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Over 10,000 complete Naha Marathon

Date Posted: 2002-12-07

The 18th Naha Marathon was held with start and finish at Onoyama Park in Naha City, Sunday. 17,061 runners started on the full 42.195 km course and 10,733 finished within the six-hour time limit. Of the starters, 13,524 were men and 3,537 women.

The fastest man was 30-year-old Tatsuya Tanikubo of Nishihara Town who finished the course in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds making him a four-time winner or the race. The fastest woman was Yoshimi Hoshino, 36, from Shizuoka Prefecture who finished at 2.46.26 for her second victory in womens category.

Naha City Mayor Takeshi Onaga and Daiei Hawks professional baseball player Kiyoshi Arakaki sent the runners on their way by ringing the starting bell at 9 a.m. The weather was sunny with temperature rising to 22 degrees centigrade and wind blowing at modest 6.7 m/s.

104 runners from overseas took part representing America, China, England and Sweden. Swedish runner Martin Diner said that Naha Marathon had a special meaning for him. I run four to five full marathons each year in different countries, but Naha Marathon as a special meaning for me, because of the history of Okinawa. It reminds me of the terrible effects of war and gives me a chance to pray for peace during the run, Diner said.

60-year-old Hideo Matsuura from Osaka who is blind completed the run in 5 hours and 58 minutes, just two minutes before the time limit with his guide runner, 28-year-old Hidenori Endo from Naha City. Matsuura said that this was the third time for him to participate, but this years run was the hardest. Last year I finished in four hours and 25 minutes, but this year the weather was too hot for me, Matsuura said. I wanted to quit but my guide runner coached me to continue to the finish. So I did and made it in time. Im so happy, Matsuura delighted.

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