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Nubooka, Asato repeat in 2009 Okinawa Marathon

Date Posted: 2009-02-26

It was almost déjà vu. Noboru Kubooka and Mariko Asato took to the streets of Okinawa to defend their Okinawa Marathon titles, and accomplished their tasks right on time.

Kubooka, a veteran runner from Hiroshima Prefecture, bested his 2008 time by 1 minute 7 seconds, outdistancing 9,010 other races to win the Sunday marathon in a time of 2 hours 24 minutes 5 seconds. Okinawa’s own Asato, who lives in Tomishiro City, ran the race in 2 hours 49 minutes 22 seconds, a pace 36 seconds slower than a year ago.

Okinawa Marathon organizers were ecstatic with the turnout, a record 9,010 for the full 42.196 kilometer marathon and another 2,083 for the 10 kilometer road race. Officials say 77.4% of the runners, 6,971, completed the full marathon. All but seven of the 10k races finished the course.

A 75-year-old running who’s completed 100 full marathons, took to the course Sunday alongside his 68-year-old wife. Yoshio Nishiwaki, who says “I practice for marathons every day, and healthy life makes the complete runs for me,” finished the course in 5 hours 56 minutes 36 seconds. His wife, who was running her 24th full marathon, crossed the finish line in 6 hours 4 minutes 30 sconds. Yoshio says “because my wife runs together with me, it gives me power and encouragement.”

Yoshio praised his wife, and Okinawa, too. “I want to thank her, and also the Okinawan people, whose warm cheering gave me strength too.” The Okinawa Marathon marked Yoshio’s 100th full marathon. He’s also raced in Seoul, Saipan, Mexico and mainland Japan. He promises he and his wife will be back. “We are planning to run the Naha Marathon in December,” he says, “and we will run next year’s Okinawa Marathon too.”

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