The 40th National Women's Ekiden took place Jan. 16, starting and finishing at Kyoto's Takebishi Stadium and covering 42.195 km in 9 stages. The race having been canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 winner Kyoto took the top spot again in 2:15:05 to strengthen its position as the winningest team in event history with 18 national titles. Fukuoka scored 2nd, with Miyagi taking 3rd.
Following up on her superb 31:28 CR on the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's 10.0 km Fifth Stage in November, Shiseido corporate runner Rino Goshima put the Ishikawa prefecture team out front on the 6.0 km opening leg, beating members of the Tokyo Olympic team and finishing in 18:41, just 2 seconds behind the CR held by 5000 m NR holder Ririka Hironaka. Kyoto's Sakiho Tsutsui was only 9th, but over the next three stages the team worked its way toward the front of the field along with Fukuoka and Miyagi.
On the race's Eighth Stage, 3.0 km reserved for junior high school students, Kyoto's Yumi Yamada overtook Miyagi's Yuna Ito to put the hosts into the lead for the first time. Tokyo Olympics 10000 m team member Yuka Ando held that position on the 10.0 km anchor stage to break the tape in 1st.
On the 4.0 km Fourth Stage 18-year-old sensation Seira Fuwa from the Gunma team struck again, passing 13 people to go from 22nd to 9th and taking 3 seconds off Hironaka's CR with a new record of 12:29. Fukuoka's Michi Kawanishi also broke the course record on the Eighth Stage in 9:30.
Four-time Olympian Kayoko Fukushi, who will retire at the end of the month following the Osaka Half Marathon, ran her final ekiden as part of her hometown Aomori prefecture team. Her tenth time running the National Women's Ekiden, Fukushi ran the anchor stage in 34:03.
40th National Women's Ekiden
Kyoto, 16 Jan., 2022
47 teams, 9 stages, 42.195 km
Top Individual Stage Results
First Stage (6.0 km) - Rino Goshima (Ishikawa) - 18:41
Second Stage (4.0 km) - Azumi Nagira (Fukuoka) - 12:28
Third Stage (3.0 km) - Saki Okamoto (Fukuoka) - 9:25
Fourth Stage (4.0 km) - Seira Fuwa (Gunma) - 12:29 - CR
Fifth Stage (4.1075 km) - Aisha Dosei (Hyogo) - 12:57
Sixth Stage (4.0875 km) - Asuka Ishimatsu (Hyogo) - 12:52
Seventh Stage (4.0 km) - Aiko Hosoya (Kyoto) - 12:38
Eighth Stage (3.0 km) - Michi Kawanishi (Fukuoka) - 9:30 - CR
Ninth Stage (10.0 km) - Ririka Hironaka (Nagasaki) - 31:27
Top Team Results
1. Kyoto - 2:15:05
2. Fukuoka - 2:15:25
3. Miyagi - 2:15:42
4. Hyogo - 2:16:13
5. Nagasaki - 2:17:08
6. Osaka - 2:17:10
7. Aichi - 2:17:32
8. Fukushima - 2:17:58
9. Kanagawa - 2:18:05
10. Nagano - 2:18:21
translated by Brett Larner