Beppu, Japan – Yakob Jarso of Ethiopia will make his marathon debut at the 61st Beppu-Oita Marathonon here on Sunday.

Jarso will be joined by fellow Ethiopian Desta Gebrehiwet(2:11.55) and race favorites Samson Ramadhani of Tanzania (2:08.01) and Abdellah Falil of Morocco (2:08.18)..

Samson Ramadhani and Abdellah Falil are the only runners at this IAAF Silver Label Road Race with personal best under 2:10. Ramadhani, the 2003 Beppu-Oita Marathon champion, is the fastest runner in the field at 2:08:01. He also ran in Beppu last year, but lost contact with the leaders early and was only 34th. Falil has the next fastest personal best at 2:08:18, which was recorded in April of last year in Daegu.

In his most recent Marathon, Falil was seventh at the ING New York City Marathon. Since Ramadhani has broken 2:10 only once in the last seven years while Falil ran his best last year, he may be considered the favourite on Sunday.

Other non-Japanese invited runners include: Poland’s Adam Draczynski who has a best of 2:10:49; Australian Jeff Hunt (2:11:00), Ser-Od Bat-Ochir of Mongolia (2:11:35), Ethiopian Desta Gebrehiwet (2:11:55), Yakob Jarso who is making the Marathon debut, and Kenyan Harun Njoroge (2:11:43).

Gebrehiwet has only one Marathon to his credit, fourth in Venice in 2011 with 2:11:55. Since he rarely races internationally even at short distances, it’s hard to assess his chance at Beppu. However, for example, since both Dino Sefer and Dadi Yami improved their marathon personal bests by more than five minutes to sub-2:06 clocking in Dubai recently, it will not be a surprise if Gebrehiwet runs a similar time in Beppu.

The most intriguing runner in the field is debutant Jarso. Although his personal best in the 3000m Steeplechase is only 8:12.13, he was fourth in the the 2008 Olympics and fifth at the 2009 World Championships

Invited Runners:

Samson Ramadhani (TAN)  2:08:01  2003 London

Abdellah Falil (MAR)       2:08:18  2011 Daegu

Adam Draczynski (POL)   2:10:49  2010 Wien

Jeffrey Hunt (AUS)     2:11:00  2010 Beppu-Oita

Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (MGL)  2:11:35  2011 London

Desta Gebrehiwet (ETH)  2:11:55  2011 Venezia

Yacob Jarso (ETH)  Debut  1:00:07  2010 New Delhi half marathon

Harun Njoroge (KEN)     2:11:43  2011 Beppu-Oita