by Brett Larner
As Yoshimi Ozaki (Team Daiichi Seimei) finished 2nd at the National Corporate Half Marathon Championships, the over elite Japanese woman scheduled to run next month's London Marathon, Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) lined up at the Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon in her first race since dropping out of January's Osaka International Women's Marathon. It was essentially a head-to-head race between Akaba and Kenyan Doricah Obare (Team Hitachi) in her half marathon debut. Strong winds kept the pace slow, but nevertheless the pack of chasers made no attempt to follow. Obare and Akaba ran the first km in 3:30 and gradually picked up the pace, but when Obare pushed the 4th km to 3:09 Akaba let go. The gap between the pair widened to 48 seconds at 10 km before Akaba began to accelerate, closing to within 17 seconds of Obare but unable to catch her. Obare won in 1:10:52, with Akaba 2nd in 1:11:09. Running a great race to beat away numerous challenges from the pack, Meijo University first-year Aki Odagiri was 3rd.
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(c) 2010 Brett Larner
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