Skip to main content

WC Silver Medalist Yoshimi Ozaki 2:23:56 Yokohama Win

by Brett Larner
photos by Mika Tokairin


Running in near-perfect conditions on a flatter new course, 2009 World Championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) ran a race record 2:23:56 to win the 2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon and become the first Japanese woman to secure a guaranteed spot on the team for this summer's World Championships. Ozaki said before the race that her goal was only to win, not to run a fast time, but her mark was the fastest by a Japanese woman in over 2 years and close to her PB.

Top two Nakazato and Ozaki.

Pacemaker Shoko Mori (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) took the race out faster than planned with a 3:19 first km, but things soon settled down to 16:59 for the first 5 km. Despite being right on target pace the pack began to fracture, with debutante Yuka Izumi (Team Tenmaya) then 2:29 women Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) and Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) losing touch. The pack continued to splinter as the pace accelerated again, 2009 New York City Marathon winner Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) falling off after only 9 km. Halfway passed in 1:11:36.

Barros and Ozaki head to head.

Following the last pacemaker's departure at 30 km Ozaki ran on the shoulder of Marisa Barros (Portugal), with 22 year old Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) and 21 year old first-timer Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) close behind. Barros pressed the pace, whittling the pack down to three as Nagao dropped behind. With exactly 10 km to go Ozaki stepped to the front for the first time, but both Barros and Nakazato remained in contention as they took turns surging into the lead. Ozaki then abruptly hit the gas, splitting 9:52 for the final 3 km as she unleashed the same finishing speed that gave her the win at the 2008 Tokyo International Women's Marathon and her World Championships medal. It was a dominant victory that confirmed Ozaki's position as Japan's current #1 woman.

Nakazato with 1 km to go in custom handmade Adidas.

Runner-up Nakazato was almost a bigger story, staying with Ozaki until late in the race and taking 10 minutes off her PB to finish in a strong 2:24:29 in just her second marathon. Her run also marked the 100th sub-2:26:30 by a Japanese woman. Like Ozaki having cleared the federation's sub-2:26 World Championships standard, Nakazato now stands ahead of Osaka International Women's Marathon runner-up Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) in line for a national team spot but must wait until the outcome of next month's Nagoya International Women's Marathon to find out her fate.

Jarzynska looking strong on the way to London.

Third placer Barros finished in a PB of 2:25:04 after having also PB'd at last year's Osaka. Her time made her the all-time 2nd-fastest Portuguese marathoner. Fourth placer Nagao had a strong debut in 2:26:58, with Poland's Karolina Jarzynska, who set a national record at the Marugame Half Marathon two weeks ago, running a PB of 2:27:16 for 5th to earn a spot at the London Olympics.

2011 Yokohama International Women's Marathon
click here for complete results
1. Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:23:56 - CR
2. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:24:29 - PB
3. Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 2:25:04 - PB
4. Kaoru Nagao (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:58 - debut
5. Karolina Jarzynska (Poland) - 2:27:16 - PB
6. Alevtina Ivanova (Russia) - 2:29:00
7. Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 2:30:42
8. Yuka Izumi (Team Tenmaya) - 2:33:05 - debut
9. Kaori Yoshida (Amino Vital AC) - 2:33:57
10. Naoko Sakamoto (Team Tenmaya) - 2:35:17
-----
11. Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) - 2:35:58
14. Azalech Masresha (Ethiopia) - 2:37:00

(c) 2011 Brett Larner
all rights reserved
photos (c) and (p) 2011 Mika Tokairin
all rights reserved

Comments

Brett Larner said…
The new course gets a thumbs up from some friends who ran and some others who watched. Being seaside a lot will depend on the wind for it to be fast in the future, but they lucked out with the weather today.
Brett Larner said…
Sorry to hear Keyhole wasn't working for some people. With Japan switching over to complete digital broadcast in a few months I'm not sure what Keyhole's future will be.

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
           …