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Kawauchi Leads Invited Athletes for 25th Sendai International Half Marathon

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/tohokunews/201504/20150414_14009.html

translated by Brett Larner

On April 13 the organizers of the May 10 Sendai International Half Marathon announced that the elite field of four specially invited athletes for this year's 25th anniversary edition will be led by civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (28, Saitama Pref. Gov't), with Athens Olympics women's marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi (36, Team Sysmex) among five additional special guests for the 25th running.

In last fall's Incheon Asian Games men's marathon Kawauchi won the bronze medal.  This year will his fifth time and fourth-straight year running the Sendai International Half Marathon.  Last year he placed 4th in 1:03:23, and this year he is again targeting the podium.  Other domestic invited elites include 2015 Beijing World Championships men's marathon team member Masakazu Fujiwara (34, Team Honda) and women's marathon team members Risa Shigetomo (27, Team Tenmaya) and Sairi Maeda (23, Team Daihatsu), all appearing in Sendai for the first time.

Special guests include 2015 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon 5th-placer Takuya Noguchi (26, Team Konica Minolta) and 2014 World Half Marathon Championships team member Sota Hoshi (27, Team Konica Minolta), both natives of northeastern Japan.  Along with Mizuki Noguchi, special guest women include mama-san runner Mari Ozaki (39, Team Noritz) and Hoshi's World Championships teammate Risa Takenaka (25, Team Shiseido).

General corporate league elites in the race include 2012 Sendai winner Johana Maina (24, Team Fujitsu).  The wheelchair race is led by two-time defending champion Masayuki Higuchi (36).  Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former marathon world record holder Naoki Takahashi (42) will appear as a guest runner for the fourth-straight year.

This year's race hit its field limit of 7000 just 1 hour and 55 minutes after entries opened, the fastest in the race's history.  Including the 2 km and 5 km divisions a total of 14,910 people are entered.

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