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A Four-Ekiden Day

by Brett Larner


The fall ekiden season continued with not one or two or three but four top-level races across the country Sunday.  With places at the New Year Ekiden corporate men's national championships on the line corporate teams in Chugoku and Kansai lined up in their regional championship races.  To the apparent surprise of everyone including anchor Koji Matsuoka, pictured above, the Mazda men broke the Chugoku Region course record to hold off perpetual powerhouse Chugoku Denryoku by 30 seconds for the win. Otsuka Seiyaku claimed the Kansai Region title, outrunning SGH Group by over a minute to take the top spot.

In women's action, Yamada Denki successfully defended its Fukui Super Ladies Ekiden title, taking the lead on the second of six stages and never threatened after that as its third through sixth runners, led by Kasumi Nishihara, won their individual stages.  With three Rio Olympians in its field, the East Japan Women's Ekiden was the highest-level of the day.  Featuring 5000 m Olympian Misaki Onishi, defending champion Chiba Prefecture was the probable favorite.  But with a lineup made entirely of junior high school, high school and university runners Nagano Prefecture proved better. Nagano's Yui Takayasu went to the front on the Third Stage and neither Chiba nor Tokyo, featuring Rio teammates Miyuki Uehara and Tomomi Tanaka, could catch up.  Nagano anchor Kanna Tamaki, a second-year at Meijo University, had 40 seconds on pro Rui Aoyama of Chiba at the start of the 10.0 km anchor stage, more than enough for her to work with as she brought Nagano home 33 seconds up on Chiba.

© 2016 Brett Larner
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JAAF Announces Last-Chance Olympic Marathon Standards: 2:05:49 and 2:22:22

We hereby announce the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon Team qualifying standards for the MGC Final Challenge.
men: 2:05:49
women: 2:22:22 These times are one second faster than the fastest times run by Japanese men and women within the MGC Race qualifying period. The fastest athlete under these standards at one of the MGC Final Challenge series races will earn the third and final spot on the Tokyo 2020 team following the two to be decided at September's MGC Race. MGC Final Challenge series races:
Men:73rd Fukuoka International MarathonTokyo Marathon 202075th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Women:5th Saitama International Marathon39th Osaka International Women's MarathonNagoya Women's Marathon 2020 For more information on the overall Tokyo 2020 Olympic team qualification process please click here.
The official MGC site:  http://www.mgc42195.jp/
source press release:
https://www.jaaf.or.jp/news/article/12712/
translated and edited by Brett Larner

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Weekend Track Highlights

The IAAF World Relays in Yokohama were the weekend's main track action, but the first round of regional corporate championships and a few other meets brought distance action across the country.

The women's 10000 m was the highlight at the Kansai Region Corporate Championships, with Wacoal teammates Yuka Ando and Mao Ichiyama recovering from decent runs at the London Marathon last month to go 1st and 5th, Ando the fastest in 32:43.18. Their fellow MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifier Madoka Nakano (Noritz) was 2nd in 32:50.18, doubling the next day in the 5000 m where she was 5th in 16:07.24. Former Hakone Ekiden rivals and now teammates at NTT Nishi Nihon, Kenyans Patrick Wambui and Dominic Nyairo went 1-2 in the men's 10000 m in 28:41.84 and 28:43.86. Ryota Motegi (Sumitomo Denko) just missed the meet record in the men's 1500 m, winning in 3:44.12.

At the Chubu Region Corporate Championships Kenyans Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and Macharia Ndirangu