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Ritsumeikan University Takes Eighth National University Women's Ekiden Title

by Brett Larner

Defending national champion Ritsumeikan University added an eighth title to its legacy Oct. 27 in Sendai, winning the 31st National University Women's Ekiden Championships after leading start to finish.  First Stage runner Natsuki Omori got things off by winning the 6.4 km opening leg by a second over Ayumi Uehara of Matsuyama University despite a fall midway through the stage, and from there the Ritsumeikan women never looked back.  Ritsumeikan runners won five of the day's six stages, only Juntendo University's Nanaka Izawa spoiling their day with a win on the 9.2 km Fifth Stage.

With the Kansai region typically seen as the center of collegiate women's distance running, four of this year's top ten schools were from the Kanto region, better known for the strength of its men's programs.  Daito Bunka University was the top Kanto school, 2nd overall on the strength of quality runs from its identical twins Eri and Mari Tayama. Coached by Keiichi Murai, the husband of past marathon great Reiko Tosa, Matsuyama University continued its development into one of the country's leading distance schools as it took 3rd just five years after making Nationals for the first time under Murai's leadership.  In a signal of a shift in eras, perpetual Ritsumeikan rivals Meijo University and Bukkyo University missed out on the top five, taking 6th and 7th more than four minutes behind Ritsumeikan.  Last year's 3rd-placer Tsukuba University had a disastrous run, finishing 16th of 26 teams as star twins Haruka and Moe Kyuma were both non-starters.

31st Morinomiyako Ekiden - National University Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, Miyagi, 10/27/13
click here for complete results

Overall Results - six stages, 38.0 km, 26 teams
1. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 2:03:02
2. Daito Bunka Univ. - 2:04:47
3. Matsuyama Univ. - 2:05:40
4. Kanaya Taiiku Univ. - 2:07:09
5. Nittai Univ. - 2:07:19
6. Meijo Univ. - 2:07:31
7. Bukkyo Univ. - 2:07:40
8. Kansai Univ. - 2:08:13
9. Josai Univ. - 2:08:23
10. Juntendo Univ. - 2:08:25

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.4 km) - Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:22
Second Stage (5.6 km) - Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:39
Third Stage (6.8 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 21:59
Fourth Stage (4.8 km) - Mai Hirota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:48
Fifth Stage (9.2 km) - Nanaka Izawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 29:53
Sixth Stage (5.2 km) - Nanami Aoki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:12

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
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Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
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Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…

“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


The Fukuoka International Marathon was held on Dec. 4 last year. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) took part despite nursing injuries he had sustained in training. Falling rain contributed to less than ideal conditions during the race, but from the very early stages…