translated and edited by Brett Larner
The organizers of the 31st Sanyo Ladies Road Race in Okayama have finalized the elite field for the Dec. 23 race. 130 women will line up in the Yuko Arimori Cup Half Marathon division, with 234 in the Kinue Hitomi Cup 10 km division, making for a combined field of 364 that almost ties last year's record number of entries, 366.
2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-place finisher Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and other world-class competitors will grace the streets of Okayama with their running. Having set the half marathon course record of 1:09:16 last year, it looks as though Akaba will again be the one dictating the terms of competition. 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) should be her major rival. Local Team Tenmaya will supply Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura, team captain Yuka Izumi and first-year pro Nanami Matsuura. Also on the entry list are Noriko Matsuoka (Second Wind AC), Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) and Misato Horie (Team Noritz).
Tenmaya will also put rookie Akari Ota in the 10 km division, where she will have plenty of competition from 2010 Sanyo half marathon and 10 km division winners Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko), 2010 National Sports Festival 5000 m winner Tomoka Inadomi (Team Wacoal) and 2012 National University Women's Ekiden Championships stage winners Chisaki Takegami and Aya Kuwabara of runner-up Bukkyo University and Kenyan Graze Kimanzi (Team Starts).
The races start and finish at Kanko Stadium, with the half marathon going off at 10:00 a.m. and the 10 km at 10:15.