by Brett Larner
After a delay to allow four top Japanese women caught in Christchurch, New Zealand during last week's major earthquake time to decide whether they are ready for a competitive marathon, on Mar. 2 the Nagoya International Women's Marathon announced the elite field for the Mar. 13 race. The final edition of the elite-only race before the race changes formats next year to a mass-participation women-only event, Nagoya features the deepest domestic field of the three selection races for this summer's World Championships marathon team. To prevent any unnecessary stress to the runners, Rikuren officials have taken the unusual step of forbidding journalists from asking any questions related to the New Zealand earthquake until after the race.
The last three Nagoya winners, defending champion Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC), '09 winner Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) and '08 victor Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) return. They will face 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.), 2011 Ome 30 km winner Hiromi Ominami (Yutic AC) and former pro XC skiier Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) along with a raft of talented runners in the 2:26-2:29 range. Of particular interest are the marathon debuts of 2010 Nagoya Half Marathon winner Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Chizuru Ideta (Team Daihatsu), a teammate of Yokohama runner-up Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu), and ekiden star Risa Shigetomo of 2010 national champion Team Tenmaya.
The top Japanese woman will earn a guaranteed spot on the World Championships team if she breaks 2:26. Currently only Yokohama International Women's Marathon winner Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) has secured a place on the team. Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) and Yokohama runner-up Nakazato are very likely to be named based on the strength of their performances. The second Japanese woman in Nagoya must break the time clocked by Osaka runner-up Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), 2:26:55, to have a chance of being considered. A realistic goal for at least four of the Japanese women in Nagoya, this means the race is likely to be fast and competitive.
The overseas field of five consists of two veterans, Romania's Lidia Simon and Russia's Albina Mayorova, whose best times, although dated, would put them in range of the top Japanese women on the entry list, along with three runners with more recent marks who could step up and factor into the front of the race, Lithuanian Diana Lobacevske, Ethiopian Tiki Gelana, and Kenyan Rose Kerubo Nyangacha.
Nagoya will be broadcast live. Check back closer to race date for more info on watching online and JRN's live coverage.
2011 Nagoya International Women's Marathon Elite Field
1. Lidia Simon (Romania) - 2:22:54 (Osaka '00)
2. Albina Mayorova (Russia) - 2:25:35 (Chicago '03)
3. Diana Lobacevske (Lithuania) - 2:28:03 (Capri '10)
4. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 2:28:28 (Los Angeles '10)
5. Rose Kerubo Nyangacha (Kenya) - 2:29:22 (Hamburg '07)
11. Hiromi Ominami (Yutic AC) - 2:23:26 (Berlin '04)
12. Yuri Kano (Second Wind AC) - 2:24:27 (Tokyo Int'l '08)
13. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:25:38 (Tokyo '09)
14. Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) - 2:25:51 (Nagoya '08)
15. Madoka Ogi (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 2:26:55 (Osaka '08)
16. Yoshiko Fujinaga (Team Shiseido) - 2:28:13 (Nagoya '09)
17. Yukari Sahaku (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:28:55 (Tokyo '09)
18. Azusa Nojiri (Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:29:12 (Osaka '10)
19. Yuko Machida (Team Nihon ChemiCon) - 2:29:35 (Nagoya '09)
20. Akane Wakita (Team Toyota Jidoshoki) - 2:29:54 (Nagoya '10)
21. Noriko Matsuoka (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - debut - 1:11:13 (Nagoya Half '10)
102. Seika Iwamura (Team Daihatsu) - 2:33:15 (Osaka '10)
105. Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) - 2:29:30 (Nagoya '02)
106. Eri Okubo (Second Wind AC) - 2:35:34 (Nagoya '10)
108. Nozomi Iijima (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:36:46 (Sapporo '09)
111. Chizuru Ideta (Team Daihatsu) - 1:12:34 (half)
112. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:12:45 (half)
113. Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya) - debut - 1:13:28 (half)114. Yolanda Cabellero (Colombia) - debut - 1:14:48 (half)
(c) 2011 Brett Larner
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