With most attention in the International Team Challenge women’s race at Monday Bolder-Boulder 10K focused on an expected battle among the USA, Ethiopian, and Kenyan teams, the Japanese women are looking to put themsleves in the mix and make it to the Top 3 podium. Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal/adidas) heads up the team, with a stellar resume that includes the Asian record in the half-marathon (67:26), the Japanese record at 5,000m (14:53.22), a 30:51.81 PB for 10,000m, and a 3rd place finish at last year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon (2:24:38). Kayoko will be doubling at the 5/10 in next months’ Japan national championships/Olympic Trials. Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC/Mizuno) has been rocketing up the charts the past 12 months – at the 2011 Berlin Marathon in September she improved her marathon PB from 2:35:24 to 2:28:49 for 9th place, and then in February jumped another big step with 2:26:08 for 4th place at the Tokyo Marathon. Last weekend Eri was 3rd at the Gifu Seiryu Half-Marathon, a race won by Boulder Wave athlete Rene Kalmer (Nedbank/adidas). The third member on Team Japan is Yuko Watanabe, who finished 11th at last year’s Bolder-Boulder, followed a month later by a 32:27.89 PB.
At Bolder-Boulder, the big prize money is in the Team Challenge. While money extends to the top 10 finishers, including $3,000 for the victory, the team prizes begin at $15,000 for 1st, $10,000 for 2nd, and $7,000 for 3rd.
The International Team Challenge women’s start is at 11:00 a.m. Monday, with the men going off 11 monutes later. The race winds through Boulder’s streets before finishing at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field, where many of the estimated 54,000 runners from the citizens’ race will be on hand for the elite finish and the day’s Memorial Day services.
Eri Okubo and Kayoko Fukushi are represented by Boulder Wave. There other athletes rerpesented by Boulder Wave … Adriana Nelson (ASICS), Patrick Rizzo (Mizuno), Kenyon Neuman… will run for the Colorado teams (article tomorrow). Also Nuta Olaru (ASICS) and Lidia Simon (ASICS) will run in the citizens’ race, which begins at 7:00 a.m.
Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) won the Ichinoseki Half-Marathon in Japan on Sunday in a new Personal Best and Course Record of 71:22. Eri took more than three minutes off her eight-year old PB of 74:27, set when she was 2nd at the 2003 Nagoya Half-Marathon. The new PB comes just three weeks after her breakthrough 2:28:49 PB at the BMW Berlin Marathon. Eri will train at altitude in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from early November with a target of the December 11th Honolulu Marathon.