Ethiopia’s Edesa triumphs in Osaka, sets course record


Ethiopia’s Workenesh Edesa triumphed at the Osaka Women’s Marathon, shattering the course record with a phenomenal equal personal best of 2:18:51. This World Athletics Platinum Label road race, held on Sunday, witnessed a fierce competition, particularly between Edesa and Japan’s Honami Maeda, who set a new Asian record.

The early stages of the race saw a tight-knit group at the forefront. Edesa, alongside Maeda, three-time winner Mizuki Matsuda, Uganda’s record-holder Stella Chesang, and Sayaka Sato, moved in unison. The quintet maintained a steady pace, crossing the 5km mark at 16:32 and 10km at 32:59.

 Their remarkable speed saw them hitting the halfway point in 1:09:46, forecasting a potential upset of Matsuda’s previous course record of 2:20:52.

As the race progressed into its second half, Maeda amped up the tempo, causing the lead pack to stretch out. Matsuda was among the first to lag, while Maeda managed to edge out a five-second lead over Edesa at the 30km checkpoint. Chesang, maintaining her third position, stayed a few seconds ahead of Sato.

The real game-changer came shortly after the 30km mark. Edesa, with unwavering determination, caught up and overtook Maeda. By 35km, Edesa had established an 11-second lead. Maeda, however, showcased her resilience, keeping Edesa within her sights. Chesang seemed to have secured her third place over Sato, while Matsuda trailed.

The final stages of the race were gripping. Edesa, holding her lead, crossed the finish line in a record-breaking time, followed closely by Maeda, who not only smashed the Japanese and Asian record but also significantly improved upon her previous personal best.

 The drama continued as Matsuda made a remarkable comeback, overtaking both Sato and Chesang to clinch third place.

Edesa’s victory was not just a personal triumph but a testament to her exceptional talent. “My goal was to break the course record,” she said, already setting her sights on future challenges, including the Boston Marathon.

Maeda’s performance, too, was noteworthy. Battling the elements in the race’s final stages, she acknowledged her ambition to set new records. Her time significantly boosts her chances for a spot in Japan’s team for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

This marathon, marked by record-breaking performances and dramatic shifts, not only celebrated individual triumphs but also the spirit of endurance sports at their finest.

Leading results

1 Workenesh Edesa (ETH) 2:18:51
2 Honami Maeda (JPN) 2:18:59
3 Mizuki Matsuda (JPN) 2:23:07
4 Stella Chesang (UGA) 2:23:36
5 Sayaka Sato (JPN) 2:24:43
6 Katharina Steinruck (GER) 2:24:56
7 Natsumi Matsushita (JPN) 2:25:10
8 Yuna Daito (JPN) 2:25:16
9 Madoka Nakano (JPN) 2:26:50
10 Mayu Nishikawa (JPN) 2:26:50

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