In Japan last weekend (19 February) more than 12,000 people of all ages competed in what has become the country's biggest long-distance running event.
In Japan last weekend (19 February) more than 12,000 people of all ages competed in what has become the country's biggest long-distance running event. The event is divided into races over two distances....10 and 30 kilometres. Winner of the main 30 kilometre race was the Japanese runner Mitsuo Suzuki, who was too fast for the race favourite, Gary Tuttle of the United States.
SYNOPSIS: Despite the chilly weather the main street of Ome City was packed for the marathon. Ome City is on the western outskirts of the Japanese capital of Tokyo and for the last eleven years has staged this race, which attracts runners from all over Japan as well as overseas. The marathon has always been a star attraction but this year it was more popular than usual. A grand total of 12,3000 men and women of all ages took part. That was more than 2,000 up on last year and a new record.
Running long distances can often strain bodies, particularly those of the more elderly competitors. This was shown last year when an old man died of a heart attack during the race. So this year all competitors had to undergo a medical examination to check their physical condition.
The pre-race checks paid off. Although 22 runners had to be taken to first-aid stations for treatment for minor disorders such as leg cramps, there were no serious accidents.
There were also no problems controlling the marathon, despite the large numbers taking part. 250 policemen and a number of motorised units kept order along the way.
This was the scene towards the end of the main 30 kilometre race, when the leading runners were in sight of the finish.
Mitsuo Suzuki was the fastest. Running for his company, Nippon Electric, he won the race in a time of one hour, 33 minutes and 40.2 seconds.
Just finishing the marathon, however, was enough for other runners, many of whom had been training for this day all year. Other results were Yutaka Taketomi of Japan second, and Gary Tuttle of the United States third.