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Elite Athletes Gather at Nobeoka Marathon Pre-Race Banquet

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/347573

translated by Brett Larner

Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Nobeoka in Miyazaki prefecture, the 51st Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon pre-race banquet took place Feb. 9 at an area hotel.  Including athletes and organizers, 300 people attended the banquet to share their hopes for a successful race.

After the introduction of the 23 invited athletes, TV Miyazaki's Michinori Watanabe spoke on behalf of the organizing committe, telling the athletes, "I'm sure that you are all aware of Nobeoka's long history as a race where many of our best athletes get their start.  I hope that each of you running tomorrow will be doing it with the intent of making your own name."  Mayor Masaharu Sudo commented, "This year's race commemorates Nobeoka's 80th year as a city, but most of you are probably more interested in this being the marathon's 51st running.  Nobeoka is Japan's Athlete Town and the marathon is our flagship event.  I hope to see the best race that we've had so far."

Including invited athletes over 400 people are entered.  The field includes 2012 national 5000 m champion Kazuya Deguchi (Team Asahi Kasei) in his marathon debut, 2012 Ohtawara Marathon winner Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) and, with a 2:10:51 best the fastest man in the field, 2010 Asian Games silver medalist Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN).  As the race unfolds it should be a tough and thrilling battle for the win up front.

The Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon begins at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday the 10th in front of Nobeoka City Hall and will be broadcast live in Kyushu on TV Miyazaki and nationwide on Fuji BS.

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