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Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field

The Mar. 14 Nagoya Women's Marathon announced this year's field yesterday, the same day that vaccinations officially began in Japan. It's another domestic-only race, but it has a great potential trio up front and looks to be going ahead with a mass-participation race.

Up front are last year's Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda, 25 km national record co-holder Sayaka Sato, and Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Ayuko Suzuki. Suzuki is only 9th by recent time, but with a half marathon best of 1:07:55 and this being her first shot at a fast marathon she's definitely got the potential to stay with Matsuda and Sato.

Reia Iwade and Rei Ohara have both run 2:23 but neither has been near that level in the last few years, Iwade in particular having dropped out of Osaka last month and only running 1:13:10 last weekend at the National Corporate Half. Mao Uesugi, Haruka Yamaguchi and Mirai Waku all ran Osaka too, so whether they start and how seriously they run remains to be seen. Yomogi Akasaka had a breakthrough to win December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon in 2:29:21 and could be a surprise.

Nagoya is heavy this year on talent in the first-timer department, Ikumi Fukura coming in top-ranked with a best of 1:09:58 and four others with bests under 71 minutes. Olympian Mai Ito ran well at the National Corporate Half with her best time since before Rio and will be looking to finish her first marathon since Osaka in January 2017. Further down the field, 62-year-old Mariko Yugeta will be trying to better the 2:52:13 60+ world record she set in Osaka this year.

Pre-corona, Nagoya was the largest women-only marathon in the world. Last year it was held as an elite-only race, but this year it took mass-participation entrants up to a limit of 11,000. Earlier this month Nagoya issued a statement inviting entrants to switch to a virtual race, but at this stage it looks like it will go ahead with an on-site race for every entrant who still wants to run, assuming no extension to the current state of emergency set to expire on Mar. 7. With every other race in Japan that size having already canceled or postponed this season, going ahead with its race would put Nagoya in a class of its own and give some much-needed hope that things are actually starting to turn around.

Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field Highlights

Nagoya, Aichi, 14 March 2021
times listed are best in last three years except where noted

Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) - 2:21:47 (Osaka Int'l 2020)
Sayaka Sato (Sekisui Kagaku) - 2:23:27 (Nagoya 2020)
Reia Iwade (Adidas) - 2:23:52 (Nagoya 2019)
Mao Uesugi (Starts) - 2:24:52 (Osaka Int'l 2021)
Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) - 2:25:46 (Osaka Int'l 2019)
Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) - 2:26:35 (Osaka Int'l 2020)
Mirai Waku (Universal Entertainment) - 2:26:42 (Osaka Int'l 2021)
Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) - 2:27:40 (Nagoya 2018)
Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 2:28:32 (Hokkaido 2018) - withdrawn due to injury
Mao Kiyota (Suzuki) - 2:28:58 (Nagoya 2018)
Natsuki Omori (Daihatsu) - 2:29:15 (Osaka Int'l 2019)
Yomogi Akasaka (Starts) - 2:29:21 (Hofu 2020)
Misaki Kato (Kyudenko) - 2:29:22 (Nagoya 2018)
Miharu Shimokado (Brooks) - 2:29:38 (Gold Coast 2018)
Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) - 2:30:09 (Fukuoka 2018)
Chiharu Suzuki (Hitachi) - 2:30:19 (Nagoya 2020)
Rie Kawauchi (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:31:37 (Nagoya 2019)
Mariko Yugeta (Saitama OIG) - 2:52:13 (Osaka Int'l 2021)

Debut / First Finish
Ikumi Fukura (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:09:58 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2020)
Rui Aoyama (Universal Entertainment) - 1:10:04 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2019)
Natsumi Matsushita (Tenmaya) - 1:10:18 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2021)
Kanako Takemoto (Daihatsu) - 1:10:45 (Sanyo Half 2020)
Yuma Adachi (Kyocera) - 1:10:56 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2021)
Reno Okura (Noritz) - 1:11:12 (Sanyo Half 2020)
Yuko Kikuchi (Noritz) - 1:11:32 (Sanyo Half 2019)
Mai Ito (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 1:11:50 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2020)
Hiromi Katakai (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 1:12:17 (Nat'l Corporate Half 2020)

© 2021 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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Stefan said…
This field certainly is very strong. I still feel a bit disappointed that Mizuki Matsuda missed out on Olympic qualification because, based on times alone, I believe only Mao Ichiyama has surpassed her in recent years. She had 2 of the fastest times in recent years going into the MGC race but could only manage 4th in the heat of Tokyo but then turned up and posted a super fast time in Osaka last year only to be bettered by Ichiyama in what was a surprising and outstanding effort in last year's Nagoya race. I'm not sure how she is faring mentally after such disappointment but it would be somewhat of a statement if she were to beat Ichiyama's time from last year or come close to the national record. And I am so happy to see another of my favourite athletes, Sayaka Sato here. I would love to see her repeat her sterling debut from last year. It wouldn't surprise me if she gets a time below 2:23:00 which would be a PB. I am very interested to see how the debutants go and most especially, what sort of time Ayuko Suzuki can post. I was quite surprised to see her in the field list as this race is rather close to the Olympics when you think in terms of her not running a marathon since 2019 and now expecting to run one here and then another in 5 months time. Given her lack of activity its a surprise. I hope she can prove the doubters wrong (me included) and post a fast time and go into the Olympics without injury. I am very much looking forward to this event.

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