Skip to main content

Nikko to Host New University Women's Ekiden on Tough Uphill Course

http://mainichi.jp/sports/news/20140529k0000m050113000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The Nikko municipal government in Tochigi prefecture announced May 28 that women will soon be handing off the tasuki on Nikko's mountain roads at the first running of the Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden on Nov. 30.  The uphill course will feature six stages totalling 23.4 km, zigzagging its way up 700 m of climb.  A city spokesperson commented, "We want to develop this into a race that will make people say, 'The men have Hakone, and the women have Nikko.'"

The new race is being organized by the "'Nikko: The Runner's Paradise' Executive Committee," a joint project of the local tourism board, sports bureau and others.  To help the event grow into a major post-autumn foliage season draw, it will also feature a mass-participation race on Nikko's famous "Nikko Utsunomiya Doro" toll road a day earlier on Nov. 29.

Organizers are aiming for twenty university women's teams in the future, but in a survey sent to member schools of the Inter-University Athletics Union of Japan only nine programs committed to taking part.  By expanding the criteria to allow alumni teams and mixed undergrad/alumni teams they hope to reach their target of twenty for this year's inaugural race.

The course will start at a park in the city, running up the normally one-way downhill Daiichi Irohazaka road to a finish near Chugushi at Futarasan Shrine on the shore of Lake Chuzenji.  With 700 m of climb it will be one of the toughest ekiden courses in the country.  The Hakone Ekiden may have its "God of the Mountain," but a new "Goddess of the Mountain" will be born this autumn on the roads of Nikko.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Named Captain of Japanese National Team for London World Championships

At a JAAF event at the British Embassy in Tokyo on July 21, marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (30, Saitama Pref. Gov't) was named men's captain of the Japanese national team for next month's London World Championships. Javelin throw national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was chosen as women's captain.

In a wide-ranging and impassioned speech 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, Kawauchi stoked the team's morale as he told attendees, "I think that there are athletes here today who look at London as just a checkpoint along the way to the Tokyo Olympics. But as a representative of Japan it is not enough just to be there competing. I feel it strongly. You must produce results at this event, the London World Championships. This is the task assigned to each and every one of us. It is critical that we work seriously to achieve our goals. The Japanese people want nothing less. What can we as athletes do for them? More than just wearing the uniform, each of us mus…

'$500,000 USD Prized Asian Premier Marathon Series 2017-18 Launched in Beijing'

http://athleticsasia.org/index.php/k2-component/143-500-000-usd-prized-asian-premier-marathon-series-2017-18-launched-in-beijing

A very interesting World Marathon Majors-style development with prize money only for Asian athletes. Equally interesting is the absence of a Japanese race in the series. Japanese marathoners would dominate the series if they ran its three component races, their only real current competition in Asia coming from East African-born Bahraini athletes.

Hayakawa and Ichiyama Win Shibetsu Half

2nd in 2015 and 3rd last year, Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) finally succeeded in scoring 1st at the Shibetsu Half Marathon, outrunning 2013-14 winner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) by 6 seconds to win in 1:03:38. Hayakawa pushed it from the early stages of the race, Imai the only one to try to stay with him but ultimately losing touch. 2016 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) was 3rd in 1:03:51.

士別ハーフマラソン
日差しが強くなってきました…💦 pic.twitter.com/qRfUei3aRt — はたのまき (@machakin77) July 23, 2017
The women's field was split between two distances, 10 km and half marathon. Kanako Takemoto (Daihatsu) won the 10 km in 34:27 by a margin of almost 10 seconds over an Otsuka Seiyaku trio led by Ayaka Inoue. 2017 National Cross-Country champion and last year's 10 km runner-up Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the top spot in the half marathon, outrunning teammate and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi and others to win in 1:14:01. Fukushi finished 4th in 1:15:41 behind last ye…