• Kyodo

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Yasuko Hashimoto outclassed the field to win the Berlin Marathon for her first career victory on Sunday, giving Japan the women’s title in the annual race for the fourth straight year.

Hashimoto clocked 2 hours, 26 minutes, 32 seconds while Emily Kimuria of Kenya followed in second in 2:28:18 and Ornella Ferrara of Italy third in 2:28:28.

In the men’s race, 34-year-old Kenyan Paul Tergat set a new world record with a time of 2:04:55.

Hashimoto broke away from the pack around the 34-km mark and never looked back on her way to claiming the title, following in the footsteps of compatriot Naoko Takahashi, who won the past two Berlin meets and a set a world record here in 2001. Kazumi Matsuo won the 2000 Berlin Marathon as the first Japanese ever to win the meet.

“I’m glad to have been able to run here, and even happier to have won. I hope this Berlin Marathon victory helps me in the competition for an Olympic berth,” said Hashimoto.

In the men’s action, Tergat and Sammy Korir set the pace from the outset en route to breaking the 2:05:00 barrier for the first time in the history of the sport. Korir finished second in 2:04:56 and Titus Munji third in 2:06:15 to complete a Kenyan podium sweep.

Tergat rewrote by 43 seconds the previous mark of 2:05:38 set by American Khalid Khannouchi at the London Marathon in April 2002.

Kazuhiro Matsuda, who finished sixth with a time of 2:09:49, was the top finisher among Japanese runners in the men’s race.

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