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Yamamoto finishes fourth in New York City Marathon

Kyodo, AP

Hiroyuki Yamamoto finished fourth in the men’s race at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, posting the best result ever for a Japanese in the event.

Yamamoto, running in his first overseas marathon, crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 49 seconds, nearly four minutes after 2015 world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea who at 20 became the youngest winner of the annual race.

“This is the result of having continued to train without giving up even when I was out of form,” said Yamamoto, who fell behind the leading pack at around 22 km but remained in contention for fourth place.

“When you’re looking to compete on the world stage, perseverance is the minimum requirement,” the 30-year-old runner said. “I got the feeling that I may be able to aim for a better placing.”

Mary Keitany won the women’s race for the third straight time, pulling away with more than 16 km to go and breezing home to the finish line in Central Park.

“Alone in the streets,” the 34-year-old Kenyan said.

Keitany defended her title in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 26 seconds, one second behind her time last year. She beat countrywoman Sally Kipyego by nearly four minutes, and became the first woman to win this race three times in a row since Grete Waitz took five straight from 1982-86.