translated by Brett Larner
4020 runners participated in the 2009 Osaka Half Marathon, an event held in conjunction with the Jan. 25 Osaka International Women's Marathon on a 21.0975 km course from Osaka Stadium to Osaka Castle. Winning the women's division was 2007 Osaka World Championships marathon team member Kiyoko Shimahara (32, Second Wind AC), who clocked 1:13:15 in her second straight Osaka Half appearance, with Mai Kisaki (20, Team Kyocera) 2nd in 1:14:14. In the men's division, Joannis Makrioteris (27, Momoyama Gakuin Univ.) ran 1:08:22 to take his 4th consecutive win.
Shimahara's winning time of 1:13:15 was slower than last year's mark, but she was nevertheless happy to be the top finisher. "I ran according to plan. At 20 km I dropped the people who were chasing me, just like that," she said with evident satisfaction.
Shimahara won this past December's Honolulu Marathon and plans to run in March's Tokyo Marathon. "I'm doing the kind of practice I'll need to put myself into position to be number one in Tokyo," she commented. Asked about what is most important to her now, Shimahara answered that not just her own running, but helping children to begin running and adults to find joy in running brings her deep satisfaction. Shimahara is currently in her second year with Second Wind AC after having left Team Shiseido in April, 2007. The change was difficult for her career, but she found new motivation in helping amateur runners which increased the joy she found in her own running.
Thus, compared to her previous circumstances Shimahara is able to train more without feeling any additional burden. Along with training more in a group she is also racing more this year, with two ekidens already under her belt and the Chiba International Cross Country meet coming up soon. More than ten races total are planned for 2009, but she's not even a little worried about overdoing it. "It might be a little tight, but I want to do I lot of races like this one. It's part of my job to help spread Second Wind AC's name," she said with a smile.
2009 Osaka Half Marathon Top Finishers
1. Kiyoko Shimahara (Second Wind AC) - 1:13:15
2. Mai Kisaki (Team Kyocera) - 1:14:14
3. Chihiro Tanaka (Team Daitsu) - 1:16:50
1. Joannis Makrioteris (Momoyama Gakuin Univ.) - 1:08:22
2. Yasukazu Miyazato (SDF Camp Shindoyama) - 1:09:44
3. Kaoru Higashida (Hiroshima Univ.) - 1:09:50