Fresh off the announcement of the Tokyo Marathon elite field yesterday, Japan's first major marathon of the year takes place Sunday with the Osaka International Women's Marathon . Fuji TV will broadcast it live starting at noon local time, with streaming on TVer . With a reworked course that's hillier but which organizers hope will somehow still be faster, Osaka Women's is positioned for a 2:20 race with three women, Kenya's Maurine Chepkemoi and Ethiopians Haven Haile Desse and Sisay Meseret Gola at that level. The top tier of Japanese women, Sayaka Sato , Yuka Ando and Mao Uesugi , all ran 2:22 last year, so it'll be a jump up for them to stay with the front group. There's also a high-potential debut from 1:09:14 half marathoner Sakiho Tsutsui , who so far has looked to be stronger as the distance increases. Sato, Ando and Uesugi have all already qualified for October's Olympic marathon trials, so their being in the race raises the bar for anyon
The Tokyo Marathon is back to holding its race in the same year as its name, and it's got pretty good fields on both the women's and men's sides. The women's race draws pretty heavily on last fall's Berlin Marathon, with Japan-based Rosemary Wanjiru leading 3 of Berlin's top 4 alongside 2021 Tokyo runner-up Ashete Bekere , 2022 Seoul winner Joan Chelimo Melly , and 2022 Amsterdam 3rd-placer Tsehay Gemechu . That group of 6 is all in the 2:17:58~2:18:59 range, exactly where the JAAF would like to see the top Japanese woman. Even with super shoes nobody has touched Mizuki Noguchi 's 2:19:12 NR in the almost 18 years since it was set, not that women-only NR holder Mao Ichiyama and last year's Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda haven't tried. Maybe this'll be the year. Maybe not. Tokyo race director Tad Hayano generally hasn't cared at all about having internationals beyond that top tier, but this year there'