Skip to main content

Toyota Jidoshokki Wins National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier

Dodging a bullet as an approaching typhoon that spelled potential cancellation shifted to the east, the Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for second-tier teams for next month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, went off Sunday afternoon in Fukuoka. The top 14 of the 29 teams in the field would qualify to join the seeded first-tier teams at Nationals in the third year of the event's current format shift from a series of regional qualifiers.

12th in 2015 and 4th last year, Panasonic took over the lead on the 3.6 km Second Stage and tried to run away with it, but behind them Toyota Jidoshokki grew closer and closer after a weak opening stage. With just one second separating them at the final exchange it was going to be close, but although Panasonic anchor Sakiko Naito was strong, covering the 6.695 km Sixth Stage in 21:43, Toyota Jidoshokki's Misaki Hayashida went one better, dropping a course record 21:35 to run Naito down and put Toyota Jidoshokki across the line 7 seconds ahead in 2:20:28.

Behind the leading pair most of the expected teams duly took their places on the Nationals entry list, one surprise coming from the relatively young Juhachi Ginko team, placing 8th in its best-ever performance thanks in part to marathoner Keiko Nogami running the second-fastest time in the field on the race's longest stage, the 10.7 km Third Stage.

The biggest drama on the anchor stage came back at the cutoff line for the final qualifying position. The once-powerful Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo team spent most of the day hovering around 14th. Starting the anchor stage 1:08 behind them in 19th, the Atsushi Sato-coached Kyocera team's Anna Matsuda was dead set on making it. Tying Hayashida's new course record, Matsuda ran 21:38 to overtake five teams and outkick Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo's Aika Mizoe in the home straight to take 14th by 2 seconds. It was a classic ekiden performance, but there was more.


Unknown to both Hayashida and Mizoe, 10th place Edion anchor Yuka Wakabayashi was in serious trouble. In the last 100 m she began to stagger, and without warning she collapsed face down on the side of the road less than 30 m from the finish line. Matsuda and Mizoe sped by thinking they were in a race to make it to finals, but Wakabayashi's DNF knocked the Edion team out of the race and bumped Kyocera and Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo up to 13th and 14th, a tough break for Edion but a major stroke of luck for Mitsui. Wakabayashi was rushed to a hospital where she later regained consciousness, a team spokesperson telling reporters that dehydration was the likely cause.

3rd Princess Ekiden

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Qualifier
Fukuoka, 10/22/17
29 teams, 6 stages, 42.195 km
click here for complete results

Top Individual Stage Performances
First Stage (7.0 km) - Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 23:24
Second Stage (3.6 km) - Nanami Watanabe (Panasonic) - 11:20 - CR
Third Stage (10.7 km) - Yuka Hori (Panasonic) - 33:58 - CR
Fourth Stage (3.8 km) - Rosemary Wanjiru (Starts) - 11:51
Fifth Stage (10.4 km) - Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu) - 37:27
Sixth Stage (6.695 km) - Anna Matsuda (Kyocera) / Misaki Hayashida (Toyota Jidoshokki) - 21:35 - CR

Top Team Performances - top 14 qualify for National Championships
1. Toyota Jidoshokki - 2:20:38
2. Panasonic - 2:20:35
3. Daihatsu - 2:22:10
4. Sekisui Kagaku - 2:22:37
5. Denso - 2:23:44
6. Sysmex - 2:23:57
7. Hokuren - 2:23:59
8. Higo Ginko - 2:24:15
9. Shimamura - 2:24:16
10. Toto - 2:24:22
11. Starts - 2:24:24
12. Noritz - 2:24:35
13. Kyocera - 2:24:53
14. Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo - 2:24:35
-----
15. Otsuka Seiyaku - 2:25:30
16. Canon AC Kyushu - 2:25:40
17. Hitachi - 2:25:52
-----
DNF - Edion

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

yuza said…
Sairi Maeda seems to be back after two long years injured. I hope she can stay fit and run a fast marathon early next year.
Brett Larner said…
Yes indeed, nice to see her have a good one.

Most-Read This Week

Kariuki Cracks Course Record at 30th Anniversary Ageo City Half Marathon

2017 Kanto Regionals 10000 m and half marathon D2 champion Simon Kariuki (Nihon Yakka Univ.)  overcame windy conditions at the 30th edition of the Ageo City Half Marathon to shave one second off the course record, winning in a PB 1:01:25.

Kariuki and 2017 Kanto Regionals D1 5000 m and 10000 m champ Patrick Mathenge Wambui (Nihon Univ.) took it out in the first km, setting up a fascinating duel between Kanto's top two collegiate men on the track.


Led by Hayato Seki, star runner of this year's Izumo Ekiden champ Tokai University in his half marathon debut, the main body of the Japanese pack gradually relinquished the lead to the Kenyan pair, down 50 seconds by 10 km and continuing to drift back from then. Ageo has typically seen its lead Japanese collegiate men running between high-61 and mid-62, but nobody in the field seemed willing to go ahead of Seki and the runner on his shoulder, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa Univ.).


Near …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…

Kosimbei, Kwemoi and Shitara Lead Hachioji 10000 m Field

Nestled deep in the misty foothills of the western Tokyo mountains, Hosei University's late November Hachioji Long Distance meet has quietly turned into one of the world's premier track 10000 m, its A-heat never quite dipping under 27 minutes yet but still producing record-setting depth and the two fastest Japanese men's 10000 m in history.
This year's entry list is another monster, with 27:02.59 man Nicholas Kosimbei (Toyota) leading 17 men with recent times under 28 minutes, twelve of them Kenyan, three Japanese and two Ethiopian. Fresh off a 27:22.73 win at last weekend's Nittai University Time Trials, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) is slated to pace what is scheduled to be a sub-28 race, but with Kosimbei, sub-27:30 men John Maina (Fujitsu) and Rodgers Chumo Kwemoi (Aisan Kogyo) and five others under 27:45 including last year's winnerRonald Kwemoi (Komori Corp.) on the list the front end should go faster. 
Rig…