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Mainlanders sweep top spots in Naha Marathon

Date Posted: 2010-12-09

A 27-year-old from Miyagi Prefecture raced to first place in Sunday’s 26th annual Naha Marathon with an eight-second win over his nearest competitor.

Koji Hayasaka of Miyagi Prefecture’s 2 hours 26 minutes 49 seconds time was a full minute slower than the 2009 Naha Marathon, but enough to edge Yuki Murato. The third place male finisher was five minutes further out with a time of 2:31:34. A 25-year-old runner from Ibaraki Prefecture took first place in the women’s category with a time of 2:59:27. Yui Takaiwa outdistanced Risa Mizutani by more than 3˝ minutes with a 3:03:07 time. Third place went to Natsumi Mineshima, with a time fo 3:03:43.

Some 3,000 fewer runners hit the pavement for the 42.195 kilometer race this year; a total of 23,402 started the race, with 71.98% making it to the finish line. There were 16,613 men and 6,789 women running the Naha Marathon, which took runners on a winding course across southern Okinawa. A total of 10,000 runners came to Okinawa for the race from overseas or mainland Japan.

The oldest runner in the Naha Marathon, 86-year-old Hideaki Kouchi, failed to complete the race for the first time. Kouchi, who was running in his seven Naha Marathon, but withdrew after falling two minutes behind the time limit at the halfway point. “I feel sorry for myself, as my training wasn’t enough for this year,” he said, but noted “I’m going to try again next year, and will run a perfect race then.”

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