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Katsura Girls and Hakusan Boys Break Records at National Junior High School Ekiden

The 25th National Junior High School Ekiden Championships took place Dec. 17 in Shiga's Kibogaoka Bunka Park. In the five-stage, 12 km girls' race, Kyoto's Katsura J.H.S. became the first school in history to win four national titles. Katsura fell behind on the First Stage, but moving up to the top position on the Second Stage it held the lead for the rest of the way to win in 41:21.

Chiba's Hakusan J.H.S. won the six-stage, 18.0 km boys' race, breaking the course record with a time of 57:03. Hakusan's lead runner Ken Nojima won the First Stage, giving the team a lead it never relinquished. Despite injury concerns about his left leg, Nojima ran decisively on the ekiden's most competitive stage. "I knew it was important to hand over the tasuki in 1st," Nojima said. "Everything went according to plan." Anchor Kaiki Oyazato was enthusiastic as he said, "Being the one to break the tape as we met our goal of winning was the best!"

The Hakusan boys train twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon for an average daily mileage of 20 km. Head coach Tomokazu Sato commented, "Everyone on the team was focused on becoming #1 in Japan. In terms of both quantity and quality, they run at a high level."

source articles:
http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/171217/spo1712170016-n1.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20171217/ath17121716460003-n1.html
translated and edited by Brett Larner

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