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Kawauchi vs. Adachi at Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon organizers have announced the field for their 53rd running on Feb. 8.  Run on the home ground of the Takeshi Soh-led Asahi Kasei corporate team, Nobeoka is primarily a developmental race focusing on first-timers and young athletes trying to get the marathon right and typically sees winning times in the 2:12~2:13 range.  It's noteworthy outside Japan mainly in that every year the people who run around that level in Nobeoka make up a major part of the runners included on their coaches' annual junket to the Chicago Marathon, where some go on to take a step toward bigger things.

Recently things have been getting a little faster in Nobeoka, with 2:11 winning times in two of the last three years.  This year the organizers have taken a slightly different tack, invited three experienced men who should be able to work together to take down the 2:11:05 course record.  Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) is the strongest by far with a 2:08:14 best, but after losing a month's training to an ankle sprain in late December he will get a solid challenge from Asahi Kasei's Tomoya Adachi, who became the tenth Japanese man of 2014 to go sub-2:10, just, when he ran a 2:09:59 PB in Fukuoka in December.  Kazuya Ishida (Team Nishitetsu) won Nobeoka in 2:11:57 in 2012 and should be the other major contender.

Noteworthy names trying to run quality times after failed marathon debuts include pre-course change Hakone Ekiden Sixth Stage record holder Kenta Chiba (Fujitsu) and sub-62 half marathoner Shuji Yoshikawa (Kyudenko), a training partner of 2:08:00 marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda and 2:09:10 man Masanori Sakai.  First-timers make up over half the invited athlete field, with sub-63 half marathoners Yuya Ito (Team Toyota), Sho Matsueda (Team Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki), Masanori Kitajima (Team Yasukawa Denki) and Hiroki Yamagishi (Hitachi Butsuryu) topping the list.

53rd Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Elite Field
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 2/8/15
click here for complete field listing

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul 2013)
Tomoya Adachi (Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:59 (Fukuoka 2014)
Kazuya Ishida (Nishitetsu) - 2:11:57 (Nobeoka 2012)
Norimasa Nishina (Fujitsu) - 2:13:12 (Hofu 2014)
Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Yasushi Yamamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:15:15 (Biwako 2013)
Takuya Suzuki (Aisan Kogyo) - 2:15:40 (Beppu-Oita 2014)
Yasunori Onuma (Toenec) - 2:18:00 (Nobeoka 2014)
Kenta Chiba (Fujitsu) - 2:18:07 (Nobeoka 2014)

Do-Over
Shuji Yoshikawa (Kyudenko) - 1:01:58 (Marugame Half 2012)
Ryota Matoba (Komori Corp.) - 1:03:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Ryota Nakamura (Chudenko) - 1:03:16 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2010)

Debut
Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 1:02:21 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Sho Matsueda (Mitsubishi Juko Nagasaki) - 1:02:41 (Marugame Half 2013)
Masanori Kitajima (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:02:50 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2010)
Hiroki Yamagishi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:02:51 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2013)
Takamitsu Hashimoto (Komori Corp.) - 1:03:13 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Masahito Sumimoto (Mazda) - 1:03:13 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Tatsuya Oshinomi (Nishitetsu) - 1:03:17 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2012)
Norikazu Kato (Yakult) - 1:03:18 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) - 1:03:19 (Marugame Half 2012)
Tsukasa Koyam (Subaru) - 1:03:28 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2012)
Atsushi Yamazaki (Subaru) - 1:03:34 (Kyoto Half 2009)
Daiki Kubota (Yasukawa Denki) - 1:03:38 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Yuma Morii (SG Holdings) - 1:03:57 (Marugame Half 2014)
Hajime Koizumi (Iwaki T&F Assoc.) - 1:04:01 (Ageo Half 2007)
Takashi Maie (Konica Minolta) - 1:04:16 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2009)

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
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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
Upcoming race schedule: Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan
Mar. 25: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama
Apr. 16: Boston Marathon, U.S.A.
May 5: Toyohirakawa Half Marathon, Hokkaido
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
June 17: Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon, Shimane
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 2…