England’s Yamauchi triumphs
OSAKA: England’s Mara Yamauchi won the Osaka international women’s marathon yesterday, knocking three seconds off her personal best.
The 34-year-old foreign ministry official caught up with front-runner Kayoko Fukushi of Japan at the 34.6km mark before crossing the finishing line in two hours, 25 minutes and 10 seconds. It was her 10th full marathon.
Japan’s Tomo Morimoto came in second in 2:25:34, followed by Julia Mumbi of Kenya in 2:26:00.
“When I ran in the world championships in Osaka last year, I spurted too much and slowed down later, so I tried to keep running strongly until the end this time,” said Yamauchi in fluent Japanese.
“When I saw the Osaka castle, I also saw a big group was following me, so I felt like I was seeing a nightmare, but I didn’t give up. I’d like to thank the spectators who supported me despite snow falling and cold conditions.
“It was my personal best by three seconds. I wanted to run a little bit faster, but a victory is a victory. I’m really happy about my first marathon victory,” added Yamauchi, who was ninth at the world championships.
The race was led by Fukushi, who took the lead soon after the start in her marathon debut.
At one point she was more than 600m ahead, but she slowed down in the latter half, allowing the second group to catch up.
She fell shortly before the stadium and three more times in the final 150m before staggering in at 19th place on 2’40:54.