Skip to main content

1500 m NR Holder Yuriko Kobayashi Leads Toyota Jidoshokki as Favorite for National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships - Watch Online (updated)

by Brett Larner

Update: Click here for start lists.  Noguchi is not listed as a starter for Sysmex.


The biggest race of the year for professional Japanese women takes place this Sunday on a new course in Sendai, the six-stage, 42.195 km National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.  The highlight of this year's edition looks like a possible showdown between Japan's two best hopes for the London Olympics marathon, marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and half-marathon national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).  In the overall team competition the Corporate Championships debut of 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi makes 2008 champion Team Toyota Jidoshokki the favorite, but defending champion Team Tenmaya and East Japan rivals Team Daiichi Seimei and Team Sekisui Kagaku are not far behind.  The race will be broadcast live on TBS beginning at 11:50 a.m. Japan time on Sunday, Dec. 18.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch online via Keyhole TV.  JRN will be doing live English-language commentary via Twitter @JRNLive.

In honor of the victims of March's disasters in the National Championships' new home of Sendai, this year any team that ran under 2:30 in one of the three standardized six-stage, 42.195 km regional qualifiers was eligible to run this year's Nationals.  Thirty-four teams made the grade, of which nine ran competitive sub-2:20 times.  Team Toyota Jidoshokki comes to Nationals with the fastest qualifying time, 2:16:50.  Shortly after the disasters in March, the team left its base in Chiba and longtime coach Yoshio Koide to relocate westward to Aichi.  The team celebrated its arrival in the Central Japan region by blasting the course record at the regional qualifier, winning by nearly 5 minutes, four of its six runners setting new stage records and the other two winning their stages.  Kobayashi, free of the ban from corporate league competition that she has faced faced since high school for enrolling in university while on the Toyota payroll, kicked things off with a First Stage record of 21:38 for 6.8 km, a minute faster than the next-best woman in the field.  Her presence makes all the difference and could be the deciding factor in setting up the win for her team.

East Japan region teams make up six of the nine sub-2:20 squads.  Team Daiichi Seimei won the East Japan qualifier by only 3 seconds in an exciting come-from-behind 2:17:21 win over Team Sekisui Kagaku thanks to a stage-record anchor run by 2009 World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki.  Either team could contend with Toyota Jidoshokki, but with Daiichi Seimei's reliance on Ozaki, still recovering from her disappointment at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon in late November, the scales may tip in favor of the more uniformly stable Sekisui Kagaku, which features talented ekiden specialist Yuko Shimizu.  Koide's other team, Universal Entertainment, was also under 2:18 and could be in contention, particularly if Kenyan ace Felista Wanjugu can improve upon her relatively weak 7th-place stage finish at Regionals.

The West Japan reiongal qualifier also had a very close, come-from-behind finish, with defending national champion Team Tenmaya catching the Noguchi-led Team Sysmex on the anchor stage after subpar runs by Sysmex big guns Megumi Seike and Seika Nishikawa and winning by 5 seconds in 2:18:31.  Both Tenmaya and Sysmex need to make up at least a minute to have a chance of contending with Toyota Jidoshokki, Daiichi Seimei or Sekisui Kagaku, but while Tenmaya's runners all appeared to have run to ability at Regionals, Sysmex still has a margin of headroom.  With even modest improvements by either Seike or Nishikawa Sysmex will get the nod as the favorite from West Japan.  Team Wacoal, which finished only 10th at the West Japan qualifier in 2:22:14 deserves a special mention as it was missing star Fukushi, who had just run the Chicago Marathon.  Fukushi's win at last weekend's Kumamoto Long Distance Time Trials 5000 m shows that she is back, and it is reasonable to think that over the 10 km stage she is likely to run at Nationals she could make up 3 minutes over teammate Tomoka Inadomi's performance at Regionals.  That wouldn't be enough for the win, but it would put Wacoal into sub-2:20 territory and position Fukushi to be in the hunt for Noguchi, who is likely to be put on the same stage and should start ahead of Fukushi.  If they are close it could be one of the best races of the year.

2011 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships - Top Teams
click here for complete field listing with qualification times and rankings
Team Toyota Jidoshokki (Central Japan) - 2:16:50
Team Daiichi Seimei (East Japan) - 2:17:21
Team Sekisui Kagaku (East Japan) - 2:17:24
Team Universal Entertainment (East Japan) - 2:17:56
Team Panasonic (East Japan) - 2:18:07
Team Tenmaya (West Japan) - 2:18:31
Team Sysmex (West Japan) - 2:18:36
Team Starts (East Japan) - 2:19:00
Team Hokuren (East Japan) - 2:19:51
Team Wacoal (West Japan) - 2:22:14

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

dadsweb said…
I don't see Noguchi's name on the starting list. Have you heard anything? Are they able to swap out runners on the morning of the race like Hakone or is that it? The third stage is looking like being the stage with most of the big names.
Brett Larner said…
Yes, unfortunately it looks like she's out, but I haven't seen an official explanation yet. Her comments the other day upon returning were a little ambiguous.

The 3rd Stage still looks very good, but the 4th & 5th Stages should also be pretty action-packed.
Anonymous said…
Afaik Noguchi is scheduled to run a half marathon next Friday. Maybe running the ekiden as well would have been too much.

Anyway should be a great race tomorrow.

Most-Read This Week

National Track and Field Championships Entry Lists

The JAAF has released the entry lists for the 2019 National Track and Field Championships to be held June 27-30 in Fukuoka. Anyone who has the standard for this fall's Doha World Championships and wins their event will be guaranteed a place on the Doha team, with most others having to wait until the IAAF's September deadline to find out if the JAAF will add them based on qualifying standard or world ranking. Fourteen athletes on the Nationals entry list across eight events currently have the standard and stand to firm up their fall schedules in Fukuoka, with another twenty-two in range of making the final cut based on current world rankings. Entry list highlights below.
103rd National Track and Field ChampionshipsEntry List Highlights
Fukuoka, June 27-30, 2019
marks listed are best in last two years except where noted
athletes in bold have cleared 2019 Doha World Championships standard
athletes in italics are currently ranked inside Doha field size without standard
complete entry …

17-Year-Old Ryuji Miura Breaks 3000 m Steeplechase High School Record in World-Leading Time

At the Kinki Region High School Track and Field Championships Saturday in Osaka’s Nagai Stadium, 17-year-old Ryuji Miura of Rakunan H.S. took down one of the oldest records in Japanese athletics, breaking the 30-year-old 3000 m steeplechase high school record by 5 seconds to win in 8:39.49.

Running in heavy rain after clocking the fastest time in the qualifying rounds, Miura went straight to the front in the final and was on his own within 200 m. From the start the record was in reach as he went through 1000 m in 2:49 and 2000 m in 5:43, building up a lead of about 200 m over the rest of the field.

Miura’s final time of 8:39.49 was the fastest in the world this year by an U18 athlete and 6th-best among U20 men, a new Japanese U18 record and all-time #2 for the U20 category. He came short of the outright Japanese high school record of 8:19.21 held by future marathon great Daniel Njenga, but took 5 seconds off the Japanese citizen high school record of 8:44.77 set back in 1989 by futu…

Japan Announces Team of 42 for Napoli Universiade

The JOC has announced a team of 42, 16 women representing 11 universities and 26 men from 13 universities, for track and field competition at next month's 30th anniversary Napoli Universiade. Jun Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) is the only returning medalist from the 2017 Universiade on the Japanese team, part of last time's gold medal-winning men's 4x100 m lineup. But medal chances are good in the men's and women's half marathons, both areas of traditional strength, in the men's 20 km race walk, where Masatora Kawano (Toyo Univ.) and Koki Ikeda (Toyo Univ.) have the 2nd and 3rd-best times in the world so far this year, the men's long jump, where Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) is tied for 4th-best in the world, the women's javelin throw, with Haruka Kitaguchi (Nihon Univ.) throwing 8th-best in the world this season, the men's 400 m hurdles, where Masaki Toyoda (Hosei Univ.) is ranked 18th in the world this season, and the men's pole vault, with Masaki E…