- Japan ... Federations
- single decisive
- the field
- （ここでは）地点（後出 hit the mark は基準に達する）
- catch up
- slip by
- beat ～
- make the team
- 【写真説明】 award ceremony
Tickets to Run
The Marathon Grand Championship (MGC) to decide Japan's first four of six representatives for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon was held in Tokyo on Sept. 15.
Running a course almost the same as the one to be used for the Games next year, Nakamura Shogo, 27, came out on top in the men's event with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 28 seconds, 8 seconds ahead of Hattori Yuma, 25. In the women's race, Maeda Honami, 23, took top spot in 2:25:15. Suzuki Ayuko, 27, passed the finish line 3 minutes 47 seconds later. All four are now the first confirmed Japan representatives at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Japan Association of Athletics Federations held the MGC as a single decisive contest for the first time to ensure fairness and transparency.
In the men's race, Shitara Yuta, 27, record holder for the second-fastest Japanese marathon, was initially 2 minutes 13 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. But past the 37-kilometer mark nine runners overtook Shitara, and at 39 kilometers Nakamura spurted to the top.
Just before the 41-kilometer mark, Nakamura was caught up by Osako Suguru, 28, the fastest recorded marathon runner in Japanese history, but Nakamura kept his lead. In the final 300 meters, Hattori also slipped by Osako, with just 5 seconds between their finishes. Nakamura said, "I've prepared for years. Finally I'm arriving at the Olympics."
In the women's race, Maeda overtook athletes with better results in past contests at just before the 20-kilometer mark, remaining ahead to win the race. Suzuki persevered for second, with Ohara Rei, 29, just 4 seconds behind in third. Maeda said, "I stayed confident and kept going to the end."
There are two open spots left on the Japan Olympic marathon team. They will be claimed by the fastest man to beat a time of 2:05:49 and the fastest woman under 2:22:22 in three upcoming races. If no one hits these marks, the MGC's third-place finishers will make the team.
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