translated and edited by Brett Larner
A national star during his Juntendo University days for his uphill heroics on the Hakone Ekiden's Fifth Stage, Masato Imai (27, Toyota Kyushu) will run the Mar. 4 Biwako Mainichi Marathon, the final selection race for the London Olympics, according to an announcement on Jan. 7. In a fierce duel against Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) at December's Fukuoka International Marathon Imai finished 4th overall, the second Japanese finisher in a PB of 2:10:32. Imai made the decision to try again for an Olympic spot at Biwako on Jan. 6.
Update: In an interview published Jan. 8 in the Nagasaki Newspaper, Hakone Ekiden Second Stage winner Takehiro Deki (3rd yr., Aoyama Gakuin University) confirmed that he will also run the Biwako Mainichi Marathon. Deki holds a PB of 58:51 for 20 km, equivalent to a 1:02:05 half marathon, and ran 1:07:26 for the 23.2 km Second Stage, a 1:01:19 half-marathon, making the all-time top ten on stage time.