Skip to main content

Tokyo Winner Nasukawa Debuts in Chicago

by Brett Larner

Mizuho Nasukawa wins the 2009 Tokyo Marathon in 2:25:38.

2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Aruze) makes her overseas marathon debut this weekend at the Chicago Marathon. Nasukawa is the top marathon protege of Yoshio Koide, the coach who led Naoko Takahashi to Olympic gold and the world's first sub-2:20 women's marathon. A career track runner with two Asian Games bronze medals from 2002 to her name, Nasukawa made a tentative move to the marathon in 2004 and 2005, her best result of that time being a 2:29:49 fourth place finish at the 2004 Osaka International Women's Marathon.

Following this move Nasukawa returned to the track, recording her 5000 m PB of 15:23.00 in 2006 and experimenting with steeplechase, but her resume remained largely a blank until March's Tokyo Marathon. In Tokyo she ran a race which should have put her on the list for the Berlin World Championships, recording a sizeable PB of 2:25:38 in extremely windy conditions to win over the likes of Reiko Tosa (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC), Alevtina Biktimirova (Russia) and Shitaye Gemechu (Ethiopia). It was a very, very impressive performance which looked to be a sign that the 29 year old Nasukawa would become a major player in Japanese marathoning.

After Tokyo Nasukawa practically vanished. She said that she planned to run the 5000 m at the World Championships, but at June's National Championships, the main selection race for Berlin, her name appeared only the entry list for the steeplechase and she did not actually start. Her first public appearance after Tokyo came at the August 30 Hokkaido Marathon. Nasukawa was expected to challenge hot-weather specialist Kiyoko Shimahara for the win but never attempted to follow Shimahara's course-record pace, instead running a slow and steady 2:34:17 for 7th and looking utterly spent at the finish. Shortly afterwards came the news of her Chicago appearance, raising the question of whether Hokkaido had been a training run or a genuine failure.

In the absence of her Hokkaido run she could have been called a top three contender in Chicago on the strength of her Tokyo win, but with no other result to go on in the last six months than her PW in Hokkaido Nasukawa's chances of success don't look very favorable. It is unlikely she would go to the trouble of running Chicago rather than a domestic race such as next month's Yokohama International Women's Marathon if she were not in competitive shape, but if Nasukawa's expression at the Hokkaido finish line was any indication things have not been going according to plan.

(c) 2009 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Simon said…
Brett, I don't wish to take this off-topic ala Dennis, but is there any truth in what I read on Letsrun that Shibui is down for the NYC Marathon? Exciting if true.
Brett Larner said…
No, I haven't heard anything to confirm that. I think they meant Yuri Kano. If they have some inside knowledge about Shibui as a recent add then you're right, it would be exciting.
Matsudaira said…
I met Mizuho this past Friday at the Chicago Marathon elite runners press conference.

I made signs written in kanji and followed her around. She was in the leader back through 30K. When I saw her again around 35-38K she had dropped off the leader pack and found out at the finishing line she finished in 7th place :-( Missing the 5th place $10,000 prize money.
I'm very sad since I'm a big fan of hers :-(

Most-Read This Week

Shiroyama's 8.40 m Jump Leads Four National Records at Athlete Night Games in Fukui

Held in the stadium where Japan saw its first-ever sub-10 clocking for 100 m, Saturday's new Athlete Night Games in Fukui meet produced four national records highlighted by an incredible men's long jump competition. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) opened with a jump of 8.32 m +1.6 m/s that shattered the national record dating way back in 1992 by 7 cm. Hibika Tsuha (Toyo Univ.) followed him with a jump of 8.21 m + 2.0 m/s that put him into the all-time Japanese top three, then bettered that with an 8.23 m +0.6 m/s.



Out of nowhere, Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) knocked them both back in the record books on his third jump with a new national record of 8.40 m +1.5 m/s, the #2 mark in the world so far this year and only his second time clearing 8 m with a legal wind. Japanese fans were quick to compare the trio's results to this season's Diamond League meets.

DL Shanghai
🥇8m24🥈8m16🥉8m14
DL Lausanne
🥇8m32🥈8m19🥉8m13
DL London
🥇8m37🥈8m32🥉8m11
DL Fukui
🥇8m40🥈8m32🥉8m23 htt…

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…