Skip to main content

Akaba, Davila and Watanabe Headline 32nd Running of Sanyo Women's Road Race

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The invited athlete list for Japan's last major road race of the year, the 32nd Sanyo Women's Road Race on Dec. 23 in Okayama, was released by race organisers on Nov. 30. Coinciding with main sponsor Sanyo Newspapers' 135th anniversary, the Yuko Arimori Cup half marathon division at the Sanyo Women's Road Race will for the first time be a selection race for the World Half Marathon Championships national team, with next year's World Half due to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark next March.

Targeting the first three-peat in Sanyo history, 2013 National Corporate Half Marathon champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) heads the invited field along with 2013 Hokkaido Marathon winner Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) and, from overseas, London Olympian Desiree Davila (U.S.A.).  Others in the half  marathon include past World Championships marathoners Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease), 23-year-old local Tenmaya corporate team runners Aki Odagiri and Rei Ohara and veterans Yuri Kano (Team Shiseido) and Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz).

In the Kinue Hitomi Cup 10 km division, Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Universal Entertainment) lends international quality to help make this year one of the most competitive on record.  Facing here are Tenmaya's 19-year-old great hope, Akari Ota, local Kojokan H.S. graduate Katsuki Suga (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) and former national champion Ritsumeikan University ace Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido).

Akaba has announced that she will retire following January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, making Sanyo one of her final races.  In her absence, other top-placing Japanese athletes in Sanyo will have a chance to earn one of the five places available on the World Half team.  Along with Sanyo, top finishers in last summer's National Championships 10000 m and next February's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships will be given consideration for team nomination.

The race starts and finishes at Concourse Stadium in Okayama.  The half marathon gets underway at 10:00 a.m., with the 10 km division starting at 10:15.


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …