Skip to main content

Osaka Kunei Unseats Ritsumeikan Uji at Kita-Kyushu Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

A week after the National Women's Ekiden marked the end of the main women's championship ekiden season, 9 pro and university teams and 15 high school teams lined up for the 26th edition of the Kita-Kyushu Women's Ekiden, a 5-stage, 32.8 km race that features an 11.7 km anchor stage split into two for the high school runners.  Last year's winning anchor Misaki Kato got defending open division champion Kyudenko off to a good start with an 18-second lead on the 4.2 km First Stage, and after Kenyan Sally Chepyego was through with the 5.9 km Second Stage Kyudenko's lead was up to well over a minute, a margin they held for the rest of the race to take a second-straight win in 1:45:23.

With a long streak of Kita-Kyushu wins behind it, defending H.S. division champion Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. got off to a slow start, 2nd among H.S. teams on the First Stage and more than 30 seconds behind Kato.  2014 National H.S. Ekiden champion Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. was even further back, but on the Second Stage its runner Kanami Sagayama ran the fastest time on the stage behind Chepyego to move put Osaka Kunei ahead of Ritsumeikan Uji and 3rd overall, just 2 seconds behind 2nd-place pro team Denso.

Ritsumeikan Uji fought back on the 5.1 km Third Stage, Fukiko Ando winning the stage outright in 16:31 to overtake both Osaka Kunei and Denso and opening a 15-second lead.  Another good run from Fourth Stage runner Aki Manabe extended Ritsumeikan Uji's lead over Osaka Kunei to 28 seconds with two stages to go, and although Osaka Kunei's fifth runner Kyoka Mori cut the lead by 4 seconds it needed a big anchor run to catch the dominant Ritsumeikan Uji.  Ena Kagayama, Osaka Kunei's anchor at its first-ever National H.S. Ekiden win last month, delivered again, outrunning Ritsumeikan Uji anchor Sakura Sunda by more than a minute and a half over 6.8 km to take the win in 1:46:39.

26th Kita-Kyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden
Kita-Kyushu, 1/18/15
open division: 9 teams, 5 stages, 32.8 km
H.S. division: 15 teams, 6 stages, 32.8 km
click here for complete results

Open Division Top Team Results
1. Kyudenko - 1:45:23
2. Denso - 1:46:47
3. Toto - 1:48:34
4. Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo - 1:49:12
5. Osaka Gakuin Univ. - 1:49:38

H.S. Division Top Team Results
1. Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuen H.S. - 1:46:39
2. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - 1:48:14
3. Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S. - 1:49:20
4. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. - 1:49:23
5. Suma Gakuen H.S. - 1:49:47

Top Stage Performances
First Stage (4.2 km)
1. Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 13:15
2. Satomi Ueda (Toto) - 13:33
3. Nami Hashimoto (Denso) - 13:36

Second Stage (5.9 km)
1. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Kyudenko) - 18:19
2. Kanami Sagayama (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 19:05
3. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 19:09
3. Saori Noda (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 19:09

Third Stage (5.1 km)
1. Fukiko Ando (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 16:31
2. Rino Maeda (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 16:47
3. Miyuki Oka (Denso) - 16:57

Fourth Stage (5.9 km)
1. Sayaka Kurogi (Kyudenko) - 19:19
2. Aki Manabe (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 19:22
3. Misato Kagayama (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 19:35

Open Division Fifth Stage (11.7 km)
1. Yuka Miyazaki (Kyudenko) - 37:07
2. Yuki Mitsunobu (Denso) - 37:13
3. Yukari Ishibashi (Edion) - 37:41

H.S. Division Fifth Stage (4.9 km)
1. Kyoka Mori (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 16:09
2. Ryoka Meno (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 16:17
3. Sakura Wada (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 16:22

H.S. Division Sixth Stage (6.8 km)
1. Haruka Tobimatsu (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 20:58
2. Ena Kagayama (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 21:13
3. Yuki Shibata (Kita-Kyushu Municipal H.S.) - 22:00

(c) 2015 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 …