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Keny and Maruyama Lead Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Field

by Brett Larner

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have announced their elite field for their 66th running on Feb. 5. Kenyan Felix Keny fronts the field, a former 2:07 man with a best recent time of 2:09:04 in Hamburg three years ago.  Likewise, #2-ranked international Dereje Debele of Ethiopia has run 2:07 in years past, but in the last three years hasn't broken 2:10 with his 2:10:31 at the 2015 Mumbai Marathon his best recent credential.  American Jeffrey Eggleston completes the front of the overseas contingent with a 2:10:52 runner-up finish at the 2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

Beppu-Oita Mainichi factors into the complicated selection process for the 2017 London World Championships men's marathon team with a slot potentially available to a Japanese winner.  The best chance of seeing that happen comes from the talented Fumihiro Maruyama of the 2017 New Year Ekiden national champion Asahi Kasei team, Maruyama having debuted in style in 2:09:39 at last year's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon with an overly aggressive surge near 30 km.  If he learned from that mistake and is near the same fitness he may become the first Japanese man to win Beppu-Oita since Yuki Kawauchi in 2013.

The runner-up in that race, Kentaro Nakamoto (Yasukawa Denki), is one of the best Japanese marathoners of the modern era but has been in decline since finishing 5th at the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  A comeback run would make him a definite contender.  Likewise for Maruyama's sub-2:10 teammate Tomoya Adachi (Asahi Kasei), a local who won Beppu-Oita in 2008 in his marathon debut.  Despite only having a 2:12:48 best, Ryo Kiname (MHPS) is a solid threat after winning August's Hokkaido Marathon.

Potential darkhorses include the independent Aritaka Kajiwara, who trains with three-time Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University, debuting New Year Ekiden Third Stage winner Minato Oishi (Toyota) and his teammate Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota), and the Koichi Morishita-coached Kento Otsu (Team Toyota Kyushu), running his second marathon after a failed debut in Hokkaido last year.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon will be broadcast live by TBS on Feb. 5 starting at 11:50 a.m. Japan time.  Follow @JRNLive for coverage and live streaming details.

66th Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon 
Elite Field Highlights
Oita, 2/5/17
click here for complete field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Men
Felix Keny (Kenya) - 2:09:04 (Hamburg 2014)
Fumihiro Maruyama (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:39 (Lake Biwa 2016)
Tomoya Adachi (Japan/Asahi Kasei) - 2:09:59 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Dereje Debele (Ethiopia) - 2:10:31 (Mumbai 2015)
Hiroki Kadota (Japan/Kadota) - 2:10:46 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Jeffrey Eggleston (U.S.A.) - 2:10:52 (Gold Coast 2014)
Yoshiki Otsuka (Japan/Aichi Seiko) - 2:11:40 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Kohei Ogino (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:11:42 (Nagano 2015)
Kentaro Nakamoto (Japan/Yasukawa Denki) - 2:11:58 (Fukuoka Int'l 2014)
Taiga Ito (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:12:04 (Nagano 2015)
Kazuya Ishida (Japan/Nishitetsu) - 2:12:25 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Ryo Kiname (Japan/MHPS) - 2:12:48 (Beppu-Oita 2014)
Keita Akiba (Japan/Komori Corp.) - 2:13:12 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Solonei Da Silva (Brazil) - 2:13:15 (Milan 2015)
Yusei Nakao (Japan/Smiley Angel AC) - 2:13:23 (Beppu-Oita 2015)
Shigeki Tsuji (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:13:41 (Lake Biwa 2014)
Kenta Chiba (Japan/Fujitsu) - 2:14:00 (Nobeoka 2015)
Keisuke Kusaka (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:14:11 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Shogo Kanezane (Japan/Chugoku Denryoku) - 2:14:15 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Junichi Tsubouchi (Japan/Kurosaki Harima) - 2:14:20 (Beppu-Oita 2016)
Aritaka Kajiwara (Japan/Atsugi T&F Assoc.) - 2:14:27 (Fukuoka Int'l 2016)
Bunta Kuroki (Japan/Yasukawa Denki)- 2:14:27 (Warsaw 2014)
Yuji Iwata (Japan/MHPS) - 2:14:46 (Nobeoka 2014)
Khalil Lemiciyeh (Morocco) - 2:14:56 (Casablanca 2016)
Kaito Koitabashi (Japan/Konica Minolta) - 2:15:03 (Hokkaido 2016)
Takafumi Kikuchi (Japan/SG Holdings) - 2:15:07 (Hokkaido 2016)
Saeki Makino (Japan/DNPL) - 2:15:22 (Seoul 2015)
Paul Pollock (Ireland) - 2:15:38 (Berlin 2015)
Takuya Suzuki (Japan/Aisan Kogyo) - 2:15:40 (Beppu-Oita 2014)

Debut / Do-Over
Kento Otsu (Japan/Toyota Kyushu) - 1:02:09 (Marugame Half 2016)
Minato Oishi (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:32 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)
Tsubasa Hayakawa (Japan/Toyota) - 1:02:34 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2016)

© 2017 Brett Larner
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