July 18, 2012 (For immediate use) Reigning Olympic Marathon champion Constantina Dita completed her final hard training session this morning in her US hometown of Erie, Colorado… a set of repeat 2,000m intervals… and will fly out on this evening’s British Airways Denver/London flight to compete in her third Olympic Games. In Beijing four years …
Press Release: Olympic Marathon Champ Constantina Dita Wraps up Main Training, Flies to London Tonight
In this morning’s Bupa London 10,000 road race, 2009 world championships marathon silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Daiichi Life Insurance/adidas) took 3rd place in 33:18, while Freya Murray (adidas) took 5th in 33:25. Yoshimi will represent Japan in the women’s Olympic marathon on August 5th, and is over in London as part of a delegation of Japanese athletes and coaches checking out the Olympic Marathon course, which covers much of the same ground as this morning’s race. Freya, who had a sterling marathon debut of 2:28:10 at the Virgin London Marathon last month, was invited by race director Dave Bedford last week to come down to London this weekend for the race and take a look at the Olympic course. After her marathon recovery, Freya has been focusing on building speed for the British track championships. She will run the European Cup 10,000m in Bilbao, Spain, next Sunday, June 3rd.
Short preview article (click here) in the Asahi Shimbun on the March 11th Nagoya Women’s Marathon…last train to London OG for Japanese women. On the Japanese side, we have 2009 WC silver medalist Yoshimi Ozaki (Daiichi Life Insurance/adidas) and reigning (i.e. 2010 champ, as last year’s Nagoya was cancelled in the aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami) Nagoya champion Yuri Kano (Shiseido/adidas). Lidia Simon (ASICS), whose last marathon was a victory in the inaugural Osaka Marathon last autumn, will be looking to lock down qualification for her 5th (!!!) Olympic Marathon. So far as we have found out, Lidia could become the first woman in Olympic history to qualify for and compete in five Olympic Marathons. Rene Kalmer (adidas), who has been on fire this winter in South Africa since qualifying for the Olympic Games with her 2:29:59 for 5th in November’s hot and humid Yokohama women’s marathon), will be a pacemaker for Nagoya, which is expected to go out at 71:00 for the first half.
The Yokohama International Women’s Marathon is a done deal. The weather gods weren’t particularly friendly, with temps at 23C (71F) and humidity near 50%. But the starting gun was going to go off at 12:10 pm, regardless.
With a Japanese Olympic berth at stake, Yoshimi Ozaki (Daiichi Life Insurance/adidas) gave it her all, but came up just short in the final kilometer. Today’s heat made the race a classic race of attrition, and by 35K the lead pack was down to three: Yoshimi, the UK’s Mara Yamauchi (who ran a brilliant race of patience, only pulling even with the leaders at about 23K), and Daiuhatsu’s Ryoko Kizaki. Right at 39K, Kizaki threw in a big move that dropped Mara, but Yoshimi stayed right on her. With about 1500m remaining, Yoshimi threw in her own surge, seeking to repeat her winning move in the last edition of this race. After opening about 10 meters, the gap grew no more. Kizaki stayed tough, drew even with a K to go, and then surged away to win by 2:26:32 to Yoshimi’s 2:26:49.
Yoshimi will almost certainly have to come back for next March’s Nagoya International Women’s Marathon to fight again for an Olympic team spot.
Meanwhile, Rene Kalmer (Nedbank/adidas) was having a phenomenal break-through day. After checking the weather, Rene decided before her warm-ups that it would be a day for racing for place rather than trying to put up an impressive mark. In the end, she got both. Backing away from an earlier plan to target 74:00 for the first half, she instead came through in a very solid and contained 74:58 at 10th place. As planned and hoped, Rene then began taking down other runners throughout the second half, with some impressive running. Her 17:27 split from 20K-25K was the fastest of any of the eventual top ten runners, and her 17:22 for the next 5K was better than all but the lead pack. By 30K she had moved up to 7th, and five minutes later Russian Alevtina Ivanova and Ethiopian Robe Guta were suddenly within range and Rene was up to 5th. The 1:35 gap to 4th looked fairly insurmountable at that point, but Rene continued coming on like a freight engine and was just 16 seconds out of 4th by the finish .
Nevertheless…2:29:59, a nearly five minute improvement over her PB this Spring of 2:34:47. Incredible stuff in today’s conditions. We have to check the stats, but we’re fairly certain this makes Rene only the 4th woman in South African history to break 2:30, and the first to do it in quite a few years. More important, her spot on the South African marathon team for next summer’s London Olympic Games is pretty much locked in. Post race comment: “Now I’m a marathoner. Let’s get some ice cream.”
Louise Damen (adidas) had a very rough day, with a DNF. “We rarely have temperatures like this back home, and I wasn’t at all ready for this kind of weather. There isn’t much that could be done about it and by 10K I was already feeling out of it.”
Next up: off to the awards ceremony and post-race party at Yokohama’s Pan-Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel.
Three of our top women are set to compete as invited athletes in next month’s Yokohama Women’s Marathon, with the full invited field announced this week by race organizers. This year’s race will be the first of three Olympic selection races for Japanese women, the other two being Osaka in January and Nagoya in March.
Leading the Japanese and international field on November 20th will be reigning Yokohama champion Yoshimi Ozaki (Daiichi Life Insurance/adidas). The 2009 Berlin World Championships silver medalist, Yoshimi won the last edition of Yokohama in a course record 2:23:56 and will be competing with the other Japanese women for a berth on next year’s Japanese Olympic team. Great Britain’s Louise Damen (adidas/Winchester and District AC) is also in the hunt for an Olympic spot in the UK after her very fine marathon debut of 2:30:00 at London this Spring. And out of South Africa, Rene Kalmer (Nedbank/adidas) looks primed for a big breakthrough after running the second-fastest half-marathon of her career (71:46) at the Great North Run in September. Yokohama’s November weather should be much more conducive to fast times than were the temps in Prague and the Daegu WC this year for Rene’s first two runs at the distance.
As a note, Yokohama invitee Chika Horie and her Sakura AC teammates just this morning wrapped up a long altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado, and flew back to Japan with coach Yoshio Koide.
Invited Field (as reported this week by Race Results Weekly)
Invited Japanese Women –
Yoshimi Ozaki 2:23:30 PB 2008 Tokyo
Chika Horie 2:26:11 2002 Hokkaido
Kaoru Nagao 2:26:58 2011 Yokohama (Feb)
Mika Okunaga 2:27:16 2009 Osaka
Ryoko Kizaki 2:27:34 2010 Osaka
Mayumi Fujita 2:29:36 2010 Nagoya
Kaori Yoshida 2:29:45 2010 Chicago
Invited International Women –
Mara Yamauchi (GBR) 2:23:12 PB 2009 London
Salina Kosgei (KEN) 2:23:22 2006 Berlin
Robe Guta (ETH) 2:24:35 2006 Hamburg
Alevtina Ivanova (RUS) 2:26:38 2008 Nagano
Kateryna Stetsenko (UKR) 2:27:51 2010 Dublin
Louise Damen (GBR) 2:30:00 2011 London
Rene Kalmer (RSA) 2:34:47 2011 Praha