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Abeylegesse vs. Fukushi vs. Chapple, Yuki Sato to Debut at Marugame Half

by Brett Larner

Today the 2011 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon announced the elite field for this year's 65th running on Feb. 6. Organizers have set up an excellent women's race, with defending champion Nikki Chapple (Australia) facing the top half marathoner of 2010, Olympic track medalist Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey) and national half marathon record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal). Abeylegesse is the obvious favorite, but it will be very interesting to see what Fukushi, who set the national record of 1:07:26 in her half marathon debut at Marugame in 2005 and made a quiet return to the distance after over three years with a win at July's Shibetsu Half Marathon, has planned. Chapple's winning time of 1:08:37 from last year puts her in reach of either woman.

The men's race is headed by course record holder Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) and features the likes of 2:06 marathoner Rachid Kisri (Morocco) and 2010 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Youngjun Ji (South Korea), but the main attraction will be the official half marathon debut of track and ekiden star Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin). Official as in he has run the equivalent of a sub-61 half marathon at least four times on ekiden stages longer than the half marahton distance, most recently 1:03:25 for 22.0 km at this year's New Year Ekiden. With a 27:38.25 10000 m PB, the all-time 3rd-best Japanese men's time, it would not be surprising to see Sato be in contention for the win on what is usually Japan's fastest course.

The Marugame Half will be broadcast nationwide. Check back closer to race date for broadcast details and a full preview.

2011 Kagawa Marugame Int'l Half Marathon
Feb. 6, 2011, Marugame
Elite Field Highlights
click here for complete elite field listing
Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey) - 1:07:07 (Ras al Khaimah 2010)
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:07:26 (Marugame 2006)
Nikki Chapple (Australia) - 1:08:37 (Marugame 2010)
Silviia Skvortsova (Russia) - 1:09:17 (San Jose 2006)
Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 1:09:19 (Kobe Women's 2001)
Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex) - 1:10:08 (Jitsugyodan 2009)
Nami Kurosawa (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:10:09 (Jitsugyodan 2001)
Miho Notagashira (Team Wacoal) - 1:10:25 (Marugame 2005)
Nozomi Ijima (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:10:40 (Miyazaki Women's 2004)

Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) - 59:48 (Marugame 2007)
Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:01:19 (Jitsugyodan 2010)
Girma Tola (Ethiopia) - 1:01:26 (Philadelphia 2008)
Tetsuo Nishikawa (Team YKK) - 1:01:42 (Jitsugyodan 2001)
Toyoshi Ishige (Team Yakult) - 1:01:44 (Jitsugyodan 2001)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:01:49 (World Half 2010)

Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:01:50 (Jitsugyodan 2002)
Kazushi Hara (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 1:01:52 (Jitsugyodan 2003)
Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 1:01:54 (Nagoya 2005)
Muryo Takase (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:01:57 (Marugame 2010)
Kazuyoshi Shimozato (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:01:58 (Jitsugyodan 2006)
Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - debut - 27:38.25 10000 m
Nicholas Makau (Kenya/Team Yachiyo Kogyo) - debut - 27:52.32 10000 m
Rachid Kisri (Morocco) - 1:02:11 (World Half 2009)
Dymytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine) - 2:07:15 (Fukuoka 2006)
Youngjun Ji (South Korea) - 2:08:30 (Daegu 2009)

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


Simon said…
Will be interesting to see how Yuki Sato gets on. His approach to working on the shorter distances and patience in not running marathons yet bodes well for the future I would think. I like how he's mixing it up and racing XC later in February too.

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