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Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Announces Elite Field

by Brett Larner

On Jan. 17 the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon announced the domestic and international elite fields for the event's 57th running on Feb. 3. Although Beppu-Oita, or Betsudai as the race is colloquially known, has in the past sometimes served as a selection race for world-level competitions, its absence from the pool of Beijing Olympics selection races means that this year's domestic elite field is comparatively limited.

The Japanese elite field includes only four athletes. Team Kanebo's Michitane Noda is the most experienced of the group, holding a PB of 2:09:58 from the 2003 Fukuoka International Marathon. Noriyuki Mizuguchi of Team Otsuka Seiyaku will be trying to improve on his PB of 2:14:26. The remaining two domestic competitors, Team Nissin's Kenta Oshima and Team Fujitsu's Takayuki Ota, are fast half-marathoners who will be debuting at the full marathon distance in Betsudai.

The overseas elite field is slightly larger at seven runners. The top entrant is four-time Chunchon Marathon winner Elijah Mutai of Kenya. Los Angeles Marathon winner Mark Yatich, also of Kenya, will be another contender. Both Kenyans have PBs in the 2:09 range. Two-time World Championships marathon runner Ruggero Pertile of Italy will also be trying to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and should be a factor. Other foreign elites include Rachid Kisri of Morocco, Scott Westcott of Australia, John Kabia of Kenya, and 20 year old Asheber Girma of Ethiopia in his overseas race debut.

A complete listing of the elite field is available here.

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


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translated and edited by Brett Larner