Skip to main content

Osaka Women's Marathon Announces Faster New Course

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/flash/KFullFlash20100927097.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/100927/oth1009272040025-n1.htm
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/100927/oth1009272039024-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The organizers of the Osaka International Women's Marathon have announced that in its 30th edition, scheduled for Jan. 30, 2011, the race will for the first time in 20 years feature a new course designed to facilitate faster times. Gone is the race's most distinctive feature, the hilly, twisting middle section through Osaka Castle. In its place the marathon will now cover a longer distance on Osaka's flat major roads, allowing for more crowd support throughout the race.

1984 Los Angeles Olympic marathoner Akemi Masuda commented, "With the elimination of the hilliest sections the Osaka course is now one where we can expect to see extremely fast times." Considering that the old course was already the site of the fastest women's marathon ever run on Japanese soil, 2:21:18, the new course looks set to become one of the fastest in the world.

The Osaka Half Marathon, run concurrently with the Women's Marathon, will also feature a new course starting at Osaka Castle and finishing at the same location as the marathon, Nagai Stadium. Both races will start simultaneously at 12:10 p.m., allowing half marathoners to cheer the top marathoners on as they run and again at the finish line.

Translator's note: Click here to see a Google Maps rendition of the new course. Like the Biwako and Beppu-Oita marathons, this move is surely one to ensure the race stays relevant as Japan slowly shifts to a mass marathon model. The situation is especially dire in Osaka's case as the mass-participation Osaka Marathon is set to begin next fall.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…