• Kyodo

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Kenyan student David Kariuki clocked the fastest time in his leg and led Yamanashi Gakuin University to first-day honors in the Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden road relay Thursday.

Yamanashi Gakuin was trailing leader Chuo University by 49 seconds before Kariuki turned the deficit into a 90-second lead in the 20.9-km fourth leg, and Naoto Morimoto held on in the fifth leg leading up to Lake Ashinoko in the hotspring resort of Hakone.

Five Yamanashi Gakuin runners combined to clock a first-day time of 5 hours, 31 minutes, 6 seconds over the 107.2-km course as the school won the first-day title of the annual New Year race for the third time and first in nine years.

Yamanashi Gakuin will start Friday’s return legs from Hakone to Tokyo’s Otemachi business district 99 seconds ahead of Komazawa University, last year’s overall champion. Nihon University is third, 3:13 off the pace.

Photo finish

MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) Kenyan Zakayo Gatho and Tomoo Tsubota ran fastest in their legs as Konica comfortably led most of the way and eased to its third straight victory in a meet record in the national corporate ekiden championship Wednesday.

Konica took the lead during the second leg and went on to cross the finish line in 4 hours, 44 minutes, 48 seconds after Gatho and Tsubota helped widen the gap in the seven-leg, 100-km road relay.

Konica became the third team to win the annual New Year’s Day meet for three years in a row. Asahi Kasei, holder of a record 21 titles, has won six straight twice and S&B Foods four straight once.

Nissin Food Products finished runnerup in 4:47:02.

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