28 October 2020, 10am
Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship
Sun 6 December 2020
The Fukuoka International Marathon, scheduled for 6 December, has announced an almost entirely domestic field of less than 100 which includes only five Japan-based foreign-born athletes plus an all-Japan-based Kenyan pacing crew led by Bedan Karoki.
Included are Ryu Takaku (2:06:45 in Tokyo this year), 2018 Fukuoka winner Yuma Hattori and Taku Fujimoto who was bumped up to become the 2019 Fukuoka winner after the subsequent suspension of the Moroccan who crossed the line first for biological passport violations. In all the field includes 11 current sub-2:10 men and seven of last year’s top ten. Hattori has said publicly that he’ll be going for Suguru Osako’s 2:05:29 national record. With pacing support from teammates Karoki and Fujimoto, his former Toyo University teammate Takaku there with him, and no dirty athletes to effortlessly tear him in half at the end, if the weather is good his chances will be too.
Shizuoka-based Kenyan Michael Githae is the top international in the field with a best of 2:09:21 from Lake Biwa in 2018, but sub-60 half marathoner Paul Kuira still hasthe potential to improve on his 2:11:58 best, and likewise for former Takushoku University ekiden team captain Derese Workneh. Workneh’s teammate Cyrus looks promising in his debut with a 1:01:31 for 4th at last year’s Gifu Seiryu Half.
A name to look out for in the Japanese field is Taiki Suzuki, 9th last year in 2:12:09 in his marathon debut. Yuya Yoshida can build on his inspiring but at-the-time-career-ending 2:08:30 debut at Beppu-Oita this year. Shohei Otsuka may also have more in him than his 2:10:12 best from Beppu-Oita two years ago.
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