translated and edited by Brett Larner
Rikuren has announced the lineup for the Chiba International Cross Country Meet to take place Feb. 15. As a selection race for the Japanese national team for this year's Jordan World Cross Country Championships in March, the Chiba XC Meet has attracted a range of top athletes looking to represent their nation.
The men's 12000 m race includes 3000 m steeplechase Olympian Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), 2009 Interprefectural Ekiden 7th stage winner Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku), two-time Olympic marathoner Jon Brown (Canada/U.K.) and 2009 Shibuya New Ekiden 1st stage winner Jason Lawrence (New Zealand).
The women's 6000 m race features Beijing Olympics 5000 m runner Yuriko Kobayashi (Team Toyota Jidoshokki), 2007 World Championships 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), and veteran Harumi Hiroyama (Team Shiseido).
In the junior men's 8000 m race, the top Japanese finisher and overall 3rd place finisher from last summer's National High School Meet 5000 m, Yutaro Fukushi (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) will compete against 2008 National High School 10000 m champion Hirotaka Tamura (Aomori Yamada H.S.) for a spot on the national team.
The junior women's 5000 m race includes National High School champion Ayaka Mori (Suma Gakuen H.S.) and National High School Ekiden 1st stage winner Rei Obara (Kojokan H.S.).