Skip to main content

Ritsumeikan University Wins Fourth-Straight Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden, National Champ Matsuyama University Third

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20161230/ath16123013030006-n1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner


Running through the foothills of Mt. Fuji on a seven-stage, 43.8 km course from Fujisan Hongu Sengen Shrine to Fuji Sports Park Field in Shizuoka, on Dec. 30 Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University won a fourth-straight Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden in 2:25:43.  It was Ritsumeikan's tenth National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships title and left the school undefeated since the National Championships moved to the hilly Mt. Fuji course in 2013.  Meijo University was 2nd, with 2016 National University Women's Ekiden champion Matsuyama University taking 3rd.

Conditions at the start were good, with 10-degree temperatures, 44% humidity and a gentle north wind.  Running the First Stage on a new course circling Sengen Shrine, Matsuayama's Rio de Janeiro 3000 m steeplechase Olympian Anju Takamizawa got things off to a good start, opening a 6-second lead over Ritsumeikan.  Matsuyama first-year Riho Takamizawa likewise won the Second Stage, extending Matsuyama's lead over Ritsumeikan to 12 seconds.

But on the Third Stage Ritsumeikan star fourth-year Natsuki Omori made up the ground, catching Matsuyama's Akane Fujiwara with 100 m to go.  The pair kicked in together in a dead heat finish, handing off simultaneously but Ritsumeikan getting the lead in the results.  Ritsumeikan's fourth runner Ayano Ikeuchi won her stage on time to put her team 15 seconds ahead.

On the race's longest stage, the 10.9 km Fifth Stage, Ritsumeikan's Yukari Wada ran well to keep the top position.  Matsuyama's Misuzu Nakahara, on the other hand, got into trouble mid-stage, her pace slowing dramatically as she was overtaken by Meijo, Kyoto Sangyo University and Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden winner Daito Bunka University.  Nakahara looked as though she might collapse at one point, but somehow she fought through to hand off the tasuki in 6th.

Matsuyama's sixth runner Ayumi Uehara was brilliant.  4 km into the 6.0 km penultimate stage she overtook Daito Bunka to move into 5th, and just before the handoff she ran down Kyoto Sangyo and Osaka Gakuin University to hand off in 3rd.  Leader Ritsumeikan was 1:04 ahead of Meijo, with Matsuyama another 26 seconds back.

Featuring 166 m net climb over 8.3 km, the anchor stage was a miniature version of the Hakone Ekiden's famed Fifth Stage.  Ritsumeikan anchor Ayaka Matsumoto had no problems and ran in alone unthreatened to the finish, returning Ritsumeikan to the Japanese university women's ekiden throne after its loss to Matsuyama in October.

4th Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden
National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships
Shizuoka, 12/30/16
21 teams, 7 stages, 43.8 km, net climb
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Ritsumeikan University - 2:25:43
2. Meijo University - 2:27:21
3. Matsuyama University - 2:27:57
4. Osaka Gakuin University - 2:28:18
5. Nittai University - 2:28:36
6. Kyoto Sangyo University - 2:28:37
7. Daito Bunka University - 2:29:30
8. Tokyo Nogyo University - 2:30:16
9. Fukuoka University - 2:30:25
10. Toyo University - 2:30:32

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage (4.1 km) - Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 12:42
Second Stage (6.8 km) - Riho Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 21:19
Third Stage (3.3 km) - Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 10:13
Fourth Stage (4.4 km) - Ayano Ikeuchi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 14:13
Fifth Stage (10.9 km) - Honoka Tanaike (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 36:29
Sixth Stage (6.0 km) - Ayumi Uehara (Matsuyama Univ.) - 19:38
Seventh Stage (8.3 km, 166 m ascent) - Ai Hosoda (Nittai Univ.) - 29:48

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Official Statement From Corporate Federation Director Nishikawa on Anti-Doping Violation and Sanction

A statement by Koichiro Nishikawa, chairperson of the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association

At the 37th National Corporate Women's Ekiden organized by the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association (JITA), a prohibited substance was detected in a sample taken from Moeno Nakamura, at the time a member of the Universal Entertainment team, in an in-competition drug test. After receiving notification of this result, in accordance with the recommendations of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency disciplinary panel, Nakamura was suspended for one year and three months beginning Nov. 26, 2017.

As the JITA not only do we hold anti-doping education sessions for athletes and coaches in partnership with the Japan Association of Athletics Federations and clearly specify that our events must be carried out in strict accordance with anti-doping regulations, but as the JITA chairperson I have personally given strong emphasis to the importance of "Clean Sport." In spite of these effort…

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Champion Team to be Stripped of Title After Member Tests Positive

On July 18 it was learned from several sources connected with the situation that a member of the 2017 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champion team Universal Entertainment who left the team at the end of last season tested positive for a banned substance in a doping test carried out at the ekiden. Universal Entertainment won the national championship race, its second-ever title and first in five years. But because the athlete's result will be annulled the team will also be stripped of its title, an unprecedented situation in the ekiden's history.

According to an involved source, before the race the athlete took her own personal medicine which included the prohibited substance. The athlete denied having taking the medicine in order to enhance her performance. Team management claimed the athlete had not informed then that she was taking it, and that the situation was the result of her personal carelessness.

The Universal Entertainment team was founded under the name Aruze…

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…