The Mar. 8 Nagoya Women's Marathon is really the last chance for Japanese women to make the 2020 Sapporo Olympic marathon team. At last September's MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials the top two put themselves on the team for sure. 3rd-placer Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) was provisionally on the team unless someone ran 2:22:22 or better at one of the three main winter Japanese women's marathons. Last month in Osaka, MGC 4th-placer Mizuki Matsuda (Denso) did just that, running 2:21:47 for the win.
So, the task now in Nagoya, the last of the three chances to steal a spot, is for someone to run 2:21:46. Yuka Ando (Wacoal) is the only Japanese woman in the race who has done it before, running 2:21:36 in her debut there three years ago. She hasn't been anywhere near that since then, but with a change to the Wacoal corporate team last year she seems to be going in the right direction.
Wacoal also has its other two heavy hitters on the list, four-time Olympian Kayoko Fukushi and Mao Ichiyama. Fukushi dropped out of Osaka last month and is refocusing for Nagoya. That strategy worked well for her last year, but this time around she'll need to run a 31-second PB at age 37. Just 22, Ichiyama debuted in 2:24:33 in Tokyo last year, then doubled with a 2:27:27 in London to qualify for the MGC Race where she took it out at national record pace before fading to 6th in 2:32:20. Along the way she's run under 1:09 in the half marathon twice, so barring some kind of comeback from Ando she's probably the one with the best chance of bettering Matsuda's mark.
The international field, Nagoya's first as an upgraded platinum label race, is perfectly positioned to pace the Japanese women to that kind of level, not too fast, not too slow. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo (Kenya) leads the way with a 2:20:39 in Valencia last year, followed closely by Helen Tola (Ethiopia), last year's Tokyo Marathon runner-up in 2:21:01. Six other internationals including last year's Nagoya winner Helalia Johannes (Namibia), fresh off a win over Ichiyama at the Marugame Half earlier this month, fill out the supporting cast at the 2:22 to 2:23 level.
Check back closer to race date for more info including international streaming options.
Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field HighlightsNagoya, 3/8/20
complete field listing
times listed are best in last three years except where noted
Purity Cherotich Rionoripo (Kenya) - 2:20:39 (Valencia 2019)
Helen Tola (Ethiopia) - 2:21:01 (Tokyo 2019)
Yuka Ando (Japan/Wacoal) - 2:21:36 (Nagoya 2017)
Nancy Jepkosgei Kiprop (Kenya) - 2:22:12 (Vienna 2019)
Helaila Johannes (Namibia) - 2:22:25 (Nagoya 2019)
Stellah Barsosio (Kenya) - 2:23:36 (Rotterdam 2019)
Betsy Saina (Kenya) - 2:22:43 (Toronto Waterfront 2019)
Birke Debele (Ethiopia) - 2:23:19 (Toronto Waterfront 2019)
Hirut Tibebu Damte (Ethiopia) - 2:23:35 (Shanghai 2017)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 2:23:47 (Nagoya 2017)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Under Armour) - 2:23:52 (Nagoya 2019)
Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 2:24:09 (Nagoya 2019)
Mao Ichiyama (Japan/Wacoal) - 2:24:33 (Tokyo 2019)
Sairi Maeda (Japan/Daihatsu) - 2:25:25 (Nagoya 2019)
Ayano Ikemitsu (Japan/Noritz) - 2:26:07 (Nagoya 2019)
Keiko Nogami (Japan/Juhachi Ginko) - 2:26:33 (Nagoya 2018)
Truphena Chepchirchir (Kenya) - 2:27:52 (Dongying 2019)
Mao Uesugi (Japan) - 2:28:02 (Nagoya 2019)
Natsuki Omori (Japan) - 2:29:15 (Osaka Women's 2019)
Misaki Kato (Japan/Kyudeno) - 2:29:22 (Nagoya 2018)
Ai Hosoda (Japan) - 2:29:27 (Nagoya 2019)
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Japan/Memolead) - 2:30:16 (Tokyo 2018)
Chika Ihara (Japan) - 2:31:32 (Osaka Women's 2019)
Rie Kawauchi (Japan) - 2:31:37 (Nagoya 2019)
Misato Horie (Japan/Noritz) - 2:32:01 (Nagoya 2019)
Anke Esser (Germany) - 2:32:06 (Chicago 2019)
Anna Matsuda (Japan) - 2:32:22 (Nagoya 2019)
Yomogi Akasaka (Japan) - 2:32:28 (Nagoya 2018)
Yui Okada (Japan) - 2:32:45 (Nagoya 2017)
Sayaka Sato (Japan) - 1:09:27 (National Corporate Half 2019)
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