Skip to main content

Yokohama International Women's Marathon Preview - Watch Online

by Brett Larner

The second running of the elite Yokohama International Women's Marathon takes place this Sunday, Feb. 20. Intended as a continuation of the legacy of the Tokyo International Women's Marathon, which fell under the wheels of the mixed elite and mass-participation Tokyo Marathon in 2008. Conceived of as a speed race with a spectator-friendly circuit course designed to help athletes qualify and prepare for world-level championship marathons held on similar loops, Yokohama has struggled to get off the ground thus far. It was bumped from its original Nov. 23 date last year by the APEC conference held in Yokohama, its hillier-than-promised course changed from a three-circuit loop through downtown Yokohama to a two-circuit loop this year with much of the race taking place on an out-and-back along the industrial waterfront south of the city, and relatively weak fields compared to those pulled in by Tokyo. This year will see two Yokohamas as it is scheduled to return to its Nov. 23 date for its London Olympics selection edition, but with the first runnings of the mass-participation Osaka and Kobe Marathons taking place in the three weeks beforehand Yokohama's position looks to remain precarious.

As a selection race for this summer's World Championships, Sunday's Yokohama is likely to be a virtual time trial for 2009 World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei). The winner of the final Tokyo International Women's Marathon, Ozaki has not been in peak form since a fall last autumn hurt her right knee but holds such superior credentials to her domestic competition that barring a major breakdown her place is all but assured if she can break the 2:26 federation-mandated qualifying time.

Her nearest domestic competitors are two women with 2:29 PBs from 2010, Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) and Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC). Fujita has broken 2:30 in both of her marathons to date while Yoshida labored for years in the 2:30-2:32 range before finally doing it at last year's Chicago Marathon. Either could show an improvement in Yokohama, with Fujita young enough to still have room for growth and Yoshida coming in with an excellent half marathon win in January, but there seems little reason to think sub-2:26 would be in range of either. Five or six other women will be debuting or running their second marathons, but it would take a breakthrough for any to challenge Ozaki for a World Championships spot. Of these the ones most to watch are first-timers Yoshio Koide-coached Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) and Yuka Izumi of 2010 national champion Team Tenmaya, a team with a legacy of fast debuts. Veteran former elites Megumi Oshima (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya), Izumi's teammate and the marathon debut national record holder, are entered in the general division.

If Ozaki is in peak fitness she is likely to have company up front from at least two women, Ethiopian Azalech Masresha, who ran her 2:25:34 PB at last year's Paris Marathon, and Portuguese Marisa Barros who came close to winning last year's Osaka International Women's Marathon but ultimately settled for 2nd in a PB of 2:25:44. 20 years almost to the day since her win at the Chiba International XC Meet, 2009 New York City Marathon winner Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) holds a PB identical to Ozaki's, but if the race is fast it doesn't seem likely she will be in contention against a younger field. One little-known foreign entrant to watch is Karolina Jarzynska (Poland). Her PB of 2:29:10 from the 2009 Frankfurt Marathon is the weakest in the overseas field, but since setting it she has recorded PBs at every distance from 3000 m to half marathon, the latter just two weeks ago at the Marugame International Half Marathon.

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon will be broadcast live on Nihon TV beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Feb. 20. Click here to visit NTV's race website, somewhat more informative than the official site linked above. Overseas viewers should be able to watch live online for free via Keyhole TV, available here.

2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
click here for complete field listing
1. Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) - 2:23:30 (Helsinki WC '05)
2. Azalech Masresha (Ethiopia) - 2:25:34 (Paris '10)
3. Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 2:25:44 (Osaka '10)
4. Alevtina Ivanonva (Russia) - 2:26:38 (Nagano '08)
5. Karolina Jarzynska (Poland) - 2:29:10 (Frankfurt '09)
11. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:23:30 (Tokyo Int'l '08)
12. Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 2:29:36 (Nagoya '10)
13. Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) - 2:29:45 (Chicago '10)
14. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:34:29 (Nagoya '10)
15. Kaoru Nagao (Team Universal Ent.) - debut - 1:10:45
16. Yuka Izumi (Team Tenmaya) - debut - 1:10:58
51. Saori Nejo (Team Hokuren) - 2:33:54 (Osaka '10)
52. Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya) - 2:21:51 (Osaka '03)
53. Nicky Archer (U.K.) - 2:42:22 (London '10)
58. Megumi Oshima (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 2:24:25 (Nagoya '05)
59. Miyuki Ando (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:29:07 (Osaka '08)
60. Risa Hagiwara (Second Wind AC) - 2:28:14 (Nagoya '03)
61. Hitomi Nakamura (Team Panasonic) - debut - 1:13:58


(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Brett Larner said…
Current forecast for tomorrow looks pretty good. 10 degrees at the start, sunny, with gentle/mod northerly winds.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …