The start of the ladies race at the 2019 Osaka Marathon. Photo: @elanameyer on twitter

OSAKA – Surging away from Japan’s Rei Ohara after 38 kilometres, Ethiopian Fatuma Sado won the 38th Osaka International Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday, clocking 2:25:39.

“I was very happy, but the time was not fast enough to be selected for the Olympic team,” said the 27-year-old Ethiopian who became just the fourth African to win the race after Lornah Kiplagat, Catherine Ndereba and Amane Gobena.

“I want to run a faster time in the next race.”

Ohara of Japan was second, seven seconds behind the winner, with Bornes Jepkirui another 15 seconds behind in third.

“I wanted to make my move at 30 kilometres,” Ohara said, “but I could not do it right. I tried my surge again at 35K, but it was far from decisive. I wanted to win, but could not close the gap at the end of the race.”

The pacemakers did an admirable job, bringing the lead pack through five kilometres in 17:00, 10 kilometres in 33:59, and 15 in 51:02. At 15 kilometres, the lead pack consisted of three pacemakers, an Ethiopian trio of Sado, Asefa Sutume and Abebech Afework, Kenyans Jepkirui and Jeptoo and Japanese Ohara, Fukushi and Hatsuki Omori.

A kilometre later Jepkirui started to drift back, leaving just Sado and Ohara. They exchanged surges until Sado pulled away for good in kilometer 38.

Four runners were on the pace to qualify for Japan’s Marathon Grand Championships, Olympic Marathon Trials (MGC) as late as 35 kilometres - Madoka Nakano, Yukari Abe, Hatsuki Omori and Tomomi Tanaka.

In the end only Nakano qualified by finishing fourth in 2:27:39. Yukari Abe who was fifth overall and the third Japanese, but her time was 2:28:02 fell three seconds short of the qualifying time. 

One of the pre-race favourites, 2013 world championships marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi, dropped out just beyond the 35-kilometre marker, perhaps feeling the effects of a hard fall 12.7 kilometres into the race.


1. Fatuma Sado, ETH 2:25:39

2. Rei Ohara, JPN 2:25:46

3. Bornes Jepkirui, KEN, 2:26:01

4. Madoka Nakano, JPN 2:27:39

5. Yukari Abe, JPN 2:28:02

6. Hanae Tanaka, JPN 2:28:42

7. Tomomi Tanaka, JPN 2:29:03

8. Hatsuki Omori, JPN 2:29:15 

South African interest:

16. Nolene Conrad, RSA 2:36:21

African News Agency (ANA)

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