Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Imai, Kawauchi and Shigetomo Lead Sendai Half Field


translated by Brett Larner

On April 11 the organizers of the 26th Sendai International Half Marathon announced the five domestic athletes set to lead the elite field for this year's race on May 8.  Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), a member of the 2011 and 2013 World Championships marathon teams and the bronze medalist in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games marathon, returns to the Sendai Half for the fifth year in a row.  A former Hakone Ekiden star on the uphill Fifth Stage during his days at Juntendo University, Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) is the fastest current Japanese marathoner with a 2:07:39 best.

Others in the field include last year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon placer Takuya Noguchi (Team Konica Minolta), 2012 London Olympian and 2015 World Championships team member Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya), and this year's Osaka International Women's Marathon runner-up Misato Horie (Team Noritz).

Rio de Janeiro Paralympics team member Hiroyuki Yamamoto leads the four invited athletes in the wheelchair race.  2000 Sydney Olympics gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi returns for the fifth time as a special guest runner.  A total of 11,964 people are entered in the half marathon, with 2,820 signed up to take part in the 5 km and 2 km divisions.