Skip to main content

Kyoto Sangyo Over Ritsumeikan at Tango University Ekiden

by Brett Larner

While Japan's elite Kanto Region collegiates were turning in historic performances on a suburban Tokyo track in preparation for the peak of their season at January's Hakone Ekiden, their rivals in western central Japan were wrapping their season up at the 77th Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships in Tango, Kyoto.  Top local schools Kyoto Sangyo University and Ritsumeikan University ran an exciting race within seconds of each other over the entire 81.4 km course, their runners setting new records on 5 of the 8 stages before finishing with one of the closest finishes in Kansai history.

Kazuki Muramoto (Hyogo Kenritsu Univ.) set the tone for the day with a new 23:36 record on the 8.0 km First Stage, 44 seconds ahead of his nearest competiton Satoshi Shimoyabu (Kansai Univ.).  Kansai's next two runners Akira Yonezawa and Kohei Yamaguchi were first and third on their stages, putting Kansai into the lead before they began to drop back on the Fourth Stage to their eventual 6th place overall finish.

In a departure from usual ekiden strategy both Kyoto Sangyo and Ritsumeikan had their weakest two runners lead off, not really getting into their stride until the 7.0 km Third Stage where Takumi Kubo set a 20:00 stage record, the first of three-straight stage wins by Kyoto Sangyo runners, to build the momentum that put Kyoto Sangyo into 1st with a 25-second lead over Ritsumeikan by the Fourth Stage.  A 36:05 record on the 12.3 km Fifth Stage by Daisuke Uekado stretched Kyoto Sangyo's lead over Ritsumeikan to 58 seconds, its biggest margin of safety in the race.

While Kyoto Sangyo was getting to work Ritsumeikan also got busy, its third and fourth runners the next-fastest on their stages as they worked with rivals from Kwansei Gakuin University to try to close the gap.  Kwansei Gakuin briefly occupied 2nd, but when Ritsumeikan's Shinpei Muratake dropped a 35:40 record on the 12.0 km Sixth Stage, over a minute faster than the old record, Kwansei Gakuin was done, settling back into 3rd for the rest of the race. 

Far outrunning Kyoto Sangyo's Yusuke Tanaka, Muratake not only closed the 58 second gap but opened a 26 second lead, Ritsumeikan's first time out front.  Kyoto Sangyo's Masatoshi Teranishi fought back on the 11.9 km Seventh Stage, cutting 8 seconds off his own stage record to put Kyoto Sangyo 8 seconds out front heading into the anchor stage. 

It was an ideal setup for a stellar finish and Ritsumeikan's Kosuke Minamoto delivered, running a new stage record of 35:57 for 11.8 km, cutting down the ground to Kyoto Sangyo anchor Hitaka Onuki.  Onuki fought back, and in the home straight he held off Minamoto's kick to cross the line first in 4:10:20 to give Kyoto Sangyo the win with Minamoto just three seconds back in 4:10:23.  Kwansei Gakuin held on to 3rd in 4:12:16.

After finishing as the top non-Kanto Region school at both the Izumo Ekiden and National University Ekiden this season Kyoto Sangyo University's win over Ritsumeikan University confirmed its position as the best of the rest.  With six new stage records the Tango results showed that the ongoing surge in Japanese university distance running isn't limited just to the Kanto elite.

Tango University Ekiden
77th Kansai Region University Ekiden Championships
Kyoto, 11/21/15
8 stages, 81.4 km, 20 teams
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 4:10:20
2. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 4:10:23
3. Kwansei Gakuin Univ. - 4:12:16
4. Osaka Keizai Univ. - 4:14:32
5. Kyoto Univ. - 4:14:42

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (8.0 km) - Kazuki Muramoto (Hyogo Kenristu Univ.) - 23:36 - CR
Second Stage (8.7 km) - Akira Yonezawa (Kansai Univ.) - 29:00
Third Stage (7.0 km) - Takumi Kubo (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 20:00 - CR
Fourth Stage (9.7 km) - Shunsuke Motoki (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 30:19
Fifth Stage (12.3 km) - Daisuke Uekado (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 36:05 - CR
Sixth Stage (12.0 km) - Shinpei Muratake (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 35:40 - CR
Seventh Stage (11.9 km) - Masatoshi Teranishi (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 36:14 - CR
Eighth Stage (11.8 km) - Kosuke Minamoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 35:57 - CR

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

60-Year-Old Hiromi Nakata Wins Tottori Marathon Overall Women's Race

The Tottori Marathon held its 12th running on March 10. In light rain and 11˚C temperatures 3717 people ran Tottori's one-way course that passes local historic sites such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Tottori Castle ruins. Running 3:12:44 for the overall women's win was 60-year-old Hiromi Nakata.
"I was as surprised as anyone that I won," said Tanaka. "I had to stop at the toilets early on and lost some time, but I tried using the double inhale, double exhale breathing method that the actor Kankuro Nakamura uses on the Idaten TV show and got into a good rhythm. Thanks to that I could just keep going and going. I had no idea I was in 1st, and when they put up the finish tape as I was coming in I thought, 'No way!'""
Nakata is a resident of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 2017 she ran the fastest time of the year in Japan by a 58-year-old, 3:05:02. In the mornings she does housework and works in her garden for an hour, fitting in 30 to 60-minute run…

Japan's Oldest-Ever Olympic Marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa Retires at 39

At a press conference in Sayama, Saitama on Mar. 20, 2016 Rio Olympics marathoner Suehiro Ishikawa, 39, announced that he will retire from competition at the end of the month. At the time of the Rio Olympics Ishikawa was 36 years and 11 months old, surpassing 1996 Atlanta Olympics marathoner Hiromi Taniguchi's record of 36 years and 3 months to become Japan's oldest-ever Olympic marathoner. He finished 36th.

"Since I started running high school it's been 24 years," said Ishikawa at the press conference. "I've been with Honda for 17 years, and I made it all the way to the top, the Olympics. I'm glad that I've kept going this long. I thank you all."

Ishikawa ran the Mar. 10 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon but dropped out after only 10 km. It was to be the last race of his career. "It was the first time in my career that I'd ever DNFd, and I thought, 'OK, this is where it ends,'" said Ishikawa. Shortly after the race he made …

Yoshitomi Survives Four Marathons in Four Weeks to Win Saga Sakura Marathon

Arguably the highest-volume elite-level marathoner in the world, Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) survived four straight weekends of marathons to win her hometown Saga Sakura Marathon yesterday.

Starting the month off at the Mar. 3 Tokyo Marathon Yoshitomi ran 2:32:30 for 13th. A week later at the Mar. 10 Nagoya Women's Marathon it was 2:34:49 for 31st. Last weekend she headed overseas in a bid to win the Mar. 17 New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon in Taiwan, but in a rare off day she finished 6th in only 2:48:45. Heading back home she rallied to win the Mar. 24 Saga Sakura Marathon in 2:42:02.

At an expo talk show appearance the Wan Jin Shi organizers billed Yoshitomi as "the female Kawauchi," but not even he has come close to the kind of volume of racing Yoshitomi has been turning out over the years while working at her parents' botanical farm. Expect to see more, and more, and more from her in the months to come.



photos courtesy of Wan Jin Shi Marathon organizers
text …