Monday, December 20, 2010

WC Silver Medalist Ozaki to Run Yokohama Int'l Women's Marathon

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Team Daiichi Seimei head coach Sachiko Yamashita has announced that 2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki will run February's second edition of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon. Ozaki was absent from Sunday's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden after falling and injuring her right kneecap during a workout in late November, but according to a member of Daiichi Seimei's coaching staff the injury was minor and has not had a lasting effect. Ozaki intends to go for a PB in Yokohama, which has seen a course change since its first edition in 2008 to minimize repetition of the bridges on the previous circuit course.

In related news, Athens Olympics marathon gold medalist and national record holder Mizuki Noguchi announced the same day that if all goes according to plan she will make a return to the marathon at the third running of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon in November, 2011. Yokohama took the place of the now-defunct Tokyo International Women's Marathon, of which Noguchi and Ozaki were the final two winners. The second running of Yokohama was shifted from the traditional late-November date to mid-February 2011 due to the APEC conference place taking place in Yokohama in November this year. Prior to a marathon comeback, Noguchi will look to run either February's Marugame Half Marathon or March's National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon.

Following a successful comeback run in the National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships, former national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) also indicated a return to the marathon may be in the works. After her run Shibui told reporters, "That was fun. Very interesting. That was the kind of run that is good enough to carry over into a marathon." Asked whether she plans to run in one of the spring domestic selection races for the 2011 World Championships Shibui said, "Yes, maybe so. I'm back on track." The selection races still to announce their elite fields include February's Yokohama and March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon.

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