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

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…