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

Niiya to Make 10000 m Return at Zatopek:10

All-time Japanese #3 for 10000 m, Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) makes a return to the distance at Australia's Zatopek:10 next week with support from JRN after five years away from the sport. Niiya's history at the distance is short with only four track 10000 m races to her name, but good ones they were, one and all:
31:28.26, 2012 Hyogo Relay Carnival - 1st30:59.19, 2012 London Olympics - 9th31:06.67 MR, 2013 Japanese National Championships - 1st30:56.70, 2013 Moscow World Championships - 5th Following her crushing defeat over the last lap in Moscow after leading the entire race Niiya quit running and everything to do with it. But in the spring this year, now 30, she decided to try to make a comeback in hope of making the 2020 Olympic team in the 10000 m, telling the media, "I still totally hate running, but unfortunately it seems like this is where I belong." 
After three track races from 3000 m to 5000 m between June and October she made a definitive statement of in…

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…