USATF Long Distance Running Notes


Jim Estes
LDR Programs Manager
USA Track & Field

Russia wins Yokohama International Women's Ekiden; U.S. women finish 13th

Led by Liliya Shobukhova, the Russian women's team dominated the 2006 Yokohama International Women's Ekiden on Sunday in Yokohama, Japan. With strong runs from Amy Yoder Begley, Annie Bersagel and Samia Akbar, the U.S. women's team finished 13th.

Running in cold wind and rain, Shobukhova gave the Russian team a strong start that would lead them to the win in 2:13:55, just shy of the course record set last year by the defending champions from Japan. China steadily worked through the field to finish second while Japan's Hitomi Niiya just edged out Ameba Denboba of Ethiopia for the third place team finish.

Begley led the U.S. team off with a 15:54 to put the U.S. team in seventh early. Despite a 33:16 10 km leg by Bersagel, the U.S. squad slipped to eighth, then ninth as Akbar turned in a 19:45 6 km leg, passing 5 km in 16:28.

Erika Aklufi ran the next 6 km in 21:37 to hand off to Michelle LaFleur, who finished her 10 km leg in 36:26. Stephanie Bylander completed the final 5.195 km in 17:46 to place the team 13th.

Overall, the Russian team recorded four stage bests with Lidiya Grigoryeva setting a stage record of 31:09 for the second 10 km leg.

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