By David Monti with Ken Nakamura
Yuri Hirata of the Shiseido corporate team won today's Sanyo Women's Road Race, an all-women's half-marathon in Okayama, Japan.
Hirata was joined by three other contenders --Kaori Urata, Kaori Akagawa and Manami Takemori-- at the 10 km mark in 33:45. At 13 km, Hirata surged, and Takemori and Akagawa soon lost contact. Urata, who runs for the Tenmaya team, held on to Hirata through 15 km, but eventually had to let her go. Hirata got to the finish in comfortably cold conditions in 1:11:13, with Urata second in 1:12:02. Evelyne Kimwei's 2007 course record of 1:09:20 was never in jeopardy.
For Hirata, 28, it was her first victory of the year, and her time was a personal best by 5 seconds.