FUKUOKA – Satoru Sasaki finished third at the Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday, throwing his hat into the ring for a place at next summer’s Olympics after logging a personal-best time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 56 seconds.
The 30-year-old finished the highest among Japanese in one of the qualifying trials for Rio de Janeiro berths. Former world record holder Patrick Makau of Kenya claimed the title for the second year in a row with a time of 2:08:18.
“I thought my time was going to be a little bit better so it’s a mixture of pleasure and frustration,” said Sasaki, who broke his own record by 51 seconds to make the podium.
Chiharu Takada was fifth on 2:10:55 and Yoshiki Otsuka came seventh on 2:12:46, while Yuki Kawauchi, who won the bronze at the Asian Games in October last year, settled for eighth on 2:12:48.
Having finished outside the top three among Japanese, Kawauchi, 28, who has a full-time job as a civil servant for Saitama Prefecture and is known as “the citizen runner” in Japan, will need to beat 2:06:30 in future races to have any chance of securing one of the three spots available for Brazil.