Many runners are vying for a spot on the Japanese World Cross-Country team.
This Sunday, the 46th annual Chiba International Cross-Country Race is scheduled to take place in the city of Chiba, Japan. It will serve as one of the qualifiers for the World Cross-Country Championships next month.
In the men’s race, it’s expected to come down to three runners: Yuki Sato, Yuichiro Ueno, Yusei Nakao, and Satoru Kitamura. Of the three, Sato has the fastest 10,000m time (27:38), which he ran in 2009. He, along with Ueno, have represented their country in three previous world championships.
Another contender, Yusei Nakao, is the son of Takayuki Nakao, who was the first Japanese runner to break the 2:20 barrier in the marathon.
However, the ultimate winner may not hail from Japan. The race is hosting several Kenyans who are running for various Japanese corporate teams. Bidan Karoki won the 2009 edition of the Chiba Cross-Country race. He went to high school in Japan.
In the women’s race, the invited Japanese runners are Hitomi Niiya, Kazue Kojima, Tomoka Inadomi, and Hanae Tanaka. Niiya and Kojima have experience on the world stage, having previously competed in several world cross-country championships.
For More: IAAF