Skip to main content

Ritsumeikan Uji Girls Confident of Ride to Top at National High School Ekiden Championships

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/top/article/20141217000034

translated by Brett Larner

Broadcast live nationwide and commercial-free on NHK, the 65th National High School Boys Ekiden Championships and 26th National High School Girls Ekiden Championships take place this Sunday, Dec. 21 in Kyoto with the boys running a seven-stage, 42.195 km course and the girls a five-stage, 21.0975 km course, both starting and finishing at Nishi Kyogoku Field.  Having represented Kyoto every time since the first National Championships, the Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. girls are set to run again.

Four members of last year's 4th-place Ritsumeikan Uji girls squad return, forming the core of this year's team.  Looking to return to the top after winning its 3rd National title in 2012, head coach Yoshinobu Ogino showed confidence int he team's chances as he commented, "Our athletes have become strong."

The top five girls on the team have an average 3000 m PB of 9:20, ranking them fifth in the nation.  Four of them ran in the National High School Track and Field Championships.  At the Nov. 16 Kinki Region High School Ekiden they ran 1:38 faster than at the Kyoto area qualifier for Nationals, winning an 18th Kinki Region title after an off year last year and gaining confidence by beating the #1-ranked high school in the country by average 3000 m best, Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.

Senior Kureha Seki is the team's star runner.  In this year's National High School Track and Field Championships 3000 m she was the top Japanese finisher, 2nd overall.  "My speed is coming," she says of the growth she has achieved.  At last year's National High School Girls Ekiden Championships she fell during the First Stage, a memory that leaves her with bitter tears.  "This year," she declares, "my running is going to help us get the win."

The team's captain is junior Fumiko Ando.  In June she suffered a stress fracture in her left leg, but she recovered quickly to set a 3000 m PB in September.  At the Kinki Region High School Ekiden she showed her strength by running down 2014 Youth Olympics 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) for the win.  "I'm going to start fast and hang on," she said spiritedly of her plans for Sunday's race.

Along with Kinki Region High School Ekiden Third Stage winner Maako Konishi and First Stage runner Aki Manabe, last year's Nationals team member Saki Hashimoto is fit and healthy.  At a time trial meet earlier this month several first-years ran PBs, adding momentum to the team's drive for the win.  Having guided the Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. girls since they ran the first Nationals, head coach Ogino said, "They've got more experience than any other team.  I want them to run on the edge."

Entry Roster
Kureha Seki (3rd year)
Saki Hashimoto (3rd year)
Nagisa Hasegawa (3rd year)
Fukiko Ando (2nd year)
Aki Manabe (2nd year)
Maako Konishi (2nd year)
Chisa Isuji (1st year)
Honoka Yamamoto (1st year)

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Official Statement From Corporate Federation Director Nishikawa on Anti-Doping Violation and Sanction

A statement by Koichiro Nishikawa, chairperson of the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association

At the 37th National Corporate Women's Ekiden organized by the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association (JITA), a prohibited substance was detected in a sample taken from Moeno Nakamura, at the time a member of the Universal Entertainment team, in an in-competition drug test. After receiving notification of this result, in accordance with the recommendations of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency disciplinary panel, Nakamura was suspended for one year and three months beginning Nov. 26, 2017.

As the JITA not only do we hold anti-doping education sessions for athletes and coaches in partnership with the Japan Association of Athletics Federations and clearly specify that our events must be carried out in strict accordance with anti-doping regulations, but as the JITA chairperson I have personally given strong emphasis to the importance of "Clean Sport." In spite of these effort…

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Champion Team to be Stripped of Title After Member Tests Positive

On July 18 it was learned from several sources connected with the situation that a member of the 2017 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champion team Universal Entertainment who left the team at the end of last season tested positive for a banned substance in a doping test carried out at the ekiden. Universal Entertainment won the national championship race, its second-ever title and first in five years. But because the athlete's result will be annulled the team will also be stripped of its title, an unprecedented situation in the ekiden's history.

According to an involved source, before the race the athlete took her own personal medicine which included the prohibited substance. The athlete denied having taking the medicine in order to enhance her performance. Team management claimed the athlete had not informed then that she was taking it, and that the situation was the result of her personal carelessness.

The Universal Entertainment team was founded under the name Aruze…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…