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Entry Lists for National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden Released

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/article.php?mid=P2008122200197&genre=L1&area=K00

translated by Brett Larner

On Dec. 22 the entry lists were released for the 47 prefectural teams which will compete at the 27th National Interprefectural Women's Ekiden on Jan. 11 in Kyoto. Beijing Olympics women's marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Okayama Pref.) will defend her stage best title from last year's 1st leg, while Beijing Olympics steeplechase runner Minori Hayakari (Kyoto Pref.) will take part in the ekiden for the 20th time. Sydney Olympics women's marathon 7th place finisher Eri Yamaguchi will act as head coach for the Okayama Prefecture team.

Athens and Beijing Olympian Kayoko Fukushi (Aomori Pref.) will be running for the first time in 3 years. In her last appearance Fukushi ran as anchor of the Kyoto Prefecture team, but due to a rule change at the 2008 edition of the ekiden will now be able to run for her hometown Aomori Prefecture team after a 5-year absence. Fukushi's Beijing 5000 m teammate Yuriko Kobayashi will return to run for the Hyogo Prefecture team after winning the 2nd leg stage best title last time.

2007 World Championships 10000 m runner Megumi Kinukawa (Tokyo) will run the Interprefectural Ekiden for the first time. Other members of the 2007 World Championships national team who will run the ekiden include Kayo Sugihara and Yoshika Tatsumi, both of Shimane Prefecture, 800 m specialist Ayako Jinnouchi (Saga Pref.), and women's marathon 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Yamaguchi Pref.).

2008 Tokyo International Women's Marathon runner-up Yuri Kano (Hyogo Pref.) will make her first appearance in the ekiden in 4 years. Takako Yamada, formerly Takako Kotorida, (Hiroshima Pref.) will also return after a 4-year absence for childbirth.

The ekiden will feature many top student runners alongside the professionals. 2008 National University 10000 m champion Michi Numata (Kyoto Pref.) and other members of All-Japan University Women's Ekiden champion team Ritsumeikan University will take part, as will team members from national runner-up Bukkyo University and 3rd place Meijo University.

Four Japanese members of the Toyokawa High School team, which won its first national ekiden title at the Dec. 21 National High School Girls Ekiden, will run on the Aichi Prefecture team. 5 members of Toyokawa's rival Kojokan High School, including this year's National High School Girls Ekiden 1st stage winner Rei Obara, will run for the Okayama Prefecture team. Last year's Interprefectural Ekiden runner-up Hyogo Prefecture will include 7 members of National High School Girls Ekiden 4th place team Suma Gakuen High School on its squad. Top individual finishers in last week's National Junior High School Girls Ekiden will also run on many of the prefectural teams.

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