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Akaba Defends Sanyo Ladies Half Marathon Title

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translated and edited by Brett Larner

At the Dec. 23 Sanyo Ladies Road Race in Okayama, defending champion Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) ran 1:09:56 to successfully claim her second-straight Yuko Arimori Cup Half Marathon title, breaking away at 18 km to redeem her disappointing 8th-place finish at November's Yokohama International Women's Marathon and bad performance at last week's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships.  "I didn't want to end the year with nothing but bad runs," she said with a smile.  "There was nothing good about this year, but with this run I make a fresh start."  Aiming for the Moscow World Championships team, she plans to run either Boston or London in April.

Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) took 2nd in 1:10:06 in preparation for her second shot at the marathon next month in Osaka.  Also aiming for Osaka where she will run her first marathon since giving birth in July last year, past World Championships team member Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) was 7th in 1:11:36.  "This was training for the Osaka International Women's Marathon," she said.  "My time was better than I expected.  I'm getting stronger."  Ozaki has done little running over 20 km yet in her training and still feels nervous about longer mileage, but a year ago she had trouble running a hard 10 km.  Late in the race today she was all alone, and that leaves her nervous about Osaka.  "I don't know what to do if there's nobody around me in the marathon," she said.  "I don't know if I can handle the loneliness."

Beijing Olympics marathoner Yurika Nakamura (Team Tenmaya) was 34th in the half marathon.  Kenyan Felista Wanjugu of 2012 national champion Team Universal Entertainment won the  Hitomi Kinue Cup 10 km division in 32:16.  Yuka Ando (Mizuno) was the top Japanese finisher in the 10 km, 4th overall.

2012 Sanyo Ladies Road Race
Okayama, 12/23/12
click here for complete results

Yuko Arimori Cup Half Marathon
1. Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) - 1:09:56
2. Yuko Watanabe (Team Edion) - 1:10:06
3. Beatrice Wainaina Murugi (Kenya/Team Toyota Jidoshokki) - 1:10:17
4. Kumi Ogura (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 1:11:05
5. Chihiro Takato (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:16
6. Yuka Hakoyama (Team Wacoal) - 1:11:32
7. Mari Ozaki (Team Noritz) - 1:11:36
8. Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:11:38
9. Misato Horie (Team Noritz) - 1:11:41
10. Hitomi Shimofuji (Canon AC Kyushu) - 1:12:56

Kinue Hitomi Cup 10 km
1. Felista Wanjugu (Kenya/Team Univ. Ent.) - 32:16
2. Sally Chepyego (Kenya/Team Kyudenko) - 32:29
3. Grace Kimanzi (Kenya/Starts) - 32:30
4. Yuka Ando (Mizuno) - 32:37
5. Miho Ihara (Team Shikoku Denryoku) - 32:47
6. Akari Ota (Team Tenmaya) - 32:59
7. Caroline Nyakagua (Team Toto) - 33:12
8. Saki Tabata (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 33:17
9. Miho Shimizu (Hakuoh Univ.) - 33:19
10. Anna Hasuike (Team Higo Ginko) - 33:38

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