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Yoshitomi and Matsumura Lead Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons with nearly 30,000 finishers, his year's Osaka Marathon takes place Nov. 25. At the elite level Osaka has carved an interesting place for itself as a sort of unofficial amateur Japanese women's national championships, with just about all of Japan's sub-2:40 amateur women entered. 2017 winner Yumiko Kinoshita (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) leads 6 of last year's top 7 including Mitsuko Ino (Linkstyle), who finished just 1 second behind Kinoshita in the last edition, and 2016 Osaka winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.). But they have serious competition ahead of them this time in the form of quasi-corporate leaguer Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead), fresh from a 2:30:09 PB and CR win at the Nov. 11 Fukuoka Marathon, and 2:31:09 Moroccan Soud Kanbouchia. First-timer Felista Wambui (Kenya) is a wildcard. The high-volume racer Yoshitomi is the heavy favorite, the only question really being whether she can finally break 2:30 for the first time.

The men's side of the equation has more of an international contingent, featuring three Kenyans led by 2018 Copenhagen Marathon winner William Morwabe, and Moroccan Abdenasir Fathi. But as in the women's race the #1 seed is a Japanese runner, in this case 2014 Incheon Asian Games silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (MHPS). Matsumura has had a rough time since then, but a 2:11:04 at last year's Lake Biwa suggest he's heading back in the right direction. His strongest domestic competitors are 2017 Osaka runner-up Hideyuki Ikegami (Aminosaurus) and 2016 Katsuta Marathon course record-setter Shingo Igarashi (Josai Univ. Staff).

2018 Osaka Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Osaka, 11/25/18
detailed field listing
times listed are best within last 3 years except where noted

Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/Memolead) - 2:30:09 (Fukuoka 2018)
Soud Kanbouchia (Morocco) - 2:31:09 (Daegu 2017)
Yumiko Kinoshita (Japan/Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:34:38 (Osaka 2017)
Mitsuko Ino (Japan/Linkstyle) - 2:34:39 (Osaka 2017)
Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/F.O.R.) - 2:35:40 (Tokyo 2018)
Hisae Yoshimatsu (Japan/Shunan City Hall) - 2:36:02
Azusa Nojiri (Japan/NikoA) - 2:36:53 (Osaka 2017)
Haruka Yamaguchi (Japan/AC Kita) - 2:38:18 (Beppu-Oita 2018)
Kie Watanabe (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:40:23 (Shizuoka 2018)
Minami Nakashima (Japan/Kansai Gaikokugo Univ.) - 2:43:16 (Tokyo 2018)
Felista Wambui (Kenya) - debut - 1:13:51 (Niigata Half 2017)

Kohei Matsumura (Japan/MHPS) - 2:11:04 (Lake Biwa 2017)
William Morwabe (Kenya) - 2:11:15 (Copenhagen 2018)
Julius Wahome (Kenya) - 2:12:05 (Chongqing 2016)
Charles Munyeki (Kenya) - 2:12:55 (Warsaw 2016)
Hideyuki Ikegami (Japan/Aminosaurus) - 2:13:41 (Osaka 2017)
Shingo Igarashi (Japan/Josai Univ. Staff) - 2:13:15 (Katsuta 2016)
Abdenasir Fathi (Morocco) - 2:14:33 (Rabat 2017)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) - 2:15:50 (Osaka 2016)
Ahihiro Kaneko (Japan/Comody Iida) - 2:18:26 (Tsukuba 2017)

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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