Ethiopia’s Abdela Godana victorious in Nagano Marathon

Ethiopian marathon runner Abdela Godana (Organisers)

Ethiopia’s Abdela Godana and Japan’s Asami Furuse were convincing winners at a wet and windy Nagano Marathon, securing their first ever wins over 26.2 miles at the IAAF Bronze Label road race on Sunday.

Not only did Furuse become the first Japanese woman to win in Nagano since 2001, but she also led the first ever Japanese sweep of the women’s podium.

Godana, meanwhile, finally reached the top of the podium following top-three finishes in Barcelona, Beirut (twice) and Milan in recent years.

A large lead pack formed early on in the men’s race, passing through five kilometres in 15:32 and 10 kilometres in 31:10. The pack only started to whittle itself down after 15 kilometres, which was reached in 46:37.

Pacemaker Yeneblo Biyazen led the field to the half-way point in 1:05:22 before dropping out, leaving five men in the lead pack: Godana, Kenya’s Julius Keter and Japanese trio Hiroshi Ichida, Yuki Munakata and marathon debutant Kyota Yabushita.

Munakata was the first of that quintet to lose ground. Keter and Yabushita soon followed and drifted back through the field, while Munakata maintained his 20-second deficit on the lead duo and found himself in third place.

Ichida started to struggle in the closing five kilometres, losing ground on Godana and eventually Munakata.

Godana, however, was never to be challenged and went on to win in 2:13:54. Munakata took second place in 2:14:21, 21 seconds ahead of Ichida.

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