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Watch the Marugame Half Marathon Online - Preview

by Brett Larner

Sunday's Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of the biggest and fastest Japanese half marathons of the year, the site of the women's national record and a sub-60 men's course record. Last year's race saw a quick 1:08:37 from unexpected women's winner Nikki Chapple (Australia) and the only sub-70 half of the year by a Japanese woman along with two university men breaking 62 minutes.

Start lists have not yet been published but Chapple is scheduled to defend her win again this year. It won't be easy, as the top woman of 2010, Elvan Abeleygesse (Turkey), and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) are also on the entry list. Should all three start it would be very surprising if someone else factored into the win. Likely contenders for the second pack include Silviia Skvortsova (Russia), Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) and Megumi Seike (Team Sysmex).

In the men's race, the withdrawal of 27:38 10000 m runner Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) from his planned half marathon debut and the absence of defending champ Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) have dampened some of the excitement, but the field remains strong. Course record holder Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Aidem) is running as his final tuneup for the Feb. 27 Tokyo Marathon, meaning 2010 National Jitsugyodan Half Marathon Championships winner Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) is the probable favorite, followed closely by Ethiopian Girma Tola. The top Japanese men include 2010 World Half Marathon Championships 12-placer Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta), Muryo Takase (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) who was one of the two university men to break 62 last year, and 2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga of 2011 Hakone Ekiden winner Waseda University.

Broadcaster Fuji TV will show 55 minutes of edited race highlights beginning at 1:05 a.m. on Feb. 7, Japan time. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online for free using Keyhole TV, available here.

2011 Kagawa Marugame Int'l Half Marathon
Elite Field Highlights
click here for complete elite field listing
Women
Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey) - 1:07:07 (Ras al Khaimah 2010)
Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 1:07:26 (Marugame 2006)
Nikki Chapple (Australia) - 1:08:03 (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)


Men
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)

Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.) - 1:02:08 (Marugame 2010)
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
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