Skip to main content

Kyoto Takes Back National Women's Ekiden Championship Title - Video Highlights

by Brett Larner

Click photo for video highlights.

Despite a slow start which saw it fall as low as 16th by the end of Third Stage, host Kyoto Prefecture did the expected, dismantling defending champion Okayama Prefecture to return to the top of the 2011 National Women's Interprefectural Ekiden Championships on Jan. 16. 2010's #2-ranked Japanese woman Ryoko Kizaki got Kyoto back in the game on the Fourth Stage, bringing Kyoto up to 6th. With strong runs on the next three stages including a new stage record of 12:39 by Nanako Kanno on the 4.0875 km Sixth Stage Kyoto advanced to 1st, leaving the door open for anchor and stage record holder Kayoko Fukushi to sail on unchallenged to the win. Despite being the only woman on the 10 km Ninth Stage to break 32 minutes Fukushi was so relaxed that she repeatedly laughed and waved to spectators on the course throughout the second half. Fukushi crossed the line in 2:17:06 to give Kyoto its 14th win in 29 editions of the National Women's Ekiden.

Although featuring primarily members of the 2010 national champion Tenmaya corporate team and 2010 national champion Kojokan high school team, Okayama finished only 2nd without a single stage best performance by one of its team members. Three Okayama runners took 2nd on their stages, but a weak performance by Second Stage runner Kaori Urata, beaten by two high schoolers, hurt the team's position heading into the middle stages. Sixth Stage runner Katsuki Suga was second on her leg behind Kyoto's Kanno but likewise broke the former stage record held by teammate Mahiro Akamatsu and helped to move Okayama into contention. Akamatsu dramatically underperformed on the Seventh Stage, finishing 40 seconds slower than she predicted and eliminating any chance of anchor Risa Shigetomo outrunning the superior Fukushi.

Expected 3rd-placers Hyogo Prefecture duelled with the unexpectedly strong Fukuoka Prefecture for the lead much of the way thanks in large part to a stage-record run by Hyogo's 1500 m NR holder Yuriko Kobayashi, but a disastrous turn by anchor Akane Wakita knocked the team down to 9th. Fukuoka was excellent in 3rd, leading early on after a stage win by Hanae Tanaka, the anchor of the International Chiba Ekiden-winning Japanese University Select Team. Chiba Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture came up to round out the top five thanks to outstanding anchor runs from Hitomi Niiya and Yoshiko Fujinaga.

The men's edition of the National Interprefectural Ekiden Championships takes place Jan. 23 in Hiroshima, featuring a 7-stage, 48.0 km course.

2011 National Women's Interprefectural Ekiden Championships
Jan. 16, Kyoto
9 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Stage Best Performances
click stage header for video highlights
First Stage - 6 km
1. Hanae Tanaka (Fukuoka/Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 19:41
2. Yurika Nakamura (Okayama/Team Tenmaya) - 19:42
3. Risa Takenaka (Shiga/Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 19:43


Second Stage - 4 km
1. Tomoka Kimura (Fukuoka/Chikushi Jyogakuen H.S.) - 12:22
2. Chikako Mori (Nagasaki/Isahaya H.S.) - 12:32
3. Kaori Urata (Okayama/Team Tenmaya) - 12:38


Third Stage - 3 km
1. Hanami Sekine (Tokyo/Kanai J.H.S.) - 9:21
2. Yuka Kobayashi (Tochigi/Nakamura J.H.S.) - 9:23
3. Saori Imamura (Kanagawa/Kamisugesta J.H.S.) - 9:32

Fourth Stage - 4 km
1. Yuriko Kobayashi (Hyogo/Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 12:41 - CR
2. Ryoko Kizaki (Kyoto/Team Daihatsu) - 12:52
3. Kazuka Wakatsuki (Fukuoka/Team Toto) - 12:53

Fifth Stage - 4.1075 km
1. Mutsumi Ikeda (Hyogo/Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 13:26
1. Erina Maki (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 13:26
3. Mao Kiyota (Aichi/Chukyo Prep H.S.) - 13:32

Sixth Stage - 4.0875 km
1. Nanako Kanno (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 12:39 - CR
2. Katsuki Suga (Okayama/Kojokan H.S.) - 12:40 (CR)
3. Rina Yonetsu (Kanagawa/Hadano H.S.) - 13:06

Seventh Stage - 4 km
1. Ayano Ikeuchi (Kyoto/Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 12:35
2. Mahiro Akamatsu (Okayama/Kojokan H.S.) - 12:51
3. Shiori Yano (Fukuoka/Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 12:52

Eighth Stage - 3 km
1. Ayaka Nakagawa (Saitama/Asaka Dai-San J.H.S.) - 10:02
2. Yoshie Inoue (Fukuoka/Toho J.H.S.) - 10:25
3. Yui Shiokawa (Shizuoka/Fujimiya Dai-San J.H.S.) - 10:27
3. Kanna Tamaki (Nagano/Kawanakajima J.H.S.) - 10:27

Ninth Stage - 10 km
1. Kayoko Fukushi (Kyoto/Team Wacoal) - 31:53
2. Risa Shigetomo (Okayama/Team Tenmaya) - 32:13
3. Hitomi Niiya (Chiba/Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 32:22

Top Team Performances
1. Kyoto - 2:17:16
2. Okayama - 2:18:07
3. Fukuoka - 2:19:00
4. Chiba - 2:19:21
5. Nagasaki - 2:19:38
6. Aichi - 2:19:48
7. Kanagawa - 2:19:49
8. Kumamoto - 2:19:52
9. Hyogo - 2:20:03
10. Osaka - 2:21:08

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
I just love Fukushi. Whether she runs poorly or great, she always has a good time.
I'll never forget her answer to an interviewer's typical question: What you are plans for the future?
She said: I'm going to drink a lot of beer tonight.
yuza said…
Yamagata finished 30th, or thereabouts, but it is okay because they managed to beat bitter rivals Akita.

In your face Akita. We do not get very excited about much other than rice here in Tohoku.

Brett, any idea if Fukushi is going to enter a marathon this year? It does not appear likely, but I can live in hope.
Brett Larner said…
Yeah, that's the kind of talk I like to hear.

No particular reason to think so, but I have the feeling Fukushi will do a serious marathon this spring. I think a lot of things in 2010 pointed that way. I would be very surprised if she didn't go for the marathon for '12, and it would be a little surprising if she didn't start this time around. But at the same time it wouldn't be that surprising if she never seriously moved up.

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …