At a press conference on Mar. 1 at the Grandvrio Hotel in Tokushima, the organizing committee of the Mar. 25 Tokushima Marathon 2018 announced that London Olympics marathon bronze medalist and all-time 4th-fastest man Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (Kenya) and others will run Tokushima as invited athletes. 14,200 people, 8,461 from within Tokushima prefecture, 5,558 from elsewhere in Japan and 181 from abroad, are entered in this year's race.
To elevate the level of competition at the race, Tokushima organizers will for the first time invite three Kenyan athletes. Kipsang has a best time of 2:03:13 and won last year's Tokyo Marathon. The Tokushima Marathon course record of 2:15:25 was set in 2014 by Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't).
Domestic invited athletes include Yoshihiko Ishikawa (29, Nichiaka Kagaku), Toshiharu Takai (31, Miyoshi T&F Assoc.) and Kana Unno (25, Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). Ishikawa won last year's 24-Hour Ultra World Championships in Northern Ireland, while Unno was the women's winner at the 2017 Ehime Marathon. Takai set Asian records in his division for the 5000 m and 10000 m at last year's Japan Para Track and Field Championships.
Update: Management for Kipsang states that he is only appearing at Tokushima as a guest and will not run, but the language used in the linked article reporting the official announcement is as translated above, that Kipsang is one of three Kenyan invited athletes as opposed to a guest runner.
translated and edited by Brett Larner