translated and edited by Brett Larner
The men's and women's National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships take place this Sunday, Mar. 21 in Yamaguchi. A selection race for the national team for October's World Half Marathon Championships, the Jitsugyodan Half wraps up the road season as athletes head to track in April.
Leading the way in the women's race is the star of Team Daiichi Seimei, 2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki, running her last major tuneup race before April's London Marathon. Her main competition will come from teammate Misaki Katsumata, who had a brilliant victory at last month's Chiba International Cross Country Meet, and defending champion Danielle Filomena Cheyech (Team Uniqlo). National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships Sixth Stage winner Kaori Urata (Team Tenmaya) could also be a threat.
2009 World Championships marathoners Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) and Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo) headine the men's race. Suffering from leg injuries since the Beijing Olympics, Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) is also on the entry list along with strong young runners Bene Zama (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda). Kenyan Laban Kagika (Team JFE Steel), a longtime familiar face on the jitsugyodan circuit, will be running his last race before returning home to Kenya.
The race will be broadcast on TBS beginning at 2:00 p.m. Japan time on Mar. 21. International viewers should be able to watch online for free via Keyhole TV.