Athlete Haven wins the 2023 Osaka Women’s Marathon (© Toshikazu Hirayama/Agence SHOT)

Haven Hailu Triumphs at Osaka Marathon

Athlete Haven Hailu clocked 2:21:13 to take the winner title at the 2023 Osaka Women’s Marathon on Sunday.

The Ethiopian won the World Athletics Platinum Label road race almost a minute ahead of her compatriot Meseret Gola who finished second in 2:22:12. Japan’s Yuka Ando finished third in 2:22:59.

The race, which started at the Nagai Stadium, immediately turned into a race of attrition, as per the sports governing body World Athletics report.

At 1km the lead pack featured Haven, Meseret, and Kenya’s Maurine Chepkemoi together with Japan’s Ando, Sayaka Sato, Mao Uesugi, and Reia Iwade.

Sato clashed with Iwade and fell after 7km, immediately losing ground on the lead group and would eventually drop out at 18km.

Iwade and Uesugi drifted back at 19km followed by Chepkemoi, who dropped out of the race after 25km, as the leading pack of three ran together for the rest of the race.

Haven, Meseret, and Ando reached 30km in 1:39:34. It was at this point that Haven made her move, covering the next kilometer in 3:05. Meseret was able to stay with Haven, but Ando fell behind.

The 24-year-old was able to build a 13-second lead by 35km over her compatriot and eventually won by 59 seconds. Meseret held on to second place as the Japanese finished third.

Haven’s finishing time is only 61 seconds short of the course record set at 2:20:52 by Mizuki Matsuda last year. She, however, managed to achieve her second win in the marathon race after her victory in Rotterdam last April.

For Meseret, this is her fifth runner-up finish in the past seven marathons including her second finish in Seville setting a PB of 2:20:50.

Featured Image: Athlete Haven wins the 2023 Osaka Women’s Marathon (Photo © Toshikazu Hirayama/Agence SHOT via WA)