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Ritsumeikan Wins Fifth-Straight Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden National Title

Ten-time national champion Ritsumeikan University added an eleventh National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships title to its resume, winning the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden title for the fifth-straight year since the National Championships' 2013 move to the Mt. Fuji course.


Running on a hilly course under perfect blue skies and the watchful eye of Mt. Fuji looming above, Ritsumeikan got off to a slow start as third-year Ena Kagayama was only 13th on the 4.1 km opening stage. Ritsumeikan's next two runners Naruha Sato and Ayano Tanaka picked up the slack with new course records on their stages to put Ritsumeikan up where it feels most comfortable in 1st.

On the race's longest stage, the 10.5 km Fifth Stage, the team's lead fell as close as 13 seconds over Daito Bunka University, one of the two teams that beat Ritsumeikan earlier this season at the Morinomiyako Ekiden, but another new course record by anchor Aki Manabe was more than enough to give Ritsumeikan the win in 2:23:46.


Tokyo Nogyo University ran unexpectedly well, inside the top 4 the entire way and taking 2nd in 2:25:30 as anchor Moeno Shimizu ran down Morinomiyako winner Meijo University's Kanna Tamaki. 2nd last year, Meijo fell to 3rd in 2:25:38. Despite challenging Ritsumeikan late in the race, Daito Bunka ended up a distant 4th in 2:26:38, anchor Shiho Yamagi struggling and finishing only 17th on her stage. The only school to ever beat Ritsumeikan at Nationals, Bukkyo University was 8th in 2:27:48.

Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden

12th National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships
Shizuoka, 12/30/17
21 teams, 7 stages, 43.4 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Ritsumeikan University - 2:23:46
2. Tokyo Nogyo University - 2:25:30
3. Meijo University - 2:25:38
4. Daito Bunka University - 2:26:38
5. Nittai University - 2:26:56
6. Osaka Gakuin University - 2:27:18
7. Kyoto Sangyo University - 2:27:42
8. Bukkyo University - 2:27:48
9. Matsuyama University - 2:28:19
10. Fukuoka University - 2:28:27

Stage Best Performances
1st Stage (4.1 km) - Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 12:57
2nd Stage (6.8 km) - Naruha Sato (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 21:05 - CR
3rd Stage (3.3 km) - Ayano Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 10:10 - CR
4th Stage (4.4 km) - Ayaka Ogumi (Tamagawa Univ.) - 14:28
5th Stage (10.5 km) - Natsuki Sekiya (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 34:17
6th Stage (6.0 km) - Yomogi Akasaka (Meijo Univ.) - 19:41
7th Stage (8.3 km, 166 m climb) - Aki Manabe (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 29:41 - CR

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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