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Takaoka Wins Himejijo 10 Miler (updated)

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Japanese men's national marathon record holder Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo) won the Himejijo 10 Mile Road Race in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture on Feb. 11, running a time of 47:40. Takaoka accelerated with 1.5 km to go, passing Takashi Toyota (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko) with 1 km left to take the lead for good. Kenji Noguchi (Team Shikoku Denryoku) took 2nd in 47:44, with Toyota 1 second back in 3rd. The 6th place finisher in last summer's Osaka World Championships marathon, Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon), was 4th in 47:46.

"It's been a long time since I won something," Takaoka smiled after the race. He was scheduled to run last weekend's Ome Marathon 30 km road race until the race was cancelled due to heavy snow, but was able to negotiate a last-minute entry for Himejijo. At last December's Fukuoka International Marathon Takaoka finished a disappointing 10th and did not qualify for the Beijing Olympics. "This win has brought my confidence back," a happy Takaoka commented during his victory interview. "I can go back to practicing confidently and then go on to my next marathon. Beijing is impossible. 4 years from now will also be impossible. But I still want to taste both the difficulty and the attraction of the marathon." In the fast-approaching spring, Takaoka will run an overseas marathon free of pressure and free to do as he pleases.

Kotaro Fujioka (Josuikan H.S., Hiroshima) won the high school boys' division in 51:38. The remaining 3 divisions, each 5 km in length, all saw strong performances. Yayoi Nishiyama (Team Wacoal, Suma Gakuen H.S.) won the 15+ women's class in 16:18, while Yoshitaka Ogawa (Tatsuno Nishi J.H.S.) won the junior high school boys' category in 15:24 and Risa Yokoe (Inami Kita J.H.S.) won the junior high schools girls' division in 16:55.

Himejijo 10 Mile Road Race Results
1. Toshinari Takaoka (Team Kanebo): 47:40
2. Kenji Noguchi (Team Shikoku Denryoku): 47:44
3. Takashi Toyota (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko): 47:45
4. Satoshi Osaki (Team NTT Nishi Nihon): 47:46
5. Kazuo Ietani (Team Sanyo Tokusho Seiko): 47:48
6. J. Young (U.K.): 47:49
7. Toshiya Katayama (Team NTT Nishi Nihon): 47:54
8. Shuichi Fujii (Team Nissin Shokuhin): 47:58
9. Sohei Wada (Team Shikoku Denryoku): 48:01
10. Toshihiro Iwasa (Team Otsuka Seiyaku): 48:01

Translator's note: Could Takaoka be running Boston or London? Having selected the hilly Ome 30 km as his tuneup race, it looks possible that Takaoka may be considering Boston. It would certainly make for a memorable race to see the aging national record holder turn up and have one more good run.


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