Skip to main content

Universal Entertainment Scores First National Corporate Women's Ekiden Title Since 2012

2012 national champions Universal Entertainment returned to the top Sunday in Sendai, running down breakaway leader Panasonic late in the race to win the 2017 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.

Panasonic was an unexpected highlight, winning the first three stages and building a 42-second lead by the start of the 3.6 km Fourth Stage, the race's shortest leg. There Panasonic's Chiaki Tobe struggled, losing ground to Universal Entertainment, defending national champ Japan Post, and Shiseido, who drew within 10 seconds.

On the 10.0 km Fifth Stage Universal's Moeno Nakamura, a member of its 2012 national champion squad, took her time closing on Panasonic's Shiori Morita, not fully closing the gap until exactly halfway through the stage and then pushing ahead to open a 12-second lead of her own. Behind her, marathon university national record holder Sairi Maeda of the Daihatsu team delivered what was no doubt the run of the day, making a superb comeback from injuries that kept her out of action for almost two years to win the stage and move Daihatsu up from 6th to 4th.



With a 12-second lead and 6.795 km to cover Universal anchor Yuka Sarumida, just 18 and making her corporate league ekiden debut, didn't have a safe enough margin to be guaranteed the overall win. Needing a solid run she delivered with a stage win, bringing her team home in 1st in 2:16:45. Panasonic anchor Sakiko Naito was only 10 seconds off Sarumida's stage-winning time, tying Panasonic's best-ever finish at 2nd in 2:17:07. Had its best runner, 2015 Rotterdam Marathon winner Asami Kato, been in action they might have pulled off an upset win.


Only 16th last year without Maeda, Daihatsu prevailed in a three-way battle with Japan Post and Daiichi Seimei for 3rd in 2:17:52, all three teams finishing within 5 seconds of each other. Tenmaya, Yamada Denki and Shiseido rounded out the eight-deep podium, with past national champion Toyota Jidoshokki an unlucky 9th, just 16 seconds behind Shiseido and earning a trip back to October's qualifying race for its troubles.

Now in its second year with a November date rather than its traditional mid-December timing, corporate women's ekiden season doesn't quite draw to a close yet. In mid-January some teams will regroup at the Kitakyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden to square off against top high school and university teams, while many of the best women will represent their home prefectures in the real season-ender, Kyoto's National Women's Ekiden.

2017 Queen's Ekiden

37th National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, Miyagi, 11/26/17
22 teams, 6 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results - top eight qualify for 2018
1. Universal Entertainment - 2:16:45
2. Panasonic - 2:17:07
3. Daihatsu - 2:17:52
4. Japan Post - 2:17:54
5. Daiichi Seimei - 2:17:57
6. Tenmaya - 2:18:54
7. Yamada Denki - 2:19:13
8. Shiseido - 2:19:44
-----
9. Toyota Jidoshokki - 2:20:00
10. Kyudenko - 2:20:32

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage - 7.0 km: Kaori Morita (Panasonic) - 22:03
Second Stage - 3.9 km: Nanami Watanabe (Panasonic) - 12:14
Third Stage - 10.9 km: Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 35:22
Fourth Stage - 3.6 km: Shuru Bulo (Toto) - 11:31
Fifth Stage - 10.0 km: Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu) - 32:50
Sixth Stage - 6.795 km: Yuka Sarumida (Universal Entertainment) - 21:17

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
It was a fun race to watch, with the top 8 frequently changing positions. So great to live in Japan where ekidens like this are broadcast live in their entirety (although there were a lot of commercials).
By the way, for overseas fans of Kayoko Fukushi, she ran the long 10.9km 3rd leg, but didn't do so well, passing no other teams and being passed by one. She got married last March....

Most-Read This Week

National Corporate Track and Field Championships Entry Lists and Streaming

Japan's never-ending outdoor track season rolls on this weekend with its last major meet, the 69th edition of the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Nagai Stadium. Running Friday through Sunday, the entry lists are heavy on members of the Tokyo Olympic team including men's 20 km race walk silver medalist Koki Ikeda  and bronze medalist Toshikazu Yamanishi , and three of the four members of Japan's 4x100 m relay team, national record holder Ryota Yamagata , Shuhei Tada , and Yuki Koike . The meet will be streamed live on the organizers' Youtube channel , with streaming scheduled for 17:00~19:00 local time Friday, 13:20~19:00 Saturday, and 13:10~18:00 Sunday. © 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Berlin Marathon Japanese Results

This year's Berlin Marathon field included three good Japanese men. Hidekazu Hijikata  (Honda), 2nd at February's Lake Biwa Marathon in 2:06:26, went out in the 2nd pack that included eventual runner-up Bethwel Yegon  (Yegon). Hitting halfway on national record pace just 15 seconds off his half marathon PB in 1:02:17, by 25 km Hijikata was in free-fall. his 5 km splits going from the 14-min range to 15, to 16, and finally to 17:11. He ultimately finished 9th in 2:11:47. Kazuki Muramoto  (Sumitomo Denko) and Taku Fujimoto  (Toyota) were initially in the same group with Yegon and Hijikata but only lasted 10 km before backing off together. Muramoto, 11th in Lake Biwa in 2:07:36, dropped further back, but after getting caught by top German Philipp Pflieger  he tacked on and regained ground. With 3 km to go he passed Fujimoto, the 2019 Fukuoka International Marathon winner, finishing 14th in 2:14:11. Fujimoto was 15th in 2:14:18, 43 seconds up on Pflieger. © 2021 Brett Larner, al

Weekend(s) Track Roundup

Track time trial meets are a fact of life in the Japanese system, running all the way through the fall up to championship ekiden season in December. And with the conservative response to the pandemic in Japan in terms of road race cancelation, that's gone even longer, pretty much through the end of the academic and fiscal year in March. But this weekend did have the last major full track meet of the season, the National Corporate Track and Field Championships at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. But before we get to that, last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials meet in Yokohama produced one major result that has to be mentioned. With Saturday's usual program of everything except men's 5000 m moving to the public holiday on Monday, Joseph Lemeteki Razini  (Takushoku Univ.) took two seconds off the Japanese 10000 m collegiate record, winning in 27:25.65 over Jonathan Ndiku  (Hitachi Butsuryu) and Ledama Kisaisa  (Kanebo). The previous record of 27:27.64 was set by