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Negesse, Chebii and Sasaki Lead Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Field

by Brett Larner

The Mar. 5 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Biwako for short, is the last of the four races used to choose the three members of the Japanese men's marathon team for August's London World Championships.  Two of the three members of last summer's Rio de Janeiro Olympic team top the list of Japanese men in the race, Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) with a 2:08:56 in Fukuoka 2015 and Suehiro Ishikawa (Team Honda) with 2:09:25 last year at Lake Biwa. The pair are the only Japanese athletes in the field with recent sub-2:10 times, a few steps ahead of six 2:10-11 men including the high-potential Tadashi Isshiki (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) and Chihiro Miyawaki (Team Toyota).  Four others led by 2014 Asian Games silver medalist Kohei Matsumura (Team MHPS) have broken 2:10 in the past but would need a solid comeback to factor.  With the possible exception of Matsumura one of the five debuting sub-63 half marathoners may be more likely to end up in the front-end action, the prime candidate being 2017 New Year Ekiden Sixth Stage course record breaker Hiroshi Ichida (Team Asahi Kasei).

The international field is led by Endeshaw Negesse (Ethiopia), Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii (Kenya), Munyo Solomon Mutai (Uganda) and Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/Team JFE Steel). Negesse won the 2015 Tokyo Marathon but last year was caught up in the meldonium ban and sat out the rest of the year. Chebii is a two-time winner of the Madrid Marathon and ran his PB of 2:06:07 in his last marathon, last fall's Amsterdam Marathon.  Mutai is the 2015 Beijing World Championships bronze medalist.  The Japan-based Ndirangu is fresh off a quality run for 3rd at last weekend's National Corporate Half Marathon and looks ready for his marathon debut.  Other sub-2:10 internationals include Tewelde Estifanos (Eritrea), Yihuniligh Adane (Ethiopia) and past Lake Biwa winner Vincent Kipruto (Kenya).

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will be broadcast live and commercial-free on NHK starting at 12:30 p.m. Japan time on the 5th.  In its other race broadcasts this season NHK has offered free four channel live streaming available internationally on its website.  JRN will also cover the race live on Twitter @JRNLive.  Check back closer to race date for more info.

72nd Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon
Elite Field Highlights
Otsu, Shiga, 3/5/17
click here for complete field listing
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Endeshaw Negesse (Ethiopia) - 2:06:00 (Tokyo 2015)
Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii (Kenya) - 2:06:07 (Amsterdam 2016)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:56 (Fukuoka Int'l 2015)
Tewelde Estifanos (Eritrea) - 2:09:16 (Frankfurt 2015)
Suehiro Ishikawa (Japan/Honda) - 2:09:25 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Yihuniligh Adane (Ethiopia) - 2:09:48 (Dubai 2016)
Vincent Kipruto (Kenya) - 2:09:54 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Hayato Sonoda (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:10:40 (Fukuoka Int'l 2016)
Munyo Solomon Mutai (Uganda) - 2:10:42 (Hannover 2015)
Kazuki Tomaru (Japan/Toyota) - 2:11:25 (Berlin 2014)
Tomoyuki Morita (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:11:41 (Tokyo 2015)
Tadashi Isshiki (Japan/Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 2:11:45 (Tokyo 2016)
Chihiro Miyawaki (Japan/Toyota) - 2:11:50 (Tokyo 2014)
Rui Yonezawa (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:11:59 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Taiki Yoshimura (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:19 (Hofu 2016)
Hiroki Yamagishi (Japan/GMO) - 2:12:27 (Tokyo 2016)
Kohei Matsumura (Japan/MHPS) - 2:12:39 (Incheon 2014)
Norikazu Kato (Japan/Yakult) - 2:13:34 (Nobeoka 2015)
Yu Chiba (Japan/Honda) - 2:13:44 (Riga 2014)
Byron Piedra (Ecuador) - 2:14:12 (Rio de Janeiro 2016)
Aritaka Kajiwara (Japan/Atsugi T&F Assoc.) - 2:14:27 (Fukuoka Int'l 2016)
Masanori Sakai (Japan/Kyudenko) - 2:14:52 (Berlin 2015)
Takayuki Matsumiya (Japan/Aichi Seiko) - 2:14:58 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Hideaki Tamura (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:15:00 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Mourad Maroufit (Morocco) - 2:15:24 (Guangzhou 2016)
Takumi Kiyotani (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:15:31 (Lake Biwa 2015)
Koshi Watanabe (Japan/Subaru) - 2:15:36 (Osaka 2016)
Kiyokatsu Hasegawa (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:15:42 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Tyler Andrews (U.S.A.) - 2:15:52 (Albany 2016)
Hiroyuki Horibata (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:24 (Fukuoka Int'l 2012)

Debut
Charles Ndirangu (Kenya/JFE Steel) - 1:00:18 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
El Hassan El Abbassi (Bahrain) - 1:02:16 (Marrakech Half 2016)
Keita Baba (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:23 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Hiroshi Ichida (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 1:02:25 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2015)
Shuji Matsuo (Japan/Chudenko) - 1:02:25 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Yuta Oikawa (Japan/YKK) - 1:02:40 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Ryuji Okada (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:48 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)

© 2017 Brett Larner
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