Callum Hawkins of Great Britain will be targeting a second victory at the 74th Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon, a World Athletics Silver Label road race, on Sunday (2).
Hawkins, who won the race in 2017, joins 2012 Olympic and 2013 world champion Stephen Kiprotich as a marquee name on the men’s side while Helalia Johannes, the bronze medallist in the marathon at last year’s World Championships, leads the women’s field. Hawkins, who collapsed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Marathon while leading, finished fourth in the World Championships marathon in both 2017 and 2019.
Briton Charlotte Purdue (1:08:45), Japan’s Mao Ichiyama (1:08:49) and Australian Sinead Diver (1:08:55) have the fastest personal bests in the field. All came in 2019: Purdue’s in the Sanyo Women’s road race in December, Ichiyama’s in Hakodate in July and Diver’s in Marugame in February. Two others - Ellie Pashley and Reia Iwade - also have sub-70 minute credentials.
Eri Makikawa, the 2014 Marugame winner with a best of 1:10:28, is also back after skipping the race in recent years.
The men’s field is much stronger.
Both Zane Robertson and Kelvin Kiptum have sub-1 hour bests, while Hawkins’ best is exactly 60 minutes. In fact, the 20-year-old Kiptum has cracked 60:00 twice, both last year. That may qualify Kiptum as the favorite on Sunday. Robertson was second in Marugame in 2015.
The race also serves as a qualifying race for the Japanese team for the World Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020.
Several runners, including Japanese national half marathon record holder Yuta Shitara, are running as a tune-up for next month’s Tokyo Marathon. Yuki Sato, a four-time national 10,000m champion, and Shuho Dairokuno, 2019 national 10,000m champion, will also be contesting both Marugame and Tokyo Marathon. Although not an invited runner, Shitara’s twin brother Keita will be running also.
Other top Japanese include Yuma Hattori, the 2018 Fukuoka Marathon champion, Taku Fujimoto, second in the 2019 Fukuoka Marathon, Tetsuya Yoroizaka, the second fastest 10,000m runner in Japan and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi.
Ken Nakamura for World Athletics
Invited Runners -
Callum Hawkins (GBR)
Steven Kiprotich (UGA)
Kevin Kiptum Cheruiyot (KEN)
Brett Robinson (AUS)
Bernard Kibet Lagat (KEN)
Zane Robertson (NZL)
Peter Mwangi (KEN)
Helalia Johannes (NAM)
Charlotte Purue (GBR)
Sinead Diver (AUS)
Ellie Pashley (AUS)
Seul-ki Ahan (KOR)