Kenyan, Ruth Chepngetich, successfully defended her Nagoya Women’s Marathon title Sunday morning in Japan with a 2:18:08 performance.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2023 was held Sunday, March 12 in Japan (Saturday night North America).
Chepngetich successfully defended her title, winning the women-only World Athletics Platinum Label road race but not her own course record of 2:17:18. Chepngetich ran solo as she led early and right to the finish tape. Second place went to Ayuko Suzuki of Japan (2:21:52), followed by Honami Maeda (2:22:32) in third place, both of whom improved their personal best records.
The 2022 Chicago Champion with her 2:14:18 performance is the second-fastest ever women’s marathon, Chepngetich, sprung from the lead pack at the very beginning of the race and took the lead at a pace even faster than last year. After 30K, the unseasonably warm weather slowed her down a little, but she continued her powerful stride until crossing the finish line faster than the second finisher Ayuko Suzuki by more than 3.5 minutes — she is in a class of her own.
Chepngetich, who became the winner of the largest marathon first prize of US $250,000 for the second consecutive year, recalled the race in the post-race interview, saying, “It was challenging to run alone, but I’m proud of my race today. I thank the fans and everyone for the support I received.”
The second finisher Ayuko Suzuki, Tokyo 2020 Olympian and the home-grown local athlete, speeded up and left the rest of the pack after 31K and kept going with a new personal best in 2:21:52. Nagoya is her hometown. Fellow Japanese Olympian Honami Maeda also picked up speed and followed Ayuko to finish in third place in 2:22:32, a new personal best, which qualifies her for Japan’s marathon team trial for the Paris Olympics.
Alongside the competitive elite race, many runners joined the world’s largest women’s marathon from home and abroad, making the total number of participants 12,387. All the finishers were awarded the symbol of the event, the exclusively designed pendant from a world-class premium jeweler, Tiffany & Co. It was the first time in four years to be held fully open to both domestic and international non-elite runners as the Japanese government lifted the Covid-related border restrictions last fall. The city was able to welcome the return of the “world’s largest festival of women runners” and once again witness countless emotional moments filled with smiles and tears. All the participants were true stars of the day, and thanks to them, the City of Nagoya must have been the most shining city in the world.
The Race Organizer comments: “Despite the unseasonably warm weather, we are relieved and delighted that we were able to safely hold the race again this year without any major accidents. We are sincerely grateful for all the runners for their participation and the volunteers and all the others involved for their support.”