ward.

“Not only did I have a fever, but I couldn’t stop coughing. There was a time when I couldn’t even walk, so I trained for two weeks in really bad shape. I thought I could run, but if we run at a certain level, I can put Mebuki Suzuki and Tsutomu Yamano in other divisions. When I think about the team, I have to play the role of holding them down in the second division.

For Tazawa, this will be his third time in the 2nd ward of flowers. Last time, he won the section prize with a time of 1:06:13, which was the 4th fastest in the history of the section, but this time his run was slow from the start. I carved at my own pace without reacting to the pace of Chuo University Yamato Yoshii (3rd year). Although he passed Yoshii on Gontazaka and took the lead, he lacked the strength to push through Totsuka’s wall.

January 2, 2023, Ren Tazawa (Komadai) runs hard in the 99th Hakone Ekiden Trail Out 2. Photo = Nikkan Sports / Aflo

It allowed Yoshii to come from behind in front of the exchange station, but the mauve frame connected with a gap of 3 seconds to the top University of Chuo. Although struggling, he completed the second part of the flower in 1 hour 6 minutes 34 seconds (3rd place in the section). Komadai, who took the lead in the 4th ward Mebuki Suzuki (3rd year), will shine in the long-running “Ekiden Triple Crown”.

Tazawa responded to the interview with a mixed expression of relief and frustration at the Totsuka exchange station before Komadai took the top spot.

“I definitely wanted to pass the race at the front, but I had lung damage and muscle weakness, I was at my wits end inside.

It was Tazawa’s first loss to a Japanese student in two years since the Hakone Ekiden in his second year at university.

“I don’t want to use the coronavirus as an excuse to lose, so a loss is a loss. I’m sorry for the director because I didn’t win the section award. He said, ‘I will definitely give the award to you. first place!’ So I wanted to give it to you at the top.”

During the race, Director Hiroaki Ohyagi repeatedly shouted, “You’re a man!”

“I think it’s a bit difficult for the men today, too. With about 3km remaining, he said, ‘Because I believe in you.’ After the race, he called me and said, ‘Thank you.’ My four years at university have already come to an end, but I would like to continue working hard with the coach, aiming for the Olympics and the World Championships.”

On the other hand, Director Oyagi highly evaluated Absolute Ace, saying, “Tazawa is truly amazing.” At the end of the championship press conference, he took the microphone himself and revealed that he would be retiring as Komadai manager this season.

“The Hakone Ekiden will reach its 100th event next year, but I wanted to go into a new world as I’m halfway through the 99th event before that.”

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