A trio of runners with sub-2:24 credentials are among the entrants at the Yokohama Women's Marathon on 20 November.
For local runners, this IAAF Silver Label Road Race has added importance, as it's one of three official Japanese qualifying races for next Summer's Olympic Games in London. The other Two are Osaka in January and Nagoya in March, both Silver Label Road Races as well.
The fastest among the Japanese is Yoshimi Ozaki, whose 2:23:30 career best was set in 2008 in Tokyo. Ozaki has contested two marathons this year, winning in Yokohama in February with a near-PB 2:23:56, and more recently finished a distant 13th at the World Championships in Daegu. the 30-year-old is seeking her first Olympic team berth.
The international notables include Mara Yamauchi of Great Britain, the sixth place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games. Yamauchi's best race came in London in 2009, where she finished second clocking 2:23:12.
The top Kenyan expected in Yokohama is Salina Kosgei, the tenth place finisher in Beijing. The 34-year-old has twice run under 2:24, with her fastest of 2:23:22 coming with her runner-up finish in Berlin in 2006.
Robe Guta, 25, is the leading Ethiopian in the field. Still just 25, her best of 2:24:35 was set in Hamburg in 2006, but more recently she took top honours at the Dong-A Seoul Marathon last March in 2:26:51.
Other Japanese in the field include Kaoru Nagao, who ran her 2:26:11 personal best this year, also in Yokohama, and Chika Horie, whose 2:26:11 best dates back to 2002.
The Olympic qualifying A standard is 2:37:00, and the B standard is 2:43:00, although many federations often set their own, tighter performance standard.
The Elite Field, with personal bests:
Yoshimi Ozaki, 2:23:30, 2008 Tokyo
Chika Horie, 2:26:11, 2002 Hokkaido
Kaoru Nagao, 2:26:58, 2011 Yokohama (Feb)
Mika Okunaga, 2:27:16, 2009 Osaka
Ryoko Kizaki, 2:27:34, 2010 Osaka
Mayumi Fujita, 2:29:36, 2010 Nagoya
Kaori Yoshida, 2:29:45, 2010 Chicago
Mara Yamauchi (GBR), 2:23:12, 2009 London
Salina Kosgei (KEN), 2:23:22, 2006 Berlin
Robe Guta (ETH), 2:24:35, 2006 Hamburg
Alevtina Ivanova (RUS), 2:26:38, 2008 Nagano
Kateryna Stetsenko (UKR), 2:27:51, 2010 Dublin
Louise Damen (GBR), 2:30:00, 2011 London
Rene Kalmer (RSA), 2:34:47, 2011 Praha
Other notable Japanese:
Hiroko Miyauchi, 2:32:20, 2009 Yokohama
Eri Hayakawa, 2:28:11, 2004 Honolulu
Yuka Izumi, 2:33:05, 2011 Yokohama
Yoko Miyauchi, 2:33:36, 2010 Nagoya
Bob Ramsak and Ken Nakamura for the IAAF