Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Nagano Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Nagano Marathon have announced their IAAF bronze label elite field for next week's 19th edition.  Japan-based Mongolian national record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN), serial marathoner Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) fresh off a PB 2:10:52 at February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, and, newly relocated from the corporate leagues to a civil servant runner position in Okinawa, Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) top the men's field.  Kenyans Henry Sugut and Cyrus Njui, Ugandan Moses Kibet and debuting Eritrean Okubay Tsegay provide the veneer of internationalism, Sugut the strongest of the lot with a 2:06:58 PB and a recent best of 2:12:40.  Nagano has only had a Japanese male winner once in its history, Yuki Kawauchi's 2013 title, but a solid run from Ito or Hamasaki could be enough to add another to the record books.

It's true that only one Japanese woman has won Nagano as well, but that doesn't look likely to change with this year's field.  The race looks set to be between Ethiopian Fantu Eticha, with a 2:26:14 best from Dubai in 2015, and Kenyan Mirriam Wangari, 3rd in Xiamen 2015 in 2:27:53.  A short distance back in Kenyan Racheal Jemutai Mutgaa at 230:11.  Aki Otagiri (Team Tenmaya) is the top Japanese woman at 2:30:24, meaning she would need a slow race or a breakthrough performance to compete with the lead African trio.  But as a teammate of 2017 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner and London World Championships marathon team member Risa Shigetomo at the Tenmaya corporate team the potential is there for that to happen.

19th Nagano Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Nagano,  4/16/17
click here for detailed field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Men
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:08:50 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:52 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Tatsunori Hamasaki (Japan/Nanjo City Hall) - 2:12:12 (Tokyo 2015)
Henry Sugut (Kenya) - 2:12:40 (Nice-Cannes 2016)
Shota Yamaguchi (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:13:13 (Nagano 2015)
Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Cerespo) - 2:14:39 (Hokkaido 2016)
Moses Kibet (Uganda) - 2:14:50 (Melbourne 2014)
Yuki Oshikawa (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 2:15:53 (Hokkaido 2016)
Okubay Tsegay (Eritrea) - debut - 1:03:10 (Breda Half 2015)

Women
Fantu Eticha (Ethiopia) - 2:26:14 (Dubai 2015)
Mirriam Wangari (Kenya) - 2:27:53 (Xiamen 2015)
Racheal Jemutai Mutgaa (Kenya) - 2:30:11 (Guangzhou 2015)
Aki Otagiri (Japan/Tenmaya) - 2:30:24 (Nagoya Women's 2015)
Mizuho Nasukawa (Japan/unattached) - 2:33:16 (Saitama Int'l 2016)
Yumiko Kinoshita (Japan/SWAC) - 2:35:49 (Tokyo 2015)

© 2017 Brett Larner
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