Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yokohama International Women's Marathon Announces Elite Field for Its First Edition

translated by Brett Larner

The first running of the new Yokohama International Women's Marathon, sponsored by the Asahi Newspaper Group and others, takes place Nov. 15. On Oct. 20 the event's organizing committee announced the lineup of the elite field of eleven. 2007 World Championships 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), the Ominami twins Hiromi and Takami (Team Toyota Shatai) top the domestic contenders, while Beijing Olympics gold and silver medalists Constantina Dita (Romania) and Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) will be the main overseas competition.

The domestic field consists of five invited athletes. Shimahara, 3rd at last year's Chicago Marathon and 3rd in the 2006 Osaka International Women's Marathon, is an experienced veteran. In August she set the Hokkaido Marathon course record of 2:25:10, her PB. At age 32 she is at the peak of her powers. The Ominami twins, both past winners of the Rotterdam Marathon, will celebrate their 34th birthdays on race day. With their sponsor Toyota Shatai having maintained its support of their running after disbanding the rest of its running team this past spring the Ominamis are highly motivated to perform.

Six foreign athletes will make up the rest of the invited field. The 39 year old gold medalist Dita and all-time #2 woman Ndereba, 37, are the biggest stars. Joining them will be 2004 Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Bruna Genovese (Italia) and 2005 Tokyo Int'l runner-up Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania).

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon picks up the reins from the Tokyo International Women's Marathon which had its final running last November. The race begins at Yokohama's Yamashita Park. Following a short 2.5 km loop through the surrounding neighborhood, runners will then complete three circuits of a 13.2 km loop through downtown Yokohama before finishing back in Yamashita Park. The race will be the first Rikuren-certified circuit course.

2009 Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) - 2:18:47 (2001)
Constantina Dita (Romania) - 2:21:30 (2005)
Hiromi Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 2:23:26 (2004)
Takami Ominami (Team Toyota Shatai) - 2:23:43 (2002)
Robe Guta (Ethiopia) - 2:24:35 (2006)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (2009)
Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania) - 2:25:15 (2005)
Bruna Genovese (Italy) - 2:25:28 (2006)
Inga Abitova (Russia) - 2:25:55 (2009)
Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:26:09 (2008)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - debut

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