Skip to main content

Osaka Gakuin and Gunma On Top As Women's Ekidens Turn 30

by Brett Larner

Two of Japan's elite women-only ekidens founded after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics celebrated their 30th anniversaries Sunday.  At the Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden, last year's top collegiate team Osaka Gakuin University staged a classic come-from-behind race to take its first Fukui title, covering the six-stage, 30.0 km course in 1:38:23.  Down by more than a minute behind leader Panasonic and in 15th place after the 6.55 km First Stage, each of Osaka Gakuin's next five runners moved up in both stage ranking and overall standing until Sakie Arai took the lead by four seconds over 2014 National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University and by six over Panasonic with a 16:10 stage best on the Fifth Stage.  Anchor Saori Noda then put both Ritsumeikan and Panasonic away with a 24:25 stage best for the 7.45 km Sixth Stage to win by nearly a minute.  Panasonic's anchor, 2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon winner Asami Kato, overtook Ritsumeikan anchor Mutsumi Ikeda for 2nd overall in 1:39:12.  Megumi Hirai of last year's runner up Canon AC Kyushu also sneaked by Ikeda for 3rd in 1:39:18.

Far to the northeast in Fukushima, the East Japan Women's Ekiden also turned 30.   Defending champion Chiba ran strong for the first seven of the race's nine stages, leading on stages and never falling more than a second out of top three.  Its final two runners struggling, however, Chiba ultimately dropped to 8th.  In its place, Gunma, Saitama and Tokyo battled throughout the race, the lead turning over six times from stage to stage.  Gunma took the lead on the 3.0 km Eighth Stage thanks to a 9:09 stage win by its Arisu Fuwa, and a 32:16 stage win for the 10.0 km anchor stage by star Shiho Takechi put it far out in front for the win in 2:16:43 by a margin of over a minute.  Leading on the Seventh Stage Saitama looked set for 2nd, but Kanagawa anchor Kaori Morita delivered a solid 32:37 to come up from 6th and catch Saitama anchor Fumiko Hashimoto to steal 2nd by just two seconds in 2:17:46.  After leading early and mid-race, Tokyo dropped to 5th overall behind Nagano.

30th Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden
Fukui, 11/9/14
6 stages, 30.0 km, 45 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Osaka Gakuin Univ. A - 1:38:23
2. Panasonic - 1:39:12
3. Canon AC Kyushu - 1:39:18
4. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 1:39:44
5. Meijo Univ. A - 1:40:08
6. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 1:40:09
7. Yamada Denki - 1:40:15
8. Hitachi - 1:40:17
9. Fukuoka Univ. A - 1:40:19
10. Edion - 1:40:31

Stage Best Performances
First Stage - 6.55 km: Rina Yamazaki (Panasonic) - 20:58
Second Stage - 3.0 km: Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 9:30
Third Stage - 4.0 km: Yomogi Akasaka (Meijo Univ. A) - 12:52
Fourth Stage - 4.0 km: Doricah Obare (Kenya/Hitachi) - 12:28
Fifth Stage - 5.0 km: Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ. A) - 16:10
Sixth Stage - 7.45 km: Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ. A) - 24:25

30th East Japan Women's Ekiden
Fukushima, 11/9/14
9 stages, 42.195 km, 18 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Gunma - 2:16:43
2. Kanagawa - 2:17:46
3. Saitama - 2:17:48
4. Nagano - 2:18:00
5. Tokyo - 2:18:23
6. Shizuoka - 2:19:37
7. Fukushima - 2:20:32
8. Chiba - 2:20:36
9. Tochigi - 2:20:56
10. Hokkaido - 2:21:06

Stage Best Performances
First Stage - 6.0 km: Hanami Sekine (Tokyo) - 19:02
Second Stage - 4.0 km: Kanako Shimada (Tokyo) - 12:56
Third Stage - 3.0 km: Ai Hosoda (Nagano) - 9:52
Fourth Stage - 3.0 km: Ema Hayashi (Gunma) - 9:19
Fifth Stage - 5.0875 km: Mao Kiyota (Shizuoka) - 16:20
Sixth Stage - 4.1075 km: Reina Shinozaki (Gunma) - 13:00
Seventh Stage - 4.0 km: Tomomi Miyasaka (Saitama) - 13:10
Eighth Stage - 3.0 km: Arisu Fuwa (Gunma) - 9:09
Ninth Stage - 10.0 km: Shiho Takechi (Gunma) - 32:16

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …