Italy’s Bruna Genovese produced a late surge to come from behind and win the Tokyo Women’s International Marathon on Sunday.

News photoBruna Genovese of Italy crosses the finish line to win the Tokyo International Women’s Marathon.

Genovese, who finished third in this race three years ago, upped the pace late in the race and crossed the finish line at National Stadium in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 34 seconds.

“In the first 10 km, I couldn’t join the top group and had to run with the second and third groups, but I was able to leave the second group behind at around 31 km,” said a jubilant Genovese.

“At shortly before the 31-km mark, I saw three runners ahead of me and another beyond them. That was when I tried to move into top gear,” added the Italian who was third in 2001 and fourth here last year.

Japan’s Kiyoko Shimahara was second with defending champion Elfenesh Alemu of Ethopia third.

Shimahara clocked a personal-best 2:26:43 but was unable to meet the qualification time of 2:26:00 for a place on the Japan team at next year’s Athletics World Championships in Helsinki.

“I just tried to run my best and finish the race. I can not believe it,” said Shimahara.

In last year’s race, Alemu upstaged Sydney Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi, but she had to settle for third this time around in 2:26:58.

Japan’s Masako Chiba failed to live up to her pre-race expectations and finished fourth in a time of 2:27:02.

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