Skip to main content

Nagoya and the National University Half - Weekend Preview

Two big races cap Sunday's road racing action in Japan. First up is the Nagoya Women's Marathon, where last year's winner Ruth Chepngetich is back saying at the pre-race press conference that she's ready to break the course record. Although she's still listed in the field on the English section of the Nagoya site, oddly she has been dropped from the Japanese section's field listing. She wasn't included in yesterday's announcement of the withdrawal of Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Molly Seidel and Germany's Katharina Steinruck, either language version, so it's possible her absence from the field listing on the Japanese site is a mistake. But it's very odd.

Either way, the world's largest women-only marathon has a relatively thin elite field, even thinner with Seidel and Steinruck out. 2021 Valencia winner Nancy Jelagat is the only sub-2:20 runner in the field apart from Chepngetich, with the next tier solidly at the 2:22-2:23 and occupied by Japan's Ayuko Suzuki, Mao Uesugi, Mizuki Tanimoto and Honami Maeda. Maeda won the last Olympic marathon trials and has had setback after setback ever since. The main story line here will be whether she can qualify here for October's trials ahead of the May 31 deadline. Hopes are high too for a big follow-up from 2019 World. University Games half marathon gold medalist Yuka Suzuki on her 2:25:02 debut in Nagoya last year. And, if Chepngetich doesn't cut it for whatever reason, whether any of the Japanese women can outrun Jelagat to score the $250,000 prize money for the win.

Fuji TV has the live broadcast starting at 9:00 a.m. local time. The broadcast will be streamed in 34 countries on the Nagoya website, and is always an option if you're not in one of them. JRN will be covering Nagoya live on @JRNLive.

The other big race is the National University Men's Half Marathon in Tokyo's western suburb Tachikawa. It's always one of the deepest half marathons in the world, and as the selection race for the twice-postponed Chengdu World University Games this summer it's pretty likely some of the bigger names on the entry list will actually run.

2022-23 university ekiden season triple crown winner Komazawa University has some of its best runners training for the University Half in Albuquerque last month, so you'll probably see the likes of Kotaro Shinohara, the fastest-ever Japanese-born collegiate half marathoner at 1:00:11, 27:41.68 track 10000 m man Mebuki Suzuki, Hakone Ekiden anchor stage winner Hibiki Aogaki, star 1st-years Aoi Ito and Takuma Yamakawa, and more on the starting line.

Other top talent includes last year's winner Kiyoto Hirabayashi (Koku Gakuin Univ.), sub-61 half marathoners Ayumu Yamamoto (Koku Gakuin Univ.) and Kazuki Matsuyama (Toyo Univ.), sub-28 runner Reishi Yoshida (Chuo Gakuin Univ.), Hakone Fifth Stage winner Yuito Yamamoto (Josai Univ.), and many more. The top 3 finishers will be named to the Chengdu team, so it's possible Japan could send a squad entirely made up of collegiate runners who've broke 61 for the half. Streaming can be found here starting at 9:45 a.m. local time, with the race kicking off at 10:00.

photo © 2023 Nagoya Women's Marathon, all rights reserved
text © 2023 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee


Stefan said…
With Yuka Ando posting 2:22.59 in the Osaka Women's Marathon, Mizuki Matsuda 2:21:44 and Ai Hosoda 2:22:08 in the last Sunday's Tokyo Marathon, I'm very interested to see if any of the Japanese runners can better these times. I think it's very possible and I'd love to see it. I think a finishing time of 2:20:XX is possible especially for Ayuko Suzuki and Honami Maeda should they both be fully fit and having trained at altitude in the lead up. It will be Honami Maeda's first full marathon in 'super' shoes! But I do not know what sort of training camp both athletes have undertaken and whether they have been injury free. I'll definitely be tuned in to watch this race.
Rob Armstrong said…
Seems to be in Nagoya...

Most-Read This Week

The 2023 Hakone Ekiden Champs Komazawa University at the United Airlines NYC Half

2023 Hakone Ekiden champion Komazawa University 's 1st and 8th runners from its winning team Kensuke Tsubura  and Yuto Akahoshi were at the United Airlines NYC Half Sunday with head coach Hiroaki Oyagi and his wife Kyoko Oyagi as part of the partnership between race organizers NYRR and November's Ageo City Half Marathon set up by JRN in 2012. For both athletes it was the first time for them to ever go outside Japan. Akahoshi, a 3rd-year at Komazawa who ran his PB of 1:02:00 at Ageo last fall, lasted longer in the main pack, staying with the group that ended up filling 4th through 14th after the breakaway move up the East Side by world record holders Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Moroccan Zouhair Talbi . In the last 5 km he dropped back to finish 14th in 1:03:49, just behind 2022 Fukuoka International Marathon winner Maru Teferi of Israel. "My goal was to come here and try to stay with some of the best athletes in the world, so I'm pretty disap

Where Japan's Paris Olympic Marathon Trials Qualification Is At

Last Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon was the last of the main chances for Japanese marathoners to qualify for the Oct. 15 MGC Race, the country's official marathon trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics. At the trials the top 2 finishers will be named to the Olympic team, with the 3rd finisher provisionally in and the 4th and 5th placers named provisional alternates. After that it's one last turn through the winter 2023-24 season of the big domestic races where people will have the chance to steal the 3rd spot on the team and bump the 3rd-placer at the trials down to alternate. The deadline for qualifying for the trials is May 31, and there are still a few smaller domestic races like this Sunday's Tokushima Marathon and April's Nagano Marathon, and overseas races with a World Athletics elite label or better where those who haven't qualified yet can try to make a miracle happen. But for the most part, almost all the real contenders are already in. 62 men and 29

Shinohara Wins National University Half Marathon, 215 Go Sub-1:06

Fresh off becoming the fastest-ever Japanese-born collegiate half marathoner with a 1:00:11 in Marugame last month, 2023 Hakone Ekiden champ Komazawa University 2nd-year Kotaro Shinohara won the National University Half Marathon Sunday in Tokyo's western suburb of Tachikawa. In warm conditions the dense lead group ran relatively conservatively, on track to go just under 63 minutes. But entering Tachikawa's Showa Kinen Park for a final 5 km of undulations and sharp turns Shinohara turned it on to pull away, winning easily in 1:02:16. Another of the pre-race favorites, sub-28 10000 m runner Reishi Yoshida of Hakone non-qualifier Chuo Gakuin University was 2nd in 1:02:29. Another Hakone non-qualifier, Tokyo Nogyo University 's Neo Namiki looked set to take 3rd. But in the last km Rei Matsunaga of Hosei University , famed for trying to run away with last year's Kanto Regionals 5000 m versus 3000 m SC NR holder Ryuji Miura , came up to pass Namiki, stealing 3rd in 1:0