Okunomiya wins a fast Echigo Country Trail
Pre-race top favourite Shunsuke Okunomiya won a fast edition of the Echigo Country Trail 52k in just under five hours. The celebrated Japanese runner was pushed forward all the way, though, by his compatriot Hayato Kimura. Kimura was never far behind and took second place just five minutes behind Okunomiya. Niigata's Jun Kaise came back from a modest start to take third place, and after winning Kushigata Wind Trail three weeks ago is now the top Japanese runner in the ATM championship. Kazuyuki Takahashi was a solid fourth place, and Kobe's Yuta Matsuyama completed the top 5. In the women's race, Kayo Siimbo led from start to finish.
The race was held in good weather conditions with rather cool temperatures at the start. Nevertheless, the 2000 metres of elevation gain are treacherous, as several forest climbs are so steep ropes are required to reach the top. As a result, there were again a considerable number of DNFs as the cut off time proved rather tight.
A photo album of the event can be found on our facebook page.