Skip to main content

Sendai Ikuei H.S., Toyota Jidoshokki, Chugoku Denryoku Dominate Regional Ekidens

by Brett Larner

The local titans dominated three significant regional ekidens over the weekend.  In disaster-hit Miyagi, Sendai Ikuei H.S., alma mater of the late Samuel Wanjiru and 5000 m national champion Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), had superb runs in both the boys' and girls' races to sweep the National High School Ekiden Championships Miyagi Prefecture Qualifier.  Running on a modified course due to lasting tsunami damage, Sendai Ikuei runners won every stage in both the six-stage, 42.1 km boys' race and five-stage, 21 km girls' race.  Particularly dominant boys included the Hattori twins, Yuma and Hazuma, who won the 8.1 km Third Stage and 8 km Fourth Stage by margins of 2:18 and 1:38, Kenyan first-year Hiram Ngatia, who won the 5 km Sixth Stage by 1:11 in his ekiden debut, and anchor Tadashi Isshiki who clocked 13:55 for the 5 km road course to win by over one minute.  The boys' team totalled 2:02:17 versus second-place Rifu H.S.' 2:10:36, putting them in range of a shot at Sendai Ikuei's Wanjiru-era course record at December's Nationals.

The Sendai Ikuei girls' team likewise mopped the roads with their competition, winning in 1:05:32 over runner-up Tokiwagi H.S.' 1:11:00.  The best performances came from 4 km Second Stage runner Michi Horikawa, who won by a margin of 1:10, and Kenyan anchor Mary Waithira who ran a sensational 15:00 for the 5 km Fifth Stage, 2:30 faster than the next-best on the stage.

Having relocated to Aichi prefecture from their longtime base in Chiba following March's disasters, Team Toyota Jidoshokki nearly rewrote the record books at the Central Japan Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden in Gifu, the regional qualifier for December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden.  Five of the team's six women tied or set new course records, including the team debut of 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi who had been banned from competing in official corporate-league competition after she entered a university shortly following her signing to the team.  The lone team member not to hit a record, Kenyan Ann Karindi, nevertheless won the 4.2 km Second Stage, beating Ethiopian rival Betelhem Moges (Team Denso) in the process.  Toyota Jidoshokki ran 2:16:50 for the 42.195 km course, a new record, with Denso far behind in 2:21:11.  Rather than a fixed number of teams, any team that broke 2:30 would qualify for Nationals.  With last-place Team Kojima Press clocking 2:29:24 all six teams from the Central Japan race will face each other again at the National Championships.

Defending champion Team Chugoku Denryoku had a bit of a scare after its first two runners, Yasuhiro Tago and Tomonori Ikebuchi, were beaten at the Hiroshima Prefecture Jitsugyodan Ekiden, but with its next four runners winning their stages the team was successful in picking up another title.  Naoki Okamoto ran 19:01 to set a new record on the 6.6 km Fourth Stage, with anchor Hiroki Tanaka likewise marking a new record of 16:21 for the 5.69 km leg.  Chugoku Denryoku won the 45.62 km race in 2:14:58, 59 seconds up on early leader Team JFE Steel.

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…