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First ever Okinawan wins women's Miyako Triathlon

Date Posted: 2003-04-26

The 19th Miyako Triathlon on Miyako Island last Sunday attracted 1,280 athletes who competed the grueling course consisting of a three-kilometer swim, a full marathon and a 155-kilometer bicycle race. A total of 1,165 participants completed the course within the 14-hour time limit.

Chiharu Chiba became the first woman from Okinawa ever to win the women's race, finishing the course in 9 hours 12 minutes and 8 seconds. The women's second place finisher was Susan Burr of the U.S.

In men's class, Hungarian Peter Kropko set to vie for his fifth consecutive overall win, but had to settle for second place after Germany's Markus Forster became the overall winner with a time of 7 hours, 40 minutes and 17 seconds.

The race had special meaning for Tomoe Yoshida, who was able to complete the race within the time limit. She took part in the race last year with her husband Bunjiro Yoshida when tragedy hit. Her 41-year-old husband died of heart attack just before completing the swimming portion of the race. Tomoe did not finish last year's race either.

"I made a promise to my husband at his funeral that I will finish the race for him," Yoshida said. As she crossed the finish line she was greeted by a large group of friends and family, including a large picture of her late husband. "I'm so happy now that I made it. I know my late husband is looking at me, and I could feel that he was there through the whole course to make sure that I make it through," Yoshida rejoiced after finishing.

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