translated by Brett Larner
On Nov. 15, Olympian Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) privately toured the new course for the 30th anniversary Osaka International Women's Marathon, scheduled for Jan. 30, 2011. Akaba jogged the final 20 km from the turnaround point at Dotonboribashi Minamijime to the finish at Nagai Stadium at a comfortable pace to let her get a feel for the new course while her coach and husband Shuhei accompanied her by car.
"There isn't much elevation change now, and the long straightaway [after 33 km] is also gone, so I think it's going to be a fast course," Akaba commented. Asked about her goals for what will be her fifth marathon she said, "I haven't won a marathon yet, so I am going to be in this race to win it. Not just to be the top Japanese finisher, but the winner." Osaka will be one of the selection races for next summer's World Championships in Daegu, Korea.