Skip to main content

Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The last chance for Japanese women to make the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team, the Mar. 13 Nagoya Women's Marathon has announced the elites who will front the largest women-only marathon field in the world, more than 17,000-strong in its 2015 edition.  Last year's winner Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) is back with a World Championships bronze medal under her belt, facing formerly Japan-based Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia), Valeria Straneo (Italy) and most of Japan's best.

The controversial selection process for the Japanese Olympic team, in which outside of finishing in the top eight at the previous year's World Championships there is no way to guarantee yourself a place on the team no matter how you run in any of the three domestic selection races, has resulted in the top Japanese women at both of the other selection races, Kaori Yoshida (Runners Pulse), 2nd in November's Saitama International Women's Marathon in 2:28:43, and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), winner of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:22:17, entering Nagoya in the general division.  The JAAF has voiced its unhappiness about Fukushi running again, but with a history of people like Akemi Matsuno, Naoko Takahashi and most recently Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) having been screwed out of places on National Teams by the JAAF's opaque decision-making process it's not hard to understand why Fukushi doesn't trust them.

There aren't many people in the Nagoya field who could conceivably beat Fukushi's 2:22:17.  Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) is the strongest possibility with a 2:23:24 in Nagoya three years ago, but with her only race of 2015 having been a lowly 13th-place finish on her stage at December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden she has a lot of ground to make up.  Last year's best half marathoners Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) and Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) also look promising, Ohara returning to the marathon after a bad fall in her debut at last year's Nagoya and Numata making her own debut this year.  National record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) is giving it one last shot, with 2014 Asian Games team member Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto), 2014 Yokohama winner Tanaka, 2015 Rotterdam Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic), Japan's fastest-ever under-20 marathoner Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) and the debuting Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) round out the domestic field.

Nagoya Women's Marathon - Elite Field
Nagoya, 3/13/16
click here for detailed field listing
times listed are 2013-2016 bests except where noted

Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 2:22:08 (Nagoya 2015)
Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 2:22:17 (Osaka Women's 2016)
Ryoko Kizaki (Japan/Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 (Nagoya 2013)
Mizuki Noguchi (Japan/Sysmex) - 2:24:05 (Nagoya 2013)
Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 2:24:29 (Dubai 2015)
Valeria Straneo (Italy) - 2:25:27 (Zurich Euro Champs 2014)
Eri Hayakawa (Japan/Toto) - 2:25:31 (Nagoya 2014)
Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 2:26:05 (Nagoya 2014)
Asami Kato (Japan/Panasonic) - 2:26:30 (Rotterdam 2015)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:27:21 (Yokohama Women's 2014)
Monica Jepkoech (Kenya) - 2:27:26 (Toronto Waterfront 2015)
Iwona Lewandowska (Poland) - 2:27:47 (London 2015)
Kaori Yoshida (Japan/Runners Pulse) - 2:28:43 (Saitama 2015)
Rei Ohara (Japan/Tenmaya) - 3:05:21 (Nagoya 2015)

Debut
Michi Numata (Japan/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:09:27 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:31 (Valencia 2015)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

CdaveRun said…
I'd be really interested in the training routines of some of the top Japanese contenders. What are these guys doing compared to say the Kenyans in Iten? Given that some of them are corporate, is that training any different than the collegiate runners? What is Imai doing to give him such well-rounded speed and endurance? What is Fujiwara doing now that is different from a few years ago? Did he burn himself out?

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men

Tokyo Marathon to Move to March Date Beginning in 2019

At a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 12, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation announced that beginning in 2019, the Tokyo Marathon will move from its current date on the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. The next Imperial succession is set to take place in 2019, meaning that February 23 will become the Emperor's Birthday national holiday starting in 2020. The race date is being preemptively moved to avoid any potential overlap.

According to the Foundation, setting up and breaking down the facilities necessary to hold the Tokyo Marathon takes several days. With the finish area being positioned in front of the Imperial Palace there were concerns that problems would arise due to the large number of people who would gather in the area to celebrate the Emperor's birthday.

Translator's note: The Tokyo Marathon previously experimented with a March race date in 2009 but abandoned it to return to February the next year. Since 1994 the first Sunday of March has been t…