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Ritsumeikan Closes Year With Win at New Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden

by Brett Larner

Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University closed out Japan's last elite race of 2013 with a national title at the new Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden, a relaunch of the short-lived National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships previously held in Tsukuba, Ibaraki.  First-year Nanako Kanno got Ritsumeikan off to a good start on the 6.6 km First Stage and from there Ritsumeikan led the entire race, five of its seven women winning their stages.  Senior Akane Yabushita brought the team home on the challenging Seventh Stage, 7.7 km with 166 m elevation gain, the team covering the 43.4 km course in 2:21:48.

Ritsumeikan's nearest competitor, Kagoshima's Kanoya Taiiku University, was over two minutes behind, 2nd in 2:23:58.  Top-ranked Kanto Region school Daito Bunka University took 3rd in 2:24:44.  On the individual level only Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakugei Univ.) and Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) were able to make dent in Ritsumeikan's armor, winning the Second and Fourth Stages.  With only two graduating seniors Ritsumeikan, the most successful university women's team in Japanese history, looks set for the start of another dynasty after a few rocky years.

2013 Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden
National University Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships
Fujinomiya, Shizuoka, 12/23/13
20 teams, 7 stages, 43.4 km
click here for complete results

Top Team Results
1. Ritsumeikan University - 2:21:48
2. Kanoya Taiiku University - 2:23:58
3. Daito Bunka University - 2:24:44
4. Meijo University - 2:25:07
5. Osaka Gakugei University - 2:25:56
6. Matsuyama University - 2:26:57
7. Bukkyo University - 2:27:01
8. Josai University - 2:27:10
9. Tamagawa University - 2:28:15
10. West Japan University Select Team - 2:28:22

Stage Best Performances
First Stage (6.6 km) - Nanako Kanno (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:02
Second Stage (3.5 km) - Minami Nakaarai (Osaka Gakugei Univ.) - 10:43
Third Stage (4.4 km) - Shoko Sonoda (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 13:54
Fourth Stage (9.4 km) - Sairi Maeda (Bukkyo Univ.) - 30:57
Fifth Stage (5.0 km) - Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:29
Sixth Stage (6.8 km) - Ayako Mitsui (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 22:30
Seventh Stage (7.7 km) - Akane Yabushita (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 27:15

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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