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Meijo University Women Break Morinomiyako Ekiden Course Record for Fourth-Straight National Title

Three-time defending Morinomiyako Ekiden champion Meijo University made it four in a row, leading Sunday's National University Women's Ekiden almost start to finish to break its own year-old course record by over a minute and a half.
Rival Ritsumeikan University's leading runner Rinka Hida was the only one to spoil Meijo's party, dropping Meijo's Yuna Wada to win the 6.6 km First Stage by 8 seconds. But on the next stage Yuma Yamamoto put Meijo out front, and with its next three runners all winning their stages, two in stage record time including an impressive 29:14 for the 9.2 km Fifth Stage by 10000 m national collegiate champ Rika Kaseda, its lead only grew. Anchor Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu was 2nd-fastest on her stage, but with a lead of nearly a kilometer she was never in danger of getting caught as she broke the tape in 2:02:57, a full 1:37 under the record for the 6-stage, 38.1 km course that it set last year. Road records might not be worth what they used to …
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National University Women's Ekiden Preview

Some of its major events have been canceled, but championship ekiden keeps moving forward. This weekend it's the Morinomiyako Ekiden, the national university women's championships, with 25 teams from around the country 38.1 km in six stages around Sendai. In some ways the national distribution of the top end of the field is more interesting than at next month's National University Ekiden, where schools from the Tokyo-centered Kanto Region dominate the eight-deep podium every year.
Since Matsuyama University broke Ritsumeikan University's near monopoly on the national title in 2016 Meijo University has come up to take Ritsumeikan's place as the top program in collegiate women's long distance, winning Morinomiyako in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Meijo comes to Sendai as the favorite again, with Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu having won the 1500 m at September's National University Championships and Rika Kaseda taking the 10000 m. Many of its best runners turned in solid run…

2021 Sakura Marathon Canceled

With no end in sight to the coronavirus crisis, in the interests of the health and safety of local residents, runners and volunteers, we have made the decision to postpone the 40th anniversary edition of the Sakura Asahi Kenko Marathon scheduled for Mar. 28, 2021. 
The organizing committee has carefully studied the options available for the event, but having come to the conclusion that the current circumstances would make it difficult to recruit adequate volunteer and medical personnel, and that the characteristics of a marathon would make it nearly impossible to avoid the kind of crowds associated with elevated risk of transmitting the virus, we have decided not to stage the race in the coming year. The next edition of the marathon is instead planned for Mar. 27, 2022 when we will be able to provide the kind of hospitality runners have come to expect from the Sakura Asahi Kenko Marathon.
We sincerely apologize to everyone who had been looking forward to our race and thank you for you…

'NAZ Elite Team Runs Away With Win in First Michigan Pro Ekiden' Michigan Pro EkidenUtica, Michigan, U.S.A., 21 Oct. 2020 7 teams, 6 stages, 42.2 km complete results
Team Results 1. Northern Arizone Elite - 2:10:11 2. Hansons ODP A - 2:12:08 3. Minnesota Distance Elite - 2:12:51 4. Roots Running Project - 2:13:03 5. TEAM Boulder - 2:14:20 6. Hansons ODP B - 2:15:06 DNF - Atlanta Track Club
Top Individual Stage Performances First Stage (10 km, men) 1. Tyler Day (NAZ) - 28:44 2. Zach Panning (Hansons A) - 28:58 3. Frank Lara (Roots) - 29:26
Sccond Stage(6.1 km, women) 1. Lauren Paquette (NAZ) - 19:35 2. Anne-Marie Blaney (Hansons A) - 19:45 3. Maggie Montoya (Roots) - 19:53
Third Stage(5 km, men) 1. Shadrack Biwott (Hansons B) - 14:41 2. Rory Linkletter (NAZ) - 14:48 3. Ben Kendell (Hansons A) - 14:56
Fourth Stage (10 km, women) 1. Annie Frisbie (MDE) - 32:35 2. Kellyn Taylor (NAZ) - 33:05 3. Amy Davis (Hansons B) - 33:19
Fifth Stage(6.1 km, men) 1. Jake Riley (TEAM) - 17:21 2. Scott Fauble (NAZ) - 17:4…

Ueda and Kinoshita Win Ultra Skyrunning National Titles

by Takuya Fujii
The Shiga Kogen Extreme Trail 2020 race took place in Nagano's Shiga Highlands this weekend. I was there working as the official timing director. The pro trail runner Takuya Yamada organizes this event, which winds through the mountains at around 2000 m above sea level. Over the course of the weekend four different race distances were held, the 54 km long course, the 32 km middle course, the 8 km short course, and a kids' race. The 54 km long course has a total climb of 2850 m.
Under the direction of the Japan Skyrunning Association (JSA), this year's event was held as the National Skyrunning Championships. The 54 km long course served as the "Ultra" skyrunning National Championships, with the 32 km middle course division designated the "Sky" skyrunning National Championships. The start and finish of each race was located at the Mt. Yokote Ski Resort. Timing mats were positioned on the ground there.
The 54 km long course division started be…

New Rules to Stop Struggling Athletes Applied at Princess Ekiden

The qualifying race for the Nov. 22 National Corporate Women's Ekiden took place Oct. 18 in Munakata, Fukuoka, with Sekisui Kagaku winning the six-stage, 42.195 km race for the second year in a row in 2:17:03 and the top fourteen teams qualifying. Two-time national champion Daiichi Seimei's 21-year qualification streak was broken as it finished 15th. As the first national-level road race to take place since the start of the coronavirus crisis, teams were asked not to have their cheering squads along the course and other COVID countermeasures were put in place.
On the ekiden's 7.0 km opening stage, Kako Okada, an athlete with the Kyocera team, collapsed less than 100 m from the first exchange zone and was unable to continue. Okada went into full-body convulsions and on-site medical staff called an ambulance. Hearing the news from the First Stage supervisor, the race's chief referee quickly made the decision to officially stop Okada.
Two years ago another athlete suffered …

Aizawa Goes Sub-28, Suzuki Returns - Weekend Track Review

Elite road racing returned to Japan this weekend with Saturday's Hakone Ekiden qualifier and Sunday's National Corporate Women's Ekiden qualifier, but there was still a load of track action at every level.
Saturday in Miyazaki, one of the stars of this year's Hakone Ekiden, Akira Aizawa made his corporate debut for New Year Ekiden national champ team Asahi Kasei with a 27:55.78 win in the Miyazaki Time Trials 10000 m, his first time going sub-28. His former Toyo University teammate Kazuya Nishiyama was 2nd in 28:03.94, the best time by a Japanese collegiate student so far this year. Asahi Kasei had eleven men in the race under 29 minutes including Rio Olympics marathoner Satoru Sasaki, putting them in good position for another national title defense come Jan. 1. Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University had three men under 29, setting them up as a threat to the Kanto Region's monopoly on the podium at the Nov. 1 National University Men's Ekiden. 

Defending corporate wo…

Sekisui Kagaku Wins Second-Straight Princess Ekiden

In the first major road race held on public roads in Japan since the coronavirus crisis began, the Sekisui Kagaku team won its second-straight Princess Ekiden Sunday in Munakata, Fukuoka to lead the qualifiers for November's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.
25 km national record holder Sayaka Sato took things out with a 22:22 CR for the 7.0 km First Stage, setting up a lead that last year's double 800 m and 1500 m national champ Ran Urabe held onto despite only running the third-fastest time on her 3.6 km leg. Urabe handed off to half marathon NR holder Hitomi Niiya, who took an incredible 1:15 off the record for the 10.7 km Third Stage. Niiya's time of 32:43 equated to 30:35 for 10 km, well under the track 10000 m NR, and singlehandedly took Sekisui Kagaku from a 10 second lead to 1:58 out front. Sekisui Kagaku's last three runners had it relatively easy, none of them in the top 8 on their stages but anchor Chikako Mori bringing them home safely for…