translated by Brett Larner
On Jan. 16 the organizers of the Feb. 17 Kumamoto-jo Marathon released the names of the 15 invited athletes for the 57th running of the event's accompanying elite-level Kumanichi 30 km Road Race.
The most-watched athlete is bound to be civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), who will be running Kumanichi as a tuneup for the Mar. 3 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, the final domestic selection race for the Japanese national team for this summer's Moscow World Championships. Kawauchi's main competition will come from 21-year-old Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota), whose win on the First Stage of this year's New Year Ekiden and 2012 bests of 27:41.57 and 1:00:53 rank him as the #1 man in the country right now in a class of speed that Kawauchi cannot hope to match. Kenyan Daniel Gitau (Team Fujitsu) also outranks Kawauchi on pure speed.
Two runners from 2013 Hakone Ekiden 2nd-place Toyo University will make their 30 km debuts at Kumanichi, ace Second Stage 3rd-placer Keita Shitara and Kumamoto native Kento Otsu, who placed 7th on Hakone's Eighth Stage this year. Instrumental in securing overall 3rd-place Komazawa University's Hakone Ekiden Day Two win, Tenth Stage winner Kensuke Gotoda will also line up.
With a new course last year starting along with the inaugural Kumamoto-jo Marathon, Komazawa alum Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) won last year's race in 1:30:01. A total of 60 athletes, 55 men and 5 women, are entered in the elite 30 km. With a difficult course full of ups and downs the question will be whether any of them is up to the challenge of beating Ugachi's time. The race begins at 9:00 a.m.
2013 Kumanichi 30 km Road Race Elite Field
times listed are half-marathon bests
2. Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota) - 1:00:53
4. Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:02
9. Keita Shitara (Toyo Univ.) - 1:01:45
1. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 1:02:18
12. Yudai Yamakawa (Teikyo Univ.) - 1:02:36
10. Kento Otsu (Toyo Univ.) - 1:02:43
8. Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 1:02:59
3. Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) - 1:03:15
6. Fumihiro Maruyama (Team Asahi Kasei) - 1:03:29
11. Kensuke Gotoda (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:03:49
13. Shun Suzuki (Kanagawa Univ.) - 1:03:51
7. Kentaro Masuda (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 1:04:12
5. Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:04:49
301. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 32:30.33 (10000 m)
302. Risa Takemura (Team Kyudenko) - 33:46 (10 km)