translated by Brett Larner
On Feb. 7 seven athletes left from Tokyo's Narita International Airport for a Rikuren-sponsored women's long distance training camp in New Zealand. Four of the runners taking part in the camp including Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (24, Team Tenmaya) and former national cross-country ski team member Azusa Nojiri (28, Team Daiichi Seimei) will run the Mar. 13 Nagoya International Women's Marathon in a bid to qualify for August's World Championships marathon squad. It is very unusual to see four athletes who will compete against each other in the same marathon training together. Nojiri, who will be running only her second marathon, commented, "I want to soak up as much of the good parts as I can." 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (31, Team Hokuren) and 2011 Marugame International Half Marathon winner Kayoko Fukushi (27, Team Wacoal) are scheduled to join the training camp on Feb. 8.