A quintet of sub-2:23 runners will be gunning for the course record at the Nagoya Women's Marathon on Sunday
Traditionally, the Nagoya race is the largest women's-only marathon in the world, with 24,000 runners entered to run this year. But due to concerns over the outbreak of Coronavirus cases in Japan, organizers restricted entry to this year's race to elite athletes only.
Among those are five sub-2:23 runners who set their career bests in 2019 who will be eying the 2:21:17 course record set by Eunice Kirwa in 2017.
Purity Rionoripo is the fastest in the field at 2:20:39 from the 2019 Valencia Marathon, but also has a 2:20:55 to her credit from the Paris Marathon in 2017.
Helen Tola was second in the 2019 Tokyo Marathon with 2:21:01 and also ran 2:21:36 in Berlin later in the year. Tola also has two additional 2:22 performances under her belt, both from Berlin.
Helalia Johanness is the defending champion, clocking a personal best of 2:22:25 last year. Shen has a strong championships records having won the 2018 Commonwealth Games title and taking bronze at last year's World Championships.
If the favorite falters, then Nancy Kiprop, Stella Barsosio, Betsy Saina, Birke Debele and Hirut Tiberu could emerge.
Kiprop ran 2:22:46 in Frankfurt in 2018 and then ran a personal best of 2:22:12 in Vienna the following year. Barsosio clocked 2:23:43 in Paris two years ago and 2:23:36 in Rotterdam last year. Saina won the 2018 Paris Marathon with 2:22:56 and ran 2:22:43 in Toronto last May. Debele ran 2:23:19 in that Toronto race while Tiberu has a best of 2:23:35. Tiberu has run 2:25 or faster in all her completed marathons since 2017.
The race also provides the final chance for Japanese women to make the Olympic Marathon team. They'll have to faster than 2:21:47, the winning time at the Osaka Women’s Marathon, which may prove to be a tall order.
Yuka Ando is the fastest among Japanese with a 2:21:36 personal best set in this race in 2017. The best she's run since is 2:26:47.
Kayoko Fukushi is vying to make a fifth Olympic team. The 37-year-old, who has a 2:22:17 personal best which dates to 2016, started but dropped out of January's Osaka Marathon to focus on Nagoya.
Others to watch include Mao Kiyota, who comes armed with a 2:23:47 best; Reia Iwade, who's clocked 2:23:52; and Mao Ichiyama, with a best of 2:24:33.
posted Friday March 6th
by World Athletics