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The 2020 Fukuoka Marathon has been Cancelled

In the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis both in Japan and abroad and in light of the disease's constantly changing impact and the difficulty of assessing the future situation, the organizers of the 2020 Fukuoka Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 8, have made the decision to cancel this year's race.

We apologize to everyone who had looked forward to the Fukuoka Marathon and to everyone involved with it, but we ask for your understanding.

We hope that the coronavirus crisis comes to an end quickly and that everyone can return to their daily lives, and we ask you all to take care of both your physical and mental health until that day comes.

The Fukuoka Marathon Organizing Committee.

(04/28/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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El Mahjoub Dazza wins the Fukuoka Marathon

It came down to a race between #1-ranked El Mahjoub Dazza (Morocco) and top Japanese man Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) after 30 km, but the Moroccan proved the stronger as he pulled away to win the Fukuoka International Marathon in 2:07:10.

Japanese men had to run under the national record of 2:05:50 to score the last spot on the 2020 Olympic marathon team. Fujimoto, 2:08 man Yuki Sato (Nissin Shokuhin) and ambitious 2:12 guy Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) were the only ones to really give it a go, staying up front in the lead pack with most of the internationals, with Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA) laying down the law at the head of the pacer group.

A secondary lead group quickly separated off the back of the lead group, with Japan-based Kenyan Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo), 2:09:52 man Jo Fukuda (Nishitetsu), Keita Shitara (Hitachi Butsuryu) and others cutting back to 2:07 pace. European marathon champ Koen Naert (Belgium) and Pan-Am Games gold medalist Christian Pacheco (Peru) were more conservative, going out with the sub-2:10 pace B-group.

The high pace took its toll up front, with most of the invited internationals falling off and then dropping out to leave just Dazza, Fujimoto, Sato, Ichida and former Takushoku University ekiden captain Workneh Derese (Ethiopia/Hiramatsu Byoin).

Ichida, Sato and Derese all fell back on the trip out to the 31.6 km turnaround point, leaving just Dazza and Fujimoto when the pacers stepped off at 30 km. Dazza immediately surged, breaking Fujimoto and running unchallenged for the win in 2:07:10. Fujimoto slowed progressively, almost shuffling down the home straight of the track for 2nd in 2:09:36 after a 1:03:02 first half. Derese dropped Sato, but in the last km he was run down by second group runner Fukuda who took 3rd in 2:10:33 to Derese's 2:10:52 for 4th.

Early caution paid off, as runners from the sub-2:10 third pack took the next four spots led by Natsuki Terada (JR Higashi Nihon), who closed with the fastest split in the field, 6:44, for a 5-minute PB of 2:10:55 and a 5th-place finish. 

Raymond Kipchumba Choge (Kenya) was the only other athlete from the original front pack to make the top 10, taking 9th in 2:11:38. Taiki Suzuki (Raffine) followed up a solid 3rd-place finish two weeks ago at China's Yiwu International Half Marathon with a 2:12:09 debut for 10th.Amateur runner Yusuke Tobimatsu (Hioki City Hall), a regular front runner in Fukuoka, survived going with the sub-2:10 this time to take 11th in a major PB of 2:12:44, while Sato faded to 2:14:56 after going through halfway in 1:03:02.

Still on sub-2:10 pace at 35 km, Ichida paid heavily for his own 1:03:02 first half as he fell to 29th in 2:19:05. Fan favorite Shitara, twin brother of former national record holder Yuta Shitara (Honda), fell short of his sub-2:10 goal at 14th in 2:14:31 just ahead of Sato.

Apart from Dazza and Choge, the only other invited internationals to finish were Naert and Pacheco, Naert finishing 18th in 2:15:51 and Pacheco 40th in 2:21:15.The Final Challenge series, the three-race chance for men to replace Osako on the 2020 Olympic team, continues in March with the Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon.

The dire crash and burn results today showed just how high a bar it will be to pull off, and that whatever else happens there's really only one person who could do it. But with the Valencia Marathon having quickly surpassed Fukuoka's place on the world calendar and the Osaka Marathon putting on heavy domestic pressure, more than ever before today's race seemed like a relic of times gone by.

Dazza's winning time was only just over 30 second faster than Osaka winner Asefa Tefera's, and Osaka had a quality women's race and field of over 30,000 on top of that. What is Fukuoka's route forward to stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape?

(12/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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El Mahjoub Dazza, Koen Naert, Ayana Tsedat, and Yuki Kawauchi are set to compete for the title at Fukuoka Marathon

When the Fukuoka International Marathon became a non-domestic race in 1966, the intent of the organizer was to invite the winners from all the international championship marathons which took place over the previous 12 months. In keeping with the spirit of the event, this year’s edition of the World Athletics Gold Label road race, set to take place on Sunday, December 1st, , features European champion Koen Naert and Pan American Games gold medalist Christian Pachoco.

Naert recorded his marathon personal best, 2:07:39, at this year’s Rotterdam Marathon. But Morocco’s El Mahjoub Dazza is the fastest in the field as he recorded 2:05:26 at the 2018 Valencia Marathon and 2:05:58 in Prague earlier this year. Those two performances are faster than the PBs of all the other runners in the field.

“I am ready,” he said. “If the weather is good, I can run fast.”

Other invited runners include Tsedat Abeje Ayana, who set a PB of 2:06:36 in Seville earlier this year, as well as sub-2:09 performers Raymond Choge, Amanuel Mesel, Abdi Ibrahim Abdo, and Shadrack Kiplagat. Mesel has competed in the past four editions of Fukuoka Marathon and has broken 2:10 in 2017 and 2018.

Kenyans running for a corporate sponsored team won the race on three occasions between 2011 and 2013. This year Michael Githae, who runs for Suzuki Hamamatsu Athletics Club, will try to become fourth Kenyan with a Japanese connection to win the Fukuoka Marathon. He was eighth at the 2017 Fukuoka Marathon and recorded a personal best of 2:09:21 at the 2018 Lake Biwa Marathon.

For Japanese runners, the significance of the race is that anybody who improves the national marathon record, 2:05:50, will clinch the third spot on the Japanese Olympic Marathon team – unless someone else improves the record further at the 2020 Tokyo or the Lake Biwa Marathon. Given the Japanese entrants for Sunday’s race, however, a national record appears unlikely in Fukuoka.

Taku Fujimoto, who ran 2:07:57 at the 2018 Chicago Marathon, is the fastest Japanese runner in the field, while Yuki Sato, who has a 10,000m best of 27:38.25, may have the best marathon potential.

Yuki Kawauchi will run the Fukuoka Marathon for the fifth straight year. His personal best is 2:08:14, while his best time in Fukuoka is 2:09:05 from 2013. Now that Kawauchi no longer works for Saitama prefecture government, he may be ready for a quicker time.

 

(11/30/2019) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Yuma Hattori wins the Fukuoka Marathon the first Japanese runner to win in 14 years

25-year-old Yuma Hattori from Japan PR for the marathon before today was 2:09:46.  On the other hand the favorite,Yemane Tsegay from Ethiopia had run much faster.  But it was Yuma’s race today has he won by over a minute clocking 2:07:27 at the 72nd annual Fukuoka Marathon held today Dec 2 in Japan.  Yemane finished second clocking 2:08:54. Yuma is the fifth Japanese runner to break 2:08 this year.  2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi finished tenth clocking 2:12:03 adding another sub 2:20 performance to his list of many.  Breaking away from Yemane Tsegay and Amanuel Mesel at 36 kilometers, Yuma Hattori cruised to victory. “It is close to the time I had hoped for,” said Hattori, whose performance elevated him to eighth on the Japanese all-time list. Mesel finished third with 2:09:45. The race progressed on an even pace with 15:00 five-kilometer segments through 25 kilometers.  The first casualty of the relatively fast even pace, considering the unseasonably warm weather was Vincent Kipruto, former World Championships silver medallist who fell behind before 5km. Yuki Kawauchi began to drift back after 11km and Kentaro Nakamoto after 15km and Ghebreslassie at 17. Both Kipruto and Ghebrselassie dropped out before reaching the midway point. Bedan Karoki finished his pacing duties at 25km; the two remaining pacesetters forged on but the tempo slowed to 15:36 over the next five kilometers, by far the slowest of the day. The leading pack of nine was reduced to three by 35 kilometers, with Hattori, Mesel and Tsegay reaching the mark in 1:46:12. But at the water station one kilometer later, Hattori broke away. “I did not feel like I made a move,” Hattori said. “It was more like my competitions dropped off, so I decided to go.”                   (12/01/2018) ⚡AMP
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Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia returns to regain the title he won in 2016 at the 72nd Fukuoka Marathon

Two years ago, Tsegay stopped Patrick Makau from winning a third straight title at this race. Last year he finished a distant 26th in 2:18:05, slowed by a sudden back problem that hit him after five kilometres. In May he won the Ottawa Marathon with 2:08:52, has a personal best of 2:04:48 set in Rotterdam in 2012 and took silver at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. He trains with this year’s Chicago Marathon runner-up Mosinet Geremew and Shanghai winner Seifu Tura, boding well. The man who beat Tsegay in Beijing, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, is also in the race. Ghebreslassie was fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games and won the New York City Marathon later that year. He set his personal best of 2:07:46 earlier that year, at the London Marathon. However, he’s failed to finish the last three marathons he started: New York, Dubai and London. He said he was hampered by injury in 2017 and early 2018, but is back on track now. “My training after London is going well,” he said. Vincent Kipruto, the runner-up at the 2011 World Championships, is also in the field. His best of 2:05:13 dates back to the 2010 Rotterdam Marathon, but more recently clocked 2:06:14 at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Amanuel Mesel of Eritrea has run well here in the past, finishing fifth at both the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race. Although not an invited runner, Brett Robinson of Australia, a pace maker last year, is said to be in strong shape and ready for a fast performance in his debut over the distance.  2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi is also running and posted this on FB.  "I will run Fukuoka international open marathon Sunday. I ran this race 8 times( include 3 times of sub 2:10). I love this race and this city and people of Fukuoka. I believe I can end my bad flow of marathon since this summer," Yuki posted a few hours ago.  (11/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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Callum Hawkins has unfortunately withdrawn from the Fukuoka Marathon due to a hamstring situation

The Scottish 2:10 marathoner was set to race for the first time over 26.2 miles following April’s Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast, Australia. “I’ve had a strong build up to Fukuoka Marathon and was really looking forward to toeing the line with some of the world’s best marathoners once again,” said Hawkins in a statement. “I witnessed the amazing running scene when I won the Marugame Half Marathon in 2017 so was excited to be returning for the second time to a country I love to compete in. “Unfortunately, a slight niggle in my right hamstring has occurred this past week preventing me from running at race pace. “I’m therefore gutted to have to make the tough call to withdraw from the race. Thanks to the race organisers for the invitation and everything they have done for me up to now and I wish everyone competing an excellent race weekend.” (11/26/2018) ⚡AMP
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Callum Hawkins will make his return to marathon racing at the Fukuoka Marathon

Hawkins has been named in the elite men’s field that includes Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay, who has a 2:04:48 personal best, Kenya’s Vincent Kipruto (2:05:13 PB), and Eritrean duo Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (2:07:46 PB) and Amanuel Mesel (2:08:17 PB). In April, the Scottish athlete was on course for victory at the Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast, Australia, when, overcome by the heat, he lost control of his body and fell over in the closing stages. The 26 year-old has bounced back as expected and most recently clocked a 61:00 half marathon in Valencia, where he finished first European. “Things are on the up. 61:00 today in the Valencia half,” said Hawkins post-race on Instagram. “Not exactly what I wanted from the race but the legs are almost back.” At the 2017 edition of the Fukuoka Marathon, Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen took victory in a European record time of 2:05:48. (10/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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National record holder Yuta Shitara and Yuki Kawauchi are running the Fukuoka Marathon

The best year in Japanese men’s marathon history is drawing to a close, and with it the chances for them to qualify for the new MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials are running out. The Dec. 2nd Fukuoka International Marathon features one of the best Japanese fields ever assembled, with ten Japanese men under 2:10 since 2016. Half marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi, 2017 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Kentaro Nakamoto, Hayato Sonoda and Yoshiki Takenouchi, make up the list of those already qualified for the MGC Race, Shitara running a marathon for the first time since his now-former national record 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February and Kawauchi hoping to turn things back around after a string of bad races since Boston. Those with a realistic chance of qualifying off the two-race average include 2017 Gold Coast Marathon winner Takuya Noguchi, who missed it by seconds at this year’s Gold Coast, recent sub-2:10 men Kohei Ogino, Yuma Hattori and Jo Fukuda, and a trio who finished together just over the 2:10 mark in Tokyo this year, Asuka Tanaka, Hiroki Yamagishi and Daichi Kamino. There’s a good number of others on the list who ran well in 2015 and 2016 and will be hoping to get back on board in Fukuoka, including sub-2:10 teammates Takuya Fukatsu, Fumihiro Maruyama and Satoru Sasaki , and given the depth of Japanese men’s marathoning and the tendency for dark horses to post seemingly out-of-nowhere breakthroughs like Taku Fujimoto, earlier this month in Chicago there’s almost no limit to who else could have their day. Twins Hiroshi and Takashi Ichida would make a lot of people happy if they finally broke through in Fukuoka. Both 100 km world record holder Nao Kazami, and 100 km silver medalist Takehiko Gyoba, are also in the race. It being a nominally international marathon, Fukuoka also has its usual small contingent of overseas runners perfectly positioned to pace the Japanese men to times in the 2:07 to 2:08 range and to lend a little shine to the race with their medals. 2011 world championships silver medalist Vincent Kipruto tops the list with a 2:06:14 in Berlin last year, with 2015 world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and past Fukuoka champ Yemane Tsegay. (10/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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Japan's Yuki Kawauchi Ran Four Marathons in 40 Days

The major marathon season has been over for more than a month but that doesn’t mean that Japanese marathoning sensation Yuki Kawauchi will stop. He’s run four marathons in the past 40 days (he did 12 in 2017) and clocked his third-fastest of the year this past weekend with a 2:10:03 at a marathon in Hofu. That comes just two weeks after he ran 2:10:53 at the Fukuoka Marathon. From some photos from the race, you can see just how much he wanted to crack 2:10 in the last few kilometers. (12/19/2017) ⚡AMP
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Moen's Time is Fastest non-African Marathon time

Moen ran 2:05:48 to win the Fukuoka Marathon on Sunday. The quickest time, previously achieved by a non-African male on a record-eligible course was 2:06:05 by Ronaldo da Costa in 1998 — then a world record. Ryan Hall ran 2:04:58 at the Boston Marathon in 2011, but the course was deemed ineligible for record-keeping. Runners live for the day where everything clicks. PR's are set on those days. Norway's Moen had one of those days on Sunday. He beat his PR by four minutes and 19 seconds. (12/04/2017) ⚡AMP
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Norway's Moen Sets European Marathon Record

After breaking away from pre-race favorite Bedan Karoki at 36 kilometres, Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen went on to win the Fukuoka Marathon on Sunday (3), clocking a European record of 2:05:48. “I was confident that I could run 2:07, and on a good day perhaps even 2:06, but I did not expect 2:05,” said Moen. Previous record (2:06:10) was set 3/20/2016 by Ozbilen of Turkey. The 26-year-old entered the race with a personal best of 2:10:07, set earlier this year at the Hannover Marathon. (12/03/2017) ⚡AMP
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Tsegaye ready to defend his title

Yemane Tsegaye of Ethiopia returns to defend his title at the 71st Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday. Tsegaye recorded his personal best of 2:04:48 at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon, and has a silver medal from the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 to his credit. Last December, the 32-year-old prevented Patrick Makau from winning a third successive Fukuoka title. (12/01/2017) ⚡AMP
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Fast Field Set For 71st Fukuoka Marathon

Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 world champion, will take on Bidan Karoki and defending champion Yemane Tsegaye at the 71st annual Fukuoka Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on December 3 in Fukuoka, Japan. (11/28/2017) ⚡AMP
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