On Mar. 26 it was learned that Kanto Gakuin University, which last qualified for the Hakone Ekiden in 2004, has hired female IAAF-certified coach Akari Kishikawa, 33, to join its coaching staff beginning Apr. 1. The Daiichi Seimei women's corporate team is led by head coach Sachiko Yamashita, 54, and the Ritsumeikan University and Josai University women's ekiden teams by assistant coaches Miyuki Tokura, 45, and Yukiko Akaba, 39, but it is virtually unheard of for a woman to be appointed to a university men's ekiden program staff.
Kishikawa, who is qualified as a senior psychology counselor among other things, has a proven track record with two national titles to her name in the 800 m in 2010 and 2011. She will support Kanto Gakuin head coach Yoshitaka Nakagawa, 43, and is expected to play a key role in shaping a stronger team.
At last October's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifying race Kanto Gakuin University finished only 23rd. Missing a qualifying spot by a wide margin, it finished 21 minutes behind the final qualifier, 11th-place Jobu University. It's no easy task to bridge that gap and make it back to Hakone after a 15-year absence, but the appointment of Kishikawa as assistant coach will mark Kanto Gakuin as a program to watch in coming seasons.
Akari Kishikawa - born Sept. 13, 1985 in Yokohama. 33 years old. Graduated from Shinei H.S. and joined Nittai University in 2004. Starting that year she qualified for the National Championships 800 m for 10 years in a row. After graduating from Nittai in 2008 she ran for the Noritz and Hasegawa Taiikushisetsu teams, winning the 800 m national title in 2010 and 2011 and representing Japan at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games where she was 4th in the 800 m. Her PB of 2:03.34 ranks her at all-time Japanese #9. Retiring in 2016, Kishikawa earned certification as an IAAF CECS Level 1 coach and as a senior psychology counselor.
translated by Brett Larner