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Mathathi, Karoki, Kebede, Kipkoech, Baysa and Kirwa Lead Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Field

by Brett Larner

Course record holder Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC), past champion Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Fukuoka International Marathon course record holder Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) lead the men's field for the 5th edition of the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon on May 17, an event that has quickly surpassed the Sendai International Half Marathon as Japan's premier late-spring half marathon.  Former Toyota runner James Rungaru (Kenya) is back and with a 1:00:12 best looks like another contender up front, and Australian 10000 m national record holder Ben St. Lawrence is also in the field.  Japanese entries include sub-1:02 men Kenji Yamamoto (Team Mazda), Kenta Matsumoto (Team Toyota) and Masamichi Shinozaki (Team Hitachi Butsuryu), plus 2014 Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).

On the women's side, Asian Games marathon gold medalist Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) returns to Japan after winning March's Nagoya Women's Marathon, facing serious competition from sub-1:08 women Paskalia Kipkoech (Kenya) and Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia).  Other internationals including Brianne Nelson (U.S.A.), Rene Kalmer (South Africa) and the newly Japan-based Malika Mejdoub (Morocco/Team Edion) are better positioned as competition for the relatively weak Japanese women's field headed by Hiroko Shoi (Team Denso) and Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso).

5th Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon Entry List Highlights
Gifu, 5/17/15
click here for complete elite field listing

Men
Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 58:56a / 59:48
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA RC) - 59:21
Tsegaye Kebede (Ethiopia) - 59:35
James Rungaru (Kenya) - 1:00:12
Jacob Wanjuki (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:32
Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project) - 1:01:03
Josephat Boit (U.S.A.) - 1:01:33
Shadrack Biwott (U.S.A.) - 1:01:40
Kenji Yamamoto (Japan/Mazda) - 1:01:47
Kenta Matsumoto (Japan/Toyota) - 1:01:55
Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:56
Masamichi Shinozaki (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:01:58
Yusei Nakao (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:00
Yoshihiro Yamamoto (Japan/NTN) - 1:02:03
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 1:02:18
Dishon Karukuwa Maina (Kenya/Omokawa Lumber) - 1:02:20
Ismail Juma (Tanzania) - 1:02:42
Ben St. Lawrence (Australia) - 1:02:51
Agato Yasin Hassan (Ethiopia/Chuo Hatsujo) - debut - 27:46.35

Women
Paskalia Kipkoech (Kenya) - 1:07:17
Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) - 1:07:34
Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 1:08:31
Brianne Nelson (U.S.A.) - 1:10:16
Kiyoko Shimahara (Japan/Second Wind AC) - 1:10:16
Marta Tigabea (Ethiopia) - 1:10:32
Rene Kalmer (South Africa) - 1:10:37
Hiroko Shoi (Japan/Denso) - 1:10:48
Azusa Nojiri (Japan/Hiratsuka Lease) - 1:10:53
Yuko Mizuguchi (Japan/Denso) - 1:11:03
Eri Okubo (Japan/Miki House) - 1:11:22
Malika Mejdoub (Morocco/Edion) - 1:11:33

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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.
June 2: ASICS Stockholm Marathon, Sweden
July 1: Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Australia
Aug. 26: New Caledonia International Marathon, New Caledonia
Sept. 2: Wakkanai Heiwa Marathon, Hokk…