Skip to main content

Hirano and Katsura Win National Junior High School Ekiden Championships

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/sports/201612/0009761574.shtml

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The 24th National Junior High School Ekiden Championships took place Dec. 18 at Kibogaoka Cultural Park in Yasu, Shiga.  Hyogo's Hirano J.H.S. won its first national title in the six stage, 18 km boys' race in 57:31. Katsura J.H.S. of Kyoto won the five stage, 12 km girls' race in 41:01 to become just the second school in history to win three-straight titles, beating rival Arai J.H.S. of Hyogo by 56 seconds.

In the boys' race Hirano did not get off to a great start in the first half.  Its fourth runner Kentaro Kishimoto began in 10th place 24 seconds behind the leader, but passing 9 people over the 3 km stage he put Hirano ahead by 3 seconds.  Fifth runner Masaya Tamai dropped back to 2nd, 2 seconds behind the leader, but Hirano's anchor Yuta Kamikariya turned it around to take the win by 4 seconds.  Ryoke J.H.S. of Kanagawa was 2nd, with Ehime's Niihama Nishi J.H.S. 3rd another 3 seconds back.

In the girls' race Katsura's Mayu Matsumuro started in 5th, 29 seconds behind the leader.  Its second runner Kazuha Kobayashi ran the fastest time on her short 2.0 km stage to move Katsura into 2nd with 6 seconds to 1st. Third runner Nonoka Sone followed up by putting Katsura out front by 26 seconds, and from there to the finish its lead only grew.  Arai J.H.S. likewise moved up steadily throughout the race, going from 9th to 2nd.  Ono Higashi J.H.S. of Hiroshima took 3rd.

24th National Junior High School Ekiden Championships
Kibogaoka Cultural Park Sports Zone, Yasu, Shiga, 12/18/16
boys: 48 teams, six stages, 18.0 km
girls: 48 teams, five stages, 12.0 km
click here for complete results: boys / girls

Top Boys' Team Results
1. Hirano J.H.S. (Hyogo) - 57:31
2. Ryoke J.H.S.  (Kanagawa) - 57:35
3. Niihama Nishi J.H.S. (Ehime) - 57:38
4. Hakusan J.H.S. (Chiba) - 57:41
5. Nakashima J.H.S. (Nagano) - 57:45

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (3.0 km): Kaishin Hattori (Chikusa J.H.S.) - 8:59
Second Stage (3.0 km): Taiga Hashikawa (Niihama Nishi J.H.S.) - 9:18
Third Stage (3.0 km): Takuma Miyashita (Mishima J.H.S.) - 9:22
Fourth Stage (3.0 km): Hayato Arai (Fujimi J.H.S.) - 9:09
Fifth Stage (3.0 km): Makoto Yoshida (Mishima J.H.S.) - 9:40
Sixth Stage (3.0 km): Kyosuke Hanao (Sakuragaoka J.H.S.) - 9:22

Top Girls' Team Results
1. Katsura J.H.S. (Kyoto) - 41:01
2. Arai J.H.S. (Hyogo) - 41:57
3. Ono Higashi J.H.S. (Hiroshima) - 42:10
4. Kaminoyama Minami J.H.S. (Yamagata) - 42:11
5. Horikawa J.H.S. (Toyama) - 42:11

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (3.0 km): Akari Yamamoto (Kotoura J.H.S.) - 9:48
Second Stage (2.0 km): Kazuha Kobayashi (Katsura J.H.S.) - 6:41
Third Stage (2.0 km): Maki Ueda (Ono Higashi J.H.S.) - 6:39
Fourth Stage (2.0 km): Saki Kamata (Katsura J.H.S.) - 6:55
Fifth Stage (3.0 km): Momoko Ichimoto (Kotoura J.H.S.) - 10:16

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

What Value Does Four-Straight Hakone Ekiden Titles Have for Aoyama Gakuin's Athletes and Staff?

An editorial by Nikkan Gendai.

Nothing rings in the New Year like the Hakone Ekiden. With TV viewership ratings around 30% it's one of the most popular sports programs in Japan. The king of that cash cow is Aoyama Gakuin University, winning four-straight Hakone titles since its first victory in 2015. But no matter how well its students perform, every school in Hakone gets the same share of the proceeds, a uniform 2,000,000 yen [~$18,000 USD at current exchange rates].

The AGU team currently includes 44 athletes on its roster. Although athletes can get preferential admission, their tuition is the same as for other students and there are no exemptions or reductions. First year tuition in the Department of Social and Information Studies is around 1,520,000 yen [~$14,000 USD], and with additional fees including dormitory and training camp expenses the burden upon students' parents is considerable.

By comparison, in the United States the NCAA has made its collegiate sports a succes…

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…