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Nearly 8,000 runners brave bad weather at Okinawa Marathon

Date Posted: 2004-02-26

Some 7,853 runners participated in the rain, which finally stopped in the afternoon. A total of 5,240 finished the course in time, while 991 people ran the concurrent 10-kilometer course.

The fastest runner was Tomotsugu Yamauchi, who finished the full marathon course in 2:24:14. The fastest woman was Yayoi Taira at 3.03.23, who captured her second straight title.

The oldest runner to complete the course was 71-year-old Hatsuko Ishihara, who said she has run the marathon every one of the race’s 12 years. “This year is my 50th marriage anniversary, so completing this marathon means double happiness to me,” Ishihara said.

Another, 70-year-old Yoshio Chinen, completed the course in 6:50:00 – actually over the time limit – said that a banner he saw on Kadena AB inspired him to finish. “The banner had a text ‘Never give up!’ so I decided to complete the course no matter what,” Chinen said.

The marathon also featured a 13-member pacesetter team that called themselves a “Rabbit Team.” The team members were all experienced marathon runners, and they helped their fellow runners to set the right pace and encouraged tired runners to continue till the goal.

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