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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 …
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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…

18-Year-Old Miura Breaks Osako's U20 Half Marathon Record to Lead Juntendo University to Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Win

Cold rain couldn't hold back the fast times at Saturday's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon, the qualifying race for January's Hakone Ekiden university men's championships and the first major elite-level road race held in Japan during the coronavirus era. Held on a 2.6 km loop around an airbase runway in western Tokyo's Tachikawa suburb, 46 university teams from the greater Tokyo area fielded teams of 10 to 12 runners at the Yosenkai, with each team's 10 fast men scoring and the 10 fastest teams joining the top 10 from this year's Hakone Ekiden to make up the field for next year's Hakone.
Temperatures at the start were 12˚C, and with the rain letting up just before the gun conditions were actually pretty good through the first half of the race. Last year's runner-up Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.) took an all-Kenyan lead quartet out hard on sub-60 pace, going through 5 km in 14:05 and 10 km in 28:14 before slowing as the rain returned in the sec…

2021 Kagoshima Marathon Canceled

We have studied a variety of options for staging the 2021 Kagoshima Marathon, but with no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight we have come to the unfortunate conclusion, in light of the need to ensure the safety of the runners, event staff and local residents, that it would not be possible to hold the race as planned and that it must be canceled for the second year in a row. We sincerely pray for a swift end to the crisis and that we can once again hold the Kagoshima Marathon as a safe event that will delight runners and locals alike. We will be working hard to make that a reality.
With regard to priority entry for those who were entered to run in 2020, we are still studying how we might move forward with improved coronavirus measures in the future, including examining the field size, and do not have a clear answer at this point. We will post that information as soon as it has been determined and thank you for your patience until then. We are planning to hold events including a runn…

Princess Ekiden Preview

National championship ekiden season looks like it's going to mostly happen, and this will be the first full weekend of qualifying action for the winter's main events. Following Saturday's Hakone Ekiden qualifier is Sunday's Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for the Nov. 22 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships. This is the first major ekiden to be held on public streets during the coronavirus era, so there is a lot of attention, good and bad, to how it goes and the organizers have banned cheering groups from the different teams in the race and asked fans not to come cheer along the course. It's a test drive to see how the rest of championship season will go to be sure.
Last year's top 8 teams at Nationals are guaranteed the return trip this year, The top 14 teams at the Princess Ekiden will qualify to join them, and with 28 teams entered following scratches from Aichi Denki and Daiso that means a decently competitive race to make it. Last year S…

Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Happening Saturday

One of the questions floating around during the coronavirus crisis is what it meant for Japan's biggest sporting event, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden university men's championships. People have been holding their breath as one major race after another, not least of all the university men's season-opening Izumo Ekiden, has canceled. But they can breathe a little easier now as the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai, its qualifying half marathon, is set to go ahead this Saturday.At the Yosenkai 46 university men's teams field 10 to 12 runners apiece, with each school's first ten finishers scoring and the top ten teams going on to join the top ten from last year's Hakone to make up the back half of the twenty-deep 2021 Hakone field. There's really nothing else like it. The announcement ceremony is the most dramatic moment in the sport. If you've ever been there for it, you know it's true.This year things will be a bit different. The race will have its usual start on t…