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Nago City runner wins Naha Marathon second time

Date Posted: 2007-12-06

Ryuuji Suematsu did it again.
Suematsu, who won the 2005 Naha Marathon, zipped across the finish line first on Sunday with a time of 2 hours 30 minutes 55 seconds. This year’s Naha Marathon theme, ‘The Festival of the Sun and for Joggers’ was the most successful ever, with a record 23,448 runners covering the 42.195 kilometer course across southern Okinawa and the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City.
Makiko Kawagoe made it two in a row on the women’s side, completing the race in 2 hours 52 minutes 26 seconds. The Chiba Prefecture runner won last year with a time only slightly faster than this year. The course was called great, and in very good condition, but some runners complained the 23.6C temperature was ‘a bit hot’.
Nearly two-thirds of the starters finished the grueling course, 15,090 men and women. There were 17,628 men and 5,820 women participating in this year’s Naha Marathon. Applause was frequent for the oldest participant in this year’s marathon, 83-year-old Hideaki Kouchi. This was Kouchi’s fifth Naha Marathon.
A 33-year-old Kenyan runner participated as a guest as he trains for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eric Waynaina looped the course in 2 hours 26 minutes 40 seconds, but was not an official competitor. “It was hot weather for the run,” Waynaina said afterward, “but I got cold water from volunteer groups and that helped a lot.” He said he “loved people giving such big cheers from the roadside.”

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