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Kipruto, Kirui, Yamamoto and Kubota Headline 68th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Biwako for short, has finally announced the elite field for this year's 68th running.  While it lacks the sub-2:05 punch that Tokyo was able to pull in this year as a fledgling major, Biwako has put together the deepest field of any domestic Japanese marathon in the 2012-2013 season.  Up front, a small but high-quality international group including 2:05 man Vincent Kipruto (Kenya), 30 km world record holder Peter Kirui (Kenya) and 2012 Houston Marathon winner Tariku Jufar (Ethiopia) to go up against Wilson Kipsang's 2:06:13 course record.

In pursuit of both them and the Federation's sub-2:08 time requirement for a guaranteed spot on the 2013 World Championships is a solid field including four of the five Japanese men to break 2:10 at last year's Biwako, namely London Olympian Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express), Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo), Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) and Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult), veterans Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu), Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) and Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) looking for one more day in the sun, and an exciting group of first-time marathoners with sub-62 half-marathon bests including Komazawa University junior Shinobu Kubota, Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) and Yuichiro Ogawa (Team Kanebo).  Yamamoto ran well earlier this month at the Marugame Half and looks ready for a successful return in his first marathon since the Olympics.  Kubota, one of the college ekiden circuit's biggest stars, will be a major draw for Japanese fans as he debuts at age 21.  His stated goal is Fujiwara's collegiate and debut marathon national record of 2:08:12.

Also noteworthy in the international field are Tokyo course record holder Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland), Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco), James Mwangi (Kenya/ Team NTN), Alexey Reunkov (Russia) and Paulo Roberto Paula (Brazil). Worth keeping an eye on in the domestic field are Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru), who at age 23 in only his second marathon ran the fastest overseas time of 2012 by a Japanese man, 2:10:40, in Chicago after running most of the race next to American Dathan Ritzenhein, and Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Toyota Boshoku), making his marathon debut after a very impressive day against elites Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu) and Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.

Biwako will be broadcast live and commercial-free nationwide on NHK on Mar. 3.  Check back closer to race date for information on following the race online via Keyhole TV and Twitter.

2013 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field
and selected general division entrants
Otsu, 3/3/13
click here for complete field listing

1. Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) - 2:05:13 (Rotterdam 2010)
2. Peter Kirui (Kenya) - 2:06:31 (Frankfurt 2011)
3. Tariku Jufar (Ethiopia) - 2:06:51 (Houston 2012)
108. Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:06:51 (Fukuoka 2000)
4. Viktor Rothlin (Switzerland) - 2:07:23 (Tokyo 2008)
5. Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco) - 2:07:33 (London 2010)
104. Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 2:08:12 (Lake Biwa 2003)
325. Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:08:36 (Lake Biwa 2008)
31. James Mwangi (Kenya/Team NTN) - 2:08:38 (Fukuoka 2011)
32. Ryo Yamamoto (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:08:44 (Lake Biwa 2012)
33. Tomoyuki Morita (Team Kanebo) - 2:09:12 (Lake Biwa 2012)
34. Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 2:09:16 (Lake Biwa 2012)
115. Tomoya Shimizu (Team Sagawa Express) - 2:09:23 (Lake Biwa 2008)
6. Alexey Reunkov (Russia) - 2:09:54 (Frankfurt 2011)
35. Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 2:09:55 (Lake Biwa 2012)
7. Paulo Roberto Paula (Brazil) - 2:10:23 (Padova 2012)
110. Seiji Kobayashi (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:10:38 (Beppu-Oita 2009)
36. Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) - 2:10:40 (Chicago 2012)
105. Kazuki Ikenaga (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:10:44 (Lake Biwa 2008)
330. Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51 (Lake Biwa 2010)
114. Keita Akiba (Team Komori Corp.) - 2:10:53 (Beppu-Oita 2009)
101. Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) - 2:11:13 (Lake Biwa 2012)
102. Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 2:11:17 (Lake Biwa 2011)
103. Kohei Matsumura (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:11:18 (Beppu-Oita 2012)
111. Tomoya Adachi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:59 (Beppu-Oita 2008)
106. Kota Noguchi (Team Toyota) - 2:12:24 (Fukuoka 2012)
107. Dishon Karukuwa Maina (Kenya/Team Aisan Kogyo) - 2:12:25 (Hofu 2012)
109. Hironori Arai (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:12:27 (Lake Biwa 2011)
112. Noritaka Fujiyama (Team Sumitomo Denko) - 2:12:37 (Tokyo 2012)
331. Kenta Oshima (Team NTN) - 2:12:54 (Tokyo 2009)
113. Keisuke Wakui (Team Yakult) - 2:12:55 (Beppu-Oita 2012)
116. Takehiro Arakawa (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:39 (Beppu-Oita 2012)
117. Takanori Ide (Team Kyudenko) - 2:13:41 (Lake Biwa 2012)
118. Masayuki Obata (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:13:54 (Lake Biwa 2011)
119. Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) - 2:13:55 (Lake Biwa 2012)
120. Makoto Fukui (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:57 (Muenster 2012)
121. Mao Fukuyama (Team Kyudenko) - 2:14:10 (Beppu-Oita 2012)
122. Noriaki Takahashi (Team S&B) - 2:14:13 (Gold Coast 2011)
123. Yasuyuki Yamamoto (Team JFE Steel) - 2:14:21 (Lake Biwa 2012)
124. Masaki Nagao (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 2:14:24 (Kochi 2011)
125. Kenji Onaka (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:14:36 (Osaka 2011)
126. Yusei Nakao (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:14:43 (Tokyo 2009)
127. Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:15:15 (Tokyo 2010)

Debut
37. Shinobu Kubota (Komazawa Univ.) - 1:01:38 (Marugame Half 2012)
316. Shota Yamaguchi (Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:42 (Marugame Half 2012)
360. Yuichiro Ogawa (Team Kanebo) - 1:01:53 (Marugame Half 2010)
317. Nobuhiro Nakao (Team Honda) - 1:02:37 (Marugame Half 2012)
322. Taichi Takase (Team JFE Steel) - 1:02:50 (Marugame Half 2013)
321. Tomohiro Shiiya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:59 (Tachikawa Half 2009)
318. Luis Fernando Paula (Brazil) - 1:03:03 (Sao Paulo Half 2012)

Pacers
51. Mohamed Trafeh (U.S.A.)
52. Boniface Kirui (Kenya)
53. Daniel Chebii (Kenya)
54. Takuya Fukatsu (Team Asahi Kasei)
55. Kenta Otani (Team JFE Steel)
56. Kota Otani (Team JFE Steel)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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