Skip to main content

Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The proving ground marathon in Japan's Eugene, Athlete Town Nobeoka's Nishi Nippon Marathon hosts its 54th running on Feb. 14.  Proving among other things that change can come even to the most conservative parts of Japan, for the second year in a row Nobeoka will feature a women's field, small and entry-level but still a sign of positive change.  Like the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon a week earlier, Nobeoka's men's field suffers a bit in the face of the Olympic selection races at Tokyo and Lake Biwa just a few weeks later, but it does feature a large lineup of promising first-timers who should help fulfill Nobeoka's original purpose as the race where future marathoners are made.

The local Asahi Kasei team fields the top three entrants.  Its Ryoichi Matsuo and Taiki Yoshimura lead the way with recent bests of 2:12:11 and 2:13:12, but the most exciting on the list is Asahi Kasei's Fumihiro Maruyama, 1:29:34 at the 2013 Kumanichi 30 km and 1:01:15 for the half marathon just a few weeks later and coming in strong off a win at the Oita City Half a few weeks ago.

The Asahi Kasei trio's toughest competition comes from two first-timers from the team that rivals them for the claim of being the best Japanese marathon team, Honda.  Former Komazawa University captain Wataru Ueno will be debuting for Honda with a 1:02:39 half marathon best in 2014, joined by teammate Yuki Maeda.  With weaker credentials Honda's Hiroaki Sano popped a 2:12:14 debut for the win in Nobeoka two years ago, going on to run 2:09:12 in Tokyo last year.

Having run 1:02:27 at last year's National Corporate Half Marathon Shusei Ohashi of the JR Higashi Nihon Team, another team producing good numbers of 2:09-2:10 marathoners, stands as another top contender for a breakthrough debut.  Four other runners on the entry list have recent half marathon times under 1:03:00, suggesting sub-2:12 potential.  Times in Nobeoka have been getting consistently faster over the last six years, and with any luck someone may get close to the 2:11:05 course record.

54th Noboeka Nishi Nippon Marathon 
Elite Field Highlights
Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 2/14/16
click here for complete field listing
all times listed are 2013-2015 bests except where noted

Men
Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:11 (Nobeoka 2014)
Taiki Yoshimura (Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:12 (Hofu 2015)
Sho Matsumoto (Nikkei Business) - 2:13:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Shoji Takada (Suzuki Hamamatsu) - 2:17:05 (Shizuoka 2015)
Sora Tsukada (SGH Group) - 2:17:52 (Izumisano 2015)
Wataru Yamaguchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:18:25 (Tokyo 2015)
Masaki Hori (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:18:55 (Nagano 2014)
Yuya Ito (Toyota) - 2:18:58 (Hokkaido 2015)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Asahi Kasei) - 1:29:34 (Kumanichi 30 km 2013)
Shusei Ohashi (JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:27 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Wataru Ueno (Honda) - 1:02:39 (Marugame 2014)
Shuji Yoshikawa (Kyudenko) - 1:02:43 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2013)
Kenta Matsubara (Toyota) - 1:02:50 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Shinichiro Tai (Fujitsu) - 1:02:54 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2013)
Shogo Sekiguchi (Subaru) - 1:02:57 (Ageo 2013)
Daichi Kato (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:03:01 (Tamana 2013)
Kazuya Namera (Subaru) - 1:03:10 (Marugame 2015)
Naoki Nishio (Chudenko) - 1:03:23 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Tetsuya Sasaki (Chudenko) - 1:03:25 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2014)
Takahiro Gunji (Komori Corp.) - 1:03:25 (Ageo 2013)
Yuki Maeda (Honda) - 1:03:31 (Marugame 2015)

Women
Misato Hokama (Starts) - 1:17:15 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Misaki Yoshida (Shoin Univ.) - 1:23:12 (Tachikawa 2015)
Yurika Sakai (Saitama T&F Assoc.)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Tokyo Experiments With Spraying Water Along 2020 Marathon Course to Combat Heat

As part of its measures to deal with the hot conditions expected at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted an experiment to measure the effects on pavement surface temperature of spraying the road surface with water. Data from the experiments were released to the media.

The experiment was conducted from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. along a 120 m section of sidewalk along Uchibori Street in the Imperial Palace's outer gardens in Chiyoda Ward.  In the experiment, open-ended tubes used in agricultural work eres placed at the edge of the sidewalk  to supply water. Surface temperature readings were taken every 30 minutes for three different experimental scenarios:
spraying water beginning at 4:00 a.m.spraying water beginning at 7:00 a.m.not spraying any water The experiment found that where water had been sprayed, the road surface temperature remained in the 27 to 29˚C range even when the air temperature exceeded 30˚C. Where no wa…

On Broadcast Commentary

It's been 122 days since the 122nd Boston Marathon. Of what the two exceptional people who won that day accomplished, WilliamShakespeare summed it up better than any other commentator in his Sonnet 122:

Beyond all date, even to eternity;
     Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
     Have faculty by nature to subsist;
     Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
     Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.

What else needs to be said? But the other thing that remains from that day is, of course, this:

Worst punditry ever? #Yukipic.twitter.com/AwjeuZDtOt — Xempo Running (@xempouk) April 16, 2018
In the 122 days since Boston this clip has been on my mind a lot. The commentary here by Larry Rawson and Al Trautwig was exceptionally bad, but it wasn't unique to them and highlighted many of the problems with marathon TV broadcasts and especially their hosts and commentators. I'm fortunate to live in Japan where the announcers for the countless marathon live TV broadcas…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…