by Brett Larner
The organizers of next month's first edition of the new Osaka Marathon have officially made their entry into the already crowded fall marathon season with the release of the elite field for the Oct. 30 race.
Topping the men's field with a 2:07:29 best is 2009 Tokyo Marathon champion Salim Kipsang (Kenya). His best competition, a surprise entry coming just less than two months after the Daegu World Championships, is 2:08:37 runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) who beat Kipsang at the 2010 Tokyo Marathon. Other overseas runners include Elijah Sang (Kenya) and Woody Harrelson lookalike Alexsey Sokolov (Russia), who also ran in the World Championships. The small domestic field includes Japan's two other top amateur runners after Kawauchi, 2009 Copenhagen Marathon winner Toyokazu Yoshimura and infamous wig runner Nobuaki Takata.
The women's field consists primarily of veterans, led by Olympic medalist Lidia Simon (Romania), Hokkaido Marathon course record holder Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) and two-time Osaka International Women's Marathon runner-up Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz). The top contender among the younger runners is 2008 Hokkaido Marathon winner Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.).
Non-competitive invited guest runners at the Osaka Marathon include former 10000 m and marathon national record holder Takeyuki Nakayama, 100 km world record and marathon junior national record holder Takahiro Sunada, 1993 Paris Marathon winner Mitsuyo Wada, 1991 Tokyo International Women's Marathon winner Mari Tanigawa, 1985 World University Games winner Mami Fukao and round-the-world celebrity runner Kanpei Hazama.
2011 Osaka Marathon Elite Field
to be held Osaka, Oct. 30, 2011
click here for complete field listing
Salim Kipsang (Kenya) - 2:07:29 (Berlin, 2007)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 2:08:37 (Tokyo, 2011)
Kenjiro Jitsui (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:08:50 (Tokyo Int'l, 1996)
Elijah Sang (Kenya) - 2:10:13 (Frankfurt, 2007)
Alexsey A. Sokolov (Russia) - 2:11:53 (Zurich, 2011)
Toyokazu Yoshimura (Osaka T&F Assoc.) - 2:15:05 (Hofu, 2009)
Kenji Onaka (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:15:23 (Kochi, 2011)
Nobuaki Takata (Hirakata Masters AC) - 2:19:00 (Fukuoka Int'l, 2009)
Lidia Simon (Romania) - 2:22:54 (Osaka Int'l, 2000)
Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 2:23:30 (Osaka Int'l, 2003)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido, 2009)
Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:28:55 (Tokyo, 2009)
Yuri Yoshizumi (Osaka Nagai AC) - 2:42:15 (Fukuchiyama, 2009)
Yuki Ino (Team Noritz) - 2:42:33 (Senshu Int'l, 2011)
Misato Tomoeda (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - debut - 1:15:48 (Jitsugyodan Half)
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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