On Sunday, March 10, 2024 Nagoya Women’s Marathon winner Yuka Ando of Japan won in an exciting show of perseverance and determination, finishing in a time of an astounding 2:21:19. Ando broke a seven-year record with this victory, which also represented her maiden marathon win and a notable improvement over her personal best.


Despite falling short of the recent Japanese/Asian record set by Honami Maeda in January (2:18:59), Ando secured the final spot on Japan’s Paris Olympics team. Expressing her heartfelt gratitude, she tearfully conveyed post-race, “Many have supported me on this journey, and I’m brimming with gratitude. While I won’t be heading to Paris, winning today fills me with joy,” resonating with the marathon enthusiasts who lined Nagoya’s streets and the viewers nationwide.

Yuka Ando wins the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on March 10, 2024/Photo© Organisers

Braving a chilly start at 5 degrees Celsius with a 1 mph wind, Ando led the pack alongside fellow Japanese athletes Ayuko Suzuki and Rika Kaseda, along with international competitors Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia and Eunice Chebichii Chumba of Bahrain. Enduring challenging conditions with headwinds, the group crossed the halfway point in 1:09:56.

As the race unfolded, Japanese runners faced adversity, with Suzuki trailing around 25km and Ando and Kaseda around 16km. Undeterred, Ando and Kaseda tenaciously pursued the lead pack. At the 36km mark, Gebreslase withdrew, leaving Chumba in the lead and Ando in second. The two athletes engaged in a neck-and-neck battle after the 39km mark, culminating in Ando’s stunning upset victory.


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Reflecting on her hard-fought win in a post-race interview, Ando shared, “It was a tough challenge when I fell behind the lead pack, but I focused on moving forward. The cheering along the course motivated me. Today marks a new beginning, and I aim to continue giving my best with a fresh mindset.”

Thirteen of the top 20 finishers were Japanese, and seven of them finished in under 2:30, meeting the Paris Olympic mark of 2:26:50, demonstrating the strength of the Japanese marathoners. Natsuki Omori set a personal best time of 2:26:54, just four seconds short of the record. 15,421 women signed up for the marathon from all around the world, demonstrating the race’s global appeal.


In recognition of their accomplishment, each finisher received an exclusively designed pendant from the globally renowned jeweler Tiffany & Co. The Marathon Expo, held alongside the race, drew 101,416 visitors over three days, contributing to the celebration of women’s running that Nagoya proudly shares with the world.