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

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved