Skip to main content

Makau, Mathathi, Gitau and Nakamoto Headline Fukuoka International Marathon

by Brett Larner

For its first running following the launch of the new mass-participation Fukuoka Marathon on Nov. 9, the hallowed Fukuoka International Marathon has pulled in former world record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya) to make a go at a comeback against 2013 winner Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and surprise 2012 winner Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) in its 68th edition on Dec. 7.  Until this summer Makau hadn't run at quality over any distance since 2012, but a sub-28 road 10k in the U.S.A. in August suggests he has been getting back toward full fitness, something he'll need to bring to compete against Mathathi and Gitau.  2:06:24 Ethiopian Raji Assefa is a potential darkhorse, #2 on paper but without a good marathon to his name since running his PB in 2012.

Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki), 6th in the London Olympics and 5th in the Moscow World Championships, leads the domestic hopes alongside 2:08 Moscow teammate Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda), track and half marathon star Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) making his domestic debut after running 2:13 and 2:12 overseas earlier this year, and former 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) and college indy Hideyuki Ikegami (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) in their marathon debuts.

A solid overseas second pack is also in place to boost Japanese chances.  The aging internationals include 2005 Fukuoka winner Dmytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine), perpetual pacemaker Isaac Macharia (Kenya) and national record holders Yared Asmerom (Eritrea) and Henryk Szost (Poland).  Fresher blood includes Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN), Cuthbert Nyasango (Zimbabwe), Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A,), Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) and Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza).

Fukuoka is one of the four races used to set up the three-person team for the 2015 Beijing World Championships, with Federation bigwigs calling for Japan's corporate runners to step up and run sub-2:06:30 to get there.  Considering that only one Japanese man has ever done that it seems like they might as well call for a 2:05 or 2:04, but the sub-2:08 standard for the Moscow World Championships team was at least partially responsible for all five team members clearing 2:09 and the fastest getting down to 2:08:00 and Fukuoka has seen a sub-2:07 by a Japanese man in older times, so who knows?  With a decent pack of overseas competition staging things at mid-2:06 pace maybe fans will be treated to something special.

68th Fukuoka International Marathon
Elite Field and Open Division Highlights
Fukuoka, Dec. 7, 2014

Patrick Makau (Kenya) - 2:03:38 (Berlin 2011)
Raji Assefa (Ethiopia) - 2:06:24 (Paris 2012)
Joseph Gitau (Kenya/Team JFE Steel) - 2:06:58 (Fukuoka 2012)
Dmytro Baranovskyy (Ukraine) - 2:07:15 (Fukuoka 2006)
Martin Mathathi (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:07:16 (Fukuoka 2013)
Isaac Macharia (Kenya) - 2:07:16 (Dubai 2008)
Yared Asmerom (Eritrea) - 2:07:27 (Chuncheon 2011)
Henryk Szost (Poland) - 2:07:39 (Lake Biwa 2012)
Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) - 2:08:12 (Lake Biwa 2003)
Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 2:08:35 (Beppu-Oita 2013)
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Mongolia/Team NTN) - 2:09:00 (Hofu Yomiuri 2013)
Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 2:09:03 (Tokyo 2011)
Cuthbert Nyasango (Zimbabwe) - 2:09:52 (Prague 2014)
Tomoya Adachi (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:10:22 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Chiharu Takada (Team JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:39 (Fukuoka 2013)
Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A,) - 2:10:52 (Gold Coast 2014)
Mekubo Mogusu (Kenya/Team Nissin Shokuhin) - 2:11:02 (Tokyo 2013)
Takaaki Koda (Team Asahi Kasei) - 2:11:08 (Tokyo 2011)
Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:11:15 (Tokyo 2013)
Noriaki Takahashi (DeNA RC) - 2:12:04 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Tsuyoshi Ugachi (Team Konica Minolta) - 2:12:18 (Sydney 2014)
Makoto Fukui (Team Fujitsu) - 2:13:57 (Muenster 2012)
Benjamin Ngandu (Kenya/Team Monteroza) - 1:01:06 (Marugame 2012)
Hideyuki Ikegami (Kyoto Kyoiku Univ.) - debut - 1:03:09 (Tanigawa Mari 2014)
Yuichiro Ueno (DeNA RC) - debut - 28:01.71 for 10000 m (Kobe 2014)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

2021 Tokyo Marathon Bans International Runners

Following the lead of other Japanese races like 2020 Fukuoka International Marathon, 2021 Osaka International Women's Marathon, 2021 Lake Biwa Marathon, 2021 Nagoya Women's Marathon and 2021 Kobe Marathon prior to its cancelation, the Tokyo Marathon has announced that this year's race will not accept international runners due to Japan's unending restrictions on immigration.  Mass-participation runners who could not run in 2020 due to the pandemic had the option to move their entries to 2021 or 2022. People who opted for 2021 will now be re-routed to 2023 according to the official announcement from race director Tad Hayano : <Decision on Overseas Runners for #TokyoMarathon2021 > Due to continued strict border restrictions in place for travelers entering Japan and the uncertainty of when they will be lifted, the decision that overseas runners will not participate in the Tokyo Marathon 2021 was made. pic.twitter.com/k0f8pVaYBz — Tokyo Marathon Foundation (@TokyoMarat

L.A. Olympics Women's Marathoner Akemi Masuda Named Head of Tokyo Athletics Association

On June 16 the Tokyo Athletics Association announced that 1984 Los Angeles Olympics women's marathoner Akemi Masuda , 57, has been named its new director. Masuda, a frequent commentator on TV race broadcasts, already serves as director of the Japan Para-Athletics Federation and Japan Intellectual Disability Athletics Federation . source article: https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2021061601341&g=spo translated and edited by Brett Larner