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Fukushi takes third place in Chicago Marathon

Kyodo

Veteran Japanese runner Kayoko Fukushi finished third in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday in her second full marathon, emerging as a strong contender for a place in next year’s London Olympic Games.

Fukushi, the 5,000-meter and half-marathon national record holder, kept herself in the lead group alongside Russian Liliya Shobukhova and Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia beyond the halfway mark and held on to grab a spot on the meals podium with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 38 seconds.

Shobukhova won in 2:18:20, the second fastest women’s marathon time, for her third straight Chicago title while Dibaba, the 10,000-meter silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, came second in 2:22:09.

Fukushi said she was satisfied with her time in her first full-marathon appearance since her disappointing performance in Osaka in January 2008, when she could only manage a 19th-place finish despite pre-race media hype over her marathon debut.

“I think I did pretty well because I was able to run under (2 hours and) 25 minutes, although it was hard to keep up with the pace. I just wanted to run as fast as I could until I ran out of gas,” Fukushi said.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Moses Mosop, who holds an unofficial world record of 2:03:02, overwhelmed the field with a new course record of 2:05:37, ahead of countrymen Wesley Korir (2:06:15) and Bernard Kipyego (2:06:29). Koji Gokaya was fastest among Japanese runners, finishing fifth in 2:12:15.