Skip to main content

Tenmaya and Kamimura Gakuen Win KItakyushu Women's Ekiden



The 30th Kitakyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden took place Jan. 20 with a 32.7 km course divided into 5 stages for the open division and 6 for the high school division and a start and finish in front of Kitakyushu City Hall. Tenmaya took the top spot in the open division for the first time in 6 years in 1:46:32, while 2018 National High School Ekiden champion Kamimura Gakuen H.S. won the high school division in 1:47:41, its first win in 16 years.

Since the start of the year Tenmaya's star runner Rei Ohara has been suffering back pain and came to Kitakyushu undertrained as a result. That didn't stop her from running the fastest time on the anchor stage, covering the 11.4 km leg in 36:33. "Once I got started it was a lot easier to move than I'd expected," she said post-race. "Our first four runners ran really well, and thanks to them I was able to be the one to break the tape at the finish line."

A relieved Tenmaya head coach Yutaka Taketomi commented, "She held her pace all the way to the end." But with Ohara scheduled to run the Jan. 27 Osaka International Women's Marathon he expressed concern, saying, "I'm still thinking about how to deal with the two weeks of training she missed."

In the high school division the big story was Kamimura Gakuen first-year Cynthia Baire. In the blink of an eye, just before 1 km into the Second Stage the Kenyan exchange student's long legs and dynamic stride carried her past Suma Gakuen H.S. into the top position. "It was hard at the end, but I was confident," she said afterward. Baire covered the 5.9 km stage in a course record 18:07, almost a minute faster than the fastest woman in the open division and opening a huge lead.

Kamimura Gakuen first-year Hana Torii was also making her ekiden debut, picking up from Baire on the Third Stage. "I wasn't going to give up 1st place," she said. Torii handed off safely to team captain Ayumi Hirata, whose stage-winning run extended Kamimura Gakuen's lead to almost three minutes and set up the team's last two runners for the win.

The national title that Kamimura Gakuen won in December was the first in school history and one it had long hoped for.  But the team's members weren't content with just that. Baire trained with the junior high school and high school boys from Kagoshima's National Men's Ekiden team, while the Japanese athletes focused on training hard with the members who weren't picked for the Nationals roster in December. "I definitely wanted to be part of the team this time to make up for the disappointment of not getting to run at the National race," Torii said.

After a time trial on Jan. 16 four runners who weren't part of December's lineup including Torii were picked for the Kitakyushu team, giving a boost to the Kamimura Gakuen program as a whole. Ending the season undefeated, the younger teammates gained both confidence and experience. "We saw some good material here," said head coach Tetsuzo Arikawa. "We can make a new start." The nation's top ekiden programs will be taking notice.

30th Kitakyushu Womens Invitational Ekiden

Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, 1/20/19
20 teams, 6 stages, 32.7 km
complete results

Top Team Results - Open Division
1. Tenmaya - 1:46:32
2. Universal Entertainment - 1:48:11
3. Panasonic - 1:48:43
4. Osaka Gakuin University - 1:51:57
5. Kagoshima Ginko - 1:53:17

Top Team Results - High School Division
1. Kamimura Gakuen H.S. - 1:47:41
2. Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. - 1:50:05
3. Sera H.S. - 1:51:07
4. Kitakyushu Municipal H.S. - 1:51:54
5. Ritsumeikan Uji H.S. - 1:52:01

Top Individual Stage Results
First Stage (4.3 km) - Hikari Onishi (Suma Gakuen H.S.) - 13:48
Second Stage (5.9 km) - Cynthia Baire (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) - 18:07 - CR
Third Stage (5.1 km) - Akari Muramatsu (Ritsumeikan Uji H.S.) - 17:01
Fourth Stage (6.0 km) - Mai Shinozuka (Universal Entertainment) - 19:14
Fifth Stage (H.S. - 4. 8 km) -  Chihiro Sato (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 16:30
Sixth Stage (H.S. - 6.6 km) - Haruka Takada (Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S.) - 21:47
Sixth Stage (open - 11.4 km) - Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 36:33

source articles:
https://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20190120/ath19012016080004-n1.html
https://mainichi.jp/articles/20190120/k00/00m/050/180000c
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Additional Cost of Moving Olympic Marathons and Race Walks to Sapporo Expected to Total Almost $100 Million

Multiple officials confirmed on Dec. 6 that the total additional cost of the IOC's decision to move the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks to Sapporo will be under 10 billion yen [~$92 million USD], likely totaling in the 7 to 8 billion yen range [~$65 million to $75 million USD]. The exact amount is still undetermined due to the IOC's rejection of the Organizing Committee's proposed two-lap course earlier this week, but the Organizing Committee intends to go ahead with this budget estimate.

Initially the IOC had decreed that the events should start and finish at Sapporo Dome. But with no access gate capable of handling a marathon, the construction costs necessary to make Sapporo Dome a suitable venue were said to be in the area of several billion yen [tens of millions of USD]. When the IOC made its proclamation that the road events would be relocated to Sapporo, the Citizens First Association group within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimated that the cost…

Jepchirchir Wins Saitama, Yugeta Breaks Own 60+ WR, Yamaguchi Breaks Own Nara CR - Weekend Marathon Highlights

Two of Japan's main year-ending marathons celebrated anniversary runnings this year, with the Saitama International Marathon holding its 5th edition and the Nara Marathon marking ten years.

Former half marathon world record holder Peres Jepchirchir (Kenya) dropped the competition at 30 km to win in Saitama. Within the first kilometer an all-African lead group had left top Japanese entrants Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and Kasumi Yoshida (Nitori), and Nina Savina (Belarus) behind. The lead group quickly rounded down to four, Jepchirchir and Ethiopian trio Fatuma Sado, Belaynesh Oljira and Rahma Tusa. #1-ranked Oljira slipped off early in the second half, and when the pacers stopped at 30 km Jepchirchir had no trouble getting rid of Tusa and Sado.

Jepchirchir took 1st in a PB of 2:23:50, with Sado a distant 2nd in 2:26:45. After 35 km Tusa ran into trouble, stopping and stretching out her legs and losing ground first to Oljira, 3rd in 2:27:11, and then Savina, who ran a PB 2:28:44 for …

61-Year-Old Mariko Yugeta Becomes First 60+ Woman to Go Sub-Three

61-year-old Mariko Yugeta of Saitama has become the first 60+ woman in history to run faster than three hours in the marathon. At the Nov. 3 Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon Yugeta ran 2:59:15 for 3rd place, smashing the 60+ world record of 3:02:50 by a wide margin. It was her 99th marathon and just shy of her PB of 2:58:05. When reporters visited her for an interview she was in the middle of a track session with a high school track team, doing a menu of 3000/2000/1000 m intervals in 11:23, 7:22 and 3:33. Yugeta said her daily routine includes 3 minutes standing on an inclined board every morning while brushing her teeth, and that she believes she can run 2:57.

source article:
https://runnet.jp/smp/topics/runnerstv/191118.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner