Skip to main content

Sera H.S. Going for History at National High School Ekiden Championships

by Brett Larner

Sunday is the next stop on the national championship ekiden season calendar, the National High School Ekiden Championships in Kyoto, both the boys’ and girls’ races broadcast live nationwide to millions of fans starting at 10:20 for the girls’ race and 12:30 for the boys. JRN will cover both races live on @JRNLive.

The seven-stage, 42.195 km boys’ race is about one thing and one thing only: can defending champion Sera H.S. of Hiroshima take down the legendary 2:01:32 course record set in 2004 by future Olympic marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru and his Sendai Ikuei H.S. teammates? Last year Sera ran the fifth-fastest time in Nationals history, winning easily in 2:03:18. This year they return even better, with a lineup that could compete against many of the best university teams over 5000 m. How good are they? Judge for yourself.


None of the other 55 teams even comes close. Their strongest competition Gakuho Ishikawa H.S. of Fukushima, led by #1-ranked Japanese high schooler Hyuga Endo, averages just 14:15.59, meaning for Sera it’s a race against the clock and history.

Defending champion in the five-stage, 21.0975 km girls’ race, Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. likewise returns as the favorite led by sisters Nozomi and Tomomi Musembi Takamatsu. On paper they're back almost exactly as strong as last year, but they lack the same margin of safety and have shown cracks throughout the year with senior Nozomi in particular seeming to have lost some of her spark. Yamanashi Gakuin Prep H.S. and Gunma’s Tokiwa H.S. both look to be in range of Osaka Kunei should anything go wrong up front, promising a closer race than for the boys. For both Tokiwa and Yamanashi Gakuin it would be a first-ever national title, for Yamanashi Gakuin adding to their boys’ 2013 win.


Complete entry lists are available on broadcaster NHK’s outstanding Nationals website, with plenty more information including complete Nationals history on the official race website. American Bruce Carrick maintains an outstanding database of Japanese high school results, with top seven 5000 m averages for all 56 boys’ teams and top five 3000 m averages for the 56 girls’ teams.

© 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Shitara Wins Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler

In a year that saw him deliver one of the most memorable debut marathons in history, a half marathon national record, 10000 m and marathon PBs and more, Yuta Shitara (Honda) ended 2017 on a high note, beating three-time defending champion Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Toyota Kyushu) to win the 42nd Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler. Shitara, Karemi, London World Championships marathoner Hiroto Inoue (MHPS), Ethiopian Abayneh Degu (Yasukawa Denki) and track ace Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) ran together in a lead group through the early going, but Shitara was just too much for the others to handle.

Shitara broke the tape in 45:58, only the fourth Japanese man to ever clear 45 minutes. Karemi was well under last year's winning time but nowhere close to catching Shitara, finishing 2nd in 46:10 and Inoue only 2 seconds behind him. With many corporate and university teams using Kosa to tune up for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden and Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, it regularly produces the deepest 10 mile results i…