by Brett Larner
The 2009 Sapporo International Half Marathon takes place this Sunday, July 5th. Most of the Japanese runners on this year's World Championships marathon squads will be using it as a tuneup for August's main event.
In the men's race three-time champion and course record holder Mekubo Mogusu will take on Japanese national record holder and '09 World Championships marathoner Atsushi Sato, along with Sato's World Champs marathon teammates Arata Fujiwara and Kensuke Takahashi, young star Yu Mitsuya, and Mogusu's perennial rival Daniel Gitau. Gitau has yet to approach Mogusu in ability but after spending the spring focusing on 800 m and 1500 m track races he has honed his speed and may be the champion's toughest challenger.
Defending women's champion and '09 World Championships marathon team member Yuri Kano will face her own World Championships marathon teammates Yoko Shibui, Yoshiko Fujinaga and Tomo Morimoto as well as Kenyan marathon squad member Julia Mombi. Most eyes will be on Shibui, who is running her first race in over four months after a long period of injury. Also in the field are '09 World Championships track runners Yukari Sahaku and Yurika Nakamura. Last weekend Sahaku finished 2nd in the National Championships 10000 m and Nakamura 2nd in the 5000 m.
The Sapporo International Half Marathon will be broadcast on Nihon TV on Sun., July 5 from 1:30 - 2:55 p.m. Japan time. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free. Click here for more details on watching online.
2009 Sapporo International Half Marathon Elite Field - click for official listing
#18 - Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) - 59:48
#12 - Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:00:25
#31 - Daniel Gitau (Nihon Univ.) - 1:01:34
#11 - Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:50
#15 - Shigeru Aburaya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:54
#17 - Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 1:01:54
#13 - Arata Fujiwara (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:17
#16 - Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:26
#32 - Yusuke Takabayashi (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:36
#14 - Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:03:12
#33 - Go Nakagawa (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:03:30
#89 - Julia Mombi (Team Aruze) - 1:08:31
#83 - Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 1:08:57
#84 - Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:09:19
#82 - Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:09:31
#91 - Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 1:09:33
#85 - Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 1:10:00
#87 - Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:10:13
#81 - Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:10:16
#88 - Ikuyo Yamashita (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:10:53
#86 - Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 1:12:05
#90 - Yukari Sahaku (Team Aruze) - 1:12:17
#95 - Natsuko Goto (Nihon Univ.) - debut
(c) 2009 Brett Larner
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