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Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The 65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon has announced the elite field for its 65th running on Feb. 7.  Coming just before the second and third selection races for Japan's Olympic marathon team it's small up front but features a solid mid-pack of relatively young runners including some good first-timers.

Evans Ruto (Kenya) leads the internationals with a 2:08:55 at last year's Gold Coast Airport Marathon, with competition from sub-2:10 men Hailu Shume (Ethiopia) and Anthony Maritim (Kenya).  Japan-based Ethiopian Melaku Abera (Team Kurosaki Harima), the course record holder at Oita's Half Marathon, is scheduled to debut and should be another to watch.

On the home front, Kenichi Shiraishi (Team Asahi Kasei) is the only Japanese man on the list sub-2:11 recently with a 2:10:36 in Beppu-Oita two years ago.  High-volume marathoner Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) follows close behind with a 2:11:15 in Tokyo in 2013.  Most interesting among the debuting Japanese runners is Hiroto Kanamori (Takushoku Univ.), holding a half marathon PB of only 1:03:14 but having run 1:02:00 for 3rd on the ultra-competitive 21.3 km First Stage at the Hakone Ekiden earlier this month, worth 1:01:25 for the half marathon.

Japan's #1 amateur Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) leads the small women's field with a 2:31:28 best in Tokyo 2013.  Yoshitomi has won her last three marathons, all since the beginning of November, and last weekend pulled off a crazy double with a 2:45:22 course record win at the Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon on Sunday followed by a 1:17:27 win the next day at Monday's Imari Half Marathon.  Yoshitomi's competition comes from Mayumi Uchiyama (Yamanashi Gauin Univ.), 2:39:54 in Tokyo last year, and Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita), 2:41:56 in Beppu-Oita two years ago.

65th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
Elite Field Highlights
Oita, 2/7/16
click here for complete field listing
times listed are 2013-15 bests except where noted

Men
Evans Ruto (Kenya) - 2:08:55 (Gold Coast 2015)
Hailu Shume (Ethiopia) - 2:09:27 (Nice-Cannes 2014)
Anthony Maritim (Kenya) - 2:09:39 (Linz 2015)
Kenichi Shiraishi (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:36 (Beppu-Oita 2014)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:15 (Tokyo 2013)
Kiflom Sium (Eritrea) - 2:11:39 (Prague 2013)
Ihor Olefirenko (Ukraine) - 2:12:04 (Bila Tserkva 2015)
Tatsunari Hirayama (Japan/Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Keita Akiba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:13:12 (Biwako 2014)
Son Myeong Jun (South Korea) - 2:13:30 (Seoul 2015)
Kim Young Jin (South Korea) - 2:13:49 (Seoul 2013)
Kenta Chiba (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:14:00 (Nobeoka 2015)
Shogo Kanezane (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:14:22 (Nobeoka 2015)
Yudai Yamakawa (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:14:28 (Nobeoka 2014)
Naoya Hashimoto (Japan/Chudenko) - 2:14:36 (Beppu-Oita 2013)
Junichi Tsubouchi (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:14:37 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Yuji Iwata (Japan/Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 2:14:46 (Nobeoka 2014)
Sho Matsueda (Japan/Mitsubishi HPS Nagasaki) - 2:14:50 (Nobeoka 2015)

Debut
Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 1:02:47 (Oita City Half 2015)
Salah Bounasr (Morocco) - 1:03:01 (Casablanca Half 2011)
Hiroto Kanamori (Japan/Takushoku Univ.) - 1:03:14 (Ageo City Half 2014)
Yuta Takahashi (Japan/DeNA) - 1:03:23 (Hakodate Half 2006)
Keisuke Kusaka (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:03:44 (Ageo City Half 2012)
Yuki Munakata (Japan/Kanebo) - 1:03:58 (Ageo City Half 2009)

Women
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/First Dream AC) - 2:31:28 (Tokyo 2013)
Mayumi Uchiyama (Japan/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 2:39:54 (Tokyo 2015)
Haruka Yamaguchi (Japan/AC Kita) - 2:41:56 (Beppu-Oita 2014)

© 2016 Brett Larner
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