Benita Johnson of Australia, who set a marathon personal best, 2:22:36, in the 2006 Chicago marathon in October, won the half marathon division of Sanyo road race in Okayama on 23 December.
Although she said, “My goal will be to have a good, strong run and try to win the race. I don’t have a specific time in mind, the placing is more important to me,” before the race, she won the race with the course record of 1:10:01.
The previous record was 1:10:23. The course is quite hilly, so the time is quite respectable.
“The hills don’t bother me – I enjoyed running over them in the 10km last year,” said Johnson, who won the 10km division of Sanyo road race last December with 32:26. For this half marathon, Johnson trained in Falls Creek, Australia, which is located at the altitude of 1500m.
The Kenyans who run for corporate track team in Japan took the next two places. The defending champion Evelyne Kimwei, who runs for Sunix track, finished second with 1:10:56. She was followed two seconds later by Kiragu Pauline Wanguru, who runs for Kyudenko track team.
1) Benita Johnson (AUS) 1:10:01 course record
2) Evelyne Kimwei (KEN) 1:10:56
3) Kiragu Pauline Wanguru (KEN) 1:10:58
4) Yuri Kano (JPN) 1:11:03
5) Natalya Berkut (UKR) 1:11:07
6) Simona Staicu (HUN) 1:12:33
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF