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Women's Ekiden Weekend Roundup

by Brett Larner

Two high-level mid-season women's ekidens held their 29th runnings on Nov. 10.  A dry run for January's National Women's Ekiden and featuring the same format of teams made up of junior high school, high school, university and pro runners from each prefecture, the nine-stage, 42.195 km East Japan Women's Ekiden in Fukushima saw 2010 winner Chiba Prefecture advance in the second half of the race after a strong Fifth Stage run from ace Yurie Doi and a brilliant performance from the Seventh Stage's Asahi Tate to return to the top.  Anchor Mai Shinozuka had a scare from 2013 London Marathon 3rd-placer Yukiko Akaba (Tochigi Pref.), but with a starting margin of almost 45 seconds at her disposal fro the 10 km Ninth Stage she was safe enough to run a steady, conservative leg to bring Chiba home in 2:19:23, 27 seconds ahead of Akaba.  Up front through much of the race, Nagano Prefecture was the only other team to break 2:20:00 in rainy, windy conditions, 3rd in 2:19:59.  Two-time defending champion Kanagawa Prefecture was only 8th in 2:21:00.

Further west, the Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden offered a rare chance to see top university, pro and club teams go head to head over a six-stage, 30.0 km course.  Despite its best member, Yuko Shimizu, running for Nagano at the East Japan Women's Ekiden, Team Sekisui Kagaku had a landslide victory, winning four stages including the first three to lead start to finish to stop the clock in 1:37:46.  Winners of September's Kansai Region University Women's Ekiden before bombing out at last month's National University Women's Ekiden, Osaka Gakuin University ran 2nd through most of the race, Fourth Stage runner Natsuki Hara running 13:30 for 4.0 km to take the stage best title.  On the anchor stage Chieko Kido of defending Fukui champion Canon AC Kyushu ran a stage best 25:58 for 8.0 km to overtake Osaka Gakuin's Minori Goto, picking up the runner-up position in 1:39:08 with the collegiates consigned to 3rd in 1:39:56.

29th East Japan Women's Ekiden
Fukushima, 11/10/13
9 stages, 42.195 km, 18 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Chiba Pref. - 2:19:23
2. Tochigi Pref. - 2:19:50
3. Nagano Pref. - 2:19:59
4. Shizuoka Pref. - 2:20:11
5. Tokyo - 2:20:22
6. Gunma Pref. - 2:20:29
7. Saitama Pref. - 2:20:38
8. Kanagawa Pref. - 2:21:00
9. Niigata Pref. - 2:22:09
10. Fukushima Pref. - 2:22:22

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.0 km) - Rina Yamazaki (Saitama Pref.) - 19:43
Second Stage (4.0 km) - Risa Kikuchi (Ibaraki Pref.) - 12:52
Third Stage (3.0 km) - Akiko Kawashima (Chiba Pref.) - 10:13
Fourth Stage (3.0 km) - Wakana Kabasawa (Gunma Pref.) - 9:41
Fifth Stage (5.0875 m) - Yurie Doi (Chiba Pref.) - 16:48
Sixth Stage (4.1075 m) - Shiori Yano (Tokyo) - 13:18
Seventh Stage (4.0 km) - Asahi Tate (Chiba Pref.) - 12:52
Eighth Stage (3.0 km) - Ema Hayashi (Gunma Pref.) - 9:08 - CR
Ninth Stage (10.0 km) - Mao Kiyota (Shizuoka Pref.) - 32:09

29th Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden
Fukui, 11/10/13
6 stages, 30.0 km, 46 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Team Sekisui Kagaku - 1:37:46
2. Canon AC Kyushu - 1:39:08
3. Osaka Gakuin Univ. A - 1:39:56
4. Meijo Univ. - 1:41:35
5. Bukkyo Univ. B - 1:41:56
6. Team Shiseido - 1:42:03
7. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 1:42:17
8. Bukkyo Univ. A - 1:42:21
9. Fukuoka Univ. A - 1:42:30
10. Team Yutaka Giken - 1:43:03

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.0 km) - Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 19:08
Second Stage (3.0 km) - Tomoyo Yamamoto (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:40
Third Stage (4.0 km) - Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 12:54
Fourth Stage (4.0 km) - Natsuki Hara (Osaka Gakuin Univ. A) - 13:30
Fifth Stage (5.0 km)  - Sayuri Baba (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 16:29
Sixth Stage (8.0 km) - Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 25:58

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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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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