Skip to main content

Nagano Unseats Tokyo in 25th East Japan Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

The Nagano Prefecture team staged a coup at Sunday's 25th anniversary East Japan Women's Ekiden in Fukushima, clocking 2:18:36 for the 9-stage, 42.195 km course to beat two-time defending champion Tokyo by over a minute and take its first-ever win at the regional championships.

Nagano's Yuko Shimizu, a member of the Japanese national team for the International Chiba Ekiden later this month, got her team off to a strong start with a 2nd-place finish on the 6 km first leg, one second behind Aomori Prefecture's Miho Notagashira in 19:08. Tokyo's Chisa Fujimoto languished far behind, finishing 13th out of 17 in 19:56. While Tokyo spent the rest of the ekiden trying to claw its way back to the front, Nagano's second leg runner Yuka Hakoyama overtook Aomori's Nao Sasaki to build a lead which Nagano never relinquished.

The biggest excitement of the day came on the anchor stage where Tokyo's Azusa Nojiri, a former pro XC skier who began running professionally just over a year ago and is now a teammate of 2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki at Team Daiichi Seimei, ran a sizzling stage best 32:33 for the 10 km anchor leg to take Tokyo from 7th to 2nd. Nojiri outran her nearest competitor, 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa of Iwate Prefecture, by over 30 seconds. Although she narrowed the gap to leaders Nagano by 55 seconds, Nojiri could not singlehandedly make up the remaining distance and finished 2nd in 2:19:53. Like Tokyo the Kanagawa Prefecture team worked its way up through the field and finished a close 3rd in 2:19:57.

Nagano's strong showing gives it a chance of joining the prefecture's winning men's team on the victory stand at January's National Interprefectural Ekiden Championships. To get there they will have to take down five-time defending champion Kyoto Prefecture along with western Japan powerhouses Okayama Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture.

2009 East Japan Women's Ekiden - top team results
click here for complete team results
1. Nagano - 2:18:36
2. Tokyo - 2:19:53
3. Kanagawa - 2:19:57
4. Saitama - 2:20:29
5. Tochigi - 2:20:36
6. Ibaraki - 2:20:58
7. Fukushima - 2:21:07
8. Chiba - 2:21:08
9. Yamagata - 2:21:16
10. Gunma - 2:21:41

Stage Best Winners
1st Leg - 6.0 km - Miho Notagashira (Aomori) - 19:07
2nd Leg - 4.0 km - Hiroko Shoi (Miyagi) - 12:54
3rd Leg - 3.0 km - Naoko Koizumi (Niigata) - 9:53
4th Leg - 3.0 km - Yuka Kobayashi (Tochigi) - 9:32
5th Leg - 5.0875 km - Kiyomi Shibazaki (Saitama) - 16:48
6th Leg - 4.1075 km - Makiko Kuroda (Kanagawa) - 13:11
7th Leg - 4.0 km - Michiru Otsuki (Tokyo) - 13:00
8th Leg - 3.0 km - Ayaka Amaha (Saitama) - 9:21
9th Leg - 10.0 km - Azusa Nojiri (Tokyo) - 32:33

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

congratulation for Miho Notagashira.
Great blog of japan blogspot...
nice to meet you...

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …