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Ritsumeikan Takes Third Straight National Ekiden Title

by Brett Larner

After a slow start which saw two-time defending champion Ritsumeikan University in 7th at the end of the first stage of the 38.6 km, six-stage National University Women's Ekiden Championships, also known as the Morinomiyako Ekiden, the school moved up through the field through the following three stages to take first the lead and then its third consecutive national title and fifth national win in six years. Buoyed by a stellar stage-record performance by third-year star Kazue Kojima on the third leg, Ritsumeikan runners clocked stage records on the fourth and fifth legs as well and won in 2:06:53, just off the course record which Ritsumeikan set last year. Rivals Bukkyo University once again had to settle for 2nd, finishing 1:15 behind the winner in 2:08:08. 2005 winner Meijo University rounded out the podium positions with a 2:08:47 finish in 3rd.

Ritsumeikan's win essentially amounted to a simple display of power. Despite five of the six members of last year's course-record team returning in the current season, the school ran first-year runners on four of the ekiden's six stages. With only anchor Akiko Matsunaga graduating in the spring Ritsumeikan looks to have a dynasty in the making.

detailed report coming soon

2008 All-Japan University Women's Ekiden - results
Top Teams - click here for video of each team's finish
1. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 2:06:53
2. Bukkyo Univ. - 2:08:08
3. Meijo Univ. - 2:08:47
4. Tokyo Nogyo Univ. - 2:09:21
5. Tamagawa Univ. - 2:10:05
6. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 2:10:20
----- (top six schools seeded for 2009) -----
7. Josai Kokusai Univ. - 2:10:41
8. Nittai Univ. - 2:10:50
9. Josai Univ. - 2:11:00
10. Hakuho Univ. - 2:11:23
11. Nihon Univ. - 2:11:53
12. Juntendo Univ. - 2:12:20
13. Osaka Taiku Univ. - 2:12:49
14. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 2:13:12
15. Kansai Univ. - 2:15:14
16. Kanaya Taiku Univ. - 2:15:56
17. Osaka Nin. Univ. - 2:16:38
18. Matsuyama Univ. - 2:17:13
19. Kyoto Koka Univ. - 2:18:23
20. Chukyo Univ. - 2:19:43
21. Fukushima Univ. - 2:20:35
22. Tohoku Fukushi Univ. - 2:21:36
--- Tohoku Select Team - 2:23:18*
23. Takaoka Univ. - 2:25:20
24. Seishu Univ. - 2:29:04
25. Hokkaido Univ. - 2:29:55

*The Tohoku Select Team is not included in the scored results.

Stage Best Performances
1st stage (6.0 km) - Akiko Matsuyama (1st year, Kansai Univ.): 19:14
2nd stage (6.6 km) - Natsuko Goto (3rd year, Nihon Univ.): 21:16 - stage record
3rd stage (9.1 km) - Kazue Kojima (3rd year, Ritsumeikan Univ.): 29:35 - stage record
4th stage (4.9 km) - Michi Numata (1st year, Ritsumeikan Univ.): 15:19 - stage record
5th stage (4.0 km) - Hanae Tanaka (1st year, Ritsumeikan Univ.): 13:07 - stage record
6th stage (8.0 km) - Eri Sato (4th year, Meijo Univ.): 26:53

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


mika t. said…
Oh no, I happended to see the result before I check the recorded video..... Your update is too quick! (for me)

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