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CHIBA (Kyodo) Four Ethiopian runners produced the fastest times in their respective legs to give the country victory in the Chiba international ekiden road relay in a meet record time Monday, beating defending champion Japan into second place.

Ethiopia crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 27 seconds in the six-leg 42.195-km race, which was contested by 13 teams from 11 countries and mixed three men with as many women. Japan came home in 2:06:39 and Russia took third in 2:08.47.

Opening-leg runner Ali Abdosh, Dejen Gebremeskel, Belaynesh Fikadu and Hunegnaw Mesfin won their legs for Ethiopia, which fielded a team made up largely of junior runners. Japan’s Yuriko Kobayashi ran fastest in the second leg, overtaking world junior 5,000-meter champion Sule Utura to pull the host ahead at one point.

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