Yuki Kawauchi, the most prolific top-level marathon runner in Japan and perhaps the world, will be on the start line of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon – an IAAF Silver Label Road Race – on 3 February.
Kawauchi ran no less than eight marathons in 2012 but his fastest pair came last month within the space of two weeks. He finished sixth at the Fukuoka Marathon in 2:10:29) on 2 December and then won the Hofu Marathon in 2:10:46 on 16 December.
He is also planning to run another marathon in Egypt on 18 January, just two weeks before he travels to Beppu.
Kawauchi is the fastest man in the field and has a best of 2:08:37, set when he finished third in the 2011 Tokyo Marathon. The other sub-2:09 runner announced is Kentaro Nakamoto, who was sixth at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 10th at the 2011 IAAF World Championships.
Nakamoto ran his personal best of 2:08:53 when finishing fifth at the lake Biwa marathon last year.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Other invited international runners for the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon include (with personal best times):
Adam Draczynski (POL) 2:10:49
Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (MGL) 2:11:05
Abdelkrim Boubker (MAR) 2:11:18
Michael Shelley (AUS) 2:11:23
Tewelde Estifanos (ERI) marathon debut, 1:01:39 half marathon
Other leading Japanese runners include:
Tomoyuki Sato 2:09:43
Masashi Hayashi 2:09:55
Kazuya Ishida 2:11:57
Masaki Shimoju 2:12:18