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Posted: January 25, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Shibui Wins Osaka Marathon

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

By David Monti with Ken Nakamura

Mitsui Sumitomo star Yoko Shibui convincingly won the 2009 Osaka International Ladies Marathon today, clocking 2:23:42. The second-fastest Japanese woman ever at the marathon distance with a career best time of 2:19:41, broke away from the lead pack in the 29th kilometer, scorching the 5 kilometers between 30 and 35 km in 16:11. That clinched her victory.

"I was not consciously picking up the pace, but I just ran faster and faster," Shibui said after the race. "I was never able to pick up the pace at the end of the race. I think I have figured out how to win the marathon."

Her victory today in Osaka was something of a homecoming for the 29 year-old Shibui because it was at Osaka that she won in her debut, setting a then world debut record of 2:23:11. It was her third career marathon victory.

Yukiko Akaba, a marathon debutante who runs for the Hokuren team, finished second in 2:25:40. Yumiko Hara, who won in Osaka in 2007, finished third in 2:26:57. Running for the 8th time in Osaka, Romanian star Lidia Simon ended up 5th in 2:27:14.

With her victory, Shibui locked-in a spot on the Japanese team for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin next August.

NOTE: Look for complete results and more details in Monday's Race Results Weekly --Ed.

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