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Okamoto Wins Hiroshima XC Meet

translated and edited by Brett Larner

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Don't give in to the heat!  On Aug. 18 at Dogoyama Cross Country Park in Shobara, Hiroshima, 2382 runners from the five prefectures of the Chugoku region and as far away as Kanto took part in the 13th Hiroshima Cross Country Meet, competing in 36 different age and gender divisions over five hilly courses from 1 to 8 km in length at 700 m elevation.  At the start of the first race at 11:15 the temperature was 32 degrees.  Cheers of "Keep going!" and "Just a little further!" from the sidelines urged on the sweat-soaked athletes as they covered the course.  With the intense heat slowing them down, most could only shrug in resignation as they checked their watches after crossing the finish line.

The invited athlete field included athletes from the Chugoku Denryoku and Edion corporate teams.  With experience on the Japanese national team at the World Cross Country Championships, Naoki Okamoto (Team Chugoku Denryoku) won the senior men's 8 km race in 24:21, while Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) took the senior women's 8 km in 27:52.  Shobara J.H.S. third-year Kazuya Yamaguchi (14) won the junior high school boys' 3 km division, wiping the sweat from his face as he told reporters, "I really wanted to win a hometown race.  It feels good to run in the mountains."

The Chugoku Newspaper's multipurpose location car Chupea-go was on-site, giving out 500 copies of a special news flash edition of the paper to participants and spectators.


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