CHIBA, Japan - After dueling with the team from Japan for much of the race, the Team USA men raced to the highest U.S. finish ever at the Hanji Aoki Cup 2005 International Chiba Ekiden Wednesday in Chiba, Japan, finishing only ten seconds behind Japan in 1:59:08 for third-place. Kenya won the event in 1:58:06.
The six-person relay team was led off by former Stanford All-American Ryan Hall, who ran a competitive 5 km in 13:22 to finish second on his leg. A string of solid performances from his Team USA teammates kept the U.S. in contention with Japan throughout the marathon distance.
Hall's performance was backed up by Matt Gonzales' 10 km in 28:15, good for fourth on his leg. Ian Dobson ran his 5 km leg in 13:46 for the fastest time on the third leg. Brian Sell ran a 10 km PR of 28:28 to finish third on his leg. Fernando Cabada finished third on his leg, running 5 km in 14:11 and Josh Moen anchored the team running 21:06 for 7.2 km to bring the U.S. team home in third.
"We were right there with the team from Japan," said U.S. Team Leader Tomy Sitton. "Josh was giving it everything he had, but just couldn't cover that last move, but the boys are really excited and pumped with their race. It was great."
Kenya also won the women's race in 2:13:33. The USA women finished ninth, running 2:23:50. Sara Bei led the U.S. performers with a third-place finish, running 15:33 for the first 5 km leg.
The Hanji Aoki Cup 2005International Chiba Ekiden was host to 12 international men's teams and 11 women's.
For more information on the 2005 International Chiba Ekiden visit www.usatf.org.