translated by Brett Larner
The JAAF today released the team entry lists for this year`s Chiba International Ekiden, to be held November 23rd at the Chiba Prefectural Sogo Sport Center Stadium. The strong Japanese team includes Osaka World Championships marathon 5th place finisher Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku), the great young hopes of the Japanese distance running world Kensuke Takezawa (Waseda University) and Yuichiro Ueno (Chuo University), and Japanese national 5000 m and half-marathon record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).
The format of this race has been revised in its 19th edition to feature mixed teams of men and women running together for the first time. The sight of leaders such as Ogata and Fukushi running together on the same team and passing the tasuki [sash] to each other will be a first in the Japanese distance running scene.
Last year`s men`s and women`s winners Kenya will be returning again this year. Osaka World Championships women`s marathon medallist Catherine Ndereba will lead the combined team in its attempt for a 3rd straight national victory.
The race consists of 6 stages, 3 male and 3 female, totalling 42.195 km. Men passing to women and women passing to men within the same race will help to make this "The World`s Greatest Ekiden."