translated and edited by Brett Larner
On June 19 Rikuren released the elite field for this year's 52nd Sapporo International Half Marathon, to be held July 5. Headlining the men's field of 8 invited athletes is world record holder and Beijing Olympics men's marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya. The domestic elite men's field includes Berlin World Championships marathoners Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Arata Fujiwara (Team JR Higashi Nihon) as well as 2008 World Half Marathon 5th place finisher Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku).
The women's field of 11 is led by three of Japan's World Championships marathon squad, defending champion Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), and Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido). Also in the field are Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya), 2008 Honolulu Marathon winner Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and Shimahara's teammate Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC).
The Sapporo International Half Marathon will serve as the final selection race for the national team for October's World Half Marathon Championships in the U.K.
Translator's note: The race will be broadcast from 1:30 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. on July 5. Overseas viewers should be able to watch with the Keyhole TV software available here. Wanjiru is also rumored to be headlining another major Japanese race in the upcoming winter season.