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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
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The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…