by Brett Larner
Updated Jan. 19 with complete elite field.
In a special advance release, organizers of the 60th anniversary Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon scheduled for Feb. 6 briefly made the names of some of this year's elite field publicly available on Jan. 14. At the top of the foreign elite field are 2003 Beppu-Oita winner Samson Ramadhani (Tanzania) and the man who made last year's Beppu-Oita of international note with an exciting come-from-behind 3rd-place finish and Australian debut record of 2:11:00, Jeff Hunt. Ramadhani, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2007 Biwako Mainichi Marathon champion, returns to Beppu-Oita after defeating Hunt in hot and humid conditions at October's Commonwealth Games where he was 5th in 2:19:31 to Hunt's 2:25:03 13th place finish. The rematch should be one of the highlights of this year's race.
Also in the international field are last year's runner-up Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult), Ethiopian Abiyote Guta, last year's Marrakech Marathon 3rd placer Ahmed Baday (Morocco), Japan-based Kenyan Harun Njoroge (Team Komori Corp.) and veteran Andrew Letherby (Australia) whose PB of 2:11:42 dates to 2005.
Heading the domestic field which will by vying for a provisional spot on the 2011 World Championships team is Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), 2nd in 2:11:01 in his debut at the 2009 Tokyo Marathon. Alongside Maeda, 2007 Beppu-Oita winner and former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) will be making a comeback to the marathon after a strong run at this month's New Year Ekiden and a 1:29:46 win at last February's Kumanichi 30 km. Kenichiro Setoguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) had a strong 2:11:44 debut at last year's Biwako Mainichi Marathon and will be aiming to improve on his time, as will 2010 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Masaki Shimoju. Among debutants, Yuki Nakamura (Team Kanebo) may be the best bet for a strong showing, coached by national record holder Toshinari Takaoka and holding a 1:02:32 half marathon PB. The close-matched field should make for an exciting pack race.
Among the general division entrants are 59+ world record holder Yoshihisa Hosaka and the 2009 Tokyo Marathon Man in the Wig, Nobuaki Takata. For the first time Beppu-Oita will also host an official women's field, featuring 17 second-tier pro and upper-level club women led by Team Kyudenko's Yuka Ezaki. Pacemakers include two-time Beppu-Oita winner and course record holder Gert Thys (South Africa).
2011 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Field
click here for complete field listing
Daniel Njenga (Kenya/Team Yakult) - 2:06:16 (Chicago, 2002)
Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:06:51 (Fukuoka, 2000)
Shigeru Aburuya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:07:52 (Biwako, 2001)
Samson Ramadhani (Tanzania) - 2:08:01 (London, 2003)
Abiyote Guta (Ethiopia) - 2:09:03 (Dubai, 2010)
Ahmed Baday (Morocco) - 2:10:58 (Marrakech, 2010)
Jeff Hunt (Australia) - 2:11:00 (Beppu-Oita, 2010)
Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) - 2:11:01 (Tokyo, 2009)
Andrew Letherby (Australia) - 2:11:42 (Berlin, 2005)
Kenichiro Setoguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:44 (Biwako, 2010)
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18 (Nobeoka, 2010)
Tomonori Onitsuka (Team Kyudenko) - 2:12:48 (Beppu-Oita, 2005)
Harun Njoroge (Kenya/Team Komori Corp.) - 2:13:04 (Hokkaido, 2010)
Keisuke Wakui (Team Yakult) - 2:13:43 (Beppu-Oita, 2010)
Kentaro Ito (Team Hyako Kyowa Bio) - 2:13:44 (Hofu, 2001)
Naoya Hashimoto (Team Chudenko) - 2:13:50 (Beppu-Oita, 2010)
Akinori Shibutani (Team Kurosaki Harima) - 2:13:51 (Beppu-Oita, 2000)
Fumihiro Watanabe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:52 (Nobeoka, 2010)
Akiyuki Iwanaga (Team Kyudenko) - debut - 1:31:08 (30 km)
Yuki Nakamura (Team Kanebo) - debut - 1:02:32 (Marugame Half, 2009)
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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