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Chebii Returns - Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field

Defending champ Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) returns to lead the field for the Mar. 4 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon. Chebii is one of three men in the field with recent 2:06 times, his 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago leading Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) to form a clear trio of favorites.

Making up the second pack are four current sub-2:10 Japanese men, 2017 Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), Rio Olympian Satoru Sasaki (Asahi Kasei), and Sasaki's teammates Takuya Fukatsu and Fumihiro Maruyama. The addition of sub-61 half marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and talent.

With Japan's depth it's never surprising to see a relatively anonymous runner make a breakthrough and factor into the action. Yoshiki Takenouchi (NTT Nishi Nihon) was one of the stars of Fukuoka last December when he did exactly that, right up in it for most of the race before fading to just miss going sub-2:10. This time he'll try to get it right, and with up to six places in the 2020 Olympic Trials available to men who go sub-2:10 there'll be others trying to follow his lead. There's no doubt the fan favorite to make the grade will be aging 2:07 man Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu).

Among the first-timers, 1:00:01 half marathoner Jake Robertson (New Zealand) is the most exciting, if he can make it to the start line after a DNS in his planned debut in Fukuoka. Japan-based Kenyan Macharia Ndirangu (Aichi Seiko) is also a sub-61 half marathoner and could be the dark horse of the race. Lake Biwa has been a popular choice in the last few years for Hakone Ekiden stars making their marathon debuts before graduating, and this year look for Wataru Tochigi (Juntendo Univ.) to fill that role.

Lake Biwa will be broadcast live nationwide and commercial-free on NHK, with English-language commentary on @JRNLive. Check back closer to race date for more details on following the last big Japanese men's marathon of the season live.

73rd Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Otsu, Shiga, 3/4/18
times listed are best within last 3 years except where noted
click here for complete field listing

Ezekiel Chebii (Kenya) - 2:06:07 (Amsterdam 2016)
Tadesse Abraham (Switzerland) - 2:06:40 (Seoul Int'l 2016)
Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) - 2:06:44 (Valencia 2017)
Satoru Sasaki (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:08:56 (Fukuoka Int'l 2015)
Takuya Noguchi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:08:59 (Gold Coast 2017)
Takuya Fukatsu (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:31 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:39 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Yoshiki Takenouchi (Japan/NTT Nishi Nihon) - 2:10:01 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)
Michael Githae (Kenya/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:46 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:10:52 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Daniele Meucci (Italy) - 2:10:56 (London World Champs 2017)
Masato Imai (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 2:11:02 (Tokyo 2017)
Shoya Osaki (Japan/Chudenko) - 2:11:03 (Gold Coast 2017)
Tadashi Suzuki (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:12:09 (Shizuoka 2017)
Yuji Iwata (Japan/MHPS) - 2:12:15 (Beppu-Oita 2017)
Cristhian Pacheco (Peru) - 2:12:16 (Rotterdam 2016)
Keisuke Tanaka (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:12:41 (Nobeoka 2018)
Shohei Kurata (Japan/GMO) - 2:13:16 (Hofu 2017)
Mohammed Zani (Morocco) - 2:13:40 (Guangzhou 2017)
Kenta Iinuma (Japan/SGH Group) - 2:13:43 (Fukuoka Int'l 2016)
Yuki Munakata (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:13:53 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Samson Gebreyohannes (Eritrea) - 2:14:25 (Prague 2017)
Keita Baba (Japan/Honda) - 2:14:36 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Yohei Suzuki (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 2:14:56 (Ehime 2017)
Jo Fukuda (Japan/Nishitetsu) - 2:15:11 (Hokkaido 2017)
Junji Katakawa (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:15:19 (Shizuoka 2016)
Shuji Matsuo (Japan/Chudenko) - 2:15:22 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Takumi Kiyotani (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:15:31 (Lake Biwa 2015)
Ryohei Nishiyama (Japan/Toyota Boshoku) - 2:15:42 (Tokyo 2016)
Hidenori Nagai (Japan/DeNA) - 2:15:49 (Shizuoka 2016)
Sho Matsumoto (Japan/Nikkei Business) - 2:15:50 (Osaka 2016)
Tomoyuki Morita (Japan/Kanebo) - 2:15:57 (Berlin 2015)
Takuji Morimoto (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:16:22 (Lake Biwa 2015)
Kenta Kitazawa (Japan/Yachiyo Kogyo) - 2:16:52 (Hokkaido 2017)
Ryo Ishita (Japan/SDF Academy) - 2:16:57 (Nagano 2017)
Scott Bauhs (U.S.A.) - 2:23:03 (U.S.A. Olympic Trials 2016)

Second Time Lucky
Ryota Matoba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:15:00 (Nobeoka 2015)
Shinobu Kubota (Japan/Toyota) - 2:15:48 (Lake Biwa 2013)
Kenta Murayama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:16:58 (Tokyo 2016)
Yuta Oikawa (Japan/YKK) - 2:23:09 (Lake Biwa 2017)
Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:28:29 (Fukuoka Int'l 2017)

Jake Robertson (New Zealand) - 1:00:01 (Houston Half 2018)
Macharia Ndirangu (Kenya/Aichi Seiko) - 1:00:57 (Gifu Seiryu Half 2017)
Taku Fujimoto (Japan/Toyota) - 1:01:51 (Marugame 2016)
Shogo Nakamura (Japan/Fujitsu) - 1:01:53 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Yuta Takahashi (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:02:13 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2015)
Kenya Sonota (Japan/JR Higashi Nihon) - 1:02:20 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2015)
Yuki Matsumura (Japan/Honda) - 1:02:46 (Nat'l Univ. Half 2014)
Daiji Kawai (Japan/Toenec) - 1:02:47 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Kyota Yabushita (Japan/Osaka Gas) - 1:02:56 (Marugame 2016)
Wataru Tochigi (Japan/Juntendo Univ.) - 1:03:00 (Marugame 2016)

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved


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