translated by Brett Larner
327 women are set to run the 35th anniversary Sanyo Ladies Road Race Dec. 23 in Okayama. 117 are entered in the Yuko Arimori Cup Half Marathon, with 210 entered in the Kinue Hitomi Cup 10 km. Top-level domestic and international athletes including some who ran in this summer's Rio de Janeiro Olympics are set to bring fireworks to the streets of Okayama.
The half marathon is led by Rio marathoner Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and features last year's runner-up local Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) and 2015 World Championships team member Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya). Misaki Kato (Team Kyudenko), who ran brilliantly at last month's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships, and Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), who set the junior national record of 1:09:45 in Sanyo in 2013, are also on the list. Rio 5000 m 9th-placer Eloise Wellings and 2016 World Half Marathon Championships team member Cassie Fien lead a tough Australian contingent that could challenge for the top of the podium.
The 10 km is divided into a 130-strong JAAF-registered division and an 80-runner open division. Speed runner Mai Nishiwaki (Team Tenmaya) and 2011 World Championships marathon team member Remi Sano (Team Nitori) will face past winners Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Team Starts) and Grace Mbuthi Kimanzi (Team Starts).
This year the Sanyo Ladies Road Race has been upgraded from a JAAF-certified course to an IAAF-certified event. Both distances start and finish at Okayama's City Light Stadium, the half marathon going off at 10:00 a.m. and the 10 km at 10:15.