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Fukuoka International Marathon Elite Field



The Fukuoka International Marathon has released the elite field for its 71st running on Dec. 3. For the home ground men it's the first main chance to hit the tough qualifying standards for Japan's new 2020 Olympic Trials race, the MGC Race scheduled for late 2019. Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei) tops the domestic list at 2:08:56, with Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama (both Asahi Kasei) close behind with recent 2:09 times. Expectations are high for Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project), 3rd in Boston this year in 2:10:28 in his marathon debut, and at least as high for two prominent Japanese first-timers, former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage superstar Daichi Kamino (Konica Minolta) and Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu), twin brother of half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda).

Last year's winner Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) returns off a DNF at August's London World Championships, his 2:08:48 his best time in the last three years. Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) has always run well in Japan and has the best recent performance on paper with a 2:06:33 in Tokyo two years ago, marking him as a potential favorite. Almost even is Lani Rutto (Kenya) with a 2:06:34 in Frankfurt two years ago. For the home crowd, Tokyo-based Bedan Karoki (DeNA) will likely be generating the most fan support, following up a decent 2:07:41 debut in London this year with his Japanese-soil marathon debut. Hot off a 59:48 national record at last week's Valencia Half Marathon, Sondre Moen (Norway) is bound to take a big chunk off his 2:10:07 best and contend up front.

A wildcard is 1:00:01 half marathoner Jake Robertson (New Zealand) in his marathon debut, his twin brother Zane Robertson a DNF in his own debut earlier this month in Amsterdam. Another is Japan-based Charles Ndirangu (JFE Steel), like Karoki a graduate of Hiroshima's Sera H.S. who has wowed Japanese TV audiences for years and will be debuting off a 1:00:18 half marathon best two years at the National Corporate Championships.

The Fukuoka International Marathon will be broadcast live nationwide. As usual, JRN will also cover the race live @JRNLive. Check back closer to race date for more info on watching online and other options for following the season's last top-level marathon.

71st Fukuoka International Marathon

Elite Field Highlights
Fukuoka, 12/3/17
click here for complete field listing
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) - 2:06:33 (Tokyo 2015)
Lani Rutto (Kenya) - 2:06:34 (Frankfurt 2015)
Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) - 2:07:41 (London 2017)
Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) - 2:08:18 (Warsaw 2015)
Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) - 2:08:48 (Fukuoka International 2016)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 2:08:50 (Fukuoka International 2014)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:56 (Fukuoka International 2015)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Melaku Abera (Ethiopia/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:09:27 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:31 (Biwako 2016)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Japan/Asaki Kasei) - 2:09:36 (Biwako 2016)
Chiharu Takada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:03 (Fukuoka International 2014)
Sondre Moen (Norway) - 2:10:07 (Hannover 2017)
Suguru Osako (Japan/Nike Oregon Project) - 2:10:28a (Boston 2017)
Hayato Sonoda (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:10:40 (Fukuoka International 2016)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:52 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Paulo Roberto Paula (Brazil) - 2:11:02 (Fukuoka International 2015)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:40 (Shizuoka 2017)
Kohei Ogino (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:11:42a (Nagano 2015)
Kazuhiro Maeda (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:11:46 (Biwako 2015)
Tadashi Suzuki (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:12:09 (Shizuoka 2017)
Yuki Sato (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:12:14 (London 2016)
Kazuya Ishida (Japan/Nishitetsu) - 2:12:25 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Keisuke Kusaka (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:12:42 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Daisuke Uekado (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:58 (Biwako 2017)
Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:13:33 (Biwako 2017)
Yuki Munakata (Kanebo) - 2:13:53 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Tyler Pennell (U.S.A.) - 2:14:57 (L.A. Olympic Trials 2017)
Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall) - 2:15:32 (Kagoshima 2017)
Kazuki Tomaru (Toyota) - 2:18:39 (Fukuoka International 2015)

Do-Over
Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) - 2:22:36 (Tokyo 2016)
Collis Birmingham (Australia) - 1:02:01 (Marugame Half 2016)

Debut
Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 1:00:01 (Lisbon Half 2017)
Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 1:00:18 (National Corporate Half 2015)
Daichi Kamino - 1:01:04 (Japan/Marugame Half 2017)
Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:01:12 (National Corporate Half 2015)

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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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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