Skip to main content

Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field



Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the stars of Fukuoka last December when he did exactly that, right up in it for most of the race before fading to just miss going sub-2:10. This time he'll try to get it right, and with up to six places in the 2020 Olympic Trials available to men who go sub-2:10 there'll be others trying to follow his lead. There's no doubt the fan favorite to make the grade will be aging 2:07 man Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu).

Among the first-timers, 1:00:01 half marathoner Jake Robertson (New Zealand) is the most exciting, if he can make it to the start line after a DNS in his planned debut in Fukuoka. Japan-based Kenyan Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) is also a sub-61 half marathoner and could be the dark horse of the race. Lake Biwa has been a popular choice in the last few years for Hakone Ekiden stars making their marathon debuts before graduating, and this year look for Wataru Tochigi (Juntendo Univ.) to fill that role.

Lake Biwa will be broadcast live nationwide and commercial-free on NHK, with English-language commentary on @JRNLive. Check back closer to race date for more details on following the last big Japanese men's marathon of the season live.

73rd Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Otsu, Shiga, 3/4/18
times listed are best within last 3 years except where noted
click here for complete field listing

Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) - 2:06:07 (Amsterdam 2016)
Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) - 2:06:40 (Seoul Int'l 2016)
Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) - 2:06:44 (Valencia 2017)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:56 (Fukuoka Int'l 2015)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:08:59 (Gold Coast 2017)
Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:31 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:39 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Yoshiki Takenouchi (Japan/NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:10:01 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:46 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:52 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 2:10:56 (London World Champs 2017)
Masato Imai (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 2:11:02 (Tokyo 2017)
Shoya Osaki (Japan/Chudenko) - 2:11:03 (Gold Coast 2017)
Tadashi Suzuki (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:12:09 (Shizuoka 2017)
Yuji Iwata (Japan/MHPS) - 2:12:15 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Cristhian Pacheco (Peru) - 2:12:16 (Rotterdam 2016)
Keisuke Tanaka (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:12:41 (Nobeoka 2018)
Shohei Kurata (Japan/GMO) - 2:13:16 (Hofu 2017)
Mohammed Zani (Morocco) - 2:13:40 (Guangzhou 2017)
Kenta Iinuma (Japan/SGH Group) - 2:13:43 (Fukuoka Int'l 2016)
Yuki Munakata (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:13:53 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Samson Gebreyohannes (Eritrea) - 2:14:25 (Prague 2017)
Keita Baba (Japan/Honda) - 2:14:36 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Yohei Suzuki (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 2:14:56 (Ehime 2017)
Jo Fukuda (Japan/Nishitetsu) - 2:15:11 (Hokkaido 2017)
Junji Katakawa (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:15:19 (Shizuoka 2016)
Shuji Matsuo (Japan/Chudenko) - 2:15:22 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Takumi Kiyotani (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:15:31 (Lake Biwa 2015)
Ryohei Nishiyama (Japan/Toyota Boshoku) - 2:15:42 (Tokyo 2016)
Hidenori Nagai (Japan/DeNA) - 2:15:49 (Shizuoka 2016)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) - 2:15:50 (Osaka 2016)
Tomoyuki Morita (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:15:57 (Berlin 2015)
Takuji Morimoto (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:16:22 (Lake Biwa 2015)
Kenta Kitazawa (Japan/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 2:16:52 (Hokkaido 2017)
Ryo Ishita (Japan/SDF Academy) - 2:16:57 (Nagano 2017)
Scott Bauhs (U.S.A.) - 2:23:03 (U.S.A. Olympic Trials 2016)

Second Time Lucky
Ryota Matoba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:15:00 (Nobeoka 2015)
Shinobu Kubota (Japan/Toyota) - 2:15:48 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Kenta Murayama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:58 (Tokyo 2016)
Yuta Oikawa (Japan/YKK) - 2:23:09 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:28:29 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)

Debut
Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 1:00:01 (Houston Half 2018)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:57 (Gifu Seiryu Half 2017)
Taku Fujimoto (Japan/Toyota) - 1:01:51 (Marugame 2016)
Shogo Nakamura (Japan/Fujitsu) - 1:01:53 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Yuta Takahashi (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:13 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2015)
Kenya Sonota (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:20 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2015)
Yuki Matsumura (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:46 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2014)
Daiji Kawai (Japan/Toenec) - 1:02:47 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Kyota Yabushita (Japan/Osaka Gas) - 1:02:56 (Marugame 2016)
Wataru Tochigi (Japan/Juntendo Univ.) - 1:03:00 (Marugame 2016)

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kusu Runs Steeplechase World-Leading Time, Yabuta and Yoshimura Break National Records, Tanaka Just Misses Fukushi's NR - Kitami and Liege Highlights

Wednesday afternoon and evening saw the fourth meet in this year's five-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series, this time in the town of Kitami. The program included the little-raced 2000 m steeplechase as a tuneup for Monday's series-closing Abashiri meet, and in both the women's and men's races the national records went down. A top collegiate steepler while at Kyoto Sangyo University, Yui Yabuta (Otsuka Seiyaku) ran 6:27.74 to break the women's record. In the men's race 1500 m specialist Yasunari Kusu (Ami AC) surprised many by breaking the Japanese national record with a world-leading 5:31.82 despite little experience in the steeple.

The women's 3000 m in Kitami was more explicitly set up as a national record attempt, with four of the ten fastest Japanese women ever over the distance lined up to gun for the great Kayoko Fukushi's 8:44.40 record dating back to 2002. From the gun it was out at NR pace, with pacers Hellen Ekalale (Toyota Jidoshokki) an…

Lemeteki and Aoki Win Shibestu Half

Kenyan Razini Lemeteki (Takushoku Univ.) and relative unknown Nanami Aoki (Iwatani Sangyo) took the top spots in hot and sunny conditions at the Shibetsu Half Marathon in Hokkaido. With Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) doing early frontrunning in the men's race only to fade to a 20th-place finish in 1:06:40 Lemeteki had little competition for the win in 1:03:25. 2017 Shibetsu winner Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) was the top Japanese man at 2nd in 1:03:42, beating MGC Race Olympic marathon trials qualifiers Daichi Kamino (New Balance) and Naoki Okamoto (Chugoku Denryoku) - by 4 seconds and 11 seconds. Other MGC Race qualifiers Masato Imai (Toyota Jidoshokki), Yuji Iwata (MHPS) and Ryo Kiname (MHPS) all struggled, none of them breaking 66 minutes.

Aoki won the women's race easily in 1:15:12 by almost a minute over Mai Nagaoka (Sysmex). MGC Race qualifiers Reia Iwade (Under Armour) and Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) were listed to start but apparently did not run.
33rd Suffolkland Shibets…

Japan Tops Universiade Medal Count With 33 Golds

A global celebration of university student sports, the closing ceremonies for 30th anniversary Summer Universiade took place July 14 in Napoli, Italy to bring 12 days of competition across a range of collegiate sports. Japanese athletes took part in all 15 categories of competition, winning a total of 33 gold medals to rank #1 worldwide in the medal count standings. Japanese athletes also won 21 silver medals and 28 bronze for a total of 82 medals overall, also ranking #1. Russia scored 82 medals total but had 22 golds, with China 3rd at 22 golds and 43 medals overall. The U.S.A. was 4th.

Just before the start of the closing ceremonies, Japanese delegation leader Ichiro Hoshino gave a positive evaluation of the teams's performance, saying, "I believe that our athletes in each area of competition carried their weight to help achieve this excellent result, and that that will provide momentum in Tokyo 2020." The next Summer Universiade takes place in Chengdu, China in 2021…