A total of six, sub-2:09 marathons are expected to compete for the win.
Organizers of the 66th Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan have announced that former Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga of Ethiopia will be taking part in the race. The marathon is set to kick off on March 6. Along with Merga there are another five runners with sub-2:09 marathon times, making it a very competitive field.
Wilson Kipsang of Kenya will be wearing bib #1. Last year, he ran 2:04:57 to win the Frankfurt Marathon.
The other invited athletes include: Mohamed El Hachimi (Morocco), Iaroslav Musinchi(Moldova), Yased Asmerom (Eritrea) and Moses Kangogo.
The gap between these competitors and the assembled Japanese runners is pretty substantial with Naoto Yoneda at the top of the list with a 2:11 PR that was run in his debut last year. According to Japan Running News, Yoneda and the rest of his countrymen “will need to significantly step up their game to have a chance of meeting the 2:09:30 time requirement for an automatic W[orld] C[hampionship] spot let alone to compete against the excellent foreign elites.”
For More: Japan Running News