Skip to main content

Jepkemboi, Okunaga, Kawauchi and Sang the Favorites at April 21 Nagano Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Nagano Marathon has released the names of its elite field lineup for its 15th running, to be held Apr. 21.  It's a field heavy on veterans, including 40+ runners William Kiplagat (Kenya), Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec RC) and Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka), imminently retiring former national record holder Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) and, freshly departed from the Kyudenko corporate team, top-ranked woman Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC).

Two of last year's top four men return in the form of Silas Sang (Kenya) and Alexey Sokolov (Russia), joined from overseas by silver label Eritrean Isaias Beyn.  The domestic favorite in his fourth marathon of 2013 is Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't), but the interest level in the Japanese field extends further to include silver label men Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Kazuya Ishida (Team Nishitetsu) and three men with promising runs at February's Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon, Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta), Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki) and amateur Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC).

Okunaga's main competition in the women's race comes from Kenyan Beatrice Jepkemboi with a 2:27:41 best from last year's Hamburg Marathon.  First-time marathoner Esther Nganga could prove another rival, along with 2:30:17 Russian Natalia Puchkova and, just 22, the up-and-coming Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki).

2013 Nagano Marathon Elite Field
Nagano, 4/21/13
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
William Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:06:50 (Amsterdam 1999)
Atsushi Fujita (Team Fujitsu) - 2:06:51 (Fukuoka 2000)
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul 2013)
Silas Sang (Kenya) - 2:09:10 (Nagano 2012)
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 2:10:51 (Lake Biwa 2010)
Alexey Sokolov (Russia) - 2:10:59 (Nagano 2012)
Isaias Beyn (Eritrea) - 2:11:53 (Frankfurt 2012)
Chihiro Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:53 (Tokyo 2013)
Kazuya Ishida (Team Nishitetsu) - 2:11:57 (Nobeoka 2012)
Hirokatsu Kurosaki (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:22 (Nobeoka 2013)
Tatsunari Hirayama (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Sho Matsumoto (Dream AC) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Hiro Tonegawa (Alps Tool) - 2:19:34 (Tokyo 2011)

Women
Mika Okunaga (Yufuin Hammock AC) - 2:27:16 (Osaka Int'l 2009)
Beatrice Jepkemboi (Kenya) - 2:27:41 (Hamburg 2012)
Chihiro Tanaka (Athlec RC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Int'l 2002)
Natalia Puchkova (Russia) - 2:30:17 (Hannover 2012)
Shoko Shimizu (Team Aichi Denki) - 2:32:43 (Tokyo 2013)
Seika Iwamura (Team Higo Ginko) - 2:33:15 (Osaka Int'l 2010)
Yoshimi Hoshino (eAthletes Shizuoka) - 2:35:58 (Ohtawara 2005)
Sayaka Maeda (Second Wind AC) - 2:42:27 (Tsukuba 2012)
Esther Nganga (Kenya) - debut - 1:12:27 (Singapore Half 2012)

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…