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 Welcome to the Osaka 2007 Day 9 - Women's marathon 


The Kenyan success at the Osaka World Championships continued with Catherine Ndereba taking Gold in the Women's marathon ahead of Chinese favourite, Chunxiu Zhou. The host nation's Reiko Tosa captured Bronze and thus ensured the first individual medal for Japan. The race was again competed in distressingly hot conditions, totally unsuitable for marathon running.

What follows is the race as it happened.

A large lead group had formed at the front with all the favourites tucked within except for Catherine Ndereba (CN) who was doing what she enjoys doing most, running slightly off the front runners.

Japan's Reiko Tosa took the field through 5k in 18:27 with Russia's Galina Bogomolova in close attendance with the Chinese pair of Chunxiu Zhou and Xiaolin Zhu also within this time frame. The pace was slow enough for all to follow comfortably however Ndereba had chosen to be 6 seconds off the lead group.

Zhou the winner in London 2007 and race favourite looked composed and relaxed, in a similar manner to London where she bided her time in the pack before making her attack late in the race, would it be the same tactics here?

The lead group of the women looked extremely tense in comparison to the relatively relaxed state CN was proceeding with. As well as all the favourites upfront, there were a number of unknowns, who now had the opportunity to run amongst the World's Elite. Certainly the race of nation's

Team Positions .. Japan - China - Kenya

10k 36.23 - 5k split 17:56 .. gap to CN now 4 secs .. NZ's NIna Rollstone within lead pack. UK's Tracey Morris off the lead early

Because of the crippling heat, yet again (even with the overcast skies) .. this would be the slowest marathon of all previous Championship events. A solution needs to be found to accommodate the marathoners in future Champs, the runners should not need to be put through unnecessary punishment to accommodate TV audiences (this is often 1 of the reasons given for the starting time)

How things change now the lead group currently looks more relaxed that CN's pack of 4 .. that would be probably due to them closing the gap to the leaders via the efforts of China's Yanan Wei which has the dramatic affect of shooting her out the pack of this pursueing group. The Japanese front-runners are running a consistent pace with no change in tempo maybe this will change now with the Russian pair coming to the fore. But soon they return to the relative safety of the lead pack consisting of some 20 athletes.

15k 54:26 - 5k split 18.04

Romanian athlete, Luminita Talpos, touches Kenyan Rita Jeptoo Sitienei's heel and there is finger of warning acknowledged by the athlete in yellow. Sometimes athletes can be so courteous amongst the women. CN is content not to join the front group and plays the waiting game behind the front pack. These conditions are similar to Athens 2004 and certainly not the type of weather Britain's Paula Radcliffe (PR) relishes. 26.7 degrees, cooler than the men's marathon. This is beautiful looking city with its canals that weave through the skyscrapers. New Zealand's Nina Rillstone finds herself at the fore. A waterpoint and Yumiko Hara glides through (this was my only Japanese athlete in our Fantasy team)

CN stalks her prey, the only athlete she is unable to do this tactic with is PR, as the Brit normally takes off like a 'scorched cat', however this is when weather conditions are favourable. Lidia Simon one of Romania's most successful athletes in the marathon finds herself still within the lead group as they approach the 20k

20k 1:12:34 - 5k split 18.07

The turnaround negated without problems and entering a personal feed station, CN has joined the front runners. Hello Catherine the Great, welcome to the party. She takes on water and resumes her role of watching and waiting.

halfway 76.33 ... this is still anyone's race, not that China's Zhou would agree. Zhou has the WL time from London where she ran a tactically sound race winning at will.

Continued Part 2 - Women's Marathon 2nd half

Women's Marathon Results - Sunday, September 02, 2007 : click here

Jeptoo and Ndereba  - Marathon Osaka 2007
Rita Jeptoo and Catherine Ndereba

Osaka 2007 - Track World Championships
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