Skip to main content

Ritsumeikan Dominates With Record-Setting Fifth-Straight National University Women's Ekiden Win

by Brett Larner

Four-time defending National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University delivered one for the record books, winning a fifth-straight title Sunday in Sendai as it broke the 38.0 km course record in 2:02:52.  With all six of its runners winning their individual stages including a 29:24 record for the 9.2 km Fifth Stage from Kotona Ota, the sheer quality of Ritsumeikan's win had fans talking on social media about the need for ekiden terminology like baseball's no-hitters and perfect games.  Regardless, this was about as dominant a performance as you could hope to see in an ekiden, every team member hitting it 100% running entirely alone with an unbreakable lead.

Last year's runner up Daito Bunka University was 2nd again after a great battle throughout the race with Kanto Region rival Nittai University and Aichi's Meijo University, one of only two schools to crack Ritsumeikan in the last 12 years.  But despite good performances from most of its runners, in particular its Fifth Stage ace Sakurako Fukuuchi, Daito Bunka was simply no match for Ritsumeikan as it finished nearly a kilometer behind in 2:05:40.  Matsuyama University came up late in the race to overtake Nittai and Meijo for 3rd in 2:06:24, with less than a minute and a half separating them from 8th-place Kansai University.  Fukuoka University was the unlucky 9th-placer, shut out of the 8-deep seeded bracket for next year's Nationals in 2:08:57.

Like recent Hakone Ekiden-winning teams Aoyama Gakuin University and Toyo University, the Ritsumeikan women were so dominant that there is little doubt they would be solid contenders against the best of the corporate leagues in December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden.  Probably not much doubt about how they would do in the NCAA XC Championships next month either.  Look for Ritsumeikan to clean up at the year-ending Mt. Fuji University Women's Ekiden and beyond.

National University Women's Ekiden Championships
Sendai, Miyagi, 10/25/15
26 teams, 6 stages, 38.0 km
complete results coming shortly

Overall Results - top 8 seeded for 2016
1. Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto) - 2:02:52 - CR
2. Daito Bunka University (Saitama) - 2:05:40
3. Matsuyama University (Ehime) - 2:06:24
4. Nittai University (Kanagawa) - 2:06:28
5. Meijo University (Aichi) - 2:06:35
6. Osaka Gakuin University (Osaka) - 2:07:18
7. Tokyo Nogyo University (Tokyo) - 2:07:46
8. Kansai University (Osaka) - 2:07:53
-----
9. Fukuoka University (Fukuoka) - 2:08:57
10. Josai University (Saitama) - 2:09:20

Individual Stage Results
First Stage - 6.4 km
1. Natsuki Omori (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 20:42
2. Moeno Shimizu (Tokyo Nogyo Univ.) - 20:49
3. Ami Hirose (Kansai Univ.) - 20:51

Second Stage - 5.6 km
1. Kureha Seki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:45
2. Rina Koeda (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 18:16
3. Maho Shimizu (Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 18:17

Third Stage - 6.8 km
1. Ena Kagayama (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 21:58
2. Fuyuka Kimura (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 22:14
3. Yuri Karasawa (Nittai Univ.) - 22:26

Fourth Stage - 4.8 km
1. Ai Ikemoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:47
2. Soyoka Segawa (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 16:03
3. Karin Yasumoto (Nittai Univ.) - 16:04

Fifth Stage - 9.2 km
1. Kotona Ota (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 29:24 - CR
2. Sakurako Fukuuchi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 30:13
3. Honoka Yuzawa (Meijo Univ.) - 30:15

Sixth Stage - 5.2 km
1. Yukari Wada (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 17:16
2. Kimiko Sato (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 17:28
3. Shiho Yahagi (Daito Bunka Univ.) - 17:36

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

yuza said…
Ritsumeikan were brilliant once again, but because they were so dominant it was rather dull viewing. However, the tussle between Fukuuchi (looks to have potential) and Yuzawa up the hill was a good one.


What is Ritsumeikan's secret? Is it coaching? Or are they just better at recruiting?



Most-Read This Week

Kim Sets Korean 5000 m National Record, Tsuetaki Clears Steeple Standard, Osako Comes Up Short - Abashiri Highs and Lows

The final meet in Japan's Hokuren Distance Challenge series, Thursday's Abashiri meet was set up to give people one last chance to clear the qualifying standards for next month's London World Championships ahead of the fast-approaching deadline. Temperatures were far above normal for northern Hokkaido through much of the day, the mid-afternoon peak reported at over 36C at the time of the men's 800 m A-heat and still at 25C at the start of the five standard-chasing races in the evening.

網走女子5000A https://t.co/GquthBd13K — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 13, 2017
The best race of the day was the women's 5000 m A-heat. With two women already confirmed for London the third spot on the team was up for grabs. First in line under the JAAF's criteria for addition, top three at Nationals and under the 15:22.00 standard, was 16-year-old Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin H.S.), 3rd at Nationals in an U18 national record of 15:23.56. Next in line would be anyon…

Takamatsu Makes Return to Racing After Nike Oregon Project Disappointment

Running again in her hometown on the second day of the Osaka Track and Field Championships at Yanmar Stadium Nagai, 2014 Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (19, Osaka T&F Assoc.) took the first step toward a comeback. Closing the gap to the runner ahead of her on the second lap, Takamatsu finished with effort to spare in 2:14.51 for 2nd. "I was able to run the way I'd envisioned," she said afterward. "I had some anxiety since it was pretty much my first real race in a year but I was able to give it my best."

After graduating from Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. in the spring last year Takamatsu moved to Oregon, U.S.A. to take part in the "Nike Oregon Project" elite long distance group created by Nike. With a dream of winning gold in the 5000 m or 10000 m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and high hopes in her heart, she crossed the ocean.

But in the U.S. she was hit by the cold hand of reality. "I was DFL every ti…

Kawauchi Breaks Mekonnen's Sub-2:12 World Record

For the last few years Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede and Japan's Yuki Kawauchi have been in a race to erase serial marathoner great Abebe Mekonnen from the record books. At one point Mekennon held a controlling share of the sub-x marathon world records, the number of times an athlete ran under 2:** in their career. Kebede has been taking Mekonnen's records away from the faster end and Kawauchi from the slower, finally meeting each other at the sub-2:12 level. Kawauchi got there first, tying Mekonnen's record of 22 at May's Prague Marathon. With his 2:09:18 at Sunday's Gold Coast Airport Marathon Kawauchi took away Mekonnen's last record as he marked his 23rd career sub-2:12, the first man in history to run such depth at quality.

His Gold Coast performance extended Kawauchi's range to every record from sub-2:12 to sub-2:19. Looking ahead, he is now 8 races away from tying American Doug Kurtis' record of 76 career sub-2:20 marks. With 6 more marathons on…