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

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…

Nakamura on Positive Drug Test: "I Had Gynecological Issues I Didn't Want Anyone to Know About"

On July 19 the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA) announced that distance runner Moeno Nakamura, 28, a former member of the Universal Entertainment women's ekiden team, had tested positive for the muscle tone-improving steroid metenolone during in-competition testing at last November's National Corporate Women's Ekiden, which Universal Entertainment won. As a result of the positive test Nakamura, who has already left the team, will be suspended for one year and three months and have her result at the ekiden annulled.

According to the JADA announcement, two months before the ekiden Nakamura underwent surgical treatment for a gynecological condition. Subsequent injections she received included the prohibited substance. JADA accepted her explanation that these were for post-operative therapeutic purposes but ruled her negligent in not having told her doctor that she was an athlete and in not confirming the contents of the injections.

In a statement released through Universal En…