Skip to main content

Ekiden Weekend Roundup


This weekend saw four major ekidens across the country, with Kansai region university men wrapping their seasons in Kyoto and New Year Ekiden qualification coming to a close for corporate men.

At Saturday's Tango University Ekiden, the Kansai region university championships, two-time defending champ Ritsumeikan University got off to a slow start, only 3rd on the lead stage but getting back on track thanks to a 24:29 CR on the 7.7 km Second Stage by Kohei Okada to take the top spot. Ritsumeikan never looked back from there, taking four of the remaining five stages to make it three in a row in 3:34:32. Kwansei Gakuin University, Biwako University, Kyoto University and Kyoto Sangyo University battled it out for 2nd, Kwansei Gakuin ultimately coming out on top in 3:38:14 and Biwako Gakuin, which made its National University Ekiden debut earlier this month, 3rd in 3:40:25.


Sunday saw the last four corporate regions run their New Year Ekiden national championship qualifiers, three on the roads and one on the track. The Chubu Region Corporate Ekiden played out almost exactly the same way as Tango, with defending champ Toyota starting off in 3rd before taking the top spot thanks to a Second Stage CR of 22:36 for 8.3 km by Bedan Karoki, leading the rest of the way with wins on four out of the five remaining stages, and taking 1st in a CR 3:51:19. Again as at Tango, Toyota Boshoku, Aisan Kogyo and Toenec fought a distant duel for 2nd, Toyota Boshoku taking it in 3:54:42 with Aisan Kogyo 9 seconds back. 

Toyota's Karoki, a new recruit to the team season after leaving the disbanding DeNA, took 25 seconds off his stage record and looked like he could be the deciding factor in Toyota knocking Asahi Kasei off the top spot at the New Year Ekiden. Also of note was that Toyota's marathoners Yuma Hattori and Taku Fujimoto both sat Chubu out as they get ready for Fukuoka next month.


The Kansai Region Corporate Ekiden saw winner NTT Nishi Nihon lead start to finish, but unlike Tango and Chubu it was a much closer race, only 54 seconds separating NTT from runner-up Sumitomo Denko at race's end, 3:57:01 to 3:57:55. 3rd place SGH Group was another 28 seconds behind. Likewise at the Chugoku Region Corporate Ekiden, Mazda led the entire way but ended up with only a 25-second margin of victory over Chugoku Denryoku and JFE Steel another 6 seconds back in 3rd. Further back, Nihon Seitetsu Setouchi qualified for the New Year Ekiden for the first time in over 20 years.

With only three teams competing, in place of a road ekiden the Hokuriku region opted to do its New Year Ekiden qualifier as a single track 10000 m race this year, with each team scored by the combined times of its seven men. YKK took the qualifying spot, team members Daisuke Hosomori and Vincent Kipkemoi leading the way in 28:44.68 and 28:47.57.

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

JAAF and NHK Apologize for Camera Crew Interfering With Men's 10000 m National Championships

The JAAF has issued a joint apology with meet broadcaster NHK to the athletes and teams affected by an incident during the May 7 10000 m National Championships at Tokyo's National Stadium. An NHK TV camera entered the track area and stretched out a cable in front of an oncoming athlete, who collided with it. According to the JAAF and NHK, during the men's 10000 m A-heat, a two-person NHK camera crew in the infield area stepped out onto the track surface to get a closer shot of the top finishers. A cable extending back from the camera operator to his assistant caught athlete Shinji Mita of the Sunbelx corporate team in the neck, interfering with his performance. Immediately afterward, as the camera crew moved to get off the track they entered the path of another four oncoming athletes, who had to slow down as they tried to avoid colliding with the camera crew. All five athletes finished the race and were listed in the official results. Mita was taken to a hospital for examin

The Undeath of Historic Japanese Marathons: Lake Biwa Comeback Planned for 2023

After seeing its final edition in Shiga last year and then being absorbed into the Osaka Marathon  in March this year, the legacy of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will continue with a successor race to be held on Mar. 12 next year. Since the previous event wrapped up, the Shiga prefectural government has been examining holding a mass-participation race celebrating the tradition of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon and has been looking at potential course and date options. In January they sought suggestions for a name for the event and selected "Lake Biwa Marathon" from among the submissions. The organizing committee came together in April to determine the new event's date and course. The race will begin at Ojiyama Field, historical starting point of the former race, and will cross Omi Bridge before heading north along Lake Biwa's eastern shore. Covering 42.195 km, it will feature a turnaround point in Moriyama before finishing at Lake Biwa Museum located on the Kara

Hironaka and Aizawa Win 10000 m National Titles

A crowd reported at over 6000 filled the lower stands at Tokyo's National Stadium Saturday to see the 10000 m component of this year's National Track and Field Championships . In the women's race, Ririka Hironaka (Japan Post) and Rino Goshima (Shiseido) sealed up their places on the Oregon World Championships team by going 1st and 3rd, with NR holder Akira Aizawa (Asahi Kasei) making a comeback for the win in the men's race but falling short of the Worlds standard. The dynamic in the women's race was changed dramatically a few hours before the race when top-ranked Seira Fuwa (Takushoku Univ.) announced she had withdrawn after not making enough progress in her comeback from an injury in January. In her absence Goshima took things out on pace to crack the standard, which only she, Hironaka and top collegian Narumi Kobayashi (Meijo Univ.) held going into the race. Following Goshima's lead were Hironaka, Kaede Hagitani (Edion), Mikuni Yada (Denso), Sayaka Sa