Skip to main content

Ritsumeikan Dominates With Record-Setting Fifth-Straight National University Women's Ekiden Win

by Brett Larner

Four-time defending National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University delivered one for the record books, winning a fifth-straight title Sunday in Sendai as it broke the 38.0 km course record in 2:02:52.  With all six of its runners winning their individual stages including a 29:24 record for the 9.2 km Fifth Stage from Kotona Ota, the sheer quality of Ritsumeikan's win had fans talking on social media about the need for ekiden terminology like baseball's no-hitters and perfect games.  Regardless, this was about as dominant a performance as you could hope to see in an ekiden, every team member hitting it 100% running entirely alone with an unbreakable lead.

Last year's runner up Daito Bunka University was 2nd again after a great battle throughout the race with Kanto Region rival Nittai University and Aichi's Meijo University, one of only two schools to crack Ritsumeikan in the last 12 years.  But despite good performances from most of its runners, in particular its Fifth Stage ace Sakurako Fukuuchi, Daito Bunka was simply no match for Ritsumeikan as it finished nearly a kilometer behind in 2:05:40.  Matsuyama University came up late in the race to overtake Nittai and Meijo for 3rd in 2:06:24, with less than a minute and a half separating them from 8th-place Kansai University.  Fukuoka University was the unlucky 9th-placer, shut out of the 8-deep seeded bracket for next year's Nationals in 2:08:57.

Like recent Hakone Ekiden-winning teams Aoyama Gakuin University and Toyo University, the Ritsumeikan women were so dominant that there is little doubt they would be solid contenders against the best of the corporate leagues in December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden.  Probably not much doubt about how they would do in the NCAA XC Championships next month either.  Look for Ritsumeikan to clean up at the year-ending Mt. Fuji University Women's Ekiden and beyond.

National University Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, Miyagi, 10/25/15
26 teams, 6 stages, 38.0 km
complete results coming shortly

Overall Results - top 8 seeded for 2016
1. Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto) - 2:02:52 - CR
2. Daito Bunka University (Saitama) - 2:05:40
3. Matsuyama University (Ehime) - 2:06:24
4. Nittai University (Kanagawa) - 2:06:28
5. Meijo University (Aichi) - 2:06:35
6. Osaka Gakuin University (Osaka) - 2:07:18
7. Tokyo Nogyo University (Tokyo) - 2:07:46
8. Kansai University (Osaka) - 2:07:53
9. Fukuoka University (Fukuoka) - 2:08:57
10. Josai University (Saitama) - 2:09:20

Individual Stage Results
First Stage - 6.4 km
1. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:42
2. Moeno Shimizu (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 20:49
3. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 20:51

Second Stage - 5.6 km
1. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:45
2. Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 18:16
3. Maho Shimizu (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 18:17

Third Stage - 6.8 km
1. Ena Kagayama (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 21:58
2. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 22:14
3. Yuri Karasawa (Nittai Univ.) - 22:26

Fourth Stage - 4.8 km
1. Ai Ikemoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:47
2. Soyoka Segawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 16:03
3. Karin Yasumoto (Nittai Univ.) - 16:04

Fifth Stage - 9.2 km
1. Kotona Ota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 29:24 - CR
2. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:13
3. Honoka Yuzawa (Meijo Univ.) - 30:15

Sixth Stage - 5.2 km
1. Yukari Wada (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:16
2. Kimiko Sato (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 17:28
3. Shiho Yahagi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 17:36

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


yuza said…
Ritsumeikan were brilliant once again, but because they were so dominant it was rather dull viewing. However, the tussle between Fukuuchi (looks to have potential) and Yuzawa up the hill was a good one.

What is Ritsumeikan's secret? Is it coaching? Or are they just better at recruiting?

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…