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Yokohama, JapanMaking a decisive surge in the 39th kilometre, 2009 World Championships silver medallist Yoshimi Ozaki left Marisa Barros and Remi Nakazato in her wake to decisively win the second annual Yokohama International Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (20) in 2:23:56.
After Ozaki was left behind by Bai Xue’s decisive move in Berlin two years ago, she was determined to work on her surge in the final stage of the race. Ozaki covered the final 2.195Km in 7:15 which showed that she was able to execute her plan quite well. By recording a sub-2:26 clocking, Ozaki automatically qualified for the World Championships team automatically.
“I was only thinking about winning the race. I only started to think about time late in the race, but as it turned out, I was able to run a fast time,” Ozaki said.
“Although I had some bad patches, I felt comfortable most of the race. Originally, I was thinking of making my move with two kilometres to go, but when I heard my coach’s husband yelling ‘go now’ with 3K to go, I decided to go for it.”
Later Ozaki explained, “I was confident of keeping the fast pace for the last two kilometres, but was not sure of keeping up the pace for three kilometres. But as it turned out, everything went OK. I think I need to learn to surge longer.”
Her coach, Sachiko Yamashita, said, “The base is also important, because if she isn’t in the lead group, all the surging training does not mean anything.”
Second place went to Remi Nakazato, who recorded exactly a 10 minute improvement on her personal best to 2:24:29.
“I was comfortable in the early going because of good pace making,” Nakazato said. “I was determined to improve my personal best, but I did not expect to improve by 10 minutes. Although I was not the first Japanese, I am quite happy with the fast time. If I make the World Championships team, I would like to run aggressively,” said Nakazato, who should have very good chance of making the team, for she ran faster than the winner of Osaka Women’s Marathon, Yukiko Akaba.
Third place went to Marisa Barros, who improved her personal best by 40 seconds. “When Ozaki made her move, I had no trouble with my breathing, but my leg was gone,” the Portuguese said.
Kaoru Nagao recorded a fast Marathon debut, clocking 2:26:58 for fourth.
Ozaki’s time, 2:23:56, is the fastest time recorded in the February marathon, replacing 2:26:03 by Barros recorded in Sevilla marathon in February of 2009. It was also a course record.
Keisuke Sawaki of the JAAF was very happy with the performances by Japanese. He also praised excellent pace making by Mori, Piertea and Mayorava.
How the race unfolded:
The first Km was covered in 3:19, at which point the lead pack was reduced to ten runners plus three pace makers. Then the pace has settled to 3:28 for the second kilometre and 3:29 for the third. Among the leaders, Yuka Izumi was the first to lose contact. After the leaders hit five kilometres in 16:59, Mayumi Fujita was next to fall off the lead pack, followed by Kaori Yoshida.
After 8.5Km, co-favorite Derartu Tulu also fell behind, and would eventually finish 11th in 2:35:58. The pace makers were doing a good job, for the second 5Km was covered in 16:55 (10Km in 33:54), and the third 5Km in 16:57 (15Km in 50:51).
Soon Karolina Jarzynska, who finished second in the Marugame Half Marathon two weeks, ago started to fall behind. Next, in a surprising development, Azalech Masrasha of Ethiopia started to drop off rapidly just before 20Km (67:50). The lead pack of six (including two pace makers) reached the midway point in 1:11:37. Among them was debutante Nagao. The first pace maker (Mori) dropped out at 20Km, while the second (Pirtea) left the course at 25Km (1:24:58).
For the first time, the 5Km lap time has slowed to over 17 minutes. However, the pace for the next 5Km stayed about the same. At 30Km (1:42:05) the final pace maker, Mayorova, dropped out which left Barros in the lead followed by Ozaki, Nakazato and Nagao. After 32.5Km Ozaki and Barros took turns in the lead. Then at 34.4Km, Nakazato moved to the front but she did not increase the pace. The pace gradually slowed, as 30 to 35Km took 17:11.
Nagao started to drift behind at 35Km, leaving Ozaki, Nakazato and Barros in the front. Both Nakazato and Barros were running at their personal record pace. At 39.3Km, Ozaki made a decisive surge which Nakazato and Barros could respond to. Ozaki covered 39 to 40Km in 3:18 and at 40Km (2:16:41) lead by 10 second over Nakazato who in turn was seven seconds ahead of Barros.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
Weather at the start: Cloudy; Temperature: 8C, humidity: 52%, wind 0.1m/s North