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Tokyo man runs to victory in Miyakojima Triathlon

Date Posted: 2008-04-25

Yuto Kawahara of Tokyo outdistanced a competitor from Ibaragi Prefecture and an Austrian to win Sunday’s 24th All Japan Triatlon Miyakojima.

The 30-year-old posted a time of 7 hours, 44 minutes, 31 seconds in the grueling swimming, bicycling and running Ironman Competition. Shinko Matsumaru, a 33-year-old from Ibaragi Prefecture was second, and Austrian Jamett Seidow,37, finished third.

The triathlon is comprised of a three kilometer swim, 155 kilometer bicycle route, and a 42.195 kilometer full marathon. A triathlon must be completed in under 14 hours. Kawahara led the pack of 1,204 men around the venues in Yonaha Shimoji districts of Miyakojima, and along the twice-around-the-island marathon route.

Naomi Imaizumi, 27, of Tochigi Prefecture took the women’s championship, accomplishing the three events in 8 hours, 32 minutes, 21 seconds. Second place went to Emi Shiono, a 27-year-old from Tokyo. Finishing third among the 194 female athletes was Saki Kubota of Hyogo Prefecture.

Yutaka Kojima was a special competitor in the Triathlon Miyakojima, and one the organizers did not want to participate. Kojima is 72 years old, well beyond the 65 age limit set by the Miyakojima Triathlon Committee. The veteran runner, wanting to participate for a seventh time, pressed his case, finally getting another athlete to sponsor his application.

The Triathlon Miyakojima race committee not only relented and allowed Kojima to run, but struck the age limitation from the rules. As he crossed the finish line Sunday, Kojima told well wishers “I love this race. I will attend until I die.”

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