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Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field



The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest competition comes from Japan-based Kenyans Bernard Kimani (Yakult) and Dominic Nyairo (Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) and what may be the best Japanese field ever assembled in a half marathon. New national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda) leads four Japanese men with current sub-61 minute times, two others who cracked 61 a little further back and at least four others with the potential to do it, mostly notably all-time Japanese #2 for 10000 m Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei) in his half marathon debut.

Marugame hasn't seen a Japanese winner since 2006, but with Shitara breaking his 10000 m best at the end of November and destroying the field on the 22.4 km Fourth Stage at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden he could be the one to do it. With enough competition he could also be the one to drop Japan's first sub-60.

72nd Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon 

Elite Field Highlights
Kagawa, Marugame, 2/4/18
click here for complete field listing
all times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Women
Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 1:08:21 (Great Scottish Run 2015)
Mao Ichiyama (Japan/Wacoal) - 1:09:14 (Sanyo Ladies 2017)
Michi Numata (Japan/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:09:27 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Sara Hall (U.S.A.) - 1:09:37 (Copenhagen 2017)
Mai Ito (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:09:57 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Kaori Morita (Japan/Panasonic) - 1:10:11 (Sanyo Ladies 2017)
Riko Matsuzaki (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 1:11:04 (Marugame 2017)
Jessica Trengove (Australia) - 1:11:07a (San Diego 2015)
Kellys Arias (Colombia) - 1:11:21 (Cardiff World Half 2016)
Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 1:11:25a (Great North Run 2017)
Yomogi Akasaka (Japan/Meijo Univ.) - 1:11:41 (Marugame 2016)
Miharu Shimokado (Japan/Nitori) - 1:11:48 (Matsue Ladies 2016)
Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 1:12:04 (Gifu Seiryu 2016)
Erika Ikeda (Japan/Higo Ginko) - 1:12:17 (Sanyo Ladies 2017)
Sakie Arai (Japan/Higo Ginko) - 1:12:45 (Matsue Ladies 2016)
Mei Matsuyama (Japan/Noritz) - 1:12:58 (Marugame 2016)
Nana Sato (Japan/Starts) - 1:13:58 (Nat'l Corp Half 2017)
Hikari Yoshimoto (Japan/Daihatsu) - 1:14:21 (Kyoto 2009)
Da-Eun Jeong (South Korea) - 1:14:46 (Gyeonggi 2017)
Sook-Jeong Lee (South Korea) - 1:14:48 (Gyeonggi 2015)
Rina Yonezu (Imabari Zosen) - 1:14:58 (Marugame 2017)
De Yeon Kim (South Korea) - 1:15:07 (Gyeonggi 2017)

Men
Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) - 59:24 (New Delhi 2015)
Bernard Kimani (Kenya/Yakult) - 1:00:05 (Den Haag 2015)
Yuta Shitara (Japan/Honda) - 1:00:17 (Usti nad Labem 2017)
Masato Kikuchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:00:32 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Dominic Nyairo (Kenya/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:00:50 (Marugame 2016)
Dominic Kiptarus (Kenya) - 1:00:53 (Lille 2017)
Keijiro Mogi (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:00:54 (Marugame 2016)
Wilson Kiprono (Kenya) - 1:00:57 (Montbeliard 2017)
Kenta Murayama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:00:57 (New York 2017)
Joel Mwaura (Kenya/Kurosaki Harima) - 1:00:59 (Marugame 2017)
Daichi Kamino (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:01:04 (Marugame 2017)
Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:01:12 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Abiyot Abinet (Ethiopia/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:01:21 (Nat'l Corp Half 2017)
Moses Kibet (Kenya) - 1:01:37 (Lisbon 2016)
Jeremiah Thuku Karemi (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 1:01:48 (Okukuma 2018)
Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:01:51 (Gifu Seiryu 2016)
Shun Inoura (Japan/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 1:02:01 (Nat'l Corp Half 2017)
Jonathan Ndiku (Kenya/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 1:02:07 (Marugame 2017)
Edward Waweru (Kenya/NTN) - 1:02:08 (Gifu Seiryu 2014)
Kento Otsu (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:09 (Marugame 2016)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/NTN) - 1:02:10 (Marugame 2016)
Yohei Suzuki (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:16 (Ageo City 2016)
Junnosuke Matsuo (Japan/Tokai Univ.) - 1:02:17 (Ageo City 2016)
Chihiro Miyawaki (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:18 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Soma Ishikawa (Japan/Kanebo) - 1:02:20 (Marugame 2016)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:02:21 (Sendai 2017)
Takashi Ichida (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:02:23 (Marugame 2017)
Shuji Matsuo (Japan/Chudenko) - 1:02:25 (Nat'l Corp Half 2015)
Gen Hachisuka (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:02:26 (Marugame 2015)
Kei Katanishi (Japan/Komazawa Univ.) - 1:02:31 (Marugame 2017)
Wataru Ueno (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:35 (Marugame 2017)
Sho Nagato (Japan/Yamanashi Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:37 (Marugame 2017)
Natsuki Terada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:37 (Marugame 2017)
Shuhei Shirota (Japan/Kanebo) - 1:02:40 (Marugame 2017)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 1:02:41 (Marugame 2016)
Yohei Koyama (Japan/NTN) - 1:02:42 (Marugame 2017)
Shun Sakuraoka (Japan/NTN) - 1:02:44 (Ageo City 2016)
Homare Morita (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:46 (Kanagawa 2017)
Kazuya Shiojiri (Japan/Juntendo Univ.) - 1:02:46 (Marugame 2017)
Suehiro Ishikawa (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:49 (Marugame 2016)
Junji Katakawa (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:02:49 (Marugame 2015)
Shinji Yoshimoto (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 1:02:51 (Marugame 2016)
Yuki Sato (Japan/Nissin Shokuhin) - 1:02:53 (Valencia 2017)
Genta Yodokawa (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:02:53 (Marugame 2017)
Takato Suzuki (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:02:55 (Setagaya 246 2016)
Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - debut - 27:29.74 (Hachioji 2015)

© 2018 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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