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Daiichi Kogyo University Takes Western Japan Ekiden Championship

by Brett Larner

Buoyed by its finishes as the top-placing western Japan university at October's Izumo Ekiden and the National University Ekiden Championships earlier this month, #3-ranked Daiichi Kogyo University upset defending champion Ritsumeikan University at the Nov. 15 Biwako University Ekiden (alternate site here), western Japan's equivalent to eastern Japan's Hakone Ekiden. 22 teams competed in the 8-stage, 84.3 km championship. Ritsumeikan, which has not finished out of the top 2 since 2001, when it was 3rd, could never close the gap on Daiichi Kogyo's runners after trailing its rival by 6 seconds on the 11.1 km 1st stage.

Nara Sangyo University Tanzanian Jackson Kwarai scored the stage best of 33:07 on the opening leg, with Daiichi Kogyo's Shoto Atsuchi 3 seconds behind and Ritsumeikan's Takuya Kawakami another 6 seconds back. Despite running only 1 of its 2 Kenyans and missing ace Ryohei Nakano, Daiichi Kogyo took stage best titles on 4 of the remaining 7 stages including Ryo Taniguchi's new stage record of 32:40 on the 11.0 km 3rd stage, keeping them comfortably ahead of Ritsumeikan which picked up only 2 stage bests. Ritsumeikan's anchor Shogo Furubayashi took one of the 2 titles, outrunning Daiichi Kogyo anchor Akifumi Mantani by 26 seconds over 7.7 km but unable to singlehandedly bridge the 1:33 gap to the leader. Daiichi Kogyo won in a time of 4:12:47, with Ritsumeikan 2nd in 4:13:43. Last year's runner-up Kyoto Sangyo University was a distant 3rd in 4:18:25.

2008 Biwako University Ekiden
Stage Best Performances
1st stage (11.1 km): Jackson Kwarai (Nara Sangyo Univ.) - 33:07
2nd stage (7.3 km): Ryo Yamamoto (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 21:23
3rd stage (11.0 km): Ryo Taniguchi (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 32:40 - new stage record
4th stage (9.6 km): Junichi Nishimura (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) - 29:00
5th stage (8.8 km): Eiji Teramoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 27:13
6th stage (12.8 km): Seidai Shinohara (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 39:06
7th stage (15.1 km): Kibet Kipgenon (Daiichi Kogyo Univ.) - 44:53
8th stage (7.7 km): Shogo Furubayashi (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 24:06

Top Team Performances
1. Daiichi Kogyo Univ. - 4:12:47
2. Ritsumeikan Univ. - 4:13:54
3. Kyoto Sangyo Univ. - 4:18:25
4. Osaka Taiku Univ. - 4:21:24
5. Kansai Univ. - 4:21:32
6. Nara Sangyo Univ. - 4:21:37
7. Aichi Kogyo Univ. - 4:22:02
8. Kansai Gakuin Univ. - 4:22:26
9. Osaka Keizai Univ. - 4:23:20
10. Osaka Kyoiku Univ. - 4:23:43

Complete results are available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

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