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Hyogo Scores First National Women's Ekiden Title in Fourteen Years

Hyogo Prefecture dominated the second half of Sunday’s National Women’s Ekiden, moving up through the field with three straight stage wins to take its first national title in 14 years.

In a repeat of her performance at last month’s National High School Ekiden, Hyogo’s Nozomi Tanaka went out front early before getting run down late in the opening stage, leading Hyogo off in 5th. Over the first half of the race the perpetually strong Osaka and Nagano emerged as the frontrunners before a brilliant Fourth Stage course record by Ririka Hironaka brought Nagasaki into the picture.

Nagasaki’s fifth runner Chikako Mori extended the lead Hironaka built to 37 seconds with a stage win, but behind her Hyogo’s Mai Ota brought a big run to pass Osaka and Nagano and move into 2nd. A stage win from sixth runner Yume Goto put Hyogo just 2 seconds behind Nagasaki, and with another pair of stage wins from its next two runners Chinatsu Tarumoto and Asuka Ishimatsu Nagasaki was over a minute up going into the 10 km final stage.

Barring disaster there was little chance that Hyogo anchor Yui Fukuda would be caught, and with a solid 31:51 she brought the team to a surprise national title. Further back Mao Ichiyama and Rei Ohara, two of the stars of last month’s Sanyo Ladies Half Marathon, shook up the top five with the two fastest times on the anchor leg, Ichiyama outkicking Nagasaki’s Keiko Nogami in the home straight to move hosts Kyoto into 2nd and Ohara delivering a stage-winning 31:38 to overtake Osaka for 4th. Early contender Nagano fell to 9th by race’s end, just 3 seconds outside the eight-deep podium.

36th National Women’s Ekiden

Kyoto, 1/14/18
47 teams, 9 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.0 km) – Rina Nabeshima (Kochi) – 19:29
Second Stage (4.0 km) – Yuna Wada (Nagano) – 12:25
Third Stage (3.0 km) – Seira Fuwa (Gunma) – 9:14
Fourth Stage (4.0 km) – Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki) – 12:32 – CR
Fifth Stage (4.1075 km) – Chikako Mori (Nagasaki) / Reimi Yoshimura (Kanagawa) – 13:04
Sixth Stage (4.0875 km) – Yume Goto (Hyogo) – 12:56
Seventh Stage (4.0 km) – Chinatsu Tarumoto (Hyogo) – 12:27
Eighth Stage (3.0 km) – Asuka Ishimatsu (Hyogo) – 9:42
Ninth Stage (10.0 km) – Rei Ohara (Okayama) – 31:38

Top Team Results
1. Hyogo – 2:15:28
2. Kyoto – 2:16:41
3. Nagasaki – 2:16:42
4. Okayama – 2:17:00
5. Osaka – 2:17:15
6. Kanagawa – 2:17:23
7. Fukuoka – 2:17:40
8. Aichi – 2:17:44
9. Nagano – 2:17:47
10. Shizuoka – 2:17:59

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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