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National Roundup of All-Japan High School Ekiden Qualification Races (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The week of Nov. 2-9 saw the men's and women's district championship races to select the teams which will compete in the December 21 All-Japan High School Ekiden Championships. Each of the district races featured a standardized format, with men running a 7-stage, 42.195 km course and women a 5-stage, 21.0975 km race. Winners automatically advance to Nationals, with the top 6 teams in each district going on to the regional ekiden championships on Nov. 22 and 23. A selection of some of the results nationwide:

Yamagata
Aomori Yamada had a sensational day, taking both the men's and women's district titles after several winless years. The men's team won its first district competition in 3 years with a time 2:09:21, while the women recorded their first win in 6 years, running 1:10:49.

Kagoshima
Running in unseasonable temperatures of 27' C, Kagoshima's dominant men's and women's schools continued their streaks. Kagoshima Jitsugyo won the men's race in 2:09:10 after taking the lead on the 4th stage, its 11th straight district win. Kamimura Gakuen's women set the all-time 2nd fastest mark with a 1:09:01 victory, its 16th consecutive win.

Ehime
Matsuyama Kogyo's men's team made up for its bitter memories of last year's Nationals by defending its title at the Ehime district ekiden. Matsuyama Kogyo took the lead on the 2nd stage and was never threatened. Last year's women's winner Yawatahama also defended, its runners impressively taking all 5 stage best titles.

Tokyo
Takushoku Prep took the men's ekiden after battling with Tokyo Jitsugyo and Waseda Jitsugyodan, switching the top position repeatedly before taking the lead for good on the 6th of 7 stages. 3-time defending champion Hachioji Gakuen took the women's race, leading from start to finish.

Yamanashi
Yamanashi Korin ran a meet record 2:11:32 to win the Yamanashi district for the first time in 11 years, ending rival Yamanashi Gakuin Prep's hopes of an 11th straight victory. The Nirasaki women marked stage best times on 4 of the ekiden's 5 stages to win for the 2nd straight year, clocking 1:12:24.

Kyoto
The Kyoto district featured diametrically opposing results in the men's and women's races. Kyoto Gaidai Nishi staged a major upset, defeating 8-time defending champion Rakunan to take its first-ever district win. At the other end of the spectrum, the Ritsumeikan Uji women's team took its 20th straight title, leading without challenge from start to finish.

Ishikawa
The Seiryo men won the 72nd annual district ekiden in a competitive 2:11:59, taking one of the oldest district titles in Japan. The women's winners, Yugakukan, scored a weaker 1:15:44 but neverthelss advance to Nationals along with Seiryo.

Toyama
The Toyama district ekiden saw a familiar race, with Toyama Shogyo defending its titles in both the men's and women's races. It was the 5th straight win for the men's team and the 17th straight title for the women. The team's times were 2:12:39 and 1:13:48 respectively.

source articles:
http://mainichi.jp/area/yamagata/news/20081107ddlk06050160000c.html
http://mainichi.jp/area/kagoshima/news/20081107ddlk46050669000c.html
http://mainichi.jp/area/ehime/news/20081105ddlk38050770000c.html
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/ishikawa/20081103/CK2008110302000192.html?ref=rank
http://mainichi.jp/area/yamanashi/news/20081104ddlk19050061000c.html
http://mainichi.jp/area/kyoto/news/20081103ddlk26050342000c.html
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/toyama/20081103/CK2008110302000202.html
http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20081104ddlk13050166000c.html

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