Skip to main content

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


Most-Read This Week

Comparing D1 Pre-Nationals and the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier

With both American and Japanese university students well into their fall seasons, two major events took place Saturday. Near Madison, Wisconsin, the D1 Pre-Nationals cross-country meet and in Tachikawa, Tokyo the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier half marathon. At Pre-Nats men ran 8 km on a looping XC course with a maximum elevation difference of around 30 m. The field was split into two main races, Cardinal and White, with a total of 69 teams, and an additional Grey race handling some overflow. Teams ran up to seven members, with the top five scoring on cumulative placing. A total of 474 athletes finished the two main races, with five DNF.

At the Hakone Ekiden Qualifier, known as the Yosenkai, the distance was lengthened from 20 km to the half marathon distance this year, on a paved net-uphill course with a maximum elevation difference of about 20 m, most of that in the hilly final 8 km through Showa Kinen Park. 39 second-tier teams fielded up to twelve runners, with the top ten scoring on cu…

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

28:45 High Schoolers and More - Weekend Track Roundup

The IAAF has unilaterally declared track season over. But in Japan fall track is an integral part of ekiden season training, and it's not unusual to see many athletes drop their best 3000 m, 5000 m and 10000 m times of the year between October and December. Case in point, this weekend.

The biggest news came at Saturday's Nighter Time Trials in Nagasaki, where Keiho H.S. 11th-grader Hiroto Hayashida ran 28:45.75 for 6th in the 10000 m, all-time #8 among Japanese high school boys and #2 among 11th-graders. "Thank you to everyone who supported me!" Hayashida said on Twitter post-race. "I want to take this and apply to it ekiden season now." Geoffrey Gichia (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) won in 28:36.36, with Jakarta Asian Games marathon gold medalist Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) 2nd in 28:37.27.



県高校記録更新おめでとうございます🎉 — manamin (@kinokonoko0916) October 13, 2018
At Niigata's Autumn Time Trials a unique women's 50…