Naoko Takahashi wins 2002 real-Berlin Marathon (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
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Takahashi will run the Tokyo Marathon

Only a few weeks after successfully defending her Berlin Marathon title in a time of  2:21:49, Japan’s Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi will run in her first Tokyo International Women's Marathon on 17 November.

Takahashi, who is unbeaten since 1998, and in Berlin extended her winning streak to six races, will be using the Tokyo race to secure qualification for the Japanese team for next summer’s World Championships in Paris.

The 30-year-old, whose training was curtailed from five to three months this year due to injuries, will be pushed by compatriot Rie Matsuoka, runner-up (2:24:33) to Belgium’s Marleen Renders national record win (2:23:05) in the Paris Marathon in April.

Also scheduled to run in Tokyo are Ethiopia’s Elfenesh Alemu, who was third (2:26:01) in Boston this year and sixth behind Takahashi at the 2000 Olympics, and Russian Irina Timofeyeva, runner-up (2:25:29) in Tokyo last year.

Takahashi was the first woman to break the 2:20 barrier when she ran 2:19.46 in the 2001 Berlin race, though just a week later in Chicago Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba reduced the World best down to 2:18:47. This autumn, also in Chicago, Britain's Paula Radcliffe further improved the World best time to 2:17.18.

IAAF & Reuters