Sunday, December 14, 2014

Denso Sets Course Record for Second-Straight National Corporate Women's Ekiden Title (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner

26 teams ran the 34th edition of the 6-stage, 42.195 km National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships in cold and windy conditions Dec. 14 in Sendai, Miyagi.  The Denso team dominated, breaking its own course record in 2:16:12 to score its second-straight win, the first time that a team has defending its national title since Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo completed a hat trick in 2005.

Denso started off slow, 29 seconds down from the lead in 12th after the First Stage.  Second Stage runner Naoko Koizumi celebrated her 22nd birthday by running the second-best time on the stage to move Denso up to 3rd.  Up against each team's best Japanese athlete on the Third Stage, Yuka Takashima, 26, ran down leaders Toyota Jidoshokki and Yamada Denki in stage record time to put Denso into the lead.  Takashima ran 34:40 for the 10.9 km stage to beat multiple national record holder Kayoko Fukushi's stage record by 24 seconds, with Daihatsu rookie Sairi Maeda and Uniqlo's Ayumi Hagiwara also breaking Fukushi's record.  Shaking off the challenge from the Daihatsu team, Denso maintained the lead the rest of the way to the win and the record.

Daihatsu was 2nd, its best-ever placing at Nationals, in 2:16:48.  Yamada Denki was 3rd in 2:17:29, anchor Sakiho Tsutsui running the fastest time on the final stage to overtake 1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi of Toyota Jidoshokki.  2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon bronze medalist Sally Chepyego of 6th-placers Kyudenko delivered the day's other stage record, running 11:13 for the 3.6 km Fourth Stage.

In a rare occurrence, the Sysmex team was disqualified after its Fifth Stage runner Mami Onuki stepped across the handoff line to take the tasuki after incoming Fourth Stage runner Misato Okubo fell just before the exchange.

For the first time, the top eight teams received seeded places at next year's National Championships.  As of next year the current East Japan, Central Japan and West Japan regional qualifier ekidens will be discontinued, with other teams qualifying in a new joint qualification race.

34th National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, Miyagi, 12/14/14
26 teams, 6 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top 8 qualify for 2015
1. Denso - 2:16:12 - CR
2. Daihatsu - 2:16:48
3. Yamada Denki - 2:17:29
4. Toyota Jidoshokki - 2:17:50
5. Daiichi Seimei - 2:17:54
6. Kyudenko - 2:18:02
7. Uniqlo - 2:18:13
8. Shimamura - 2:18:21
9. Hokuren - 2:18:33
10. Otsuka Seiyaku - 2:18:44
DQ - Sysmex

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage (7.0 km)
1. Yuika Mori (Team Yamada Denki) - 22:14
2. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 22:25
3. Miyuki Uehara (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 22:29

Second Stage (3.9 km)
1. Yui Fukuda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 12:13
2. Naoko Koizumi (Team Denso) - 12:19
3. Ai Inoue (Team Noritz) - 12:26

Third Stage (10.9 km)
1. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 34:40 - CR
2. Sairi Maeda (Team Daihatsu) - 34:45 (CR)
3. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 34:59 (CR)

Fourth Stage (3.6 km)
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 11:13 - CR
2. Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Kenya/Team Starts) - 11:31
3. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 11:35

Fifth Stage (10.0 km)
1. Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 32:47
2. Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 32:49
3. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 32:58

Sixth Stage (6.795 km)
1. Sakiho Tsutsui (Team Yamada Denki) - 21:08
2. Mai Ishibashi (Team Denso) - 21:19
3. Ayaka Inoue (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 21:25

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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