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Mao Ichiyama won the Osaka Women’s Marathon in a course record time of 2:21:11 on Sunday. She finished ahead of fellow Tokyo Olympian Honami Maeda. The national record is 2:19:12 by Mizuki Noguchi during the 2005 Berlin Marathon.

Like the London Marathon, the Osaka Women’s Marathon was run in a closed-loop due to the coronavirus pandemic. Athletes ran 14 laps of a 2.8-kilometre circuit around Osaka’s Nagai Park. They, finishing inside Yanmar Stadium Nagai.

Photo credit: Let’s Run http://www.letsrun.com

The top three finishers were:

1. Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) – 2:21:11 – MR, WL

2. Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) – 2:23:30 – PB

3. Yukari Abe (Shimamura) – 2:24:41 – PB

The 24-year-old Ichiyama owns a personal best of 2:20:20 which she ran in March last year at the Nagoya Marathon. During 2020, she ran two other personal bests including 15:05.56 in the 5000m distance and 31:11:56 in the 10,000m. Ichiyama has run under the Olympic qualifying time in all three events.

She was already on the team, which was named last March. Also on the Japanese Olympic Marathon team are Maeda and Ayuko Suzuki as they had finished first and second at the Japan Olympic Trials last year.

However, another top-three runner is off the team. Mizuki Matsuda has run as fast as 2:21:47 in last year’s Osaka Marathon. Drama ensued as Ichiyama took Matsuda’s third and final spot in Nagoya with that 2:20:20 performance.