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

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Osako Brings Japanese National Record Back to Chicago

Just over seven months since Yuta Shitara broke Toshinari Takaoka's longstanding 2:06:16 national record from the 2002 Chicago Marathon with a 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February, U.S.-based Suguru Osako brought the record back home to Chicago with a 3rd-place finish in 2:05:50.

Running the same pattern as in his first two marathons, Osako sat back in the lead men's pack, never exerting himself as it whittled down to the core members. Just past the turn into Chinatown near 35 km his Nike Oregon Project teammate and 2017 Chicago winner Galen Rupp fell off the front group to leave Osako in contention with former NOP member Mo Farah, 2:04 Ethiopian Mosinet Gemerew, former Asahi Kasei runner Kenneth Kipkemoi and 2017 world champion Geoffrey Kirui.

As in Boston and Fukuoka last year, when the real move came, this time in the form of a surge by Farah and Gemerew, Osako was left behind to battle it out for 3rd. While Farah kicked away for the win by 13 seconds in a European record 2:05:11,…