Martin Mathathi en route to winning the 2013 Fukuoka Marathon
Kenya’s Martin Mathathi tops the list of runners Invited to the 68th Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon on 2 February, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, the organisers announced on Wednesday (15).
Mathathi, the 2007 world 10,000m bronze medallist and recent winner of the Fukuoka Marathon in December, can boast of a half marathon best of 58:56, making him the fastest man in the field.
Eritrea’s Amanuel Mesel is the second-fastest man in the field over the half marathon distance with a best of 1:00:10 recorded in Prague last year. He will use his Japanese outing as preparation for the London Marathon in April.
Another big name is Yemane Tsegay Adhane who clocked 2:04:48 when he won the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. Although his half marathon best is currently a relatively modest 1:01:47, he obviously has the potential to go much quicker.
Australia’s Collis Birmingham won the Marugame race last year in 1:00:56 and returns to defend his title.
The race is also a selection event for the Japanese teams going to the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 29 March.
The best Japanese runner in this year’s field is Chihiro Miyawaki, who has a best time of 1:00:53 from 2012.
Miyawaki ran at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria, but he finished a disapppointing 58th due to a stomach problem he picked up while there, and is looking to redeem himself.
In the women’s race, Portugal’s Jessica Augusto, who has a best of 1:09:08, is the fastest in the field. Augusto also has a marathon best of 2:24:33 from the 2011 London Marathon.
Also invited from overseas is Belarus’s Aliaksandra Duliba. Her half marathon best is only 1:11:30 but she improved greatly over the marathon distance last year and ran a national record of 2:23:44 when finishing fourth at the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
Japan’s fastest woman on the start line will be Yukari Sahaku, who is coached by the legendary marathon coach Yoshio Koide, and has a half marathon best of 1:09:36, recorded at the 2009 Sapporo Half Marathon.
About 13,000 runners are expected to compete in the race.
Organisers for the IAAF