If you spend any time looking at the covers of the Running Network publications, or the Shooting Star Media, Inc. publications, you have noted the excellent pictures of Victor Sailer and his team at PhotoRun.NET.
Victah and his wife, Lisa Coniglio, travel the world, covering many of the top events on the world circuilt. Victah supplied us with this preview of the oldest marathon in Japan, the sixty third annual Lake Biwa Marathon, to be held on March 2, 2008:
2007 World Marathon Championshipâ€™s Silver Medalist, Mubarek Shami(QAT) headlines Japanâ€™s Oldest Marathon, 63rd Lake Biwa Marathon this Sunday, March 2. Shami hopes to return to his winning ways, as he has won all of his other mararthon competitions, 2007 Paris Marathon, 2006 Asian Games Marathon and the 2006 Prague Marathon prior to his silver in nearby Osaka. But he is most famous in finishing second at the 2005 World Half Marathon Championships. Afterwards, Shami admitted: “I was thinking I had won the race. But I’m not disappointed. Competition is like that, and I’m very happy with my silver medal.” Fabiano Joseph who pipped Shami at the finishline said “Shami celebrated too early, and I was very happy to finish first.”
Shami has been training well in Iten, Kenya with famous Italian coach, Renato Canova who had World Champion Saif Shaheen(QAT) return to training in the past week. Like Shaheen, the former Stephen Cherono, Shami, who competed for Kenya as Richard Yator looks very fit to lower his personal best set in Paris last April, 2:07.15. Shami will be challenged by 2006 Fukuoka Marathon Champion, Dmytro Baranovsky(UKR) who ran his personal best in his only Japanese appearance, 2:07.19. Baranovsky looks to have a better 2008 season as he was disappointed with poor showings in 2007 Marathons at Vienna and a DNF in the 2007 ING/NYC Marathon.
They will be challenged by Jose Rios(ESP), Lee Troop(AUS), Pablo Olmedo(MEX) and Yared Asmeron(ERI), but more importantly on the local side is see if any of the Japanese Men can secure an Olympic Berth in Beijing as this is final marathon to qualify for the Japanese Menâ€™s Olympic Marathon team. The men will have almost perfect conditions on Sunday, as the weather is expected to be around 9C/48F at the start and the finish 11C/52F with minimal winds. This could help Satoshi Osaki(JAP), Tomoyuki Sat(JAP), Kensuke Takahashi(JAP, Tomohiro Seto(JAP), Takehisa Okino(JAP), Yusuke Kataoka(JAP), Mitsuru Kubota(JAP) and Yuki Abe(JAP) hope for the same exciting race that fellow countryman, Arata Fugiwara(JAP) who only 2 weeks ago at the Tokyo Marathon ran well enough to insure a ticket to Beijing.
However, the Marathon Mad Japanese have all eyes on Naoko Takahashi who arrived home in the last 24hrs and shifted most of the press and tv coverage to next weeks Nagoya International Womanâ€™s Marathon. Takahashi, the Sydney Olympic gold medalist will look to secure a place on Japan’s team for the Beijing Olympics at next Sundayâ€™s(March 9th)Nagoya International Women’s Marathon. Takahashi won Nagoya in 1998 and 2000 before becoming the first Japanese woman to win a gold medal in an Olympic athletics event. The Nagoya race is the final Olympic marathon qualifying event for Japanese women. Takahashi will need to win the race with a better time than Tomo Morimoto’s 2:25:34 from the 2008 Osaka Ladies marathon.
Lake Biwa is an ancient lake, an â€œAncient Lakeâ€ is over 100,000 years old, Lake Biwa is 400,000 years old and only about 10 â€œAncient Lakesâ€ exist in the world today.
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