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Dennis Kimetto Leads Fukuoka Field (updated)

by Brett Larner

The Dec. 6 Fukuoka International Marathon, not to be confused with the mass-participation Fukuoka Marathon four weeks earlier despite its URL, has wheeled out the elite field for this year's race, the first Japanese trials race for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.  World record holder Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) will be in town for a late-season payday after dropping out of this summer's Beijing World Championships, facing sub-2:06 men Bernard Koech (Kenya) and Getu Feleke (Ethiopia) and Fukuoka's last three winners Patrick Makau (Kenya), Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel).

Running five weeks after his third shot at the TCS New York City Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) leads the Japanese field along with fellow 2:08 runner Koji Kobayashi (Team Subaru) and 2:09 former National Team member Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei).  Sub-2:06:30 is the time the JAAF is dictating for auto selection to the Rio team, but the solid pack of runners at the 2:08 to 2:10 level indicates the more likely place to expect whoever the first Japanese man across the line ends up being.  Realistically whoever comes through as the top Japanese man will be awaiting the outcome of the spring's Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon trial races to know his fate. 

For his part, Kawauchi has said publicly that he will not be aiming to be top Japanese man, but to win outright.  As shown by the scandalous omission of 2014 Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) from the Beijing team this year, even that may not be enough to please the powers that be.

Fukuoka International Marathon Elite Field
Fukuoka, 12/6/15
click here for detailed field listing
times listed are 2013-2015 best marks except where noted

Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) - 2:02:57 (Berlin 2014)
Bernard Koech (Kenya) - 2:04:53 (Dubai 2013)
Getu Feleke (Ethiopia) - 2:05:41 (Vienna 2014)
Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:07:16 (Fukuoka Int'l 2013)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:08:14 (Seoul Int'l 2013)
Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) - 2:08:17 (Valencia 2013)
Patrick Makau (Kenya) - 2:08:22 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Serhiy Lebid (Ukraine) - 2:08:32 (Seoul Int'l 2014)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:08:50 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Koji Kobayashi (Japan/Subaru) - 2:08:51 (Tokyo 2014)
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 2:09:00 (Fukuoka Int'l 2013)
Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Monteroza) - 2:09:18 (Tokyo 2015)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:47 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Cuthbert Nyasango (Zimbabwe) - 2:09:52 (Prague 2014)
Chiharu Takada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:03 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Kenichi Shiraishi (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:36 (Beppu-Oita 2014)
Hiroki Kadota (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:10:46 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Dylan Wykes (Canada) - 2:10:47 (Rotterdam 2012)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:15 (Tokyo 2013)
Chris Thompson (Great Britain) - 2:11:19 (London 2014)
Kazuki Tomaru (Japan/Toyota) - 2:11:25 (Berlin 2014)
Yoshiki Otsuka (Japan/Aichi Seiko) - 2:11:40 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Paulo Roberto Paula (Brazil) - 2:11:40 (Moscow World Championships 2013)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:11 (Nobeoka 2014)
Masashi Hayashi (Japan/Yakult) - 2:12:17 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Shota Yamaguchi (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:13:13 (Nagano 2015)
Etsu Miyata (Japan/Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 2:14:09 (Nobeoka 2013)
Yuri Chechun (Russia) - 2:14:10 (Kazan 2015)
Dmitriy Safronov (Russia) - 2:14:16 (Kazan 2015)
Makoto Harada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:14:40 (Tokyo 2013)
Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea) - 2:14:41 (Moscow World Championships 2013)
Yasushi Yamamoto (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:15:15 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Saeki Makino (Japan/DNPL Ekiden Team) - 2:15:22 (Seoul 2015)
Jose Amado Garcia (Guatemala) - 2:15:52 (Torreon 2012)
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - 2:22:34 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)

(c) 2015 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

joe said…
Hasn't Makau run 203/204?
Brett Larner said…
Yes, but not recently. As noted, all times listed are the athlete's best from 2013 to 2015 except where they haven't run or finished a marathon since 2012 or before.
Joe said…
Ah, I see. Thanks Brett

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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