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Fujiwara Vs. Kawauchi in Hofu Dec. 17

2015 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon winner Arata Fujiwara (Toyama T&F Assoc.) and 2012 / 2014 winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) return to lead the field for the Dec. 17 edition of the race. Fujiwara comes in three weeks after a win at the Tsukuba Marathon, which itself came just four weeks after a course record win at the Toyama Marathon. Kawauchi cuts it even closer, running both Fukuoka and Hofu as usual but adding a third marathon, the Jan. 1 Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, just two weeks later.

The pair's main competition comes from the Toshinari Takaoka-coached Hiroki Kadota (Kanebo) and former Hakone Ekiden star Tadashi Isshiki (GMO). At least three other members of the elite field will be emulating the past champs' high-volume racing, Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) having run the Oct. 15 Buenos Aires Marathon in Argentina, Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) the Nov. 26 Asian Marathon Championships in Dongguan, China, and Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall) scheduled to duplicate Kawauchi's Fukuoka-Hofu double. Kenyans Boniface Kirui and David Wanjohi lend some international flair to the proceedings.

48th Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Elite Field

Hofu, Yamaguchi, 12/17/17
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) - 2:09:01 (Gold Coast 2016)
Hiroki Kadota (Kanebo) - 2:10:46 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Tadashi Isshiki (GMO) - 2:11:45 (Tokyo 2016)
Arata Fujiwara (Toyama T&F Assoc.) - 2:11:50 (Hofu 2015)
Tatsunori Hamasaki (Nanjo City Hall) - 2:12:12 (Tokyo 2015)
Yasuyuki Nakamura (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:13:46 (Tokyo 2016)
Shogo Kanezane (Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:14:15 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Sora Tsukada (SG Holdings) - 2:15:16 (Osaka 2016)
Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall) - 2:15:32 (Kagoshima 2017)
Boniface Kirui (Kenya) - 2:12:50 (Seoul 2012)
David Wanjohi (Kenya) - debut - 1:04:50 (Ottendorf Half 2012)

photo © 2014 Mari Tanigawa, all rights reserved
text © 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Coached by marathon national record holder Mizuki Noguchi's former coach Hisakazu Hirose, Iwatani Sangyo's next …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

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In Sendai, the second running of the Tohoku Miyagi Fukko Marathon took place, an event launched last year to commemorate those lost in the 2011 tsunami and to show the area's recovery. In its first running organizers brought in then-future 2:06 man Hiroto Inoue to lead the field. This year it was 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winnerTakuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), who took more than 5 minutes off the course record with a workout-effort 2:18:37 for the win. Aki Odagiri (Takemura Seisakusho) won the women's race in 2:46:07.

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