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Nago runner claims 2007 Okinawa Marathon title

Date Posted: 2007-03-02

Ryuji Suematsu captured the 2007 Okinawa Marathon Sunday, racing to victory despite a rain-dampened race.

The Nago City man took the title with a time of 2:28:43. It was a first-time win for Suematsu, but not so for Chisato Washio of Nagasaki Prefecture. Her time of 2:47:04 netted her a second Okinawa Marathon victory.

A total of 10,573 runners began the Marathon or its 10 kilometer road race, with 80% ultimately crossing the finish line. Organizers say 7,362 ran the full marathon, with 5,907 completing it. Only three of the 1,547 who started the 10km race did not finish.

Friendship and camaraderie were evident both on the course and along the route, where hundreds of volunteers lined up to pass out food, bananas, water, sports drinks and brown sugar to runners, and thousands cheered and applauded as the runners zipped by. As marathon runners wound their way through Kadena Air Base, excitement was high. American volunteers were handing out cookies, as well as the traditional drinks, bringing praise from the runners who were happy to see such support from the U.S. side.

One runner told reporters after the marathon he was pleased, because “everyone was laughing, holding hands and singing.” He said Okinawa “should have this type entertainment more often, and not only protesting or fighting or demonstrating.”

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