Skip to main content

Universal Entertainment Wins New-Format National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier

by Brett Larner



While the university women's ekiden circuit continues to expand, the corporate women's calendar faced another cutback this year.  From roughly a half dozen corporate league regions, each of which holds a separate New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships qualifying ekiden in November, corporate women's teams had already seen their regional qualifiers compressed to three qualifying races, West Japan, Central Japan and East Japan.  This year those three races were further combined into a single qualifying race in Munakata, Fukuoka with 24 teams competing for 14 "princess" places at next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden alongside the seeded top 8 "queens" from last year's Nationals.

From the East Japan region, Universal Entertainment took the top position in 2:17:02 for 42.195 km in 6 stages, leading from the Second Stage to the end with stage bests from second runner Tomoka Kimura and fifth runner Mirai WakuSekisui Kagaku, also from East Japan, led on the First Stage thanks to Beijing World Championships 5000 m runner Misaki Onishi but spent most of the rest of the race in 2nd where it finished in 2:18:10.  Qualifying for Nationals for the first time, Japan Post Group made it an East Japan sweep of the top 3 thanks to a brilliant 32:13 win on the 10.3 km Third Stage from Onishi's Beijing teammate Ayuko Suzuki that saw Japan Post move up from 19th to 4th.  By race's end Japan Post had a solid grasp on 3rd in 2:19:49, and after outrunning multi-national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) for the stage win in spectacular style Suzuki had a likewise solid grasp on the title of Japan's next big hope.



Most teams finishing from 4th through 12th were lumped together in two groups, but some of the best racing happened further back around the Nationals cutoff line between 14th and 15th.  At the handoff to the anchor only 5 seconds separated the Sysmex, Shiseido, Juhachi Ginko and Toto teams.  A strong run from Juhachi Ginko's Yuka Koga put them up safely into 11th, while Shiseido dropped out of the fold into 16th as its anchor Mutsumi Ikeda struggled.  Sysmex and Toto were left racing each other for the last two qualifying spots, 13th and 14th, but behind them, starting 40 seconds behind in 18th, Canon AC Kyushu anchor Yuka Takemoto was tearing through the field.  Catching first the Edion team, then Otsuka Seiyaku, then Shiseido, Takemoto closed on Sysmex's Rui Nishida and Toto's Ayame Kazu in the last kilometer.  Nishida managed to stay ahead for 13th in 2:21:45 but in the final straight Takemoto came up almost even with Kazu.  After running the second-fastest time on her stage to get there it looked like Takemoto might succeed in taking Canon to Nationals, but Kazu summoned up just enough of a kick to hang on to 14th in 2:21:49, Takemoto just 1 second behind and out of the qualifying bracket in 2:21:50.  Many of the smaller teams' fortunes rest on making the national championship ekidens, so that single second was full of meaning for the Canon runners.

Princess Ekiden
National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualification Race
Munakata, Fukuoka, 10/25/15
24 teams, 6 stage, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Overall Results - top 14 qualify for National Corporate Women's Ekiden
1. Universal Entertainment (East Japan) - 2:17:02
2. Sekisui Kagaku (East Japan) - 2:18:10
3. Japan Post Group (East Japan) - 2:19:49
4. Tenmaya (Chugoku) - 2:20:04
5. Noritz (Kansai) - 2:20:08
6. Route Inn Hotels (East Japan) - 2:20:11
7. Hitachi (East Japan) - 2:20:23
8. Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo (East Japan) - 2:20:42
9. Wacoal (Kansai) - 2:20:58
10. Hokuren (East Japan) - 2:21:10
11. Juhachi Ginko (Kyushu) - 2:21:19
12. Panasonic (East Japan) - 2:21:22
13. Sysmex (Kansai) - 2:21:45
14. Toto (Kyushu) - 2:21:49
-----
15. Canon AC Kyushu (Kyushu) - 2:21:50
16. Shiseido (East Japan) - 2:22:04

Individual Stage Results
First Stage - 7.0 km
1. Misaki Onishi (Sekisui Kagaku) - 22:50
2. Saori Noda (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 22:53
3. Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 22:55

Second Stage - 4.0 km
1. Tomoka Kimura (Universal Entertainment) - 12:37
2. Risa Kikuchi (Hitachi) - 12:43
3. Chiaki Morikawa (Starts)

Third Stage - 10.3 km
1. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post Group) - 32:13
2. Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) - 32:22
3. Miho Shimizu (Hokuren) - 32:48

Fourth Stage - 3.8 km
1. Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) - 11:39
2. Doricah Obare (Hitachi) - 11:53
3. Felista Wanjugu (Universal Entertainment) - 11:59

Fifth Stage - 10.4 km
1. Mirai Waku (Universal Entertainment) - 34:51
2. Sayaka Kuwahara (Sekisui Kagaku) - 35:25
3. Misato Horie (Noritz) - 35:48

Sixth Stage - 6.695 km
1. Miho Ihara (Sekisui Kagaku) - 21:40
2. Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu) - 21:47
3. Mizuho Nasukawa (Universal Entertainment) - 21:48

2015 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships Field
Denso
Daihatsu
Yamada Denki
Toyota Jidoshokki
Daiichi Seimei
Kyudenko
Uniqlo
Shimamura
Universal Entertainment
Sekisui Kagaku
Japan Post Group
Tenmaya
Noritz
Route Inn Hotels
Hitachi
Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo
Wacoal
Hokuren
Juhachi Ginko
Panasonic
Sysmex
Toto

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

Two weeks to the day after running 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka International Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped his 2017 with a win, running one of the few negative splits of his career to win the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon for the third time in 2:10:03. Women's winner Misako Kato (Kyudenko), a 1:09:49 half marathon, soloed an almost perfectly paced 2:28:12 to take 3 minutes off her PB and 7 1/2 minutes off the course record. Further back, Rio Paralympics T12 marathon silver medalist Misato Michishita broke the own world record in her category with a time of 2:56:14.

Watch a complete replay of the race here.


Pacers Taiga Ito and Melaku Abera, both of whom ran Fukuoka alongside Kawauchi, were tasked with taking the field out in 3:06/km, 2:10:48 pace. Pre-race Kawauchi told JRN, "If they'd run 3:04 I ccoul definitely, 100%, go faster than I did in Fukuoka. In cold and windy conditions things went in his favor in the early going with 5 and 10 km splits of 15:19 …

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…