SENDAI (Kyodo) Yukiko Akaba won the women’s race while Japan-based Kenyan runner Harun Njoroge successfully defended his men’s title at the Sendai International Half Marathon on Sunday.

Akaba, who has made Japan’s squad for this summer’s athletics world championships in Berlin, ran alone from the 7 1/2-km mark and crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 08 minutes 50 seconds to clinch her first title.

Kenya’s Juria Mumb came second in 1:11:21 and Hiroko Shoi followed in third in 1:11:27.

Njoroge won the men’s race in 1:02:02 while fellow Kenyan Julius Gitahi clocked 1:02:33 for second and Yukihiro Kitaoka was third in 1:02:34. Toshinari Suwa, who was sixth in the full marathon at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, was 23rd.

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