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

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …

Kenyans Kabuu, Jemeli and Cheyech Lead Nagoya Women's Marathon Field

The Nagoya Women's Marathon is the largest women-only marathon in the world, one with a long history as an elite race and adapting to the times with a mass-participation field of 20,000. The last few years it has seen a series of dynamic, high-level performances by top Japanese women, from Sairi Maeda's 2:22:48 in 2015 to the 2:23:19 to 2:23:20 sprint finish battle between Tomomi Tanaka and Rei Ohara in 2016 to Yuka Ando's stellar 2:21:36 debut and teammate Mao Kiyota's 2:23:47 breakthrough last year.

Maeda, Ohara and Kiyota all return this year to face the Kenyan trio of Lucy Kabuu, Valary Jemeli and Flomena Cheyech Daniel. Kabuu went to high school in Japan before moving on to the big leagues, but she hasn't finished a marathon since her 2:20:21 in Dubai 2015. Cheyech also used to be based in Japan as is a familiar face here, winning the last two Saitama International Marathons. Jemeli is making her Japanese debut, and with a 2:21:57 win in Prague and a 2:20:53 …

Kipsang Talking Loud and Aga Mumbling Bold - Tokyo Marathon Preview

After stepping up to the big leagues last year with course records in the 2:03 and 2:19 range, the Tokyo Marathon hopes to go one better this year. Men's course record setter Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) is back, stepping up from a 2:03:50 prediction for Tokyo in January to a 2:02:50 world record prediction at Friday's pre-race press conference. In the unmentioned absence of women's course record breaker Sarah Chepchirchir the top-ranked woman is Ruti Aga (Ethiopia), coming in hot off a 1:06:39 win last month in Houston and turning heads at the press conference with a boldly mumbled 2:18:00 prediction.

Management for both Kipsang and Aga were skeptical to JRN of their athletes' predictions, people from each camp saying times two minutes slower would be more likely, one minute slower in a best-case scenario. But whatever the prediction, Kipsang was clear to fellow past champs Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) and Dickson Chumba (Kenya) about one thing: he wants a more conservative fi…