Skip to main content

Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Preview - Watch Online

by Brett Larner

Update: Half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has withdrawn with an injury to his left thigh.  Invited athlete Satoshi Yoshii (Team Sumco) withdrew earlier in the week.

Note for Canadian readers: My ability to cover Dylan and Steve live will be pretty limited, but I'll do what I can.

Official Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon course preview video.

This Sunday's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon is the last chance for Japanese men to make the London Olympics marathon team.  With strong times of 2:07:48 and 2:08:38 from the top two Japanese men at last weekend's Tokyo Marathon and good conditions in the forecast we should see the top Japanese contenders gunning for Kazuhiro Maeda's 2:08:38 Tokyo mark to have a shot at picking up an Olympic ticket.  If two of them do it Maeda will likely be left on the sidelines come August.

Biwako, as the race is universally known in Japan, will be broadcast live and commercial-free nationwide on NHK beginning at 12:15 p.m. Japan time on Mar. 4, with the race starting at 12:30.  Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free via Keyhole TV with the password NHK, and JRN will again offer live English coverage via Twitter @JRNLive.  NHK's race website is also worth following for updates.

The small international field is well-positioned to pull the best Japanese men along, with 2:06 Kenyan Nicholas Manza, 2:07 Ethiopian Bekana Daba, 2:08 Moroccan Abdellah Taghrafet and Japan based Kenyans Gideon Ngatuny (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Samuel Ndungu (Team Aichi Seiko) on the list.  A second tier of overseas runners will also be shooting for their countries' Olympic-qualifying marks, including Spanish track runner Ayad Lamdassem, 2:09 runners Henryk Szost (Poland), Abdellatif Meftah (France), Lee Troop (Australia) and Ruggero Pertile (Italy), Kenyan Ernest Kebenei and Ethiopian Yohanis Abera, and Canadians Dylan Wykes and Steve Osaduik.

The clear favorite among the Japanese entrants is Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei), the top Japanese man at both last year's Biwako and at the Daegu World Championships marathon.  Horibata's coach Takeshi Soh has said he believes Horibata capable of breaking the Japanese national record of 2:06:16, and Horibata is reportedly in outstanding condition.  He should be the man to beat among the Japanese.

With the withdrawal of half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) Horibata's most likely competition for an Olympic spot may come from two men.  The second man at last year's Biwako, Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), had a solid run in the Daegu World Championships and has steadily PB'd every year in the marathon since his debut.  He has said he thinks he can run 2:08, and he now has the added motivation of joining his Takushoku University-era teammate Arata Fujiwara (Tokyo T&F Assoc.), the top Japanese man in Tokyo, on the London team.  Former Hakone Ekiden superstar Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) has also had a steady progression of marathon bests since his debut and will be trying again to make the Olympic team after being cracked by Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) at December's Fukuoka International Marathon.  Imai hopes to run the Olympics in honor of both his former training partner Samuel Wanjiru and the people in his Fukushima hometown lost in last year's disasters.

Other solid contenders include 2010 Asian Games marathon silver medalist Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) and Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), the twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) who set a PB of 2:09:28 in Tokyo.  A considerable number of top-caliber people are also making their marathon debuts, among them 61-minute half-marathoners Takanobu Otsubo (Osaka Police Dept.), Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda), 3000 mSC national record holder Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu), 2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.), and 2012 Hakone Ekiden Second Stage winner Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.). Click here for JRN's pre-debut interview with Deki and his coach Susumu Hara.

Along with this solid crop of debutants, a deep stratum of 2:11-2:13 men and a host of accomplished late-career veterans means that there is no shortage of possible wildcards in the race.  The top Japanese man will almost certainly come from among Horibata, Nakamoto or Imai, but with Maeda's 2:08:38 dangling before them the question of who could steal the third Olympic spot away from Maeda like Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) did from Fujiwara before Beijing is much harder to answer.  We'll know soon enough.

2012 Biwako Mainichi Marathon Elite Field & General Division Highlights
Mar. 4, Otsu
click here for complete field listing

1. Nicholas Manza (Kenya) - 2:06:34
2. Bekana Daba (Ethiopia) - 2:07:04
3. Abdellah Taghrafet (Morocco) - 2:08:21
4. Henryk Szost (Poland) - 2:09:39
5. Abdellatif Meftah (France) - 2:09:46
6. Lee Troop (Australia) - 2:09:49
7. Ruggero Pertile (Italy) - 2:09:53
8. Ernest Kebenei (Kenya) - 2:10:55
31. Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:25
32. Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:09:31
33. Tomoyuki Sato (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:43
34. Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) - 2:10:32
36. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51
37. Naoto Yoneda (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:11:00
38. Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 2:11:17
101. Yohanis Abera (Ethiopia) - 2:11:08
102. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 2:12:05
103. Dylan Wykes (Canada) - 2:12:39
104. Etsu Miyata (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:19
105. Masayuki Obata (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:13:54
106. Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:13:54
107. Yusuke Kataoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:28
112. Tomohiro Seto (Team Kanebo) - 2:12:21
117. Kensuke Takahashi (Team Toyota) - 2:11:25
119. Takeshi Hamano (Team Toyota) - 2:09:18
120. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:12:10
121. Toyoshi Ishige (Team Yakult) - 2:12:45
122. Shinichi Watanabe (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 2:09:32
124. Yuko Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:09:18
127. Steve Osaduik (Canada) - 2:16:49
134. Masatoshi Oike (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:15
147. Yuzo Onishi (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:08:54
172. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokushu Seiko) - 2:12:37
273. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya/Team Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:55 (half-marathon)
274. Muryo Takase (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:01:57 (half-marathon)
275. Akihiko Tsumurai (Team Mazda) - 1:01:58 (half-marathon)
276. Shota Hiraga (Waseda University) - 1:02:08 (half-marathon)
277. Hiroshi Yamada (Team Konica-Minolta) - 1:02:31 (half-marathon)
279. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 1:02:23 (half-marathon)
282. Takanobu Otsubo (Osaka Police Dept.) - 1:01:55 (half-marathon)
283. Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:08:37
286. Daisuke Matsufuji (Team Kanebo) - 1:02:47 (half-marathon)
288. Gideon Ngatuny (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 59:50 (half-marathon)
294. Masahiro Kuno (Team NTN) - 1:02:49 (half-marathon)
352. Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 1:30:45 (30 km)
357. Takehiro Deki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 58:51 (20 km)
362. Ayad Lamdassem (Spain) - 27:45.58 (10000 m)
363. Yoshitaka Iwamizu (Team Fujitsu) - 28:17.80 (10000 m)
364. Tsubasa Hayakawa (Tokai Univ.) - 28:41.26 (10000 m)
365. Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:03 (half-marathon)
367. Kosaku Hoshina (Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 28:20.36 (10000 m)

Pacers
51. Isaac Macharia (Kenya)
52. Boniface Kirui (Kenya)
53. James Mwangi (Kenya)
54. Yohei Yamamoto (Team NTT Nishi Nihon)
55. Ryosuke Maki (Team Osaka Gas)

(c) 2012 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Nissin Shokuhin to Eliminate All Athletes Except Sato and Murasawa

Two-time New Year Ekiden national champion Nissin Shokuhin Group announced on Jan. 10 that it is making major cuts to its men's ekiden team. With the exception of MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Akinobu Murasawa, 27, and Yuki Sato, 32, it will eliminate its other twelve athletes from the team. It has also canceled contracts with two graduating university fourth-years who were scheduled to join the team in April following their graduation.

The Nissin Shokuhin Group team has been one of the leaders of Japanese long distance, home to top class athletes including current marathon national record holder Suguru Osako, 27. The change in its policies comes suddenly. According to a person involved in the situation, of the team's fourteen members the twelve other than Murasawa and Sato have been asked to leave the team. Those who wish to continue their athletic careers will receive support in transferring to another team, while those who wish to retire will have the op…

Ichiyama and Kirui Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

Last year's winners Betsy Saina and Edward Waweru, both of Kenya, return to the Feb. 3 Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, but in both cases they have tough competition. Ranked #1 in the women's race is Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) with a 1:09:14, 3 seconds better than Saina's winning time last year. 3 seconds slower is Sinead Diver (Australia) with a 1:09:20 on home ground last year. Sara Hall (U.S.A.) isn't far behind, and with track star Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) making her debut off a brilliant run at last weekend's National Women's Ekiden it should be a solid pack up front.

In the men's race, 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) leads the way, his best recent time a 1:00:04 in New Delhi two years ago. Only 2 seconds behind is Shadrack Kiplagat (Kenya), with Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) and the Japan-based Waweru just over 20 seconds back. Waweru's condition is a question mark after an injury at the New Year Ekiden. Kenta Murayama (Asah…

Aoyama Gakuin First Year Takayuki Iida Leads Weekend Half Marathon Action

The National Women's Ekiden was the weekend's biggest race, but across the country four half marathons saw decently competitive men's action.

At Tochigi's Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon, as in the last few years Hakone Ekiden runner-up Aoyama Gakuin University ran its B-team of Hakone non-starters, this year with company from the team that beat it, Tokai University. AGU swept the top ten, first-year Takayuki Iida taking the top spot in 1:03:10 with teammate Shuya Iwami also getting under 64 minutes. Tokai seemed to treat the day more as a workout, but head coach Hayashi Morozumi, 52, took the chance to get in on the action too, running the 10 km division in 43:04.

In Tokyo, the High Tech Half Marathon celebrated its 20th running with the edition of a marathon division. Independent Hideyuki Ikegami (Aminosaurus) won the men's half in 1:05:08. Club runner Eri Suzuki (Noshiro Yamamoto T&F Assoc.) ran the fastest women's time of the weekend, 1:19:34, to win…