by Brett Larner
The organizers of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon have announced the elite field for this year's 4th running on Nov. 18. With the Japanese federation dictating a sub-2:24 requirement for Japanese women to be considered for next year's Moscow World Championships marathon squad they have assembled a field with at least three runners potentially in range of that goal.
Kenyan Lydia Cheromei serves as the one to follow for those chasing the Moscow time, her 2:21:30 coming as part of the miracle in Dubai last January. The main contenders to achieve the federation's target time behind her are three of this year's top ten Japanese women, 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren), spring 2011 Yokohama runner-up and 2012 Nagoya International Women's Marathon 3rd-placer Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) and Nagoya 5th-placer Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku). 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) is also in the field, along with three women making their debuts in new colors after having switched clubs, Noriko Matsuoka (Second Wind AC), Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) and Kaori Yoshida (Puma AC).
In Yokohama Akaba will be reunited with her former Hokuren teammate Philes Ongori (Kenya), while Nakazato will have a rematch against Portugal's Marisa Barros, part of a memorable three-way battle for the win against Nakazato and Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) in Yokohama's second edition. Raising an eyebrow or two given her suspension last year for a positive drug test at the 2010 European Championships is Lithuanian Zivile Balciunaite. Yolanda Caballero (Colombia), Kateryne Stetsenko (Ukraine) and Joanne Pavey (U.K.) round out the invited international field, with Ethiopians Tilahun Alemaz and Alemayhu Selamawit making appearances through the support of a Japanese non-profit organzation.
The Yokohama International Women's Marathon will be broadcast live Nov. 18. Check back closer to race date for more information on live coverage.
2012 Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
click here for complete field listing
1. Lydia Cheromei (Kenya) - 2:21:30
11. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:09
2. Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 2:24:20
12. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:24:28
3. Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 2:25:04
4. Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania) - 2:25:15
13. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:25:26
16. Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:25:38
5. Yolanda Caballero (Colombia) - 2:26:17
14. Noriko Matsuoka (Second Wind AC) - 2:26:54
6. Kateryne Stetsenko (Ukraine) - 2:27:51
15. Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto) - 2:28:19
7. Joanne Pavey (U.K.) - 2:28:24
32. Yumi Hirata (Second Wind AC) - 2:29:23
17. Sumiko Suzuki (Team Hokuren) - 2:29:25
19. Mayumi Fujita (Team Juhachi Ginko) - 2:29:36
18. Kaori Yoshida (Puma RC) - 2:29:45
34. Hiroko Miyauchi (Team Kyocera) - 2:32:20
31. Hiroko Yoshitomi (First Dream AC) - 2:32:27
33. Ayumi Sakaida (Team Daihatsu) - 2:36:04
104. Tilahun Alemaz (Ethiopia)
105. Alemayhu Selamawit (Ethiopia)
(c) 2012 Brett Larner
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