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Local runners fare well in Okinawa Marathon

Date Posted: 2011-02-25

Okinawans Koudai Nakama and Ryuto Narita edged the favorites in Sunday's Okinawa Marathon to capture first and third in the men's division, while Mariko Asato made it four in a row on the ladies side.

Nakama, a Tomishiro resident who rolled to victory with a 2 hour-25 minute-53 seconds time, bested Ryoma Kokubu of Fukuoka Prefecture by 2:13. Okinawa City resident Ryuto Narita finished third at 2 hours-33 minutes-17 seconds in a race that drew 9,163 runners. Of the starters, 7,321, 79.9% finished the 42.195 kilometer course across central Okinawa.

Mariko Asato pulled in the winning ladies time at 2 hours-46 minutes-55 seconds. It was her fourth straight victory, bringing cheering and clapping spectators to their feet as she approached the finish line. She finished 1:25 slower than a year ago when she rolled to her third consecutive win. Yuka Esaki of Fukuoka Prefecture was second and Yasuko Nomura of Hyogo Prefecture finished third.

In the full marathon civilian class, Yoshinobu Sunagawa of Saitama Prefecture crossed the finish line first, with Hiroshi Nanchi of Aichi Prefecture second. On the women's side, sakura Kawabata of Urasoe City took top honors, while Junko Sakima of Osaka Prefecture was second.

Kiyomasa Kinjo was back in action at this year's Okinawa Marathon. At 80 years of age, Kinjo was the oldest person to complete the grueling 26 miles.

All winners in the 10 kilometer road race were Okinawans. Naha International High School's Ryou Takahara had the best time with 32:21, more than a minute ahead of his adult competitors. Miu Hirade of Yomitan had the best ladies time with 35:31.

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