Skip to main content

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

by Brett Larner

It was a busy weekend across Japan, with six major ekidens taking place simultaneously. For professional men there were four regional qualifiers for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden, while for women there was the Fukui Super Ladies' Ekiden featuring corporate, university, regional and amateur teams, and the regional East Japan Women's Ekiden. Among the highlights:

  • Ritsumeikan University had a surprise win over rivals Bukkyo University and every corporate team in the Fukui Super Ladies' Ekiden. Four of the six Ritsumeikan runners took stage bests, leading the team to a course-record 1:34:56 for 30 km. Bukkyo was 2nd without a single stage best, while Team Denso took 3rd thanks to stage bests from aces Betelhem Moges and Kayo Sugihara.
  • Chiba Prefecture prevented another Nagano Prefecture win at the East Japan Women's Ekiden, taking four of nine stage bests. Anchor Chika Horie, who runs for Team Universal Entertainment and is usually thought of as a marathoner, was brilliant on the 10 km anchor leg, splitting 5 km in 16:08 and winning the stage in 32:30. Horie could be a major factor in the upcoming World Championships marathon qualifying period.
  • Team Sagawa Express prevailed in a close-pitched Kansai Jitsugyodan Ekiden despite taking only one stage best. 48 seconds separated 2nd and 5th place in the 80.45 km race.
  • Team Toyota nearly swept the Chubu Jitsugyodan Ekiden, with its runners taking five of the seven stage bests and 2nd on the remaining two stages. Toyota won by over 5 minutes.
  • Team Chugoku Denryoku did sweep their qualifier, the Chugoku Jitsugyodan Ekiden, all seven runners taking stage bests and the team winning by over 9 minutes. Sixth Stage runner Naoki Okamoto was voted MVP after winning his 17.9 km leg by nearly 3 minutes. Chugoku Denryoku's marathon ace Atsushi Sato was on the entry list to make a return to competion for the first time since February's Tokyo Marathon but was a DNS.
  • Team YKK easily took the Hokuriku Jitsugyodan Ekiden, the smallest of the six regions in the jitsugyodan system, like Chugoku Denryoku taking all seven stages. Runner-up Team Omokawa Murakiya qualified for the New Year Ekiden for only the second time in its history.

53rd Kansai Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Tabe, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (12.6 km) - Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 39:15
2nd Stage (7.68 km) - Masashi Kada (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 23:16
3rd Stage (10.87 km) - Noriyuki Nabetani (Osaka Pref. Office AC) - 31:14
4th Stage (9.5 km) - Masato Ando (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 27:06
5th Stage (16.0 km) - Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 47:51
6th Stage (11.0 km) - Toyoyuki Abe (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 33:32
7th Stage (12.8 km) - Shinji Yamashita (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 38:19

Top Team Performances - 80.45 km
1. Team Sagawa Express - 4:01:28
2. Team NTT Nishi Nihon - 4:03:02
3. Osaka Prefectural Office AC - 4:03:31
4. Team Shikoku Denryoku - 4:03:47
5. Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko - 4:03:50

50th Chubu Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Gero, Gifu, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (10.4 km) - Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 31:26
2nd Stage (7.2 km) - Micah Njeru (Kenya/Team Toyota Boshoku) - 21:23 - CR
3rd Stage (15.4 km) - Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 45:17
4th Stage (13.9 km) - Yusuke Takabayashi (Team Toyota) - 41:36
5th Stage (14.0 km) - Yoshiaki Shiota (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 40:33
6th Stage (11.6 km) - Takamasa Uchida (Team Toyota) - 33:14
7th Stage (10.4 km) - Kenta Matsumoto (Team Toyota) - 29:53

Top Team Performances - 82.9 km
1. Team Toyota - 4:03:27
2. Team Aichi Seiko - 4:07:35
3. Team Toyota Boshoku - 4:07:51
4. Team Aisan Kogyo - 4:08:43
5. Team NTN - 4:09:10

49th Chugoku Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Sera, Hiroshima, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (12.0 km) - Norihide Fujimori (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 36:10
2nd Stage (8.2 km) - Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 23:37
3rd Stage (12.7 km) - Takuya Ishikawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 37:35
4th Stage (8.5 km) - Takuji Morimoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 24:31
5th Stage (10.0 km) - Rui Yonezawa (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 30:20
6th Stage (17.9 km) - Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 52:56
7th Stage (13.5 km) - Hiroki Tanaka (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 39:48

Top Team Performances - 82.8 km
1. Team Chugoku Denryoku - 4:04:57
2. Team JFE Steel - 4:13:58
3. Team Mazda - 4:14:34
4. Team Chudenko - 4:18:55
5. SDF Yonago Base - 4:32:38

40th Hokuriku Jitsugyodan Ekiden
Gero, Gifu, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (10.4 km) - Naohiro Yamada (Team YKK) - 31:43
2nd Stage (7.2 km) - Alex Mwangi (Kenya/Team YKK) - 21:44 - CR
3rd Stage (15.4 km) - Tsubasa Maeda (Team YKK) - 46:32
4th Stage (13.9 km) - Yoshihiro Hinomoto (Team YKK) - 42:56
5th Stage (14.0 km) - Tetsuo Nishimura (Team YKK) - 41:00
6th Stage (11.6 km) - Teppei Suegami (Team YKK) - 34:04
7th Stage (10.4 km) - Kazuya Miyamoto (Team YKK) - 30:39

Top Team Performances - 82.9 km
1. Team YKK - 4:08:38
2. Team Omokawa Murakiya - 4:15:31
3. SDF Takada Base - 4:17:29
4. Team Sekino - 4:22:50

26th Fukui Super Ladies' Ekiden
Fukui, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (6 km) - Risa Takenaka (Ritsumeikan Univ. A) - 18:42
2nd Stage (3 km) - Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia/Team Denso) - 9:06
3rd Stage (4 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ. A) - 12:33
4th Stage (4 km) - Michi Numata (Ritsumeikan Univ. A) - 12:45
5th Stage (5 km) - Kayo Sugihara (Team Denso) - 15:38
6th Stage (8 km) - Hanae Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ. A) - 25:41

Top Team Performances - 30 km
1. Ritsumeikan Univ. A - 1:34:56 - CR
2. Bukkyo Univ. A - 1:36:02
3. Team Denso - 1:37:18
4. Team Panasonic - 1:38:06
5. Meijo Univ. A - 1:38:50

26th East Japan Women's Ekiden
Fukushima, 11/14/10
click here for complete results
Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (6.0 km) - Miharu Shimokado (Tochigi) - 19:21
2nd Stage (4.0 km) - Rui Aoyama (Kanagawa) - 13:00
3rd Stage (3.0 km) - Miki Kobayashi (Saitama) - 9:55 - CR
4th Stage (3.0 km) - Yuka Kobayashi (Tochigi) - 9:10
5th Stage (5.0875 km) - Chiaki Takagi (Chiba) - 16:38
6th Stage (4.1075 km) - Yuriko Kosaki (Chiba) - 12:57 - CR
7th Stage (4.0 km) - Emi Ito (Chiba) - 12:59
8th Stage (3.0 km) - Naho Matsumoto (Kanagawa) - 9:18
9th Stage (10.0 km) - Chika Horie (Chiba) - 32:30

Top Team Performances - 42.195 km
1. Chiba Pref. - 2:18:02
2. Saitama Pref. - 2:18:59
3. Nagano Pref. - 2:19:28
4. Tokyo Met. - 2:19:52
5. Tochigi Pref. - 2:20:08

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


TokyoRacer said…
To other readers: In the East Japan Women's Ekiden, some of the legs were run by high school and junior high school runners, so if they seem "not so fast", that's why.
It was a fun race to watch, there were quite a lot of changes among the top six throughout the race.

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…