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Rio Silver Medalist Kirwa Returns to Nagoya Women's Marathon

by Brett Larner

The Nagoya Women's Marathon is the largest women-only marathon in the world, with 19,112 finishers last year.  It was also the deepest elite women's marathon in the world next to the Rio Olympics, with more women sub-2:27 than in Rio and only three fewer under 2:30.  Many of the main people who made it what it was last year are set to return, led by course record holder and two-time defending champion Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) who comes back to Nagoya as an Olympic silver medalist.  Japan's Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya), Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), Reia Iwade (Team Noritz), Sayaka Kuwahara (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and Shiho Takechi (Team Yamada Denki) all ran sub-2:26 PBs in Nagoya last year, Ohara's 2:23:30 just missing her a place on the Rio Olympic team.  Ohara is Kirwa's closest competition, but with a nearly two-minute difference in their recent half marathon wins Ohara will have a very tough battle facing her to stay in contact.  At stake for her and for the other top Japanese woman is a place at the London World Championships, Nagoya serving as the last selection race for the Japanese women's team.

Fatuma Sado (Ethiopia), 2nd in Toronto in 2015, is the other main front-end contender.  Mid-pack, interesting names include 2015 Rotterdam Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic), Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (U.S.A.) and 2016 Osaka Marathon winner Yoshiko Sakamoto (Y.W.C.).  Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL), Cassie Fien (Australia) and Sakie Arai (Osaka Gakuin Univ.)  are all set to double after having run January's Osaka International Women's Marathon, Arai off a win at last weekend's Kumanichi 30 km and Yoshida also entered in this weekend's Tokyo Marathon.  2016 and 2017 National Corporate Half Marathon champions Miho Shimizu (Team Hokuren) and Ai Utsunomiya (Miyazaki Ginko) are down to make their marathon debuts, as are equally talented half marathoners Yuka Ando (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) and Hisami Ishii (Team Yamada Denki).

The Nagoya Women's Marathon will be broadcast live on March 12.  JRN will cover the race live on @JRNLive.  Check back closer to race date for livestreaming details and other info.

Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field Highlights
Nagoya, 3/12/17
click here for detailed field listing
times listed are best within last three years except where noted

Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 2:22:08 (Nagoya 2015)
Rei Ohara (Japan/Tenmaya) - 2:23:20 (Nagoya 2016)
Fatuma Sado (Ethiopia) - 2:24:16 (Toronto Waterfront 2015)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:24:32 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:24:38 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Sayaka Kuwahara (Japan/Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:25:09 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Valeria Straneo (Italy) - 2:25:27 (Zurich European Championships 2014)
Shiho Takechi (Japan/Yamada Denki) - 2:25:29 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Eri Hayakawa (Japan/Toto) - 2:25:31 (Nagoya Women's 2014)
Asami Kato (Japan/Panasonic) - 2:26:30 (Japan/Rotterdam 2015)
Monica Jepkoech (Kenya) - 2:27:26 (Toronto Waterfront 2015)
Keiko Nogami (Japan/Juhachi Ginko) - 2:28:19 (Nagoya Women's 2015)
Yuko Watanabe (Japan/Edion) - 2:28:36 (Osaka Int'l 2015)
Kaori Yoshida (Japan/Team RxL) - 2:28:43 (Saitama Int'l 2015)
Alessandra Aguilar (Spain) - 2:29:45 (London 2015)
Aki Otagiri (Japan/Tenmaya) - 2:30:24 (Nagoya Women's 2015)
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (U.S.A.) - 2:31:14 (L.A. Olympic Trials 2016)
Haruna Takada (Japan/Yamada Denki) - 2:31:17 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Yukiko Okuno (Japan/Shiseido) - 2:31:17 (Tokyo 2016)
Winfridah Kebaso (Kenya/Nitori) - 2:32:08 (Saitama Int'l 2015)
Yui Okada (Japan/Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:32:10 (Hokkaido 2015)
Kikuyo Tsuzaki (Japan/Noritz) - 2:32:23 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Cassie Fien (Australia) - 2:33:01 (Osaka Int'l 2017)
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/Memolead) - 2:33:04 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Kana Orino (Japan/Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:33:51 (Nagoya Women's 2014)
Mayumi Fujita (Japan/Nagasaki T&F Assoc.) - 2:34:13 (Yokohama Int'l 2014)
Sinead Diver (Australia) - 2:34:15 (Melbourne 2014)
Mei Matsuyama (Japan/Noritz) - 2:34:35 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Sakie Arai (Japan/Osaka Gakuin Univ.) - 2:34:40 (Osaka Int'l 2017)
Anna Nosenko (Ukraine) - 2:34:57 (Krakow 2016)
Yoko Miyauchi (Japan/Hokuren) - 2:35:09 (Nagoya Women's 2016)
Yoshiko Sakamoto (Japan/Y.W.C.) - 2:36:02 (Osaka 2016)
Ai Inoue (Japan/Noritz) - 2:36:35 (Nagoya Women's 2016)

Debut
Miho Shimizu (Japan/Hokuren) - 1:09:41 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2016)
Yuka Ando (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:09:51 (Sanyo Women's Half 2015)
Hisami Ishii (Japan/Yamada Denki) - 1:10:09 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2016)
Ai Utsunomiya (Japan/Miyazaki Ginko) - 1:10:47

© 2017 Brett Larner
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