translated by Brett Larner
On Mar. 31 the organizing committee of the 11th Nagano Olympics Commemorative Marathon announced the elite athletes for this year's race to be held on Apr. 19. Running Nagano for the third time, 2005 men's winner Isaac Macharia (Kenya) will be back to look for his second Nagano win, while two-time Olympic track gold medalist Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) will lead the women's race.
Tulu won the gold medal in the 10000 m at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She won the 2001 London Marathon and set her PB of 2:23:30 while finishing 4th at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. At 37 she is facing the effects of age but is still competitve, finishing 9th at last year's Tokyo International Women's Marathon in 2:36.47.
Macharia won the 2005 edition of Nagano in 2:10:59 and took 3rd in 2006 with a time of 2:12:44. At the 2007 Dubai Marathon he was 2nd in 2:07:16. Other men in the field include Simon Wangai (Kenya) with a best of 2:10:07 from the 2008 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and sub-2:10 runner Michitane Noda (Team Kanebo). Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated runner is Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei High School), who set the Nagano Prefecture citizen's marathon record of 2:12:10 in his landslide victory in the Hokkaido Marathon last year.
Tulu's competitors in the women's field include Beijing Olympics 7th place finisher Irina Timofeyeva (Russia), who at age 39 is likewise a veteran but who ran her PB of 2:24:14 only last spring in Hamburg. 2006 Tokyo International Women's Marathon runner-up Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC) will run just 3 months after having done January's Osaka International Women's Marathon. Retired great Naoko Takahashi will take part as a guest runner.
Click here for a complete listing of the 2009 Nagano Marathon elite field.
2009 Nagano Marathon Elite Field
Isaac Macharia (Kenya) - 2:07:16 (Dubai 2007)
Michitane Noda (Team Kanebo) - 2:09:58 (Fukuoka 2003)
Simon Wangai (Kenya) - 2:10:07 (Rock 'n' Roll 2008)
Gilma Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:10:33 (Enschede 2004)
Norman Dlomo (South Africa) - 2:10:39 (Milan 2008)
Getuli Bayo (Tanzania) - 2:10:45 (Zurich 2005)
Yuriy Hychun (Ukraine) - 2:10:59 (Debno 2008)
Masaru Takamizawa (Saku Chosei H.S.) - 2:12:10 (Hokkaido 2008)
Takehisa Okino (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:24 (Beijing 2006)
Masayuki Satouchi (Team Suzuki) - 2:13:56 (Beppu-Oita 2000)
Takashi Matsuyama (Team JFE Steel) - 2:14:13 (Biwako 2005)
Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) - 2:23:30 (Helsinki WC 2005)
Irina Timofeyeva (Russia) - 2:24:14 (Hamburg 2008)
Irene Limika (Kenya) - 2:28:31 (Frankfurt 2008)
Akemi Ozaki (Second Wind AC) - 2:28:39 (Tokyo Int'l 2007)
Tatiana Aryasova (Russia) - 2:29:09 (Los Angeles 2008)
Chihiro Tanaka (Team Daitsu) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya 1992)
Yukako Goto (Team Kojima Press) - 2:33:51 (Osaka 2007)
Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka AC) - 2:35:58 (Ohtawara 2005)
Translator's note: At the moment it looks like the Nagano Marathon will not be broadcast live, but a one-hour highlights program will be shown on NHK from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Apr. 25.