by Brett Larner
The Tokyo Marathon may be the biggest race happening in Japan on Feb. 28, but three other elite races also fall the same day. The most major of these is the Kumanichi 30 km Road Race in Kumamoto, Kyushu. The world's most competitive race at this distance, Kumanichi was until the last fall the site of the men's 30 km world record. In the field for this year's race are former marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), steeplechase national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), 2009 Ome 30 km winner Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta), Komazawa University ace Tsuyoshi Ugachi and New Year Ekiden winner Team Nissin Shokuhin member Bene Zama. The elite women's field is limited to three and is led by Chiharu Matsuo (Team Kyudenko).
Further north in Aichi, the Inuyama Half Marathon has an interesting matchup between pro and university runners. Three members of 2009 and 2010 Hakone Ekiden winner Toyo University's squad, two-time anchor Ryo Takami, Yu Chiba and Shogo Otsu, lead the university side, while four members of Team Toyota Boshoku hope to follow up on teammate Yusei Nakao's win last year. The elite women's field is split between the 10 km and half marathon distances but features nationally-competitive runners in each. An elite entry list has not been released for the 59th Kashima Yutoku Half Marathon, but the race, one of Japan's oldest, is perpetually one of the country's most competitive half marathons. JRN will bring you complete results for all three races.
(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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