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Debutante Mizuki Noguchi pulled away from her Japanese rivals over the second half of the race Sunday to win the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon with an impressive time for a first-time runner.

Noguchi, who set the pace throughout the 42.195-km race, shook Hiromi Ominami and Megumi Tanaka off around the 26-km mark for the sole lead and went on to cross the finish line at Mizuho Stadium in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 35 seconds.

The winning time made the 23-year-old Noguchi the seventh fastest Japanese woman over the distance and was 2:24 behind the world’s fastest mark for a first-time runner set by Japan’s Yoko Shibui in Osaka last year.

Khannouchi takes Kyoto half-marathon

KYOTO (Kyodo) American world record holder in the marathon Khalid Khannouchi held off Valentine Orare of Kenya to win the men’s event at the Kyoto half-marathon Sunday.

Khannouchi, competing in Japan for the first time, crossed the finish line at Heian Shrine 34 seconds ahead of Orare with a winning time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 16 seconds. Kanagawa University student Naosato Yoshimura produced the best time among Japanese runners, clocking 1:02:51 to take third place.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s world record holder in the women’s marathon Catherine Ndereba cruised to victory with a time of in 1:08:48 while Japan-based compatriot Esther Wanjiru was a distant second in 1:10:14. Japan’s Mio Kiuchi took third in 1:11:37.

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