Skip to main content

Yukiko Akaba 3rd at London Marathon

by Brett Larner
photo by Martin Lever

Coming in fit off a 1:08:59 win at March's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, 2011 Daegu World Championships marathon 5th-placer Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran a smart, steady and strong race at the Apr. 21 London Marathon, staying near 2:24 pace as the lead group of Kenyan and Ethiopia women fluctuated, sometimes far ahead, sometimes all around her, and on at least two occasions falling behind her.


Initially working with Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) to reach the Federation's sub-2:24 time goal for the Moscow World Championships team, Akaba slipped off track late in the race after Ito dropped behind but continued to press ahead, reeling in five of the seven Africans up front to take 3rd in 2:24:43, her third time running 2:24 in London.

Ito, still hot from a 1:10:00 half marathon PB two weeks ago in Berlin, couldn't keep up with Akaba's bid for a 2:23 and landed 7th in 2:28:37.  The other three Japanese women in the race, Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu), Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) and former national record holder Yuko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), started off more conservatively in the second pack and never factored into the action.

Unfortunately, will a sub-2:24 standard in place it means that for all three and, Ito, and likely for Akaba, their hopes for making the Moscow team have come to an end. The roster of those waiting for Wednesday's announcement:
  • Ryoko Kizaki (Team Daihatsu) - 2:23:34 - PB - 1st, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Mizuki Noguchi (Team Sysmex) - 2:24:05 - 3rd, 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon
  • Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) - 2:24:21 - PB - 2nd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 2:25:56 - PB - 3rd, 2013 Osaka Int'l Women's Marathon
  • Mizuho Nasukawa (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:26:42 - 2nd, 2012 Yokohama Int'l Women's Marathon
With a team announcement scheduled for Wednesday the main question appears to be between the young Watanabe, who ran an aggressive race to finish 3rd as the 2nd Japanese woman at the Osaka Interational Women's Marathon selection race, and Nasukawa, who ran passively for 2nd and top Japanese at the Yokohama International Women's Marathon selection race in 2:26:42.  Reports are coming out that the Federation may choose not to put five women on the team, meaning that both Watanabe and Nasukawa could find themselves out of luck.  It should be an interesting press conference come Wednesday.

London Marathon Women's Race
London, U.K., 4/21/13
click here for complete results

1. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) - 2:20:15
2. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:21:32
3. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 2:24:43
4. Atsede Baysa (Ethiopia) - 2:25:14
5. Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia) - 2:25:46
6. Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) - 2:27:05
7. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 2:28:37
8. Alevtina Biktimirova (Russia) - 2:30:02
9. Susan Partridge (GBR) - 2:30:46
10. Irvette Van Zyl (South Africa) - 2:31:26
-----
12. Remi Nakazato (Team Daihatsu) - 2:33:24
14. Chika Horie (Team Univ. Ent.) - 2:35:30
17. Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) - 2:37:35

(c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

photo (c) 2013 OMRC
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…