Previews08 Mar 2024

Gebreslase heads field for Nagoya Women's Marathon


Hellen Obiri, Viola Cheptoo and Gotytom Gebreslase race in the New York City Marathon (© Getty Images)

Gotytom Gebreslase will have the course record in her sights when she races at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, on Sunday (10).

The 2022 world champion set her PB of 2:18:11 when winning that title in Oregon and she went on to secure silver at last year’s World Championships in Budapest.

This will be the Ethiopian 29-year-old’s first marathon since then and she goes into it targeting at least a lifetime best, if not the course record of 2:17:18 set by Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich in 2022 – that time being the second-fastest ever women-only marathon behind the 2:17:01 run by Mary Keitany in London in 2017.

“My goal for Sunday is to run under 2 hours and 18 minutes, and if the weather and pacemakers are good, I will try to break the course record of 2:17:18,” she said at the pre-event press conference. 

Gebreslase has two 2:18 marathons on her CV, having also run 2:18:18 to finish third in the Tokyo Marathon in 2022.

On her return to Japan, she will line up alongside Bahrain’s Eunice Chebichii Chumba, who finished seventh in the Olympic Games marathon in Sapporo and won the Asian Games marathon in Hangzhou in October. Her national record of 2:20:02 was set in Seoul in 2022.

Romania’s Delvine Relin Meringor ran a PB of 2:20:49 when finishing third in Barcelona a year ago and she went on to place 12th in the Berlin Marathon in 2:23:25.

For the Japanese athletes in the field, the race is a final chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris, but it will take quite some run. The performance to beat is the 2:18:59 Asian record set by Honami Maeda in Osaka at the end of January. 

Yuka Ando, Ayuko Suzuki and Rika Kaseda are all 2:21 marathon runners. Ando, who finished third in Nagoya in 2022, clocked her PB of 2:21:36 when finishing second in this event in 2017. The top three marathon times of her career were all run in this city.

Suzuki clocked her lifetime best of 2:21:52 when finishing second behind Chepngetich in Nagoya last year, while Kaseda’s best is the 2:21:55 she ran to place seventh in Berlin in 2022. She finished fourth in October’s Marathon Grand Championship.

Their compatriot Momoko Watanabe finished third in Osaka last year, running a PB of 2:23:08.

Among those joining them in Nagoya will be Kenya’s 2021 New York runner up Violah Cheptoo, Italian champion Giovanna Epis and Australia’s Eloise Wellings, sixth in Nagoya in 2022 in a PB of 2:25:10.

Leading entries

Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH) 2:18:11
Eunice Chebichii Chumba (BRN) 2:20:02
Delvine Relin Meringor (ROU) 2:20:49
Yuka Ando (JPN) 2:21:36
Ayuko Suzuki (JPN) 2:21:52
Rika Kaseda (JPN) 2:21:55
Violah Cheptoo (KEN) 2:22:44
Momoko Watanabe (JPN) 2:23:08
Giovanna Epis (ITA) 2:23:46
Eloise Wellings (AUS) 2:25:10
Hikari Ohnishi (JPN) 2:25:54
Camille French (NZL) 2:26:08
Li Zhixuan (CHN) 2:26:15
Yuri Karasawa (JPN) 2:27:27
Honoka Tanaike (JPN) 2:27:30
Xia Yuyu (CHN) 2:28:57
Kaena Takeyama (JPN) 2:29:20
Beverly Ramos (PUR) 2:31:10
Yuri Mitsune (JPN) 2:31:26

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