Skip to main content

Fukuoka Time - Watch Live Online (Updated)

by Brett Larner

Kebede vs. Mogusu - click for preview video

Update 12/5: 2005 World Championships bronze medalist and 2004 Fukuoka winner Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has withdrawn due to illness.

The 63rd Fukuoka International Marathon takes place this Sunday, Dec. 6. With the puzzling and almost total absence of elite Japanese runners this year the focus is rightfully on the foreign field, and the Japanese media are setting up the race as a two-man show. In the one corner, Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) returns after setting the Japanese all-comers record of 2:06:10 at last year's race and then going on to take his PB down to 2:05:20 at the London Marathon in April. In the other, the popular and likeable Kenyan Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem), who became a star before graduating from Yamanashi Gakuin University this past April thanks to four years' worth of suicidal Hakone Ekiden runs and a hat-trick of sub-hour half marathons during his junior year, is running his debut marathon and talking 2:04 or better.

Barring bad weather, which doesn't look to be in the forecast, it's hard to see Kebede not run the first 2:05 on Japanese soil. Mogusu on the other hand.....Part of what has made him a star in Japan is his inability to cope with competition. Time and again the race plan has gone out the window when someone has tried to run with Mogusu, he's lost control, and it's turned into a mad world record-pace dash, sometimes with disastrous results. He can usually get away with this at the half marathon distance, but in the marathon? Mogusu's 1:02 two weeks ago at the Nagoya Half Marathon was actually a positive sign as he held back from trying to take down Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin), who broke the hour mark, instead seeming to turn in a marathon pace run. If it's hard to see Kebede not running 2:05 it's equally hard to see Mogusu not trying to put the hammer down on him from the start, something that will almost surely be another disaster. But if he holds back, now that's going to be an exciting race. Actually, it's going to be an exciting race either way.

Luckily overseas viewers will be able to watch TV Asahi's live race broadcast thanks to Keyhole TV, available here. The race is on from noon to 2:30 p.m. Japan time on Dec. 6. Unfortunately JRN won't be able to provide live English commentary on JRNLive this time as editors Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin are both running the Okutama Ekiden the same day, but to help you sort out who's who the field listing below includes bib numbers.

As you can see, it's not an entirely two-man field. If anyone is going to go with Kebede and Mogusu it will be 2008 Chicago Marathon winner Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya), whose half marathon PB of 59:05 is far superior to Mogusu's. The withdrawal of Eritrean ace Yonas Kifle removes another contender, but 2005 Fukuoka winner Dmytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine) is lining up again. Ethiopians Tekeste Kebede and Dereje Tesfaye could step up their game and factor in, and Japan-based Kenyans Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) and Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel), like Mogusu running their first marathons, cannot be ignored.

With the withdrawal of aging 2005 Helsinki World Championships bronze medalist Ogata the only elite Japanese man is 2007 Osaka World Championships marathoner Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei), but he is not likely to be among the leaders. The talented Takayuki Ota (Team Fujitsu), who holds a 30 km PB of 1:30:14 from 2007, is entered in the general division, taking on the marathon again after a DNF at the 2008 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu), one of the great hopes for the next generation of Japanese distance runners, will be acting as one of the pacemakers in advance of an expected spring marathon debut. Whether Sato, Ota or another man is the top Japanese finisher, they will stand a chance of being selected for the 2010 Asian Games team on the strength of their run in Fukuoka.

Beyond the top elites, three talented amateur Japanese men in the field deserve some attention. The young Yuki Kawauchi, profiled yesterday, is targeting a sub-2:15 in his third marathon. If he succeeds he will take over the title of best amateur in Japan from 2009 Copenhagen Marathon winner Toyokazu Yoshimura, who is himself targeting sub-2:15 next week at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon. Nobuaki Takata, better known as the man in the wig from March's Tokyo Marathon, ran his PB of 2:19:31 at last year's Fukuoka and will be trying to improve on that mark. Rikuren officials did not take kindly to Takata's wig run and are sure to looking for an excuse to pounce on him this time, so don't expect to see this again. Lastly, 60 year old Yoshihisa Hosaka is once again breaking new ground as the oldest man ever to qualify for Fukuoka. Hosaka ran a world record 2:36:30 at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon four weeks after turning 60. What few people realize is that four weeks before his 60th birthday Hosaka also ran 2:34:23 at last year's Fukuoka. Think about that for a while. Hosaka told JRN earlier this week that he is not feeling 100% this year and doesn't expect to break his world record, planning instead to focus on April's Boston Marathon.

2009 Fukuoka International Marathon - Elite Field and Notable Entrants
click here for a complete field listing in English
1. Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:05:20 (2009)
2. Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 2:06:24 (2008)
3. Dmytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine) - 2:07:15 (2006)
5. Jon Brown (Canada) - 2:09:31 (2005)
6. Tekeste Kebede (Ethiopia) - 2:09:49 (2009)
7. Oleg Kulkov (Russia) - 2:10:13 (2009)
22. Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:43 (2004)
23. Mekubo Mogusu (Team Aidem) - debut - 59:48 (half, 2007)
51. Dereje Tesfaye (Ethiopia) - 2:11:10 (2006)
52. Luis Feiteira (Portugal) - 2:11:57 (2009)
53. Vitaliy Shafar (Ukraine) - 2:12:07 (2007)
65. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:18:18 (2009)
67. Nobuaki Takata (Hirakata Masters AC) - 2:19:31 (2008)
115. Takayuki Ota (Team Fujitsu) - 1:30:14 (30 km, 2007)
128. Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) - debut - 1:01:04 (half, 2008)
129. Joseph Gitau (Team JFE Steel) - debut - 1:01:19 (half, 2008)
299. Yoshihisa Hosaka (Natural Foods) - 2:36:30 (2009) - 60+ WR

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay with Kazami, high-volume marathoner Hayasaka dropped Gyoba afte…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved