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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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Kawauchi Ties Sub-2:20 World Record, Kato Crushes Course Record In Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Wins

Two weeks to the day after running 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka International Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) wrapped his 2017 with a win, running one of the few negative splits of his career to win the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon for the third time in 2:10:03. Women's winner Misako Kato (Kyudenko), a 1:09:49 half marathon, soloed an almost perfectly paced 2:28:12 to take 3 minutes off her PB and 7 1/2 minutes off the course record. Further back, Rio Paralympics T12 marathon silver medalist Misato Michishita broke the own world record in her category with a time of 2:56:14.

Watch a complete replay of the race here.


Pacers Taiga Ito and Melaku Abera, both of whom ran Fukuoka alongside Kawauchi, were tasked with taking the field out in 3:06/km, 2:10:48 pace. Pre-race Kawauchi told JRN, "If they'd run 3:04 I ccoul definitely, 100%, go faster than I did in Fukuoka. In cold and windy conditions things went in his favor in the early going with 5 and 10 km splits of 15:19 …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2017 race results: Jan. 8: Ikinoshima Half Marathon, Nagasaki: 1:06:35 - 1st
Jan. 15: Okukuma Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:04:17 - 6th
Jan. 29: Okumusashi Ekiden Third Stage (4.3 km), Saitama: 13:16 - 9th
Feb. 5: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama: 36:59 - 3rd
Feb. 12: Ehime Marathon, Ehime: 2:09:54 - 1st - CR
Feb. 26: Soja Kibiji Half Marathon,  Okayama: 1:04:52 - 2nd
Mar. 5: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto: 1:03:19 - 3rd
Mar. 12: Tanegashima Rocket Half Marathon, Kagoshima: 1:04:43 - 1st - CR
Mar. 19: Kuki Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:03 - 1st - CR
Mar. 26: Kamisato Machi Kenmu Half Marathon, Saitama: 1:05:33 - 1st - CR
Apr. 2: Daegu International Marathon, South Korea: 2:13:04 - 6th
Apr. 23: Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, Gifu: 1:04:06 - 15th
Apr. 30: Kawauchi no Sato Kaeru Half Marathon, Fukushima: 1:05:31 - 1st - CR
May 7: Prague Marathon, Czech Republic: 2:10:13 - 6th
May 14: Sendai International Half Marathon, Miyagi: 1:03:29 - 11th
May 28:…

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…