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National Jitsugyodan Women's Championships to Move from Gifu to Miyagi Next Year

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20101120k0000m050005000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

The Japanese Corporate Track and Field Federation has announced that next year its National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships will change locations from its current home in Gifu prefecture to a new course further north in Miyagi prefecture. The new course, expected to be located in Sendai, will follow the standard 6-stage, 42.195 km format and will be designed in consulatation with local community officials. The 30th anniversary edition of the women's championships will take place in Gifu on Dec. 19.

The National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships were first held in Mie prefecture in 1981, with four teams starting on a course beginning in front of Ise Shrine. In 1983 the event moved to Gifu where it has been located ever since. The Championships have played a significant role in raising the level of professional Japanese women's distance running, which has in turn led to the Championships themselves increasing in scale. Looking at the 30-year legacy of the Championships, a federation official commented, "This year's 30th anniversary race offers a chance for us to reflect on how important it has been to the growth of our sport." The course that led to this remarkable growth will now be run for the final time.

The Championships' new home in Miyagi prefecture is also the location of important races including the National University Women's Ekiden Championships and the Sendai International Half Marathon. Federation official Yoshiharu Tomonaga said, "We hope to continue to build upon the historical legacy established by the people of Gifu prefecture in hosting our Championships until now."

Translator's note: Both the National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships and the National High School Ekiden Championships are being held one week later than usual this year. Additionally, the National University Women's Invitational Ekiden, scheduled for Dec. 23 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture, has been cancelled this year.

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