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Nakamori Looks For Second Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Win

by Brett Larner

2007 winner Kazuya Nakamori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) returns to defend his title as the favorite in the 2008 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon field. Hofu is part of Japan's elite men's marathon circuit. A 2nd-tier competition following shortly after the 1st-tier Fukuoka International Marathon, Hofu is a development race for young marathoners but has nevertheless attracted the likes of Ethiopian greats Turbo Tumo and Hailu Neggusie, the latter of whom set the course record of 2:08:16 in a battle against future World Championships and Olympic marathon team member Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) in 2002.

Nakamori, who races sockless, won last year's Hofu in 2:15:40 after overtaking and then dropping Mitsuru Irifune (Team Kanebo) in the final kilometers despite severe blistering on his feet. His strongest competition includes Batochir Serod (Mongolia), who set his PB of 2:14:15 earlier this year in Beijing, along with Japanese runners Manabu Nishida (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) and Tomohiro Minami (Team Aisan).

Nakamori's biggest challenger may turn out to be Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku), a two-time anchor for dominant Hakone Ekiden force Komazawa University. Kasuya is running Hofu as his marathon debut, but earlier in the year he ran 1:30:40 to take 4th in the Kumanichi 30 km Road Race, just 7 seconds behind the winner. He clearly has the potential for an excellent showing.

The 2008 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon will be held on Dec. 21 at 12:02 p.m. TV broadcast is limited to the Yamaguchi local area but the race website will post live 5 km splits here. A complete listing of past winners and the top 20 times run in Hofu is available here. 2008 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mara Yamauchi (U.K.) will appear in the women's 10 km race as a guest runner.

2008 Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Elite Field and PB Details
click here for athlete photos and bios

Jae-Young Hyung (South Korea) - 2:10:37 (Hofu 1999)
Kazuya Nakamori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:12:08 (Nobeoka 2006)
Ryo Murasato (Team Honda Kumamoto) - 2:13:15 (Beppu-Oita 2001)
Wan-Sun Chi (China) - 2:13:39 (Seoul 2004)
Kentaro Ito (Team Kyowa Hakko Bio) - 2:13:44 (Hofu 2001)
Akinori Shibutani (Team Yanagawa Seiki) - 2:13:51 (Beppu-Oita 2000)
Batochir Serod (Mongolia) - 2:14:15 (Beijing 2008)
Manabu Nishida (Team NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:15:22 (Biwako 2006)
Tomohiro Minami (Team Aisan) - 2:15:55 (Nobeoka 2007)
Yongjian Ou (China) - 2:16:47 (Beijing 2007)
Myon-Guk An (South Korea) - 2:17:15 (Seoul 2001)
Kachi-Tsu Chao (Taiwan) - 2:17:19 (Taipei 2006)
Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) - debut

(c) 2008 Brett Larner
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