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Moscow World Championships Marathoners Kawauchi and Noguchi Headline Sunday's Sendai International Half Marathon

by Brett Larner

In its second edition since being cancelled after the 2011 tsunami, the May 12 Sendai International Half Marathon plays host to Moscow World Championships marathon team members Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex). Having moved to a mass-participation format with a scaled-back elite field that has largely moved to the new Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon a week later, Sendai nevertheless still presents Kawauchi with tough competition.  Defending champion Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) returns after improving his PB at Feburary's Marugame International Half Marathon.  Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya) has run sub-60 to win the Marugame, Sapporo International and Ichinoseki half marathons but has never finished better than 2nd in Sendai and will be looking to remedy that situation.  2012 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) and Mogusu's college-era rival Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) round out the international end of the race.

National record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku), 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon team member Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) and sub-62 man Yuta Igarashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) make up the top-seeded Japanese list, while a large number of men to have run sub-2:12 marathons in the last two years will also be looking to improve their half bests.  Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda), Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult), Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) and Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) are the best of this bunch, but look out also for Horiguchi's teammate Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) who pulled out a incredibly fast finish for a surprise 2:12:14 win in his marathon debut in Nobeoka in February.

Two-time Sendai winner Noguchi, should she start, has no real competition in the women's race, with identical twins Hiroko and Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) the only other sub-70 Japanese women in the race and no world-class foreign competitors.  One potential challenge could come from debuting Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo), who just missed the World Championships 10000 m A-standard as she finished 3rd at last month's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in 31:45.29.  2010 Sendai Half and 2011 Tokyo Marathon winner Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) also returns.

23rd Sendai International Half Marathon
Sendai, 5/12/13
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 59:48
Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:00:25
Daniel Gitau (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:01
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 1:01:19
Johana Maina (Kenya/Team Fujitsu) - 1:01:28
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 1:01:41
Yuta Igarashi (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:01:46
Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:03
Osamu Ibata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:08
Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:02:16
Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 1:02:17
Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:22
Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:26
Takeshi Kumamoto (Team Toyota) - 1:02:29
Takashi Horiguchi (Team Honda) - 1:02:32
Kazuki Ikenaga (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:33
Masaki Shimoju (Team Konica Minolta) - 1:02:35
Shoji Akutsu (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:38
Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - 1:02:40
Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:41
Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) - 1:02:49
Masashi Hayashi (Team Yakult) - 1:02:58
Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) - 1:03:02
Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) - 1:03:16

Women
Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 1:07:43
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:09:23
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 1:09:54
Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:10:26
Hiroko Shoi (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 1:10:48
Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal) - 1:10:52
Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:16
Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:29
Sachi Tanaka (Sports Yamagata 21 AC) - 1:12:42
Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - debut - 31:45.29

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
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