translated by Brett Larner
With just a narrow 4-second margin over defending champion Team Asahi Kasei, Team Yasukawa Denki scored its first Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden win in three years at the 46th running of the seven stage, 78.8 km race from Fukuoka to Kita-Kyushu on Nov. 23.
Starting out in 8th place, Yasukawa shot up through the field thanks to Shinji Tateishi's stage best run on the Second Leg, taking the lead on the Sixth Leg. Anchor Ryohei Nakano battled with Team Asahi Kasei's Tomoyuki Sato before dropping him for the win.
In 3rd was Team Toyota Kyushu, which was unable to field a full squad for last year's ekiden. Led by Yu Mitsuya and Masato Imai's stage bests on the 4th and 7th legs, Toyota Kyushu was only 21 seconds off the leaders.
The Kyushu Jitsugyodan Ekiden served as the qualification race for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate championships. Along with the top three, 4th place Team Kyudenko and 5th place Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki also qualified for the New Year Ekiden.