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Showing posts from July, 2009

Team Kyudenko Holds Send-Off for Maeda and Masumi translated by Brett Larner Sachiko Masumi and Kazuhiro Maeda. Click photo for full-sized version. Team Kyudenko held a press conference at a Fukuoka hotel on July 30 to send off its two representatives on the Berlin World Championships team, men's marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda and women's long jumper Sachiko Masumi. Over 300 people gathered to see the pair. "You'll have to excuse me if I'm a little tense," laughed Maeda nervously. "I'm hungry for a medal, and that's how I'm going to run," Maeda said of his target for the race. Having competed in the 10000 m at the 2007 Osaka World Championships, Berlin will be Maeda's second time on the national team. For Masumi it will be her first time. Having won June's National Championships with a PB jump, she approaches the World Championships with newfound confidence. "My goal is to make the final," she said.

Life After 2:08 - An Interview With Takayuki Nishida

interview by Tuomas Zacheus interpreting, supplemental questions and editing by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin Tall men Tuomas Zacheus and Takayuki Nishida in Tokyo. Finnish writer Tuomas Zacheus, author of the book Nousevan Auringon Maratoonarit [ Marathoners of the Rising Sun ] , visited Tokyo with his wife Marit the weekend of July 18-19. JRN organized and facilitated an interview for Zacheus with the recently retired Takayuki Nishida, a former Team S&B and Team JAL Ground Service runner coached by the legendary Toshihiko Seko. Nishida holds a PB of 2:08:45, the fastest time ever by a Japanese runner on the elite Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon course. On the strength of his Beppu-Oita performance Nishida ran the marathon in the 2001 Edmonton World Championships, finishing 9th overall, beating then-national record holder Atsushi Fujita, and, as the Japanese team's third runner, helping to win the team silver medal. In university Nishida was already a star, narrowly losing out

Big Mouth Scores the Big Ticket - Yuichiro Ueno in Berlin translated by Brett Larner In the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m last month, Yuichiro 'Big Mouth' Ueno's usual stupidity was nowhere to be seen.* Hanging back at the rear of the lead pack, Ueno bided his time before attacking to take his first national title. Watching the race, Hiroshi Tako, Ueno's coach since his early days at Chuo University, commented, "Hmmn, this isn't like him at all." That's how much Ueno wanted to make his first World Championships team. Three days later came the 1500 m. Right from the first lap Ueno took off at a dash. All the real middle distance runners in the race waited as they followed their carefully-built race plans. On the last lap the leaders tried to run Ueno down, but it was too late. "Man, it's pretty weak that nobody even tried to race me," he said in his post-race interview. Ueno became the first person in 24 years to win the 1500

Yuki Sato Misses Mark in Flanders Cup

by Brett Larner Like rival Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) in Spain just 24 hours earlier, the prodigious Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) couldn't crack the barrier in his last attempt at earning a World Championships A-standard in the 5000 m. A week after running a 3000 m PB Sato ran the 5000 m at the July 26 Flanders Cup meet in Brasschaat, Belgium . Sato needed to attain the A-standard of 13:20.00 to join his former high school teammate Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) in the 5000 m on the national team for next month's World Championships. His time of 13:35.32 was good for 2nd in the Flanders Cup race but fell short of even the B-standard. A small group of other Japanese runners also ran the Flanders 5000 m, with Sato's training partner Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin) landing 12th in 13:41.44. In April Sato ran 27:38.25 for 10000 m, the third-best ever by a Japanese man and comfortably clearing the World Championships A-standard. Injury troubles held him back at Jun

Shibui Wins San Francisco Marathon

by Brett Larner Click image for a full-sized photo of Shibui at the SF finish line. Just four weeks before the 2009 World Championships marathon, former national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) ran the July 26 San Francsico Marathon as part of her training. Having been injured throughout most of the spring and having run a personal worst 1:14:09 earlier this month at the Sapporo International Half Marathon, Shibui intended San Francisco to be nothing more than a practice run in the 2:45-2:55 range. After starting out at sub-2:40 pace she settled down, going through halfway in 1:21:40. Her pace continued to slow throughout the second half of the race as she cruised to a perfunctory 2:46:34 win. Right on target, but her progressive slowing may have raised more questions than it answered about whether the Yoko Shibui who won January's Osaka International Women's Marathon can make a seemingly miraculous comeback in four weeks' time. A post-race press rel

Kanbara Remains Unbeaten in Fuji Tozan Mountain Race

by Brett Larner Heavy rain cut the 2009 Fuji Tozan Mountain Race down to size, but two-time defending women's champion Yuri Kanbara and 2006 men's winner Toru Miyahara nevertheless prevailed again to pick up this year's titles. With conditions dangerous above Mt. Fuji's 2256 m-high 5th Stage on the July 24 race morning, organizers made the decision 30 minutes before the 7:00 a.m. start to shorten the event's 21 km long, 3000 m elevation gain Summit Race. Rather than reaching the summit, athletes in the long race would end at the 5th stage along with the event's 15 km long, 1480 m elevation gain 5th Stage Race entrants. This meant the true uphill specialists in the field such as Kanbara were at a competitive disadvantage against faster athletes who could withstand the relatively mild climb and paved first half of the 5th Stage course. The rain let up just minutes before the start, leaving the fields in the two divisions with the coolest, most ideal conditions in

Takezawa Comes Up Short in Barcelona

by Brett Larner Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B) came up short in his quest to score a new World Championships 5000 m A-standard mark to pick up a place on this year's national team. After tuning up with a 3000 m PB of 7:49.26 at last week's Gobierno de Aragon meet in Saragossa, Spain, Takezawa ran the 5000 m at the Ciutat de Barcelona meet on July 25. With his teammate Yuichiro Ueno, who holds a B-standard mark of 13:26.31, having already secured a spot on the Berlin team by winning last month's National Championships, Takezawa needed to run under 13:20.00. He could only muster a 13:26.90, his best time since injury troubles began two years ago and one which cleared the B-standard but not the magic A-standard. As the fastest time of the year next to Ueno's, Takezawa's Barcelona mark earns him the national team alternate position. Barring injury or illness for Ueno, Takezawa, who along with perennial rival Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) represents the brightest ho

Yuki Sato Edges Back at Gentse Feesten Meet

by Brett Larner Team Nissin Shokuhin's Yuki Sato, a university star who struggled through injury his senior year looked set for the World Championships when he ran 27:38 earlier this spring in the second race of his pro career. Injuries returned shortly afterwards and a disastrous showing in the 10000 m at June's National Championships left him empty-handed, but since then Sato has edged closer and closer back toward some measure of his full fitness. On July 21 he took another step toward earning the World Championhips 5000 m A-standard when he finished 2nd overall in 7:53.56 in the 3000 m at the Gentse Feesten Meet in Ghent, Belgium, part of the Flanders Cup series. Sato's time was a PB by nearly 3 seconds but was well short of his university-era and now cross-town Team S&B rival Kensuke Takezawa's PB of 7:49.26 at last week's Gobierno de Aragon meet in Saragossa, Spain. Two other runners, Yusei Nakao of Team Toyota Boshoku and Sato's teammate Satoru Kitam

Takezawa Scores 3000 m PB in Saragossa

by Brett Larner Beijing Olympian Kensuke Takezawa (Team S&B), in Europe to chase after the World Championships A-standard in the 5000 m, tuned up at the Gobierno de Aragon Meet in Saragossa, Spain on July 18. Still on the recovery from a plague of injuries over the last two years, Takezawa scored the first significant result of his three and a half month old pro career with a PB of over 5 seconds in the 3000 m. Takezawa clocked a time of 7:49.26, good enough only for 7th but a mark which puts him in good position to achieve his target of setting a World Championships A-standard time before the Aug. 3 deadline. Takezawa, who has a 5000 m PB of 13:19.00, needs the A-standard to join the Berlin team alongside his teammate Yuichiro Ueno, who has already been guaranteed a spot after both setting a B-standard time and winning this year's National Championships 5000 m. Also in the hunt for an A-standard in Europe is Takezawa's great university rival Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhi

Jarso, Ominami Top Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri Meet - Results

by Brett Larner The final meet in the 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place July 20 in Abashiri, Hokkaido, the last domestic opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Japanese national team for this year's World Championships. Ironically, the only athlete to pick up a Berlin ticket was Ethiopian Yakob Jarso (Team Honda). Jarso set the Ethiopian national record of 8:13.47 in the 3000 m steeplechase at last summer's Beijing Olympics where he was 4th. This spring Jarso attempted to move up to the 5000 m and 10000 m but missed the times he needed to make the Ethiopian team at those competitive distances. Resigned to running the steeple again after a year's absence, Jarso had to set an A-standard time to illustrate to the Ethiopian federation that he is ready to go for Berlin. The Abashiri Meet organizers were generous enough to organize a steeplechase heat for Jarso, but when he came to the starting line he found only Sapporo Gakuin University's Masashi Takem

Yoshimi Ozaki Back From High Altitude Training translated and edited by Brett Larner Marathoner Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei), who will run the women's marathon at August's Berlin World Championships, returned to Japan on July 18 from altitude training in Boulder, Colorado. The lower back pain which bothered Ozaki in March has disappeared, and the month and a half she spent at the American training camp has brought her confidence back. "If I make the top eight in Berlin I think that'll be pretty good," she said. As evidence of her complete recovery, Ozaki's training in Boulder included runs up to 40 km. "The goal this time was to get used to covering the distance again," explained Ozaki. "Consider that accomplished." Her coach Sachiko Yamashita looked toward the next phase of her plan, saying, "From now on out we need to get rid of the acc

Nakao Hits World Championships B-Standard in Heusden (updated)

by Brett Larner Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) continued his strong season, heading the Japanese contingent at this year's KBC-Nacht meet in Heusden, Belgium. Nakao, running the men's 5000 m at the same meet where Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica-Minolta) set the Japanese national record two years ago, ran a PB of 13:28.16 to finish 7th in the B-heat. With 2009 national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) already named to the national team with a B-standard mark, Nakao, Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) needed to break the World Championships A-standard of 13:20.00 to join him. Sato took up the challenge, running among the leaders in the early stages of the race and going through the kilometer right on pace in 2:39 with Matsuoka also in the pack. Nakao sat back and waited, moving up as the race evolved. Sato, who holds a PB of 13:23.57 and earlier in the season ran the all-time 3rd-best Japanese mark of 27:38.25 for 10000 m before suf

Ueno, World Championships Marathoners Maeda and Fujinaga Run Well at Hokuren Distance Challenge Kitami Meet

by Brett Larner The fifth meet in the 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge series took place July 15 in Kitami, Hokkaido, producing three significant results. 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B) continued his winning streak, taking the men's 3000 m. His time of 8:09.03 was 12 seconds off his best but the win showed that Ueno is maintaining his competitive edge as he trains in Hokkaido for the World Championships 5000 m. In the women's 5000 m Kenyans Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) and Christine Muyanga (Team Panasonic) went 1-2 with Obare on top in 15:42.36. The surprise came in 3rd place, as World Championships marathon team member Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) came in just a step behind Muyanga. Earlier in the season Fujinaga had said she wanted to focus on her speed during the track season. While her earlier results had been unimpressive, her run in Kitami suggests she is rounding into form in time to peak in Berlin. The men's 5000 m featured thre

Shibui Leaves for Final Training Camp in Arizona translated and edited by Brett Larner Marathoner Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 14 for her final training camp for August's World Championships marathon in Berlin. Shibui will be based at 2100 m elevation in Flagstaff, Arizona, but will train even higher. Her coach Takao Watanabe commented, "She'll be going as high as 2700 m, but the details are still a secret. I hope the change in evironment will help her get stronger." The oxygen level at this altitude is only 15% compared to 21% at sea level. By training in such an evironment an athlete's heart and lungs will become stronger. "We'll be listening carefully to her body," said Wat

2009 Lappeenranta Games, Finland - Results

by Brett Larner A number of top pro Japanese men competed in the 2009 Lappeenranta Games in Finland on July 12. The biggest results came in the 5000 m, where 2008 World Half Marathon 5th place finisher Yusei Nakao (Team Toyota Boshoku) was 3rd and Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin), who earlier this season ran a PB of 27:38 in the 10000 m, was a DNF. Below are the top results of races featuring Japanese runners. For complete results click here . 2009 Lappeenranta Games - Top Results Men's 5000 m 1. Lewis Korir (Kenya) - 13:36.23 2. Jukka Keskisalo (Finland) - 13:39.81 3. Yusei Nakao (Japan) - 13:44.92 ----- 5. Satoru Kitamura (Japan) - 13:50.33 6. Naoki Okamoto (Japan) - 13:50.88 7. Suehiro Ishikawa (Japan) - 13:52.15 9. Seigo Ikegami (Japan) - 14:14.19 DNF - Yuki Sato (Japan) Men's 1500 m 1. Mohammed Shahween (Saudia Arabia) - 3:42.81 2. Niclas Sandells (Finland) - 3:43.72 3. Jonas Hamm (Finland) - 3:44.39 ----- 7. Yuki Matsuoka (Japan) - 3:46.72 12. Yasunori Murakami (Japan) -

Ono and Obare Win in Hokuren Distance Challenge (updated) translated by Brett Larner At the fourth meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series, the July 11 Kushiro meet, Athens Olympian Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) took the men's 10000 m in 28:27.20. Satoshi Irifune (Team Kanebo), who will run the marathon at August's World Championships in Berlin, was 9th in 28:38.44. Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) won the women's 3000 m in 9:03.32, with Berlin World Championships 5000 m runner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) 3rd in 9:11.32. 2009 Hokuren Distance Challenge Kushiro Meet - Top Finishers click here for complete results Men's 10000 m A-heat 1. Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei) - 28:27.20 2. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 28:29.67 3. Takuya Noguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 28:30.06 4. Tsuyoshi Makabe (Team Kanebo) - 28:31.16 5. Michael Gichinji (Aomori Yamada H.S.) - 28:32.40 6. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 28:33.12 7. Kazuya Deguchi (Nittai Univ.) - 28:3

Bronze for Kanemaru on Last Day of World University Games

by Brett Larner 2009 World University Games men's 400 m gold medalist Yuzo Kanemaru of Hosei University brought the Japanese men's 4x400 m relay time home to bronze on the final day of competition at this year's games. Five-time national champion Kanemaru came from behind on the anchor leg to hold off Belgium by 0.15 seconds to take the medal after passable runs from teammates Hideyuki Hirose, Yusuke Ishitsuka and Kazuaki Yoshida. Australia won with a commanding 3-second lead over silver medalist Poland. Another national champion, 800 m specialist Masato Yokota, came up empty handed in a tight race. Winner Sajad Moradi of Iran clocked 1:48.02 with only 0.02 seconds separating the next three runners. Yokota was the unlucky fourth man. While Kanemaru will go on to run in August's World Championships, Yokota's season is now effectively over. Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi was likewise out of luck in the slow and tactical men's 5000 m. Ugachi led the fie

Nishihara Over Kojima for Silver in 5000 m - World University Games Day Five

by Brett Larner 2009 World University Games women's 10000 m gold medalist Kasumi Nishihara of Bukkyo University came back for more on the last day of women's distance competition, outrunning Ritsumeikan University rival Kazue Kojima to take silver in the 5000 m on July 11. Russian Natalia Medvedeva led through the first kilometer before eventual winner Sara Moreira of Portugal took over, running away to a 15:32.78 victory. Nishihara was a distant 2nd in 15:46.95, outkicking Medvedeva who took the bronze in 15:49.60. Kojima, who was undefeated in domestic university competition coming into her senior year, was never a factor as she finished only 7th in a weak 16:03.45. With Nishihara having broken Kojima's 5000 m PB earlier in the season it looks as through the pair are set for a great series of duels over their final year of university competition. In other track events, men's 800 m national champion Masato Yokota advance to the finals, as did the men's 4x400 m rel

Japanese Women Sweep Half Marathon at World University Games (updated)

by Brett Larner Click photo for full-sized version. The women's and men's half marathon kicked off the biggest day of long distance action at the 2009 World University Games , and the Japanese women did what they do best. Josai University's Chisato Saito led Kikuyo Tsuzaki and Sayo Nomura of Meijo University to a Japanese sweep of the women's half marathon. The relatively easy pace played into the hands of Tsuzaki and Nomura, the only runners in the field with PB marks under 72 minutes, but for Saito the win required an A-level effort as she ran just 3 seconds off her PB in 1:13:44. "I didn't expect to win at all, so more than happy I'm just surprised," Saito told reporters after the race. Tsuzaki finished 19 seconds back in 2nd, with Nomura taking 3rd by a margin of 23 seconds over 4th placer Jong-Hyang Kim of North Korea who was more than a minute off the winning time. Asian runners took 9 of the top 11 positions. The men's race was a more balan

Kano Leaves for Albuquerque Sporting Pink Panda Nails translated by Brett Larner Click photo for full-sized version. World Championships women's marathoner Yuri Kano (30, Second Wind AC) left from Tokyo's Narita Airport on July 10 for a high-altitude training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kano said she is in good spirits, and as a good luck charm she had her left thumbnail embossed with a panda. The background color of the design is a hot pink which reminds her of the color of sekihan, a dish Kano eats before each race. "It's almost time!" Kano said, showing plenty of excitement toward her first time on the World Championships' big stage. However, she admitted that after several months of feeling off her best she went to a hospital on July 7 to have blood tests performed. Kano currently plans to remain in the United States until August 18, when she will travel straight to Germany for the World Championships.

Yoshida and Fuchise Pick up Silver - World University Games Day Four

by Brett Larner Hurdler Kazuaki Yoshida led the way for the Japanese team on the fourth day of track and field competition at the 2009 World University Games , scoring a silver in the men's 400 m hurdles behind a dominant performance by Australian Tristan Thomas. Thomas clocked 48.75, over a second faster than Yoshida's 49.78. Masumi Fuchise also took silver in the women's 20 km walk as both she and winner Olga Mikhailova of Russia went under the meet record. Tsukuba University's two entrants in the men's 200 m, Hitoshi Saito and Mitsuhiro Abiko, came up short. Abiko was eliminated in the semifinal, while Saito, obviously in trouble, finished last in the final over two seconds behind the rest of the field. The men's 5000 m heats brought the day to a close. Komazawa University's Tsuyoshi Ugachi advanced to the final on time, running a conservative race after competing in the 10000 m on Wednesday. Star first-year Akinobu Murasawa of Tokai University, the 2008

Governor Hashimoto Hosts Reception for 100 km World Champion Miyasato translated by Brett Larner Osaka Governor Hashimoto hosted a reception at the Osaka Prefectural Office on July 9 for East Osaka resident Yasukaza Miyasato (30). Miyasato, a member of the Izumi-based Ground Self Defence Forces, won the 2009 IAU World Cup in Belgium last month. The Governor told Miyasato, "Your win is Osaka's honor," as he presented the world champion with a handwritten certificate of congratulations. Miyasato covered the 'ultramarathon,' more than twice the distance of a 42.195 km full marathon, in a time of 6:40:43 to take the laurel wreath. After conferring the honors upon Miyasato, Governor Hashimoto recalled his own experience running a different race. "I only ran 3 km, but I couldn't move for a week afterwards. Your achievement is truly incredible." Looking toward his future goals Miyasato said, "I'd like to keep running the 100 km distance until I tur

Kanemaru Takes Gold at World University Games

by Brett Larner Yuzo Kanemaru wins the men's 400 m at the 2009 World University Games. Click photo for larger version. What's in a name? Five-time 400 m national champion Yuzo Kanemaru (Hosei Univ.) scored his first world-level title at the 2009 World University Games on July 9th. Kanemaru, whose name can be translated as 'gold circle,' won his heat in each round before taking the final in 45.68, half a second ahead of Austrian Clemens Zeller and Canadian Daniel Harper. In a post-race interview Kanemaru said, "Winning here was the least of my goals, but I'm still feeling it. I don't need any silver or bronze. To me if it isn't gold it doesn't mean anything. This win opens the door to Worlds." Kanemaru will run the 400 m at next month's World Championships in Berlin and hopes to achieve his goal of a sub-45 clocking this season. Hurdler Kazuaki Yoshida turned in another solid run in the men's 400 m hurdles, finishing 2nd in the semifin

Takahashi and Eriguchi Medal in Belgrade - World University Games Day Two

by Brett Larner Newly-crowned 100 m national champions Momoko Takahashi (Heisei Kokusai Univ.) and Masashi Eriguchi (Waseda Univ.) missed out on gold but brought home medals on the second day of the 2009 World University Games . Both runners started the day with wins in their semifinals, Eriguchi's 10.28 standing as the fastest time run at this year's Games although well off his 10.07 PB at last month's National Championships. Eriguchi's teammate Shintaro Kimura, the Nationals runner-up, was eliminated in his semifinal. Takahashi ran 11.52 in the women's final to take silver behind Lithuanian Lina Grincikaite's 11.31 gold medal run. Eriguchi took bronze in the men's final in a near-photo finish with winner Rolando Palacios Cruz of Honduras and silver medalist Amr Ibrahim Seoud of Egypt. Takahashi, Eriguchi and Kimura will go on to next month's World Championships in Berlin. In the day's other track final, the men's 10000 m, medal hopefuls Ryuji K

Kyuma Sisters Fall Outside Medals at World Youth Games

by Brett Larner The identical twin Kyuma sisters Haruka and Moe made up the Japanese contingent in the girls' 3000 m on the first day of the 2009 World Youth Championships in Sudtirol, Italy. Moe Kyuma, who made a memorable impression with her dynamic performance at January's National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden, challenged the lead pack of Kenyans Purity Cherotich Rionoripo and Jackline Chepngeno and Ethiopians Genet Yalew and Emebet Anteneh. Unable to sustain what was for her and all but eventual winner Rionoripo a PB pace, Kyuma finished one second behind Anteneh in 5th, clocking 9:19.73. Haruka Kyuma, marginally the stronger of the sisters, had a weak showing as she finished second to last in 9:54.49. 2009 World Youth Championships - Top Finishers click division header for complete results Girls' 3000 m 1. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo (Kenya) - 9:03.79 2. Jackline Chepngeno (Kenya) - 9:05.93 - PB 3. Genet Yalew (Ethiopia) - 9:08.95 - PB 4. Emebet Anteneh (Eth

Nishihara Brings Japan First Gold of World University Games

by Brett Larner Just over a week after making the top ten in the Japanese Nationals 10000 m, Bukkyo University ace Kasumi Nishihara brought the Japanese team its first gold medal of the 2009 World University Games , outclassing the field in the women's 10000 m on the first day of track and field competition. The youngest in the field, Nishihara held the best PB coming into the race and ran like it as she beat runner-up Tatiana Shutova of Russia by over 15 seconds to win in a relatively modest 33:14.62. In a post-race interview Nishihara commented, "It was an easy win, so I was pretty surprised. I didn't just want to run in an international meet but to go home with a medal." Meijo University's Seika Nishikawa, the second-fastest woman in the field by PB, was less solid, finishing 4th in 33:56.62. Nishihara will double in the 5000 m, with Nishikawa scheduled to run in the half marathon. Japan's sprinters dominated the first and second round of heats. Five-time

Akaba and Sato to Lead World Half Marathon Team translated by Brett Larner On July 6 Rikuren announced the names of the five men and five women who will make up the Japanese national team for this year's World Half Marathon Championships to be held on Oct. 11 in Birmingham, U.K. Leading the men's team is Beijing Olympics and Berlin World Championships marathoner Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), the half marathon national record holder. The women's team will be headed by Berlin World Championships marathon medal favorite Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), a double Beijing Olympian on the track. For all the athletes chosen for the team, the World Half represents the next step in their careers. 2009 World Half Marathon Championships Team Lineup Men Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) PB - 1:00:25 (Udine '07) - NR 2nd, Jitsugyodan Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese 9th, Sapporo Int'l Half Marathon '09 - top Japanese Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyot