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Quotes From the Fukuoka International Marathon Pre-Race Press Conference

Video interviews with Samuel Wanjiru, Toshinari Takaoka, Atsushi Fujita, Shigeru Aburaya and Atsushi Fujita are available at:

http://www.kbc.co.jp/sports/f-marathon2007/

Click on each line of text in the central box to the right of the five pictures to see the videos. Japanese language only. A separate text article:

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=spo_30&k=2007113000760

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The invited elite runners for Sunday`s Olympic qualifying Fukuoka International Marathon gathered on Nov. 30 for the event`s pre-race press conference. Some quotes from the conference:

"I am going for a 2:06. I am quite confident about it." -Samuel Wanjiru, 1/2 marathon world record holder and marathon debutant

"When I lost four years ago at the selection race for Athens I thought I wouldn`t have another one. I am happy to be here to have a chance to compete." -Toshinari Takaoka, Japanese national marathon record holder

"I have good karma in Fukuoka [having m…

On to Beijing! Atsushi Sato Ready for Fukuoka International Marathon

http://www.sanspo.com/tohoku/top/th200711/th2007112805.html

translated by Brett Larner

A major talent looks set to finally bloom. Having set a new Japanese national half-marathon record of 1:00:25 in October, Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) of Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, says, "Doing something like that gives me a lot of confidence, but at the same time it puts a lot of expectation on me. If I don`t do well [in Fukuoka] a lot of people are going to criticize me. I have to do well." With this delicate balance of confidence and pressure, Sato heads into the Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec. 2.

During his days at Waseda University Sato set the then Japanese student marathon record of 2:09:50 in his debut marathon. Since that time he has made a name as a star corporate ekiden runner but has not lived up to the same potential in the marathon, finishing only 10th in the 2003 Paris World Championships.

Sato trained for last year`s Biwako Marathon at a high-altitude t…

Team Chugoku Denryoku`s Aces Aburaya and Sato Face Off in Fukuoka in Bid for Beijing Ticket

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/sports/Sp200711280135.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The first of the selection races for the Japanese men`s Beijing Olympics marathon team takes place Dec. 2 at the Fukuoka International Marathon. The elite field includes two runners from Team Chugoku Denryoku, Shigeru Aburaya and Atsushi Sato. The team`s coach Yasushi Sakaguchi says, "Whoever wins Fukuoka will probably be going on to the Olympics. Only one person can win, so I don`t want the two of them to have any bad blood." This will be a rare occasion to see two runners from Team Chugoku Denryoku facing each other in a world-class event.

Aburaya`s High-Mileage Preparation Going Well
To make the Olympic team, Aburaya has been training to win. "There is only one chance, if I lose that`s it. Whoever I find myself running against, I won`t lose." Aburaya decided to race Fukuoka after hearing that not only Sato but also national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo…

Overseas Elites Arrive in Fukuoka One By One

http://www.asahi.com/sports/update/1128/SEB200711280012.html

translated by Brett Larner

One by one, invited athletes from overseas are arriving in Fukuoka for the Dec. 2nd running of the 61st Fukuoka International Marathon sponsored by Rikuren, The Asahi Newspaper Group and others. On Nov. 28th, Athens Olympics eighth place finisher Alberto Chaica (Portugal) arrived. He is the third of the four invited overseas elite runners to arrive in Fukuoka`s Athlete Village.

Chaica arrived at Fukuoka Airport today at approximately 4:25 p.m. It is his second time in Japan and his first time to run the Fukuoka International Marathon. He told reporters, "I`m well-rested, injury-free and feeling good. I want to win."

The field in the all-male race includes Japanese national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo), course record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) and four other domestic elites. All invited runners are scheduled to arrive in the Athlete Village by Nov. 29th.

Tergat Withdraws From Fukuoka Due to `Special Military Training` Requirement

http://www.asahi.com/sports/update/1127/SEB200711270019.html?ref=rss

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The Fukuoka International Marathon announced today that former world record holder Paul Tergat (Kenya) has withdrawn from this Sunday`s race. His agent told race organizers that the Kenyan Army, of which Tergat is a member, called him up unexpectedly for special training and that he will not be able to come to Japan.

Tergat set the world record of 2:04:55 in Berlin `03. In September this year at Berlin, Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) broke the 4-year old record. Japanese fans were eagerly anticipating Tergat`s appearance in Fukuoka which was to be his first marathon in Japan.

Tergat said, "Unfortunately I cannot make it due to the Army`s program. I hope I will be invited again next year and I intend to win then."

Translator`s note: The Japanese source article specifies `rikugun` which translates as `ground forces` or `army` rather than `air force.`

Japanese Men`s Marathon Olympic Selection Race Preview

by Brett Larner

The Japanese men`s Olympic marathon team selection process continues this Sunday with the Fukuoka International Marathon. This article, the second in a series, will preview the Japanese Olympic selection process, the selection races, and the main contenders.

The Selection Process
In theory the top Japanese finisher in each of the selection races will be named to the Beijing Olympic team, with an overall win in one of the selection races guaranteeing a spot. In reality, Rikuren takes into account factors including finish time, conditions, and the presence of foreign competition in making their decisions on national team membership, often with surprising and controversial results. Unlike the women`s team, no Japanese man earned a slot on the team by medaling at the 2007 Osaka World Championships. This leaves three races to determine the three slots, the Fukuoka International Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon, and the Biwako Mainichi Marathon. As a result there is slightly less p…

Simon 1st, Shimahara 2nd, Nagata 5th at Toray Shanghai Marathon

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20071125i5z2.htm?from=main5

translated by Brett Larner

This summer`s Osaka World Championships women`s marathon 6th place finisher Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) finished 2nd in 2:35:41 at the Nov. 25 Toray Shanghai Marathon. The marathon course started from Shanghai`s Nanjing Road Century Plaza. 2000 Sydney Olympics silver medalist Lidia Simon (Romania) won the race in a course record time of 2:29:28.

In the men`s race, Sammy Kipkoech (Kenya) won in 2:13:01, while Japan`s Koichiro Nagata (F.R.A.) ran 2:16:22 to finish 5th in his debut marathon.

Translator`s note: Lidia Simon also beat Shimahara in the Osaka World Championships, finishing in 5th place only 14 seconds ahead of Shimahara.

Sekiya Sets Asian 24-Hour Record at Togo International Ultramarathon

http://www.nikkei.co.jp/news/main/20071125STXKA005625112007.html

translated by Brett Larner

Asia`s most prestigious 24-hour ultramarathon, the Togo International Ultramarathon in Taipei, took place from Nov. 24 to 25 on Togo University`s 400 m track. Ryoichi Sekiya of Kanagawa Prefecture won the men`s race, while Sumie Inagaki of Aichi Prefecture and Yuko Okiyama of Tokyo took first and third in the women`s race.

Sekiya shattered the Asian record by 3 km, setting a new mark of 275.684 km. Inagaki ran a total of 232.920 km.

Wanjiru Sets Stage Record to Lead Team Toyota Kyushu to Ekiden Victory

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/20071124/20071124_002.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

After two years of losses, Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu won the 44th running of the Kyushu Jitsugyodan Mainichi Ekiden on Nov. 23. Team Toyota covered the seven-stage, 79.7 km course from Fukuoka to Kita-Kyushu in a time of 3:53:37 to seal its victory. Team Toyota`s ace runner Samuel Wanjiru set a new stage record on the fourth leg, and former Juntendo Unversity and Hakone Ekiden `God of the Mountains` Masato Imai made his Team Toyota debut by scoring the stage best on the anchor leg. Team Kyudenko were 52 seconds behind, with Team Yasukawa Denki finishing third. Team Asahi Kasei came a disappointing fourth, the lowest placing in their history. The top seven teams qualified for the All-Japan Jitsugyodan Ekiden on Jan. 1 in Gunma Prefecture.

Imai broke the goal tape with his right hand raised hesitantly. The real celebration came 57 seconds later. Second place finishers Team Kyudenko had been stopp…

Akaba: From Besting Ndereba to the Olympics

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2007/11/24/0000749007.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Japan won the first mixed male and female team edition of the International Chiba Ekiden on Nov. 23 in a time of 2:05:56. Osaka World Championships participant Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) ran the second-fastest time on the 5 km second stage of the ekiden, covering the course in 15:34. Anchor Yukiko Akaba (28, Team Hokuren), received the tasuki on the 7.195 km final stage just 4 seconds back from Osaka World Championships women`s marathon gold medallist Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) but passed her well before the goal. Akaba, who gave birth to daughter Yuna in August last year, is planning to run the 10000 m in the Beijing Olympics.

The `running mama` took a big step toward the gold medal in Beijing. Starting 4 seconds behind, Akaba pulled even with Catherine the Great after only 760 m and quickly pulled away to run alone to the finish. "When I got the tasuki with no real gap behind Ndereba I thought, …

Japan Wins 2007 International Chiba Ekiden

by Brett Larner - photography by Jason Lawrence - video by Mika Tokairin(click stage headers for video)

Host nation Japan won the 19th edition of the International Chiba Ekiden in its first running with mixed male and female teams. Thirteen national teams, a Chiba Prefectural team and a Japanese university all-star team competed over the six-stage 42.195 km course in cloudless, cold and windy conditions.
First Stage - Men, 5 km Ed Moran (USA) took the lead from the start in Chiba Prefectural Sogo Stadium, followed closely by Japanese university star runner Yuichiro Ueno. After just a few hundred meters Moses Masai (Kenya) moved up to the lead, opening a slight gap on the pack with only Ueno and Moran following. Ueno moved next to Masai at the exit from the stadium and the two continued to duel for the next 2 km, with Moran and Sergey Ivanov (Russia) just steps behind. Masai made his move at the 3 km point, dropping Ueno and steadily pulling away. Moran likewise dropped Ivanov and ran w…

Noguchi Begins Preparation for Beijing Olympic Gold

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/top/sp200711/sp2007112002.html

translated by Brett Larner

The morning after winning the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon in a course record time of 2:21:37, Mizuki Noguchi (29, Team Sysmex), was still in Tokyo for interviews about her plans for becoming the first woman to repeat as Olympic gold medallist.

Noguchi achieved victory in large part thanks to the strength of her muscular thighs. The day before, Noguchi became the first woman to break 17 minutes on the course`s severe uphill from 35 km to 40 km, running 16:56. She showed the strength and spirit which will be necessary for a win in Beijing. She said, "I want to do the kind of training that will help me find a new level."

The night before winning her first full marathon after 2 years away from the event, Noguchi was in a bar drinking champagne with her coach Nobuyuki Fujita. Noguchi doesn`t drink much, but said, "This alcohol reminds me of the feeling I had after [setting the Japanes…

397 Under 70 Minutes: The 20th Ageo City Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

While the NCAA XC Championships were taking place an ocean away, the final qualification race for the de facto Japanese university championships was happening northwest of Tokyo at the Ageo City Half Marathon in Ageo, Saitama.

The Japanese university running world revolves around the legendary Hakone Ekiden, a ten-stage relay race held every year on Jan. 2 and 3rd. The top nineteen university teams in eastern Japan plus a compilation team of ace runners from schools which do not make the top nineteen race from downtown Tokyo to the mountaintop lakeside resort town of Hakone and back in front of hundreds of thousands of courseside spectators and the largest television audience of any event or program in Japan. If you are a young male runner in Japan then getting to run in Hakone is the absolute highlight of your life and something which anyone in Japan, runner or non-runner, will respect for the rest of your life.

The fall university season in Japan is built up of ekidens …

Top Runners Ogata and Fukushi Coming Together for First Mixed-Team Chiba International Ekiden

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/top/sp200711/sp2007111405.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

On Nov. 13, the JAAF announced the runners for the Nov. 23 Chiba International Ekiden, an event which will see the top runners in the world handing off the tasuki. This year the ekiden will feature mixed teams of male and female runners for the first time. Men will be running odd-numbered legs. The Japanese team will include Osaka World Championships marathon 5th place finisher Tsuyoshi Ogata (34, Team Chugoku Denryoku; pictured top right) and university star runners Kensuke Takezawa (21, Waseda University) and Yuichiro Ueno (22, Chuo University). Women will run even-numbered legs, with stars like Osaka World Championships 10000 m representative Kayoko Fukushi (25, Team Wacoal) appearing as team members.

The Chiba International Ekiden is a historic event which is changing format this year. Elite runners whom Japan will proudly present are gathering in Chiba for the race. With this eli…

Noguchi Wins Tokyo in Course Record 2:21:37 (updated)

by Brett Larner

Defending Olympic marathon gold medalist and Japanese national record holder Mizuki Noguchi staged a major comeback on an unexpectedly hot, sunny and windy day after two injury-plagued years away from the marathon, winning the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon in 2:21:37, breaking the eight year-old course record by 35 seconds and marking the second-fastest time in the world so far this year.

Noguchi took the lead from the starting gun and controlled the race over the entire distance. Other runners tried to take turns in front but apart from brief attacks by Yoko Shibui at the 7, 10, 15 and 20 km water stations and by Salina Kosgei of Kenya at the 22.8 and 26 km points, Noguchi never allowed anybody to step in front of her. A lead pack of eight runners quickly dwindled and by the 15 km water station only Shibui and Kosgei remained with Noguchi, running into a moderate headwind.

The three passed halfway in 1:11:16 and ran together until the 30 km point when Noguchi drop…

A Preview of the Japanese Women`s Olympic Marathon Team Selection Race Series

by Brett Larner

The second phase of the qualification process for Japan`s Beijing Olympic marathon team gets underway this Sunday with the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon. Unlike the American one race, one chance selection system, the Japanese selection process includes four races to determine the three team members and alternates. In this, the first of a series of articles to appear over the next four months, we will preview the selection process, events, and major contenders for the women`s Olympic marathon team.

The Selection Process
In theory the top Japanese finisher in each of the selection races will be named to the team, with an overall win in one of the selection races almost guaranteeing a spot. In reality, however, the JAAF takes into account factors including finish time, conditions, and the presence of foreign competition in making their decisions on national team membership, often with surprising and controversial results. Expectations for the team are extremely high w…

Team Tenmaya`s Mika Hikichi Shoots for PB at Tokyo International Women`s Marathon

http://www.sanyo.oni.co.jp/sanyonews/2007/11/16/2007111608312197005.html

Team Tenmaya`s Mika Hikichi is scheduled to run in the 1st of the qualification races for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon on Nov. 18. Athens Olympics gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) and former Japanese national record holder Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) are the heavy favorites and expected to lead the way, but Hikichi is unconcerned. "I want to run my own race under my own power." At age 25, Hikichi is the youngest of the 5 elite domestic women scheduled to run.

Hikichi`s preparation for this, her 3rd full marathon, has been steady and solid. She ran the Hokkaido Marathon on Sept. 9 as a training run for Tokyo, finishing 4th and running a tough 2:36:15 despite temperatures in the 30`s. Hikichi felt her time in Hokkaido was irrelevant. "The important thing I gained from that race was experience and confidence from running well in such h…

Ekiden Runner Tosa Leaves for Kunming Training Camp and Wishes Teammate Shibui Good Luck

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/top/sp200711/sp2007111607.html

Beijing Olympic marathon team member Reiko Tosa (31, Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) left Japan on November 15 to train at altitude in Kunming, China for December`s All-Japan Jitsugyodan Women`s Ekiden.

Since winning the bronze medal in the Osaka World Championships Tosa has been suffering from fatigue and low blood pressure, perhaps lingering effects of the hot and humid conditions at the Championships. Interviewed at Narita Airport, Tosa said, "My body has been so tired lately and I just can`t run well. I want to run as a member of the ekiden team but I need to get through this bad state first."

Tosa`s teammate Yoko Shibui will be running the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon on November 18 in an attempt to join her on the Olympic team. Tosa described Shibui as "...in incredibly good shape, and I think she`s also in the right state of mind to win."

At Age 29, Going for a Comeback and Talking to Her Body, Mizuki Noguchi Ready for the 2007 Tokyo International Women`s Marathon

http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/TKY200711130086.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner

The golden singlet Mizuki Noguchi wears is fading into the sunset in the mountains of Kunming, China. A 40 km run at the end of October. Her training is almost at completion.

At last April`s London Marathon, race organizers presented defending Olympic gold medalists Stefano Baldini of Italy and Mizuki Noguchi of Japan with golden singlets. Baldini wore his singlet during the race but Noguchi was not able to compete due to an injury to her left Achilles tendon which she suffered in January. She missed the opportunity to display this gift in a race and it became part of her training wear.

Noguchi was also unable to run Berlin last year because of an unrelated injury to her left leg. This weekend`s Tokyo International Women`s Marathon will be her first marathon in 2 years, her first since setting the Japanese national record of 2:19:12 at the `05 Berlin. "I was shocked because I have never …

Chiba International Ekiden to Become Mixed Event for First Time

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/071113/oth0711131823002-n1.htm

translated by Brett Larner

The JAAF today released the team entry lists for this year`s Chiba International Ekiden, to be held November 23rd at the Chiba Prefectural Sogo Sport Center Stadium. The strong Japanese team includes Osaka World Championships marathon 5th place finisher Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku), the great young hopes of the Japanese distance running world Kensuke Takezawa (Waseda University) and Yuichiro Ueno (Chuo University), and Japanese national 5000 m and half-marathon record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal).

The format of this race has been revised in its 19th edition to feature mixed teams of men and women running together for the first time. The sight of leaders such as Ogata and Fukushi running together on the same team and passing the tasuki [sash] to each other will be a first in the Japanese distance running scene.

Last year`s men`s and women`s winners Kenya will be returning again …

IAAF Error: Takayuki Matsumiya Not Scheduled to Run Fukuoka

http://iaaf.org/news/kind=2/newsid=42368.html#tergat+wanjiru+fukuoka+marathon

-----This IAAF article incorrectly reports that 30 km world record holder Takayuki Matsumiya, who this summer set the Japanese national 5000 m record and holds the fastest marathon performance of the year so far by a Japanese man with his 2nd place 2:10:04 finish at Rotterdam, will be running next month`s Fukuoka International Marathon. Japanese media, such as this article:

http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?key=&k=200711/2007111100088&rel=j&g=spo

are reporting that Takayuki Matsumiya is aiming for the 10,000 m in Beijing and thus will not run in Fukuoka or any of the other Japanese Olympic marathon team selection races. His identical twin brother Yuko Matsumiya, who holds a PB of 2:09:18, will be running Fukuoka.

Wanjiru to Debut at Fukuoka International Marathon on December 2nd

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local/20071113/20071113_001.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

The elite field for the first of the Beijing Olympic marathon qualifying races, December`s Fukuoka International Marathon, was announced yesterday. Domestic contenders include the 2:06:16 Japanese national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo), the 2000 Fukuoka winner Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) who set the then-national and still course record of 2:06:51, Atsushi Sato and Shigeru Aburaya (both of Team Chugoku Denryoku) and 6 other invited runners. Identical twins Takayuki and Muneyuki Kojima and Masaya Shimizu (all of Team Asahi Kasei) are also slated to run. Overseas entrants include Paul Tergat of Kenya, the all-time second-fastest marathoner with a personal best of 2:04:55. Japanese resident Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru (Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu) will be running his first marathon. Although this will be Wanjiru`s first time covering the 42.195 km distance, the half-marathon world recor…

Tergat, Wanjiru, Takaoka, Fujita and Aburaya Headline Fukuoka Field

http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/news/20071113k0000m050056000c.html

translated by Brett Larner

The JAAF today announced the 11-member elite field for the 61st Fukuoka International Marathon to be held December 2nd. Fukuoka is the first of the selection races for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Japanese men`s marathon team. Japanese national record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo), course record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), Athens Olympic marathon 5th place finisher Shigeru Aburaya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and others will try to book their Olympic ticket.

Takaoka ran the Nagano Marathon in April as a comeback following injury, placing 7th in 2:15:00. 4 years ago he failed to make the Athens Olympic team when he finished 3rd in his qualifying race. Considering his age, 37, this is Takaoka`s last chance to make an Olympic team. Fujita won the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon in February. In the 10 months since then he has focused all his training on Fukuoka. Aburaya did not make the team f…

Naoko Takahashi Back From "Q`s Boot Camp"

http://www.daily.co.jp/general/2007/11/11/0000735850.shtml

translated by Brett Larner

Sydney Olympic marathon gold medallist and Beijing Olympic hopeful Naoko Takahashi returned to Japan yesterday after 6 months of altitude training at her base camp in Boulder, Colorado. Inspired by the popular "Billy`s Boot Camp" series of exercise videos, Takahashi (known in Japan as Q-chan) joked that her recent training could be called "Q`s Boot Camp" due to its heavy emphasis on cross-training exercises and weight training. Takahashi will attempt to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics at either January`s Osaka International Women`s Marathon or March`s Nagoya International Women`s Marathon. The deadline for entering Osaka is December 12. Takahashi will spend a short time in Japan before heading to Kunming, China for further altitude training.

Touching her abs while talking, Q-chan described "Q`s Boot Camp" as consisting of a customized, daily 80-minute regimen of exerc…

Mizuki Noguchi Returns From Kunming "Very Excited" for Tokyo International Women`s Marathon

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/tochu/article/2007110801000640.html

translated by Brett Larner

Athens Olympic marathon gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi returned to Japan today, arriving at Kansai International Airport in Osaka after spending several weeks at a training camp in Kunming, China in preparation for her Beijing Olympic bid at next week`s Tokyo International Women`s Marathon. Asked about her condition, Noguchi replied "I am very excited and 100% prepared for this race."

In Tokyo, Noguchi will face former Japanese national record holder Yoko Shibui and Hiromi Ominami, who was on the same flight from Kunming as Noguchi. Noguchi set the Japanese national record of 2:19:12 at the 2005 Berlin Marathon but has not run a marathon since then due to a series of accidents. She says that her comeback race will not be a guaranteed victory. "With rivals like these running it`s not going to be an easy race. Shibui and Ominami both look like they are in great shape so I expect the pac…

Yoko Shibui Breaks 7-Year Old 10 km Ekiden Stage Record in Final Tune-Up Before Tokyo International Women`s Marathon

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/p-sp-tp0-20071104-278688.html

translated by Brett Larner

Yoko Shibui displayed peak form before her attempt to make the Beijing Olympic team at the Tokyo International Women`s Marathon. On the 10 km 3rd stage of the East Japan Jitsugyodan Women`s Ekiden Shibui broke her personal stage best by 3 seconds, running 31:06 to take the top spot away from rivals Dai-Ichi Seimei and lead Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo to its 8th straight East Japan victory.

Shibui showed both the strength and speed she will need to beat Athens Olympic gold medallist, and current Japanese national record holder Mizuki Noguchi in Tokyo to make the Olympic team. She started the stage in 2nd place, passed Dai-Ichi Seimei`s Ozaki near the 5 km point, and finished the stage 0:44 ahead of Ozaki. Shibui`s previous best mark on the 3rd stage was set in `00; her new best is just 0:05 short of the stage record of 31:01 (Phyllis, Hokuren). After her run Shibui said "I didn`t do any ekiden train…