Skip to main content

Maebashi Fujimi Boys, Katsura Girls Win National Junior High School Ekiden

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 23rd National Junior High School Ekiden Championships took place Dec. 13 at the Seminar Park Cross Country Course in Yamaguchi.  48 boys' and girls' teams competed, the prefectural champion school from each of Japan's 47 prefectures plus a second team from hosts Yamaguchi prefecture.

Maebashi Fujimi J.H.S. of Gunma prefecture scored its first-ever win in the six-stage, 18.0 km boys' race in 56:37, beating rivals Ohtawara J.H.S. of Tochigi prefecture by 15 seconds.  Following Nakanojo J.H.S. in 1998 and 2000 and Yoshioka J.H.S. in 2009 Maebashi Fujimi became just the fourth school from Gunma to win the national title.  Captain Daiki Arai, 3rd year, said, "I'm so happy it's like a dream.  In long distance running it's really easy to get anemia, so our parents have really done a lot to support us with healthy meals with a good balance of meat and vegetables.  Thank you to all of them."

Following their win Maebashi City Hall hung a banner on its outside walls announcing the team's victory, and mayor Ryu Yamamoto was waiting at the ticket gates at Maebashi Station to greet the team and offer his personal congratulations upon the team's return on the 14th.

Kyoto's Katsura J.H.S. won the five-stage, 12.0 km girls' race in a course-record 40:08 by a margin of 38 seconds.  The Maebashi Fujimi girls were 3rd in 40:58.  Captain Emiho Ii, 3rd year, commented, "We were able to come this far thanks to the local people and our families.  As each of us on the team takes our own path I hope that we will all continue to give all our ability as we walk forward to meet our own separate futures."

Next year the National Junior High School Ekiden Championships will move to Kibogaoka Bunka Park in Shiga prefecture.

23rd National Junior High School Ekiden Championships
Seminar Park Cross Country Course, Yamaguchi, 12/13/15
48 teams, boys: 6 stages, 18.0 km, girls: 5 stages, 12.0 km
click here for complete results

Top Boys Team Results
1. Maebashi Fujimi J.H.S. (Gunma) - 56:37
2. Ohtwara J.H.S. (Tochigi) - 56:52
3. Kamagaya Daigo J.H.S. (Chiba) - 57:25
4. Niihama Nishi J.H.S. (Aichi) - 57:34
5. Miyahara J.H.S. (Saitama) - 57:36

Boys Stage Best Performances
First Stage (3.0 km) - Rintaro Kajiyama (3rd yr., Saka J.H.S.) - 9:13
Second Stage (3.0 km) - Ryusei Harada (3rd yr., Miyahara J.H.S.) - 9:14
Third Stage (3.0 km) - Hideto Kitawaki (3rd yr., Tottori Minami J.H.S.) - 9:06
Fourth Stage (3.0 km) - Daiki Arai (3rd yr., Maebashi Fujimi J.H.S.) - 9:00
Fifth Stage (3.0 km) - Keiji Takezoe (2nd yr., Saka J.H.S.) - 9:32
Sixth Stage (3.0 km) - Soshi Suzuki (3rd yr., Hamamatsu Nittai Prep J.H.S.) - 9:04 - CR

Top Girls Team Results
1. Katsura J.H.S. (Kyoto) - 40:08 - CR
2. Tsubata Minami J.H.S. (Ishikawa) - 40:46
3. Maebashi Fujimi J.H.S. (Gunma) - 40:58
4. Shimizu J.H.S. (Shizuoka) - 41:14
5. Hofu Kokufu J.H.S. (Yamaguchi) - 41:29

Girls Stage Best Performances
First Stage (3.0 km) - Aika Nishihara (2nd yr., Niihama Nishi J.H.S.) - 9:47 - CR
Second Stage (2.0 km) - Mayu Hirata (3rd yr., Katsura J.H.S.) - 6:31
Third Stage (2.0 km) - Mahiru Kobayashi (1st yr., Katsura J.H.S.) - 6:41
Fourth Stage (2.0 km) - Sara Yamada (1st yr., Ohtawara J.H.S.) - 6:43
Fifth Stage (3.0 km) - Nonoka Sone (2nd yr., Katsura J.H.S.) - 10:07 - CR


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 …

Japan Names Asian Games Marathon Team

On Mar. 16 the JAAF announced the Japanese marathon team for this August's Jakarta Asian Games. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) make up the men's squad, with Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) and Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) named to the women's team.

A member of the Japanese national team for last summer's London World Championships, Inoue ran an all-time Japanese #4 time of 2:06:54 at February's Tokyo Marathon, the 2nd-placing Japnaese man behind national record setter Yuta Shitara (Honda). Sonoda ran a PB of 2:09:34 to finish in the top Japanese position at 2nd overall earlier in February at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

The silver medalist at November's Asian Championships marathon, Nogami was 5th earlier this month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:26:33. Tanaka was next behind her in Nagoya in 6th in 2:27:40, the only member of the Asian Games team not to have yet qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials race. A meda…