Skip to main content

Defending Champs Matsuo and Sato Top Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Entry List



The second of Japan's four big February-March elite men's marathons, the Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon has released its entry list for this year's 56th running on Feb. 11. Traditionally a developmental event for first-timers and early-career marathoners, Nobeoka has been the place where some of Japan's best, most notably Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki) have gotten their start.

This year Ryoichi Matsuo of the locally-based national champion Asahi Kasei team will try to become only the second man in Nobeoka history to win it three years in a row. His main challenge will probably come from Masahiro Kawaguchi (Yakult), at 2:13:27 the only man in the field with a faster recent time than Matsuo's winning time of 2:13:36 from Noboeka last year.

But given Nobeoka's nature any of the relatively inexperienced marathoners in the field, particularly Shota Miyagami (Kyudenko), could get it right this time and break through to Matsuo's level or beyond. Among the debuting men, the Koichi Morishita-coached Shoya Okuno (Toyota Kyushu), former Waseda University star Shuhei Yamamoto (Toyota) and relative unknowns Yusei Tsutsumi (JFE Steel) and Nobuyuki Matsumoto (Aisan Kogyo) deserve attention as potential competitors up front.

In just its fourth year with a women's field, last year's winner Noriko Sato (First Dream AC) returns as the favorite and the chance to score Nobeoka's first back-to-back women's title. The Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon will be broadcast live regionally in Kyushu and nationally on delay starting at 11:00 p.m. on the 11th on BS Fuji.

56th Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon Elite Field

Nobeoka, Miyazaki, 2/11/18
click here for complete field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Men
Masahiro Kawaguchi (Yakult) - 2:13:27 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:13:36 (Nobeoka 2017)
Sora Tsukada (SG Holdings) - 2:15:16 (Osaka 2016)
Shigeki Tsuji (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:15:19 (Gold Coast 2015)
Kazuya Deguchi (Asahi Kasei) - 2:18:02 (Kagoshima 2017)
Hiroki Kai (Raffine) - 2:18:17 (Tokyo 2017)
Yuya Taguchi (Toyota Boshoku) - 2:19:41 (Biwako 2015)
Masao Kizu (DeNA) - 2:20:00 (Shizuoka 2017)
Yu Chiba (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 2:20:48 (Hokkaido 2015)
Shun Imamura (Press Kogyo) - 2:22:37 (Hakodate 2017)
Shota Miyagami (Kyudenko) - 2:25:16 (Nobeoka 2017)

Debut
Takumi Honda (Asahi Kasei) - 1:30:23 (Kumanichi 30 km 2014)
Shoya Okuno (Toyota Kyushu) - 1:31:49 (Kumanichi 30 km 2017)
Keisuke Tanaka (Fujitsu) - 1:32:42 (Kumanichi 30 km 2017)
Shuhei Yamamoto (Toyota) - 1:34:46 (Kumanichi 30 km 2017)
Yusei Tsutsumi (JFE Steel) - 1:02:38 (Nat'l Univ Half 2015)
Nobuyuki Matsumoto (Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:52 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Hikaru Tominaga (Mazda) - 1:03:34 (Marugame Half 2015)
Shota Yamazaki (Yakult) - 1:03:48 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2017)
Kazuki Nakajima (Asahi Kasei) - 1:04:05 (Tamana 2017)
Daiki Taguchi (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:04:51 (Marugame Half 2017)

Women
Noriko Sato (FIrst Dream AC) - 2:48:51 (Hofu 2016)

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Osako Brings Japanese National Record Back to Chicago

Just over seven months since Yuta Shitara broke Toshinari Takaoka's longstanding 2:06:16 national record from the 2002 Chicago Marathon with a 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February, U.S.-based Suguru Osako brought the record back home to Chicago with a 3rd-place finish in 2:05:50.

Running the same pattern as in his first two marathons, Osako sat back in the lead men's pack, never exerting himself as it whittled down to the core members. Just past the turn into Chinatown near 35 km his Nike Oregon Project teammate and 2017 Chicago winner Galen Rupp fell off the front group to leave Osako in contention with former NOP member Mo Farah, 2:04 Ethiopian Mosinet Gemerew, former Asahi Kasei runner Kenneth Kipkemoi and 2017 world champion Geoffrey Kirui.

As in Boston and Fukuoka last year, when the real move came, this time in the form of a surge by Farah and Gemerew, Osako was left behind to battle it out for 3rd. While Farah kicked away for the win by 13 seconds in a European record 2:05:11,…