Skip to main content

Osaka International Women's Marathon Leads Weekend Action (updated)


Championship ekiden season wrapped last weekend, but there's still a lot going on this weekend. First up, Keita Sato (Komazawa Univ.), who holds five U20 national records from 1500 m through 10000 m and ran a 59:22 half marathon equivalent at the Hakone Ekiden just over 3 weeks ago, tunes up for February's Millrose Games 2-mile with an indoor 5000 m at the Boston University Terrier Classic Friday night in his first race since turning 20. Sato has only run one indoor race before, a 3000 m silver medal at last year's Asian Indoor Championships, but the indoor NR of 13:27.81 is sure to be a target. The quick transition from Hakone isn't easy, but based on his 27:28.50 10000 m in November, the Asian indoor AR of 13:08.41 could be in range too.

Three big road races dominate the horizon on Sunday. First up is the Katsuta Marathon in Ibaraki. Now in its 71st year, Katsuta has a mass participation field of 10000 with another 5000 m in its 10 km. Although it's got a hilly course it has had pretty good winning times in the past, with course records of 2:11:17 and 2:28:17 in the marathon and 29:07 and 31:55 in the 10 km. Former 10000 m and marathon NR holder Yoko Shibui set the women's 10 km record and 2006 Doha Asian Games silver medalist Kiyoko Shimahara the women's marathon record, so top-class athletes do turn up there sometimes. Streaming, below, starts at 10:10 local time Sunday with the marathon starting at 10:30.


Starting at noon is the Osaka Half Marathon, an addition to the Osaka International Women's Marathon that has grown into one of the season's major races, a preferred tune-up for people running the Osaka Marathon a month later. Yuka Ando (Wacoal) and Ethiopian Desta Burka (Denso) lead the women's field with recent bests of 1:08:13 and 1:09:31, with Hiroto Hayashida (Mitsubishi Juko) the favorite in the men's race at 1:00:38. But with another 7 men having recent times under 1:01:30 and another 12 under 1:02:00 it'll be a thick pack up front. Streaming up top starts at 11:50. Entry list highlights are here.

The main event at 12:15 is the Osaka International Women's Marathon. Along with Nagoya in March, Osaka Women's is one of two chances for Japanese women to take the 3rd spot on the Paris Olympic marathon team away from Trials 3rd-placer Ai Hosoda, which would take a 2:21:41. Top-ranked Japanese entrant Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) has run that kind of time before, winning Osaka Women's two years ago in 2:20:52, and both Sayaka Sato (Sekisui Kagaku) and Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) have run within a minute of it, so it's realistic to think it could happen. The weather is looking pretty close to perfect at this point, with temps of 9˚~10˚C, clouds, and very light winds. But if anyone does pull it off, they'll still be vulnerable to the people running Nagoya.

Workenesh Edesa (Ethiopia) is the favorite with a 2:18:51 in Berlin two years ago, and with a 2:20:23 in Hamburg last spring Stella Chesang (Uganda) is pretty well-positioned to pull whoever ends up on top of the Japanese race to a good time. Other international women will also be going for Olympic spots, either by a top 5 finish in the platinum label Osaka Women's, by hitting the 2:26:50 standard, or by trying to break into the last few spots in the 80-deep Olympic quota. With five German women having run under the standard Katharina Steinruck will have to run under 2:24:32 to move into the 3rd-ranked spot. That would take a PB of 1:28.

South Korea's Daeun Jeong would need an even bigger improvement on her 2:28:32 PB to hit the standard, but even just a 2:27:17 would be enough to get her into the 80-deep Olympic quota. With Osaka Women's being a platinum label race there are a lot of placing points to be had that would push her higher up the rankings, making Jeong the most likely bet for a new addition to the potential Olympic field even if it won't be easy for her to stay there through the spring season without the standard.

Entry list highlights are here. Fuji TV's broadcast of Osaka Women's starts at 12:00, and if you've got a VPN you can watch it on TVer here. JRN will cover it on @JRNLive.

Update: On Jan. 26 the Osaka International Women's Marathon announced the withdrawal of eight athletes, most notably Ethiopian Sisay Meseret Gola and the debuting Hina Yanagitani (Wacoal).

© 2024 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Stefan said…
Physically, I think the 3 top Japanese women marathoners Mizuki Matsuda, Sayaka Sato and Honami Maeda are capable to achieve the time standard to oust Ai Hosoda from the Olympic 3rd place position. And it appears the weather conditions couldn't be much better. However, just from a layman's perspective of observing their recent performances I have doubts on whether it will be done. Mentally, I just don't detect the same intensity and drive. I hope I am proven wrong and it is an exciting race that raises the stakes to a climax at March's Nagoya marathon, the way it did 4 years ago. I am really looking forward to watching this one.

Most-Read This Week

Morii Surprises With Second-Ever Japanese Sub-2:10 at Boston

With three sub-2:09 Japanese men in the race and good weather conditions by Boston standards the chances were decent that somebody was going to follow 1981 winner Toshihiko Seko 's 2:09:26 and score a sub-2:10 at the Boston Marathon . But nobody thought it was going to be by a 2:14 amateur. Paris Olympic team member Suguru Osako had taken 3rd in Boston in 2:10:28 in his debut seven years ago, and both he and 2:08 runners Kento Otsu and Ryoma Takeuchi were aiming for spots in the top 10, Otsu after having run a 1:01:43 half marathon PB in February and Takeuchi of a 2:08:40 marathon PB at Hofu last December. A high-level amateur with a 2:14:15 PB who scored a trip to Boston after winning a local race in Japan, Yuma Morii told JRN minutes before the start of the race, "I'm not thinking about time at all. I'm going to make top 10, whatever time it takes." Running Boston for the first time Morii took off with a 4:32 on the downhill opening mile, but after that  Sis

The Ivy League at the Izumo Ekiden in Review

Last week I was contacted by Will Geiken , who I'd met years ago when he was a part of the Ivy League Select Team at the Izumo Ekiden . He was looking for historical results from Izumo and lists of past team members, and I was able to put together a pretty much complete history, only missing the alternates from 1998 to 2010 and a little shaky on the reverse transliterations of some of the names from katakana back into the Western alphabet for the same years. Feel free to send corrections or additions to alternate lists. It's interesting to go back and see some names that went on to be familiar, to see the people who made an impact like Princeton's Paul Morrison , Cornell's Max King , Stanford's Brendan Gregg in one of the years the team opened up beyond the Ivy League, Cornell's Ben de Haan , Princeton's Matt McDonald , and Harvard's Hugo Milner last year, and some of the people who struggled with the format. 1998 Team: 15th of 21 overall, 2:14:10 (43

Police Arrest 20-Year-Old Man Charged With Assaulting Female Runner at Popular Tokyo Running Spot

A 20-year-old man has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a female runner along the banks of the Tama River in Ota Ward, Tokyo. "I've been stuck at home because of the coronavirus, so I wanted to go for a walk and move my body a bit," the man told police. Local resident Hirai Muroyama , 20, of no known occupation, was arrested on charges of sexual assault. He is accused of acts including grabbing the breasts of a woman in her 20s at around 10 p.m. on May 31 along the banks of the Tama River. According to police, the woman was taking a break in her run when Muroyama approached her silently from behind and grabbed her breasts before running away. Under police interrogation Muroyama told investigators, "I've been stuck at home because of the coronavirus, so I wanted to go out for a walk and move my body. I'd had a few drinks and was feeling pretty hype. She was totally my type." source article: https://news.tbs.co.jp/newseye/tbs_newsey