translated by Brett Larner
The 30th anniversary running of Okinawa's Naha Marathon happens tomorrow, Dec. 7, on a 42.195 km course from Meiji Bridge crossing on National Highway 58 to Onoyama Field. Leading the field with a PB of 2:08:14 is the heavy favorite for the win, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't). Kawauchi's achievements include a bronze medal at October's Asian Games. Known for always running at full power, he is expected to smash the 2:23:09 course record.
Kawauchi's biggest competition comes from Takahiro Nakama (26, Tomigusuku city), who set the Okinawa prefecture record of 2:18:40 at last year's Hokkaido Marathon. Having also set a new 5000 m prefecture record at a time trial meet in October his reputation as Okinawa's representative long distance runner continues to grow. It will be his first time running Naha, but chances of competing with Kawauchi for the win look good. Other top entrants from within Okinawa include Kyohei Yonamine (27, Urasoe city), Daichi Oshiro (28, Urasoe city), and Tsukasa Fujita (21, Tomigusuku city).
In the women's race, Mitsuko Hirose (40, Tokyo Wings AC) returns to go for her third-straight win. Okinawa's best also hope to make the podium.