Skip to main content

Ritsumeikan University Wins Record-Setting Seventh National Title

http://mainichi.jp/sports/news/20121029k0000m050036000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

With 28 teams on the starting line for the six-stage, 38.6 km National University Women's Ekiden Championships on Oct. 28 in Sendai, defending national champion Ritsumeikan University celebrated the championships' 30th anniversary by running 2:06:05 to take a record-setting seventh national title.  Rival Bukkyo University was relegated to the runner-up position for the second-straight year, 1:05 behind Ritsumeikan, while Tsubuka University was 3rd in its first Nationals appearance in nine years, making the seeded top six for the first time in ten years.

Ritsumeikan sat in 4th at the end of the First Stage, 13 seconds behind the lead before junior Akane Yabushita took over with a stage-best run to put Ritsumeikan into the lead.  The team sustained the lead through the Third Stage and was unchallenged all the way to the finish.  After starting the Second Stage in the lead. Bukkyo senior Shiho Takechi fell behind late in the stage.  Her teammates were unable to make up the deficit on the remaining stages.  Osaka Gakuin University and, returning from a DNF last year, Daito Bunka University, made it into the seeded bracket for the first time, while five-year-straight 3rd-placer Meijo University was only 7th, its first time ever not earning a seeded spot.

Pre-race, Ritsumeikan coach Miyuki Tokura had predicted, "The Second Stage, with the highest concentration of fast runners, will be the key."  After having been mostly out of competition since January with knee problems, captain Yabushita's performance on the Second Stage was crucial to the team's win.  Yabushita, whose credentials include a 2nd-place finish in the 1500 m at last year's National Track and Field Championships, was nervous about racing, saying, "I didn't really know how far I had recovered my strength yet."  With a 13-second gap to Bukkyo rival Takechi, Yabushita took the lead with 700 m to go before the handoff and opened an 8-second lead, winning the stage for the third year in a row.  Yabushita passed on her momentum to Third Stage runner Mai Tsuda who likewise won her stage to all but seal the overall win for Ritsumeikan.

With four-time Nationals team members Hanae Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) and others having graduated last spring, Ritsumeikan's strength this year was to be found among its sophomores and juniors.  A month ago at the Kansai Regional University Ekiden Championships with Yabushita still injured and Tsuda suffering from fatigue Ritsumeikan was crushed by Bukkyo, finishing an all-but unthinkable 4th.  "Everybody was nervous going into that race," said Yabushita, "but what happened there got us all focused and ready to come here and win."  Having worked together to overcome their problems, all members of this year's winning team will return next year.  Another era of the Ritsumeikan dynasty may be just getting underway.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Former Coach Koide on Hara's Arrest: "She Was Really F*cking Serious"

A World Championships marathoner was arrested for shoplifting. On Aug. 17 The Tochigi Prefectural Police Ashikaga Department arrested temp worker Yumiko Hara, 35, on suspicion of stealing skin lotion and other items from a convenience store.

Yoshio Koide, Hara's former coach at the Universal Entertainment corporate team and head of the Saku Athlete Club, was surprised by the events. "She trained harder than anybody," Koide said. "She never missed training, and she was really f*cking serious. I think there must have been a reason for her to commit shoplifting, but she was always a normal kind of girl who would say, "Yes!" when you told her to do something. When she retired she said, 'I've done what I could but I just can't run the way I want to.' I haven't spoken to her since she quit, but it's very unfortunate news and I can't understand it."

source article:https://www.nikkansports.com/general/nikkan/news/1873808.html
translat…

World Championships Marathoner Yumiko Hara Arrested for Shoplifting Cosmetics

Former World Championships marathoner Yumiko Hara, 35, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting cosmetics and other goods. A resident of Ashikaga, Tochigi, Hara is suspected of shoplifting eight items including cosmetics and soft drinks with a total value of 2700 yen [~$25 USD] from a local convenience store on July 30. According to police, a clerk performing a store inventory found that the item totals did not match. When police reviewed security camera footage they identified Hara as a suspect.

Hara represented Japan at two World Championships, finishing 6th in the marathon at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships. During her interrogation Hara admitted her guilt in the charges, saying that there was "no mistake."
Translator's note: Along with the 2005 Helsinki World Championships and 2007 Osaka World Championships, Hara represented Japan at the 2003 Vilamoura World Half Marathon Championships. She was the winner of both the 2007 Osaka International Women's Maratho…

Kobayashi Wins London Bronze Without Hakone Experience While Hakone Veteran Kawauchi Fails to Make Top 8

The World Championships in athletics were first held in Helsinki, Finland in 1983. Up until the 1991 Tokyo World Championships they were held once every four years, but beginning with the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships they switched to an every other year format. London this year was the 16th edition. To date 68 men with Hakone Ekiden experience have competed in the World Championships, with three of them winning medals in the marathon.

In Tokyo in 1991 Hiromi Taniguchi became the first Japanese World Championships gold medalist, raising the excitement level at the games.  As a student at Nittai University Taniguchi had won the Hakone Ekiden's downhill Sixth Stage three years in a row from 1981 to 1983. As a fourth-year in 1983 he set a new stage record of 57:47. Course changes have rendered his record an historical artifact, but Taniguchi is still considered Hakone's greatest downhill runner.

At the 1999 Seville World Championships and 2005 Helsinki World Championships, …