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Yukiko Akaba 3rd at London Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo by Martin Lever

Coming in fit off a 1:08:59 win at March's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran a smart, steady and strong race at the Apr. 21 London Marathon, staying near 2:24 pace as the lead group of Kenyan and Ethiopia women fluctuated, sometimes far ahead, sometimes all around her, and on at least two occasions falling behind her.


Initially working with Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to reach the Federation's sub-2:24 time goal for the Moscow World Championships team, Akaba slipped off track late in the race after Ito dropped behind but continued to press ahead, reeling in five of the seven Africans up front to take 3rd in 2:24:43, her third time running 2:24 in London.

Ito, still hot from a 1:10:00 half marathon PB two weeks ago in Berlin, couldn't keep up with Akaba's bid for a 2:23 and landed 7th in 2:28:37.  The other three Japanese women in the race, Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu), Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) and former national record holder Yuko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), started off more conservatively in the second pack and never factored into the action.

Unfortunately, will a sub-2:24 standard in place it means that for all three and, Ito, and likely for Akaba, their hopes for making the Moscow team have come to an end. The roster of those waiting for Wednesday's announcement:
  • Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 - PB - 1st, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 2:24:05 - 3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:24:21 - PB - 2nd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:25:56 - PB - 3rd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:42 - 2nd, 2012 Yokohama Int'l Women's Marathon
With a team announcement scheduled for Wednesday the main question appears to be between the young Watanabe, who ran an aggressive race to finish 3rd as the 2nd Japanese woman at the Osaka Interational Women's Marathon selection race, and Nasukawa, who ran passively for 2nd and top Japanese at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon selection race in 2:26:42.  Reports are coming out that the Federation may choose not to put five women on the team, meaning that both Watanabe and Nasukawa could find themselves out of luck.  It should be an interesting press conference come Wednesday.

London Marathon Women's Race
London, U.K., 4/21/13
click here for complete results

1. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:20:15
2. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:21:32
3. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:43
4. Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) - 2:25:14
5. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia) - 2:25:46
6. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:27:05
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:28:37
8. Alevtina Biktimirova (Russia) - 2:30:02
9. Susan Partridge (GBR) - 2:30:46
10. Irvette Van Zyl (South Africa) - 2:31:26
-----
12. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:33:24
14. Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:35:30
17. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:37:35

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 OMRC
all rights reserved

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