Yuka Ando Becomes First Japanese Champion in Three Years at Nagoya Women's Marathon

Posted by: Watch Athletics

At the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2024 held today on Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Nagoya, Japan, Yuka Ando of Japan won her first marathon in 2:21:19, breaking her personal record for the first time in seven years.
Unfortunately, she was unable to reach the Japanese/Asian record of 2:18:59 just set by Honami Maeda in January to secure the final spot on the nation’s Paris Olympics team. Still, she commented tearfully after the race, “There are many people who have helped me to get this far, and I’m filled with gratitude. I can’t go to Paris, but I’m really happy that I won,” bringing great emotion to the marathon fans gathered in the streets of Nagoya and watched the race throughout Japan.

After a chilly start with a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius and a wind speed of 1 mph, three leading Japanese athletes, Ando, Ayuko Suzuki, and Rika Kaseda, formed the leading pack with 2022 World Champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia and 2023 Asian Champion Eunice Chebichii Chumba of Bahrain. Despite the difficult conditions with headwinds at many points, the group crossed the halfway point in 1:09:56. The Japanese started to fall behind with Suzuki around 25 km, and Ando and Kaseda around 16 km, but Ando and Kaseda continued to chase the lead pack side by side.

Around 36 km, Gebreslase stopped running and dropped out of the race, which left Chumba in first and Ando in second, and the two went neck-to-neck after 39 km. Ando, responding to the passionate cheers from the roadside, sped off at the last 700-800 m and burst into the final stretch in Vantelin Dome Nagoya to capture the dramatic upset victory. Chumba finished second in 2:21:25, and Suzuki finished third in 2:21:33 with a new personal best.

In the post-race interview, Ando, winning the first marathon in her career, said with a smile, “It was really hard when I fell behind the lead pack, but I was able to catch up by running, only focusing on going forward. Thanks to all the cheering along the course, I was able to do my best. I want to make today a new start and do my best again with a fresh mindset.”

Alongside the spectacular elite race, many women joined the world’s largest women’s marathon from home and abroad, making the total number of participants 15,421. All finishers received the symbol of the event, the exclusively designed pendant from a global premium jeweler, Tiffany & Co., as a memento of their accomplishment. The Marathon Expo, held in conjunction with the race, also attracted 101,416 visitors over the three days and took part in the festival of women’s running that Nagoya proudly stages to the rest of the world.

The Race Organizer comments: “Thanks to the runners, volunteers, and everyone involved, we were able to hold the race once again this year without any major accidents. We are truly grateful for all the runners for their participation and the volunteers and all the others for their support.”

For more information about the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, please visit: https://womens-marathon.nagoya/en/

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