• Kyodo

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Anchor Kazuyuki Maeda pulled away midway through the final leg Saturday as Konica-Minolta held off defending champion Chugoku Electric Power to win its fourth national corporate ekiden championship.

Konica-Minolta completed the seven-leg, 100-km road relay in Gunma Prefecture in 4 hours, 48 minutes and 57 seconds, finishing 47 seconds ahead of Chugoku Electric Power. Nissin Food Products came third, a further 57 seconds behind.

Konica-Minolta moved in front in the fourth leg and ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Chugoku Electric Power during the final two legs before Maeda surged ahead with 8 km left to help give his team its first victory in two years.

Chugoku Electric Power, which featured Olympic marathon runner Shigeru Aburaya, was left to rue a lackluster start that placed it in 21st after the opening leg.

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