translated and edited by Brett Larner
On June 16 Rikuren announced the elite field for the July 3 Sapporo International Half Marathon. Headlining the race are 2010 World Half Marathon women's champion Florence Jebet Kiplagat (Kenya) and 2010 Asian Games men's marathon gold medalist Youngjun Ji (Korea). Defending champions Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Team Hitachi Cable) and Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) and 2009 Sapporo winner Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) will also return.
At the top of the domestic men's field are three members of the Japanese team for this summer's Daegu World Championships marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki). Also in the women's race is 10000 m national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). The popular Kawauchi will run Sapporo as one of four tuneup races for the World Championships. "I'd like to break my PB [1:02:40]," he commented when asked about his plans for the race.