by Brett Larner
Through two long-standing race partnerships, a group of sub-elite Japanese runners will again be part of this year's Boston Marathon field. In the women's race, two-time Katsuta Marathon winner Kana Kurosawa (Team Hitachi) returns to Boston after running a PB 2:43:03 to win this year's Katsuta. Making her marathon debut alongside Kurosawa is Ome 30 km Road Race winner Ami Utsunomiya (Canon AC Kyushu), with a 1:13:39 half marathon best at Feburary's Marugame Half Marathon.
On the men's side, Katsuta winner Hiroki Kai (Team Raffine) and 3rd-placer Kaito Iwasa (Chuo Univ.) will be running, Kai in his third marathon of the year following his Katsuta title in January and 2:18:07 PB in Tokyo in February. Earning his spot in Boston with a 5th-place finish in Ome and coached by two-time Boston winner Toshihiko Seko, Hiroki Sugawa (DeNA RC), will also line up in his second career marathon after debuting in 2:24:14 at the 2014 Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia.
Like Utsunomiya, half marathon Asian junior record holder Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) will be making his marathon debut in Boston. Osako ran his 1:01:47 Asian Jr. record in winning the 2010 Ageo City Half Marathon, afterward avoiding the distance in favor of the track until this year when he shaved his PB down to 1:01:13 in Marugame in February and won March's Portland Shamrock Run in an easy 1:04:12. If he clears Futoshi Shinohara's 2:14:10 from 1990 Osako will break into the all-time Japanese top ten on the Boston course.
Kana Kurosawa (Hitachi) - 2:43:03 (Katsuta Marathon 2017)
Ami Utsunomiya (Canon AC Kyushu) - debut - 1:13:39 (Marugame Half 2017)
Hiroki Kai (Raffine) - 2:18:17 (Tokyo Marathon 2017)
Hiroki Sugawa (DeNA RC) - 2:24:14 (Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2014)
Kaito Iwasa (Chuo Univ.) - 2:25:17 (Katsuta Marathon 2017)
Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) - debut - 1:01:13 (Marugame Half 2017)
© 2017 Brett Larner
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