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Kyudenko Runs Down Ritsumeikan Uji for Win at 25th Kita-Kyushu Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

The Kyudenko corporate women's team ran down defending champion Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. thanks to a stage-winning run from anchor Misaki Kato, coming back from a 31-second deficit to win the 25th Kita-Kyushu Invitational Women's Ekiden by 10 seconds. Despite a 18:11 course record run on the 5.9 km Second Stage by Kenyan Sally Chepyego, Kyudenko fell steadily behind Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. over the 32.8 km course's first four stages.  31 seconds behind by the time she started, Kato was obliged to run 11.7 km while the high school teams had the anchor stage split into 4.9 km and 6.8 km sections with two different runners.  Ritsumeikan Uji's Aki Manabe and Yuka Sato both ran the fastest times on those two segments, but Kato, on a steady rise since a sub-71 half marathon debut at last September's Great North Run, was simply too much for them to handle.  Near the end of the race Kato overtook Sato, opening 10 seconds in the home straight to seal Kyudenko's win in 1:46:01.  2013 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champion team Denso was a distant 3rd in 1:47:47.

Kato told JRN she next plans to race February's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, where she will be among the major contenders for a place on the Japanese team for March's Copenhagen World Half Marathon.

25th Kita-Kyushu Invitational Women's Ekiden
Kita-Kyushu, 1/19/14
open division: 7 teams, 5 stages, 32.8 km
H.S. division: 14 teams, 6 stages, 32.8 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - Open Division
1. Kyudenko - 1:46:01
2. Denso -- 1:47:47
3. Toto - 1:48:16
4. Tenmaya - 1:48:53
5. Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo - 1:49:06

Top Team Results - High School Division
1. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - 1:46:11
2. Kojokan H.S. - 1:49:30
3. Saikyo H.S. - 1:50:06
4. Suma Gakuen H.S. - 1:50:23
5. Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S. - 1:51:13

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (4.2 km) - Yui Fukuda (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 13:34
Second Stage (5.9 km) - Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 18:11 - CR tie
Third Stage (5.1 km) - Sayaka Takarada (Kojokan H.S.) - 16:28
Fourth Stage (5.9 km) - Tomoka Katada (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 19:32
Fifth Stage - open (11.7 km) - Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko) - 36:55
Fifth Stage - H.S. (4.9 km) - Aki Manabe (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 16:18
Sixth Stage - H.S. (6.8 km) - Yuka Sako (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 21:18

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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