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Kikuchi and Takenaka Join Farah, Kiprotich, Kiplagat and Keitany at Sept. 7 Great North Run

by Brett Larner
photos by rikujolove

2014 Copenhagen World Half Marathon Japanese national team members Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta) and Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) will join London Olympics and Moscow World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m double gold medalist Mo Farah (GBR), London and Moscow marathon gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), Daegu and Moscow World Championships marathon gold medalist Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Birmingham World Half Marathon gold medalist Mary Keitany (Kenya) and others at the Sept. 7 Great North Run half marathon in Newcastle, U.K.

Kikuchi, formerly captain of Meiji University's Hakone Ekiden team, has broken 62 minutes for the half marathon three times so far this year including a 1:01:17 PB for 2nd at February's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships and a 1:01:23 at March's Copenhagen World Half Marathon, where he was the only athlete born outside Africa to make the top 25.  Takenaka, a former captain of National University Women's Ekiden champion Ritsumeikan University, made her half marathon debut at this year's National Corporate Half in 1:10:10 for 2nd, following up with a 1:10:30 at the World Half to help the Japanese women win the team bronze medal.

2014 National Track and Field Championships men’s 1500 m winner Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu) and 2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon winner Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda) will also race with support from JRN, along with Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corporation), Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) and Haruna Takada (Team Yamada Denki).

With over 60,000 participants making it the largest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run this year will celebrate its 1 millionth finisher, the first race in the world to reach that milestone. It will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido)
PB: 1:10:10 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
17th, 2014 World Half Marathon - 1:10:30

Haruna Takada (Team Yamada Denki)
PB: 1:11:46 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)

Masato Kikuchi (Team Konica Minolta)
PB: 1:01:17 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
18th, 2014 World Half Marathon - 1:01:23

Keisuke Tanaka (Team Fujitsu)
PB: 1:02:38 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
2014 national 1500 m champion
2010 national university 1500 m champion

Hiroaki Sano (Team Honda)
PB: 1:02:40 (2014 Sendai International Half Marathon)
top Japanese man, 2013 Chicago Marathon - 2:10:29
1st, 2013 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon - 2:12:14 (debut)

Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki)
PB: 1:02:41 (2013 Marugame International Half Marathon)

Takamitsu Hashimoto (Team Komori Corp.)
PB: 1:03:13 (2014 National Corporate Half Marathon)
anchor, 2007 National High School Ekiden champion Sendai Ikuei H.S.

(c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
photos (c) 2014 M. Kawaguchi, all rights reserved

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