Coming right after the announcement of elite field for the Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon is the announcement for its male counterpart, the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon earlier the same day. Like Nagoya it's the last chance for someone to make the 2020 Olympic team. All they have to do is break the 2:05:50 national record, or whatever the fastest Japanese man runs at the Tokyo Marathon a week earlier if someone there goes better than 2:05:50.
Basically it's not going to happen. Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta) is the only Japanese guy at Lake Biwa under 2:09 in the last three years, and he hasn't been himself since his 2:08:59 win at the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon. There's no shortage of people around the 2:09 to 2:10 level, but out of them the only one who could conceivably have the kind of breakthrough it would take to make the Olympic team is Kengo Suzuki (Fujitsu).
At the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials last September Suzuki was the guy who played domestique to eventual winner Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu), dropping the 14:48 split from 15 to 20 km that got the chase pack moving and carrying it over most of the second half before finishing 7th. He can do better for sure, but better enough?
Like Nagoya, Lake Biwa has a pint-sized cartel of internationals positioned at just the right level to pace a hypothetical Japanese man to an Olympic-qualifying mark. In this case it's last year's Buenos Aires Marathon winner Evans Chebet (Kenya) at 2:05:00, followed closely by double Felixes under 2:06, Felix Chemonges (Uganda) and Felix Kiprotich (Kenya). And again like Nagoya, there's a thick cushioning layer underlying that in the 2:06 to 2:08 range where the top Japanese man is most likely to land. Also of interest are Byambajav Tseveenravdan (Mongolia), who just ran 2:09:03 in Beppu-Oita earlier this month, and the debuting Patrick Mwaka (Aisan Kogyo), fresh off a 1:00:53 PB at the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships last weekend.
Check back closer to race date for more info and international live streaming options.
75th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field HighlightsOtsu, Shiga, 3/8/20
complete field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted
Evans Chebet (Kenya) - 2:05:00 (Buenos Aires 2019)
Felix Chemonges (Uganda) - 2:05:12 (Toronto Waterfront 2019)
Felix Kiprotich (Kenya) - 2:05:33 (Daegu 2019)
Samuel Ndungu (Kenya) - 2:06:02 (Lisbon 2019)
Abdi Nageeye (Netherlands) - 2:06:17 (Rotterdam 2019)
Salah-Eddine Bounasr (Morocco) - 2:07:52 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 2:07:53 (Lake Biwa 2018)
Stephen Mokoka (South Africa) - 2:07:58 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Zane Robertson (New Zealand/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:08:19 (Gold Coast 2019)
Alphonce Simbu (Tanzania) - 2:08:27 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:08:59 (Gold Coast 2017)
Byambajav Tseveenravdan (Mongolia) - 2:09:03 (Beppu-Oita 2020)
Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:09:18 (Gold Coast 2017)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:09:21 (Lake Biwa 2018)
Kohei Ogino (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:09:36 (Tokyo 2018)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:39 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Shohei Otsuka (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:10:12 (Beppu-Oita 2018)
Kengo Suzuki (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:10:21 (Tokyo 2018)
Derlys Ayala (Paraguay) - 2:10:27 (Buenos Aires 2019)
Hiroyuki Yamamoto (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:10:33 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Natsuki Terada (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:55 (Fukuoka Int'l 2019)
Kohei Matsumura (Japan/MHPS) - 2:11:04 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Naoya Sakuda (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:21 (Nagano 2019)
Liam Adams (Australia) - 2:11:36 (Gold Coast 2019)
Paul Kuira (Kenya/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:11:58 (Hokkaido 2018)
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Japan/Toyota) - 2:12:01 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Yukio Fujimura (Japan/Sumitomo Denko) - 2:12:13 (Lake Biwa 2019)
Shinichi Yamashita (Japan/Takigahara SDF Base) - 2:12:28 (Hofu 2018)
Ayumu Sato (Japan/MHPS) - 2:12:37 (Lake Biwa 2018)
Takahiro Gunji (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:12:55 (Nobeoka 2019)
Patrick Mwaka (Kenya/Aisan Kogyo) - 1:00:53 (National Corporate Half 2020)
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