Skip to main content

National Championship Ekiden Season Starts With National Corporate Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

The month-long national championship ekiden season starts Sunday in Sendai with the 33rd running of the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.  Twenty-seven corporate league women's teams from across the country will compete over the six-stage, 42.195 km course in front of a nationwide audience courtesy of TBS' live broadcast starting at 11:50 a.m. Japan time.

Last year's winner Team Universal Entertainment returns as one of the favorites, taking the Nov. 3 East Japan regional qualifier by more than two minutes over 2011 national champion Team Daiichi Seimei even without its star runner, Moscow World Championships 10000 m 5th-placer Hitomi Niiya.  Niiya, still recovering from an injury that has kept her out of competition since Moscow, is on Universal's roster for tomorrow's national championships, and if she runs they may be close to unbeatable.

Last year's runner-up Team Denso may be its strongest competition.  Led by 2011 national 10000 m champion Kayo Asaba, Denso runners set new records on three of the six stages at the Oct. 20 Central Japan regional qualifier to win in a new overall course record of 2:15:54.  Its time was 19 seconds slower than East Japan winner Universal's, but with a more challenging course Denso is in a good position to improve on last year's result by one place, especially if Niiya is out of action.  2008 natioanl champion Team Toyota Jidoshokki was exactly a minute behind Denso in 2nd.

With all three of Japan's Moscow World Championships marathoners competing, the Oct. 27 West Japan regional qualifier was the most competitive of the three districts.  Moscow 4th-place finisher Ryoko Kizaki got Team Daihatsu off on the right foot, winning the 6.7 km First Stage to put Daihatsu ahead.  Three of the five remaining Daihatsu runners won their stages, giving the team the win in a 2:17:23 course record.  Its margin of victory was the narrowest in the three regions, only 36 seconds ahead of Team Otsuka Seiyaku which delivered a classic ekiden team performance as it took 2nd overall despite only two of its runners making the top three on their stages.  That kind of stability should make Otsuka Seiyaku a solid contender for top five at nationals.  Team Wacoal, with Moscow marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi, and Team Sysmex, headed by marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi, finished only 7th and 8th.

Apart from the top two teams in each region, other strong competition includes East Japan 3rd-placer Team Sekisui Kagaku featuring Moscow 5000 m runner Misaki Onishi, ascendant 5th-placer Team Yamada Denki, West Japan 3rd-place Team Noritz, and 2010 national champion Team Tenmaya.

Overseas viewers may be able to watch TBS' broadcast online via Keyhole TV or by searching any of the many sites out there linking live TV streaming.  Check back Sunday for complete results and reporting on this year's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

28:45 High Schoolers and More - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF has unilaterally declared track season over. But in Japan fall track is an integral part of ekiden season training, and it's not unusual to see many athletes drop their best 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m times of the year between October and December. Case in point, this weekend.

The biggest news came at Saturday's Nighter Time Trials in Nagasaki, where Keiho H.S. 11th-grader Hiroto Hayashida ran 28:45.75 for 6th in the 10000 m, all-time #8 among Japanese high school boys and #2 among 11th-graders. "Thank you to everyone who supported me!" Hayashida said on Twitter post-race. "I want to take this and apply to it ekiden season now." Geoffrey Gichia (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) won in 28:36.36, with Jakarta Asian Games marathon gold medalist Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:37.27.

ナイター記録会(諫早)

林田洋翔選手(瓊浦2)
28:45.75

県高校記録更新おめでとうございます🎉 pic.twitter.com/V7navKw6HQ — manamin (@kinokonoko0916) October 13, 2018
At Niigata's Autumn Time Trials a unique women's 50…