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Five Japanese runners qualify for MGC through Nagoya Women's Marathon

Kyodo

Namibian runner Helalia Johannes on Sunday won the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, a race through which five Japanese punched their tickets for this fall’s Marathon Grand Championship, which will serve as a qualifying race for the 2020 Olympics.

Johannes broke away from a three-woman lead pack to win in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 25 seconds in the race, which started and finished at Nagoya Dome, while Reia Iwade finished fifth for Japan’s best result.

Iwade, who set a personal best of 2:23:52, had already qualified for the Sept. 15 race in Tokyo, but Kayoko Fukushi (2:24:09), who finished eighth, and Miyuki Uehara (2:24:19), who was ninth, clocked sub-2:25:00 times to meet the qualifying standard for the MGC.

Sairi Maeda (2:25:25), Mizuki Tanimoto (2:25:28) and Ayano Ikemitsu (2:26:07), who placed 10th, 11th and 12th, also earned MGC berths, bringing the entry tally for Japanese women to 14.

“I still had strength in my legs in the end. I think I did well,” said Iwade, who improved her personal best set at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon three years ago by 46 seconds.

Iwade was eight seconds behind Fukushi in eighth at the 40-km point but moved up three places over the final two kilometers. She was the only competitor who entered the race having already qualified for the MGC.

Visiline Jepkesho (2:22:58) and Valary Jemeli (2:23:01), the two Kenyan runners who moved to the front around the 35-km mark, finished second and third.

The Nagoya Women’s Marathon was the last domestic chance for Japanese women to qualify for the MGC.