translated and edited by Brett Larner
Along with the Yokohama International Women's Marathon and Ageo City Half Marathon, regional qualifying ekidens for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships take place in the Chubu, Hokuriku, Kansai and Chugoku regions. The final regional qualifier, the Kyushu Corporate Men's Ekiden, takes place opposite the Nov. 23 International Chiba Ekiden.
The entry list in Kyushu features London Olympics marathon 6th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), Daegu World Championships marathon 7th-placer Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), former Hakone Ekiden star Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) and, in his pro ekiden debut, 10000 m national collegiate record holder Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Team Asahi Kasei). The Horibata-Yoroizaka combination is enough to make the Asahi Kasei team one of the favorites for the national title come New Year's Day.