Outlook great for Savai’i Marathon

By Seti Afoa ,

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Getting their race numbers in Apia for the Savaii this Saturday, Noriyuki Arai and Kuniyoshi Watanabe of Japan will line up for the full marathon.

Getting their race numbers in Apia for the Savaii this Saturday, Noriyuki Arai and Kuniyoshi Watanabe of Japan will line up for the full marathon.

The weather for the ANZ Savaii Marathon on Saturday is great, good for running and walking. Light cloud cover and light showers are in the forecast for Saturday morning – just the type of conditions you want for the Half Marathon and 10km race. 

Those are the most popular distances in the race so far. 

The big race, full marathon, will come down to the four Japanese runners that have entered the full 42km affray. Kuniyoshi Watanbae (26), Hiromi Nagae (26), Noriyuki Arai (31) and 66 year old Hiroshi Miyazaki will tackle Samoa’s only full marathon this year.

All four are based in the JICA office in Apia.

Three have run marathon races before, only Hiromi Nagae is yet to experience the staying power required for a marathon. He will know it soon enough. Come 5am Saturday morning there is no turning back.

Watanabe (Gold Coast), Arai (Japan) and Miyazaki (Paris) all know the bitter slaver of long distance running in various races around the globe. They should complete the marathon course, Sale’aula to Salelologa, in good time. 

The best performer of the group is Watanabe. With a marathon PB of 3hrs 07mins he should shatter the standing record of the inaugural year. His best Half Marathon time is 1hr 28 at the Lalomanu Half Marathon last year. He is also the record holder in the Falefa 10KM race. 

The race of the series will be the tussle in the Half Marathon between two legends of Samoa athletics, Tueffy Tuigamala and Darren Young. I know Tueffy is making a comeback to run in regionals this next two years.

There is also a rumour Darren is being coaxed back into competition at national level in the Half Marathon distance. 

Darren is the record holder in the distance. But he will not - nor Tueffy - be able to reach his own national record of 1:19:00 for the Half. Tueffy should take line honours. He is 15 years Darren’s junior and still performing well. 

One of the highlights of the race on Saturday is the OUTRUN Cancer campaign headed by Leilani Jackson. 

She travelled over from Auckland this week to lead a cohort of runners for OUTRUN Cancer. 

ANZ Savaii Marathon race has five distances – marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km and 3km. All races are point to point with the finish line at ANZ & SSAB stores in Salelologa. 

Final opportunity to register is Friday afternoon at SSAB in Salelologa 2pm until 6pm. There is no registration received at race start lines.  

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia