UPDATE 12 March 2011 Sunday’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, has been cancelled as a result of the earthquake tragedy currently unfolding in Japan.
The IAAF offers its sincerest sympathies, condolences, and best wishes to all those caught-up in the disaster.
11 March 2011 - The focus of Sunday’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, will be on the locals as the it marks the final qualifying race for the Japanese team for August’s World Championships in Daegu.
Sunday’s will mark the 32nd edition of the race, counting from the year it was a 20Km contest. After four editions, it was extended to the Marathon distance in 1984.
The invited field from abroad, which includes Lidia Simon, Albina Mayorova, Diana Lobacevske, Tiki Gelana and Rose Nyangacha, is relatively modest, thus the top spot is likely to be contested among the domestic invited runners. Japanese runners have won this Marathon every year since 2000 and this year is unlikely to be any different. Romania’s Simon, the 2001 World Marathon champion, has the fastest personal best of 2:22:54 in the field and clocked 2:27 last year at age 36, and thus still could record another sub-2:28 Marathon. However, 2:27 is unlikely to win on Sunday. Meanwhile Kenyan Nyangacha, who was fifth in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and Ethiopian Gelana, who recorded a 2:28 personal best last year, will both need to improve their personal bests by a few minutes to contend for the top spot.
The race for the Japanese Daegu squad will be contested between Hiromi Ominami, Yuri Kano, Mizuho Nasukawa, Yurika Nakamura, Madoka Ogi, Yoshiko Fujinaga, Yukari Sahaku, Azusa Nojiri, Yuko Machida, Akane Wakita and Noriko Matsuoka. The last three Nagoya Women’s Marathon champions – defending champion Kano, 2009 winner Fujinaga, and Nakamura the 2008 winner – are all entered and have all run in recent global championships. Kano was seventh at the 2009 World Championships, while Fujinaga was 14th in Berlin and Nakamura was 13th at the 2008 Olympics. On paper, they are main contenders to make the team.
At 2:23:26, Ominami has the second fastest personal best in the field. Although she’s 35, Ominami was third her last year with 2:28:35, and thus like Simon, Ominami might still have a sub-2:30 Marathon in her, and thus may be able to contend for the team spot.
If all aforementioned runners stumble for any reason, then Ogi, who has a 2:26:55 personal best, Sahaku, second in 2009 Tokyo Marathon, and Nojiri, eighth in 2010 Osaka Women’s Marathon in her debut, are likely to contend for the team position. All three runners have little experience in the Marathon. For Ogi, Nagoya will be her third marathon, while Sahaku will be running her fourth marathon and Nojiri her second marathon in Nagoya. Any of them may be on the verge of huge breakthrough.
Wakita, who clocked 31:39.32 at 10,000m in 2007 when she was 19, is considered to have great potential. However, her Marathon personal best after two tries is only 2:29:54 recorded in Nagoya last year. But along with 2009 Tokyo Marathon winner Nasukawa and Sahaku, Wakita is coached by legendary coach Yoshio Koide, who guided Naoko Takahashi to Olympic Gold. Thus it won’t be a surprise if any one of them makes a big breakthrough this coming Sunday as Takahashi did in Nagoya in 1998 after a disappointing performance a year earlier in Osaka.
The most intriguing marathon debutante is Noriko Matsuoka. Because she has a 5000m best of 15:29.38 from 2009 and a 10,000m best of 31:31.45 from 2010, along with a 1:11:13 Half Marathon to her credit from 2010, Matsuoka’s first marathon is eagerly awaited. The fastest marathon debut time by a Japanese is 2:21:51, while 2:23:10 will make her the second fastest debutante.
With only Yoshimi Ozaki, who won the Yokohama Women’s Marathon last month, automatically qualified for the World Championships team, four team spots are still up for grabs. The next in line for team berths are Remi Nakazato, who was second in Yokohama with 2:24:29, Yukiko Akaba, who won Osaka with 2:26:29, Mai Ito, who was second in Osaka with 2:26:55, and Kaoru Nagao who was fourth in Yokohama with 2:26:58. The first Japanese with a sub-2:26 clocking in Nagoya will be guaranteed a spot, but because four spots are still open, second Japanese in the race with sub-2:26 clocking is likely to make the team.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Ed. Note: A statistical reference (PDF, 1.0 MB), prepared by Nakamura, is attached in the ‘Related Items’ section at right. Nakamura is solely responsible for all content.
Invited Field –
Name, PB, Venue
Lidia Simon (ROU) 2:22:54 2000 Osaka
Albina Mayorova (RUS) 2:25:35 2003 Chicago
Diana Lobacevske (LTU) 2:28:03 2010 Capri
Tiki Gelana (ETH) 2:28:28 2010 Los Angeles
Rose Nyangacha (KEN) 2:29:22 2007 Hamburg
Hiromi Ominami 2:23:26 2004 Berlin
Yuri Kano 2:24:27 2008 Tokyo Women
Mizuho Nasukawa 2:25:38 2009 Tokyo
Yurika Nakamura 2:25:51 2008 Nagoya Women
Madoka Ogi 2:26:55 2008 Osaka Women
Yoshiko Fujinaga 2:28:13 2009 Nagoya Women
Yukari Sahaku 2:28:55 2009 Tokyo
Azusa Nojiri 2:29:12 2010 Osaka
Yuko Machida 2:29:35 2009 Nagoya
Akane Wakita 2:29:54 2010 Nagoya
Noriko Matsuoka Debut (1:11:13 2010 Nagoya Half marathon)
Volha Krautsova 2:34:52 2010 Osaka