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Nagoya Women's Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

The last chance for Japanese women to make the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team, the Mar. 13 Nagoya Women's Marathon has announced the elites who will front the largest women-only marathon field in the world, more than 17,000-strong in its 2015 edition.  Last year's winner Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) is back with a World Championships bronze medal under her belt, facing formerly Japan-based Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia), Valeria Straneo (Italy) and most of Japan's best.

The controversial selection process for the Japanese Olympic team, in which outside of finishing in the top eight at the previous year's World Championships there is no way to guarantee yourself a place on the team no matter how you run in any of the three domestic selection races, has resulted in the top Japanese women at both of the other selection races, Kaori Yoshida (Runners Pulse), 2nd in November's Saitama International Women's Marathon in 2:28:43, and Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal), winner of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:22:17, entering Nagoya in the general division.  The JAAF has voiced its unhappiness about Fukushi running again, but with a history of people like Akemi Matsuno, Naoko Takahashi and most recently Tomomi Tanaka (Team Daiichi Seimei) having been screwed out of places on National Teams by the JAAF's opaque decision-making process it's not hard to understand why Fukushi doesn't trust them.

There aren't many people in the Nagoya field who could conceivably beat Fukushi's 2:22:17.  Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) is the strongest possibility with a 2:23:24 in Nagoya three years ago, but with her only race of 2015 having been a lowly 13th-place finish on her stage at December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden she has a lot of ground to make up.  Last year's best half marathoners Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) and Michi Numata (Team Toyota Jidoshokki) also look promising, Ohara returning to the marathon after a bad fall in her debut at last year's Nagoya and Numata making her own debut this year.  National record holder Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) is giving it one last shot, with 2014 Asian Games team member Eri Hayakawa (Team Toto), 2014 Yokohama winner Tanaka, 2015 Rotterdam Marathon winner Asami Kato (Team Panasonic), Japan's fastest-ever under-20 marathoner Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) and the debuting Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) round out the domestic field.

Nagoya Women's Marathon - Elite Field
Nagoya, 3/13/16
click here for detailed field listing
times listed are 2013-2016 bests except where noted

Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) - 2:22:08 (Nagoya 2015)
Kayoko Fukushi (Japan/Wacoal) - 2:22:17 (Osaka Women's 2016)
Ryoko Kizaki (Japan/Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 (Nagoya 2013)
Mizuki Noguchi (Japan/Sysmex) - 2:24:05 (Nagoya 2013)
Betelhem Moges (Ethiopia) - 2:24:29 (Dubai 2015)
Valeria Straneo (Italy) - 2:25:27 (Zurich Euro Champs 2014)
Eri Hayakawa (Japan/Toto) - 2:25:31 (Nagoya 2014)
Tomomi Tanaka (Japan/Daiichi Seimei) - 2:26:05 (Nagoya 2014)
Asami Kato (Japan/Panasonic) - 2:26:30 (Rotterdam 2015)
Reia Iwade (Japan/Noritz) - 2:27:21 (Yokohama Women's 2014)
Monica Jepkoech (Kenya) - 2:27:26 (Toronto Waterfront 2015)
Iwona Lewandowska (Poland) - 2:27:47 (London 2015)
Kaori Yoshida (Japan/Runners Pulse) - 2:28:43 (Saitama 2015)
Rei Ohara (Japan/Tenmaya) - 3:05:21 (Nagoya 2015)

Michi Numata (Japan/Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:09:27 (Nat'l Corp. Half 2015)
Mao Kiyota (Japan/Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:10:31 (Valencia 2015)

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved


CdaveRun said…
I'd be really interested in the training routines of some of the top Japanese contenders. What are these guys doing compared to say the Kenyans in Iten? Given that some of them are corporate, is that training any different than the collegiate runners? What is Imai doing to give him such well-rounded speed and endurance? What is Fujiwara doing now that is different from a few years ago? Did he burn himself out?

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