translated by Brett Larner
The 37th Kumamoto Kosa 10-Miler takes place this Sunday, Dec. 2. In the main race of the day, the Japanese-only open division, there is no shortage of exciting competition on tap with top corporate and university runners squaring off over 10 miles (16.093 km). 133 Japanese men make up the open division. Among the major contenders for the victory are 2010 winner Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) fresh from winning three stages at the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden, and this year's 5000 m national champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei). Invited athletes Kazuharu Takai (Team Kyudenko), Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Toyota Boshoku) and Yusuke Hasegawa (Team S&B) are also likely to be caught up in the action.
Noteworthy locals include defending champion Yuki Iwai (Team Asahi Kasei), 2:08:38 marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), 2012 National Championships 5000 m 4th placer Takaya Iwasaki (Team Shikoku Denryoku) and, with a solid run at February's Kumanichi 30 km Road Race to his credit, Shuji Yoshikawa (Team Kyudenko).
Leading the collegiate entrants, Aoyama Gakuin University will use the Kumamoto Kosa as its intramural selection race for the team's Hakone Ekiden starting roster. Among the Aoyama Gakuin runners who were part of the team's course record-setting lineup at October's Izumo Ekiden, local fans can look forward to seeing Kyushu Gakuin H.S. graduates Yudai Fukuda (3rd yr.) and Shun Yamamura (1st yr.) racing back on home ground.
Three foreign athletes make up the international division. Worth watching are Izumo Ekiden anchor stage winner Enock Omwamba (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Josphat Ndambiri (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.).
The open division and international division will start together at noon. 660 more runners will take part in the high school boys' 10 km, junior high school boys' 5 km and women's 5 km divisions. Organizers have arranged for detour routes around the course, where roads will be closed to traffic for the duration of the race.