translated and edited by Brett Larner
Following her stage win at the Jan. 23 Kita-Kyushu Invitational Women's Ekiden, 10000 m national record holder and former marathon national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) announced that she will run the Feb. 27 Tokyo Marathon. It will be Shibui's first full marathon since pulling out of the 2009 World Championships marathon team with a stress fracture. "My teammate Reiko Tosa is running, so I thought it would be fun to enter too," Shibui said. "I'm just going to run comfortably without setting any target time."
Shibui's coach Shigeharu Watanabe said that the decision to run Tokyo came shortly after Shibui's successful return to competition at December's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden Championships. "Her training is at about 60 or 70% of normal," he commented. "I want her to enjoy being out in a marathon again." On Feb. 4 Shibui will leave for a two-week training camp on Miyako Island to do her final preparations for the main event.
Also following the Kita-Kyushu Invitational, Team Tenmaya head coach Yutaka Taketomi indicated that Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura, who Shibui beat by more than 90 seconds over 11.7 km in Kita-Kyushu, will run her spring marathon at March's Nagoya International Women's Marathon, the site of her successful debut in 2008.
Translator's note: Despite having top-class fields the Tokyo Marathon is not a World Championships selection race for women, meaning that Shibui is forgoing the chance to pick up a spot on the national team. Nakamura will be elligible should she win again in Nagoya.