Skip to main content

Women's Ekidens Celebrate 30 Years This Weekend

by Brett Larner

Two important women-only ekidens celebrate their 30th anniversaries this weekend.  In eastern Japan, Fukushima's East Japan Women's Ekiden features a scaled-down version of January's National Women's Ekiden, with teams made up of pro, collegiate, high school and junior high school athletes representing each of the 18 prefectures in the region.  Defending champion Chiba fields a very different lineup from last year's winning team led by one of Japan's current best track runners Riko Matsuzaki (Team Sekisui Kagaku).  Gunma, featuring last weekend's East Japan Corporate Women's Ekiden anchor stage course record setter Yuika Mori and Yamada Denki corporate teammate Shiho Takechi, Saitama and Shizuoka look to be Chiba's main competition.  The East Japan Women's Ekiden will be broadcast live starting at noon on Nov. 9.

Further west in Fukui, the Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden delivers an interesting format pitting top corporate teams against their strongest university rivals.  Last year's winning team Sekisui Kagaku is absent, meaning runner-up Canon AC Kyushu leads the field.  Panasonic and Yamada Denki, 3rd and 4th in last weekend's East Japan Corporate Women's Ekiden, are also in the field minus some of their best people who will be running the East Japan Women's Ekiden.  National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University leads the collegiate contenders, followed closely by last year's top three university teams in Fukui, Osaka Gakuin University, Meijo University and Bukkyo University.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…