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London Olympic Gold Medalist Tiki Gelana Leads Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The 6th running of the Yokohama International Women's Marathon brings in a good field headed by formerly Japan-based London Olympic marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia), lending credibility to its struggle to remain relevant.  The equally formerly Japan-based Philes Ongori (Kenya) tops a trio of 2:23 women including Caroline Rotich (Kenya) and Olena Shurkhno (Ukraine) who should give Gelana a swing of it, with Marisa Barros (Portugal), 2014 Nagano Marathon winner Alina Prokopeva (Russia), Irvette Van Zyl (South Africa) and, welcomed back to Yokohama again after her drug suspension, Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania), rounding out the international field in Yokohama's usual boutique style.

The Japanese field is thin, with only three or four contenders for the top ten.  Independent 2014 Hokkaido Marathon winner Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) is the top Japanese woman on paper, but the better bet to factor into the race is her former teammate Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei), a two-time National Corporate Half Marathon winner coached by Tokyo World Championships marathon silver medalist Sachiko Yamashita and who made a decent debut in Nagoya this spring in 2:26:05.  Nanami Matsuura (Team Tenmaya), coached by Japan's main Olympian generator Yutaka Taketomi, had a weaker debut in Osaka in 2:33:24 but should stand to improve on that.  The most interesting domestic product is 19-year-old Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), following through on her plans to debut before turning 20 in December after making this year's World Half Marathon team off a sub-70 debut at last December's Sanyo Women's Half just after her 19th birthday.

The Yokohama International Women's Marathon will be broadcast live nationwide.  Check back closer to race date for more info on following the race live.

Yokohama International Women's Marathon Elite Field
Yokohama, Kanagawa, 11/16/14
click here for complete field listing

Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) - 2:18:58 (Rotterdam 2012)
Caroline Rotich (Kenya) - 2:23:22 (Chicago 2012)
Olena Shurkhno (Ukraine) - 2:23:32 (Berlin 2012)
Philes Ongori (Kenya) - 2:24:20 (Rotterdam 2011) / 2:23:22a (Boston 2014)
Azusa Nojiri (Japan/Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:24:57 (Osaka Int'l 2012)
Marisa Barros (Portugal) - 2:25:04 (Yokohama 2011)
Kiyoko Shimahara (Japan/SWAC) - 2:25:10 (Hokkaido 2009)
Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania) - 2:25:15 (Tokyo Int'l 2005)
Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Team Daiichi Seimei) - 2:26:05 (Nagoya Women's 2014)
Mayumi Fujita (Japan/Team Juhachi Ginko) - 2:29:02 (Yokohama Int'l 2012)
Alina Prokopeva (Russia) - 2:30:56 (Nagano 2014)
Irvette Van Zyl (South Africa) - 2:31:26
Nanami Matsuura (Japan/Team Tenmaya) - 2:33:24 (Osaka Int'l 2014)
Tomomi Higuchi (Japan/Team Daihatsu) - 2:33:48 (Daegu 2011)
Kumi Ogura (Japan/Kochi T&F Assoc.) - 2:34:01 (Nagoya Women's 2013)
Maki Inami (Japan/Wings AC) - 2:37:34 (Tokyo 2011)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Team Noritz) - debut - 1:09:45 (Sanyo Women's Half 2013)

(c) 2014 Brett Larner
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