Skip to main content

Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

With just over a week to go the organizers of the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon have seen fit to release the elite field for the 52nd edition of their event on Feb. 9.  A developmental race with a focus on first-timers and men at the 2:12 to 2:16 level, Nobeoka has seen the debuts of the likes of Moscow World Championships marathon 5th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) and serves as a selection race for the annual corporate league junket to the Chicago Marathon.  Last year's winner Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) debuted in Nobeoka in 2:12:14 before going on to dip under gold label status with a 2:10:29 in Chicago, showing that Nobeoka success can lead to bigger things.

Kohei Ogino (Team Fujitsu) is the fastest man in the field with a 2:13:12 best seven weeks ago at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon.  If his recovery has gone smoothly he is the favorite, but look for possible challenges from Tadashi Suzuki (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Yasuaki Kojima (Team Subaru), whose 2:16-level PBs came on the rolling course of November's amateur-level Ohtawara Marathon, and Yoshikazu Kawazoe, a top member of the Asahi Kasei corporate team still looking to find his feet in the marathon.

Top-seeded among those shooting for a first marathon finish are Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.), who turned in a solid run at October's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km before breaking 29 minutes for 10000 m for the first time, and Yudai Yamakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu), former rivals at Teikyo University and Komazawa University who both broke 1:03 at the 2012 National University Half Marathon Championships.  The course record holder on the Hakone Ekiden's brutal downhill Sixth Stage, Chiba looks like the best bet to follow past Sixth Stage stars Hiromi Taniguchi and Yuki Kawauchi with a successful move to the marathon.

52nd Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon
Nobeoka, 2/9/14
click here for complete field listing

Kohei Ogino (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:12 (Hofu 2013)
Etsu Miyata (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 2:13:19 (Nagano 2010)
Sho Matsumoto (Nikkai Business) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Koji Matsuoka (Team Mazda) - 2:14:42 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Naoki Yamashita (Team NTN) - 2:16:11 (Lake Biwa 2012)
Tadashi Suzuki (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:16:15 (Ohtawara 2013)
Tatsunori Sento (Team SGH Group Sagawa) - 2:16:18 (Nobeoka 2009)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:28 (Paris 2013)
Yasuaki Kojima (Team Subaru) - 2:16:47 (Ohtwara 2013)
Akiyuki Iwanaga (Team Kyudenko) - 2:17:13 (Lake Biwa 2012)
Shoji Takada (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:17:15 (Kobe 2013)
Yoshikazu Kawazoe (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:18:47 (Beppu-Oita 2013)
Yuji Iwata (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 2:19:58 (Nobeoka 2012)
Junichi Tsubouchi (Team Kurosaki Harima) - 2:20:13 (Nobeoka 2013)
Yuki Marubayashi (Team Toenec) - 2:20:18 (Senshu 2012)
Ryo Ishita (SDF Academy) - 2:22:34 (Sapporo 2013)
Keita Kurihara (Team Chudenko) - 2:23:01 (Beppu-Oita 2013)
Shingo Mishima (Team Toyota) - 2:25:09 (Hofu 2013)
Takaaki Tanaka (Team NTN) - 2:26:29 (Beppu-Oita 2012)

Debut
Taiki Yoshimura (Ryutsu Keizai Univ.) - 1:00:24 (Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai 20 km 2013)
Yudai Yamakawa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:36 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2012)
Kenta Chiba (Team Fujitsu) - 1:02:41 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2012)
Hisanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 1:02:50 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2010)
Kyohei Nishi (Team Kyudenko) - 1:02:59 (Marugame 2012)
Kazuki Tomaru (Team Toyota) - 1:03:04 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2012)
Ryota Matoba (Team Komori Corp.) - 1:03:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Atsushi Yamazaki (Team Subaru) - 1:03:34 (Kyoto 2009)
Masahiro Kawaguchi (Team Yakult) - 1:03:40 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Hajime Koizumi (Iwaki T&F Assoc.) - 1:04:01 (Ageo 2007)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Toyota On Fire - Weekend Road Race Roundup

Everything right now in Japanese distance is about qualifying for September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials. On the men's side Toyota currently leads the way, Yuma Hattori running 2:07:27, Taku Fujimoto 2:07:57 and Chihiro Miyawaki 2:08:45 last year to qualify. Five more Toyota runners ran big today to set up some exciting last-shot bids at qualifying in Tokyo and Lake Biwa.

The National Corporate Half Marathon men's race went out relatively conservatively with a pack of 30 rolling through 10 km in 29:28. A series of runners including 35-year-old full-time-working amateur Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) took turns trying to get it moving before Amos Kurgat (Chudenko) took off for good to win unchallenged in 1:01:06. Along with Kenyans Paul Kuira (Konica Minolta) and Patrick Muendo Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo) Toyota's trio of Hideyuki Tanaka, Tsubasa Hayakawa and Minato Oishi emerged at the front of a chase group of 14.

As the pace picked up over the last 5 km th…

Endo and Matsuzaki Break National Records in Boston

Indoor track is pretty much non-existant in Japan, but in the last few years more Japanese athletes have been heading to the States after ekiden season to give it a go and coming back with national records. Two more records fell at Friday's David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston.

First up, in his indoor debut 20-year-old Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) ran 13:27.81 to break the indoor 5000 m national record set five years ago in New York by Suguru Osako by 0.19. Endo was one of Japan's all-time best high schoolers. Now in his second year in the corporate leagues after opting to skip university he is coached by Yasuyuki Watanabe, Osako's former coach at Waseda University. Also in the same race, Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) was 6th in 13:47.64.

Three hours later, Riko Matsuzaki (Sekisui Kagaku) ran 9:00.86 in the women's 3000 m, taking 0.53 off the national record set way back in 1999 by Akiko Kawashima at the Maebashi World Indoor Championships. Matsuzaki is in the mid…

Beppu-Oita Marathon to Review Staff Training After Interpreter Refers to African Athletes as "Chimpanzees"

On Feb. 14 the organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon confirmed that a local woman in her fifties who served as an interpreter at this year's race had published a blog post in which she referred to the African athletes on whose behalf she had worked as "chimpanzees." The woman said she had no malicious or racist intent behind her comments, but a spokesperson for the organizers called her choice of words "inappropriate." Organizers plan to review their training and guidance procedures for all race management staff members.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon took place in the two cities on Feb. 3. According to the spokesperson, the blog to which the woman posted the comments is for members of a sports club to which she belongs to report on what they have been doing. On Feb. 10 she wrote about her work with the African athletes, posting it with public access so that anyone could read it. She described the struggle of talking to the African athletes, saying …