Skip to main content

Osaka Announces 2011 Elite Women's Field

by Brett Larner

On Dec. 20 the organizers of the Osaka International Women's Marathon announced the field for the 2011 edition. Celebrating the event's 30th anniversary with a new, faster course eliminating the famous hilly, twisting section through Osaka Castle and with the addition of female pacemakers, the field features a competitive cross-section of current top Japanese women and several aging overseas elites.

Osaka is the first major domestic selection race for the 2011 World Championships team. The top Japanese woman meeting Rikuren's time goals will be automatically named to the team. If the race is slow then the top domestic finisher will have to wait until mid-March for the final selection announcement. It doesn't look likely to be slow, however. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) is the favorite, coming fresh from a sub-32 road 10k in Sunday's National Jitsugyodan Women's Ekiden in the midst of her marathon training. Akaba says she will be shooting for a fast time, not just the win, and having gone out on 2:21 pace at last year's race while injured she may well follow through. Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) is the other major domestic favorite, with the fastest PB among the Japanese women but a major coaching change this year and several recent absences from competition following her win at August's Hokkaido Marathon. Solid 2006 Vienna Marathon winner Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya), the lone reliable marathoner in the stable of fast-debuting one-hit wonders turned out by Tenmaya head coach and Rikuren director of women's marathoning Yutaka Taketomi, is another major contender for the World Championships spot.

Among the relative newcomers in the Japanese field, watch for Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu), one of the all-around best-performing Japanese women of 2010, and Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), who had a good debut earlier this year in Nagoya, to move up and be in contention. A possible strike against Ito: Her teammate Atsushi Ikawa, who likewise had a good debut in the spring, DNF'd in his follow-up at this month's Fukuoka International Marathon.

Three of the six overseas invited elites are over age 38, including seemingly indefatigable Russians Liudmila Petrova and Svetlana Zakharova. Among the younger half of the overseas runners is Romanian Adriana Pirtea, who memorably lost the Chicago Marathon to Ethiopian Berhane Adere by celebrating her victory prematurely.

2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon
Liudmila Petrova (Russia) - 2:21:29 (London '06)
Svetlana Zakharova (Russia) - 2:21:31 (Chicago '02)
Yumiko Hara (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:23:48(Osaka '07)
Adriana Fernandez (Mexico) - 2:24:06 (London '99)
Tomo Morimoto (Team Tenmaya) - 2:24:33 (Vienna '06)
Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:55 (London '10)
Miki Ohira (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:26:09 (Osaka '08)
Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:11 (Hokkaido '02)
Mika Okunaga (Team Kyudenko) - 2:27:16 (Osaka '09)
Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:27:34 (Osaka '10)
Anna Incerti (Italy) - 2:27:42 (Milan '08)
Adriana Pirtea (Romania) - 2:28:52 (London '08)
Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:29:13 (Nagoya '10)
Tetyana Holovchenko (Ukraine) - 2:31:37 (Warsaw '10)
Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:32:20 (Yokohama '09)
Yoko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:33:36 (Nagoya '10)

pacemakers
Noriko Higuchi (Team Wacoal)
Aniko Kalovics (Hungary)
Kaori Urata (Team Tenmaya)

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thanks for all the great info on the Japanese runners. I was just wondering if Japanese endurance races distribute the "space blankets" for the runners after each race? I looked at tons of pictures but haven't seen any.
Brett Larner said…
At your service. I don't remember ever seeing them here, but many races have finishers' towels instead. You'll often see people being draped with them at the finish line in the race broadcasts. They're usually full-sized bath towels printed with the race name, logo and date. Much nicer than disposable mylar sheets, although if you race here enough you start to have the same problem as with race t-shirts.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…

List of Japanese Athletes Qualified for 2017 London World Championships

It's 50 days to go to the 2017 London World Championships and just over a week out from the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships in Osaka where the country's best will be trying to earn places on the London team. Athletes will have the chance to chase standards in the weeks after Nationals, but excluding the marathon, walks and combined events, all of which are held separately from the National Championships, the following is a list of Japanese athletes already holding valid qualifying marks for London.

Things are looking very thin right now, with only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m currently capable of fielding complete contingents, although at least the men's 200 m, men's pole vault and conceivably the men's 10000 m could join that short list. With sixteen women currently holding the London standard the women's 10000 m looks to be the toughest to make even if marathon squad members Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu…