Skip to main content

Ruth Chepngetich Repeats in Nagoya With Solo 2:18:08

With temps in the high teens the Nagoya Women's Marathon was warmer than ideal, but that didn't stop the expected protagonists from dominating, and in fast times.

2022 winner Ruth Chepngetich soloed the race the entire way, going ahead of the pacers in the first kilometer and splitting between 16:14 and 16:19 for five of the six 5 km splits up to 30 km. She couldn't quite hold it together enough over the last 10 km to give her 2:17:18 CR from last year a serious go, fading from 1:08:47 at halfway to a 2:18:08 for 1st. But that was still enough for her to win by over a kilometer and take home another $250,000.

The main chase group of over a dozen skimmed just under 17 minutes per 5 km through a 1:11:20 half split before top-ranked Japan woman Ayuko Suzuki took off when the last pacer stopped. Deshun Zhang and Mao Uesugi initially went with her but soon lost touch, leaving Suzuki to drop an impressive 48-second negative split for a 2:21:52 PB, 10 seconds better than her run at last fall's Berlin Marathon in better conditions and an easier course.

The only top-level Japanese woman in the race not to have qualified for October's MGC Race Olympic marathon trials, 2020 Olympic trials winner Honami Maeda held back when Suzuki made her move, then took her time reeling Uesugi and Zhang back in. Maeda also pulled off a negative split by 8 seconds, running a 2:22:32 PB for 3rd and landing her spot at the MGC Race.

Coming to Nagoya with a best of only 2:27:01, Zhang showed nothing but tenacity as she took 4th in 2:24:05, the fastest time by a Chinese woman since 2012. Uesugi, who was 4th at January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:25:18, was 5th here in 2:24:16, practicing up for a planned double at August's Budapest World Championships and the MGC Race on Oct. 15.

7 of the top 11 women ran PBs, surprising given the conditions. Maeda was the only addition to the list of women's qualifiers for the Olympic trials, bringing the total to 29 versus 62 men. Nagoya was the last major qualifying race, leaving remaining hopefuls like Honoka Tanaike, 9th in a PB of 2:27:30, to chase a 2:24:00 or two-race 2:28:00 average at the Tokushima Marathon, Nagano Marathon, or overseas before the May 31 deadline. World Athletics Elite Label and higher races like the May 28 Ottawa Marathon, where at least 7 Japanese men are currently planning to chase last-chance qualification, are bound to be packed with desperate Japanese athletes.

In the accompanying half marathon, club runner Junichi Ushiyama took the win in the men's race in 1:04:52 by 23 seconds over Australian Ben St. Lawrence. Erika Kawamura won the women's race in 1:20:28.

Nagoya Women's Marathon

Nagoya, Aichi, 12 Mar. 2023

1. Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya) - 2:18:08
2. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan Post) - 2:21:52 - PB
3. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) - 2:22:32 - PB
4. Deshun Zhang (China) - 2:24:05 - PB
5. Mao Uesugi (Starts) - 2:24:16
6. Yuka Suzuki (Daiichi Seimei) - 2:25:46
7. Mirai Waku (Univ. Ent.) - 2:25:58 - PB
8. Zhixuan Li (China) - 2:26:28
9. Honoka Tanaike (Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:27:30 - PB
10. Isobel Batt-Doyle (Australia) - 2:27:54 - PB
11. Sakiho Tsutsui (Yamada Holdings) - 2:28:45 - PB
12. Mao Kiyota (Suzuki) - 2:29:20
13. Mizuki Tanimoto (Tenmaya) - 2:29:56
14. Chiharu Ikeda (Hitachi) - 2:30:23
15. Yuri Mitsune (Juhachi Ginko) - 2:31:26 - debut
16. Mayu Nishikawa (Starts) - 2:31:44
17. Sarah Pagano (U.S.A.) - 2:32:05 - PB
18. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 2:32:09
19. Xinyan Zhang (China) - 2:32:19
20. Kaena Takeyama (Senko) - 2:32:20
21. Mayu Hirata (Wacoal) - 2:32:48 - debut
22. Nana Sato (Starts) - 2:33:15
23. Ayano Ikemitsu (Kagoshima Ginko) - 2:33:29
24. Sarah Klein (Australia) - 2:33:51
25. Ryo Koido (Hitachi) - 2:33:52 - debut
DNF - Nancy Jelagat (Kenya)

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

Buy Me A Coffee


Kyle S. said…
I'm really glad to see Honami Maeda put together a solid race after struggling so much with injury and illness recently. I hope that she can make it to October healthy enough to compete well at the MGC race. Ayuko Suzuki also looked very impressive with how she handled the second half of the race!
Stefan said…
Ruth Chepngetich was in a class of her own. What an athlete! You could tell she was suffering in the last 10k or so but she still pushed through to post an excellent time. The conditions weren't the best for fast times but I very pleased with the PB times posted by Ayuko Suzuki and Honami Maeda. The October MGC Race is going to be very closely fought and I think a lot will depend on who can turn up to the start line having completed an injury free and productive training block leading into the event.

By the way, I'm a bit unsure as to Mao Uesugi's reasoning for completing the Osaka Marathon then this one so close together. I understand she did it to prepare for the back to back marathons at the World Champs (Budapest) in August and then the MGC race in October. I could be wrong but it sounds like a recipe for disaster or at best, 2 sub peak performances. History will be the judge but I think it is will result in disappoint at the MGC race. That is, should she be able to turn up injury free. 4 marathons in one year for an elite athlete. Even the great Kipchoge limits himself to 2 per year!

By the way, I watched the livestream coverage from the Nagoya Marathon website. I tuned in well before the race start and was surprised to see they were telecasting the MCs preparing beforehand with the make up artists and floor director on screen. They also had vision of the athletes leaving their hotel (Ruth Chepngetich and Honami Maeda) and it looks like all this was screened by mistake as you had the video being paused, rewound then edited! It was like a behind the scenes VIP pass and for me, as a fan, I was so pleased to see how it all comes together. They must have realized this as not long after they went to a screen with the words to the effect, the live broadcast will commence shortly! And when it did begin, you could see the edited pieces being shown properly! The coverage was excellent! Another superb event at Nagoya!

Most-Read This Week

Australian YouTuber Handed Lifetime Ban by Ageo City Half Marathon After Running 1:06 with Another Runner's Bib (updated)

After discussion with their race's chief JAAF referee, on Nov. 27 the organizers of the Ageo City Half Marathon handed down a lifetime ban from their event against 36-year-old Australian Matt Inglis Fox  for running the Nov. 15 race wearing the bib number of another JAAF-registered runner. The incident came to light after Fox posted on his personal Instagram account that he had run a PB of 1:06:33 and finished 203rd in Ageo with a 10 km split of 31:03, along with photos and video of himself in the race wearing a bib number beginning with 11. Fox did not appear in the results by name or in that time or place, the closest match being a 1:06:54 gross, 1:06:50 net finish time with a 31:21 10 km split for 18th place in the JAAF-registered division and 209th overall by bib number 1129, registered to a non-Japanese Tokyo-resident club runner. The club runner, Harrisson Uk , readily confirmed that he had given his bib to Fox, saying, "I gave my number to Matt. It wasn't me."

Kubo, Ochiai, Drury and Saku Chosei Lead Japan's Team For U20 World Championships

800 m national champions Rin Kubo and Ko Ochiai lead Japan's team for next month's Lima World U20 Championships , Kubo having just broken the NR with a 1:59.93 and Ochiai just off the NR at Nationals last month with a 1:45.82 in the heats. Sherry Drury is another one of Japan's big U20 hopes and will run the 1500 m, and 2023 National High School Ekiden champion Saku Chosei H.S. dominates the men's long distance squad with 3rd-years Yamato Hamaguchi in the 3000 m and 5000 m, Tetsu Sasaki in the 3000 m and 3000 mSC, and 2024 graduate Soma Nagahara in the 3000 m SC. World Athletics U20 Championships Japanese Team Lima, Peru, 27-31 Aug. 2024 complete team listing Women  (14) 800 m Rin Kubo (Higashi Osaka Keiai H.S.) - 1:59.93 1500 m Sherry Drury (Tsuyama H.S.) - 4:16.69 3000 m Miyu Yamada (Meijo Univ.) - 9:16.12 Miu Suzuki (Tsukuba Univ.) - 9:19.53 5000 m Kana Mizumoto (Edion) - 15:31.51 Yumi Yamamoto (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 15:47.74 100 m Hurdles Ami Takahashi (Tsuku

Fukube Breaks 100 mH NR at All-Star Night Games - Japan's Olympians Make Final Tune-Ups

Getting stuck in the shinkansen cancelation headaches yesterday means we're a day late getting to the weekend's track roundup, but better late than never. At the top of the list, women's 100 mH national record holder Mako Fukube (NKK) took 0.04 off her own record to win in 12.69 (+1.2) at the All-Star Night Games in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa in her last race before the Paris Olympics. Other Paris team members won their races too: 4x400 m squad member Takuho Yoshizu (GK Line) took the win in the men's 400 m in 45.89. Men's 400 m hurdler Daiki Ogawa (Toyo Univ.) set a meet record 49.09 for the win. Sumire Hata (Sumitomo Denko) set a women's long jump MR of 6.61 m (+0.8). Marina Saito (Suzuki) and Momone Ueda (Zenrin) both threw over the old MR held by world champion and Paris teammate Haruka Kitaguchi , Saito getting the win with a final attempt of 58.45 m, Ueda next at 57.93 m and 3rd-placer Yuki Yamamoto (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) also going over the old MR at 57