Skip to main content

Matsumiya and Tanaka Top Entry Lists at Volksbank Muenster Marathon

by Brett Larner

For the second year in a row, Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon features Japanese athletes in its elite field through the support of JRN.  Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), identical twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km Japanese national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), and veteran Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) are the fastest athletes in the field on paper, Matsumiya with a best of 2:09:18 and amateur Tanaka holding a 2:29:30.  But both ran these times several years ago and will face tough challenges from the best-quality fields Muenster has yet assembled.  Kenyans Bertram Kimutai Keter, Joel Kipsang Kositany and John Kyalo have all run under the course record of 2:10:25 within the last two years, and with favorable conditions forecast for Sunday it may well take a new course record to win.  Pre-race Matsumiya was optimistic, saying, "I'm here to win.  I'm not focused on a time, just whatever it takes to win." Komazawa University graduate Yuya Shiokawa (Team Subaru), in his European debut, said, "My training has been good, and I'm looking to go sub-2:12 for the first time."  In most years that would put him first in Muenster, but this year it may only be good enough for top five.

The ageless Tanaka has consistently run at the 2:37~2:40 level since 2007 but has yet to go under 2:40 this year, with a season best of 2:40:06 at February's Senshu International Marathon.  "I want to run about 2:38 this time," she told reporters pre-race, "and hopefully that will get me into the top three."  Top five may be more realistic, with last year's champion Joan Rotich (Kenya) returning and her countrywomen Frasiah Nyambura Waithaka and Valerie Chemeli Aiyabei and favorite Eleni Gebrehiwot, an Ethiopian who recently acquired German citizenship, all holding bests under the 2:34:58 course record.  Gebrehiwot in particular is hoping to make history with Muenster's first sub-2:30 women's clocking, the time set out by the German federation as the standard for next year's European Athletics Championships.  If the weather turns out right Muenster could move up substantially in the European marathon ranks with this year's race.  Check back for more exclusive coverage of the 12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon as the weekend progresses.

12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Muenster, Germany, 9/8/13

Men
Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:09:18 (Biwako 2005)
Bertram Kimutai Keter (Kenya) - 2:09:27 (Carpi 2011)
Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) - 2:09:50 (Tiberias 2012)
John Kyalo (Kenya) - 2:10:00 (Zurich 2011)
Kirui Kiprotich (Kenya) - 2:11:34 (Verona 2012)
Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) - 2:12:11 (Krakow 2012)
Tamrat Girma Elanso (Ethiopia) - 2:14:17 (Muenster 2011)
Yuya Shiokawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:14:49 (Tokyo 2013)
Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) - 2:14:53 (Bonn 2013)
Elijah Chelelgo Chebet (Kenya) - debut

Women
Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/AthleC AC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya Int'l Women's 2002)
Eleni Gebrehiwot (Germany) - 2:32:31 (Carpi 2010)
Frasiah Nyambura Waithaka (Kenya) - 2:33:31 (Brighton 2013)
Valerie Chemeli Aiyabei (Kenya) - 2:33:40 (Kisumu 2012)
Joan Rotich (Kenya) - 2:35:37 (Linz 2013)
Meseret Eshetu Deme (Ethiopia) - 2:42:** (Abebe Bikila 2012)
Mahlet Melese Behailu (Ethiopia) - 2:44:43 (Toulouse 2011)
Christi Dorschel (Germany) - 2:45:34 (Essen 2012)

text and photo (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

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…