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'Russian Marathon Runner Mayorova Banned for Doping’

Albina Mayorova won the 2005 and 2006 Nagano Marathon, the 2012 Nagoya Women's Marathon, and the 2013 Yokohama International Women's Marathon. The runners-up in Nagoya and Yokohama were Yoshimi Ozaki and Azusa Nojiri, both of whom had been coached by 1991 Tokyo World Championships silver medalist Sachiko Yamashita. Ozaki, the 2009 Berlin World Championships silver medalist, made the London Olympic team in Nagoya. A victory there might have put her in more of a winner's mindset going into the Olympic Games, where she ran badly. After not making the London Olympics Nojiri left the Daiichi Seimei corporate team to go the private sponsor route. A win in Yokohama would have had an enormous impact on her sponsorship opportunities and could have led to her running for Japan at the 2014 Asian Games.

At the time of Mayorova's Nagoya win over five years ago, JRN wrote:
Russian veteran Albina Mayorova ran a massive negative split of over two minutes to effortlessly blow by Japan's best in the final part of the race and take the win in 2:23:52, nearly two minutes better than her 8 1/2 year-old PB. Tumbling in the turbulence behind her [was] 2009 World Championships silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei).

While the lead pack of Japanese Olympic hopefuls set off at 2:23-flat pace, splitting exactly 1:11:30 at halfway, Mayorova and Ukrainian Olena Shurkhno ran a more conservative 1:13:00 first half. Both Mayorova and Shurkhno then turned it on, picking up the pace and catching stragglers from the lead pack one by one. The 34-year-old Mayorova, consistently at the 2:28-2:31 level since 2005 with a 2:25:35 best from the 2003 Chicago Marathon, split a stunning 1:10:52 for the second half, while Shurkhno managed a more modest 1:12:49 second half to take nearly three minutes off her best from last year's downhill Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon.

Both clocked 7:20 for the final 2.195 km, the fastest in the field, to join other Eastern European women from the same athlete management firm, including the runner-up at January's Osaka International Women's Marathon Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko (Ukraine), 2011 Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) and 2011 Tokyo Marathon first and third placers Tatiana Aryasova (Russia) and Tatiana Petrova (Russia), in a remarkably consistent pattern of success over the last year: a negative split with the fastest last 2.195 km in the race, the kind of closing splits more commonly run by men. Combined with this race strategy, this group's seemingly innovative training methods make for a nearly unbeatable combination. Amazing.
In the five years since then Gamera-Shmyrko, Shobukhova and Arvasova have all been suspended for biological passport irregularities and doping violations. Shobukhova went on to coach newly-elevated Rio Olympics marathon 4th-placer Volha Mazuronak (Belarus), who like the other Eastern European athletes above was represented by disgraced Russian agent Andrey Baranov and ran with the group's familiar race strategy.


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