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New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden. Shitara's former Toyo teammates Takanori Ichikawa, 26, and Keisuke Kusaka, 26, are also members.

On Sept. 16 Shitara's twin brother Yuta Shitara (Honda) ran 1:00:17 to break the Japanese men's half marathon national record at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon. Hopes are high that at the Sept. 24 Berlin Marathon he will break Toshinari Takaoka's marathon national record of 2:06:16 dating back to 2002. Keita plans to make his marathon debut at the Dec. 3 Fukuoka International Marathon, having spent this summer doing base mileage. "I can't lose to Yuta, and there's nothing I'd want less than to be beaten by him," he said. Restarting his career on brand new ground, Shitara hopes to be on the starting line of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon alongside his brother.

source article: http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20170919-OHT1T50153.html
translated by Brett Larner

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