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Mao Asada completes Honolulu Marathon

Kyodo

Retired Japanese figure skater Mao Asada checked one item off her bucket list Sunday in Honolulu, giving herself a passing grade after completing her first full-distance marathon.

The former world champion clocked 4 hours, 34 minutes, 13 seconds over the 42.195-km distance and was all smiles despite missing her goal of running a sub-4½-hour race.

“I’m relieved to have finished the race. I give myself an 80 percent score,” said Mao, who revealed that she injured her left knee in training last month.

“I started feeling pain around the 15-km mark but I recovered, and my body started feeling heavy around the 20-km point but I recovered again. Those ups and downs were tough. I’ve never pushed myself this hard and I have nothing but respect for all the runners.”

Mao announced her retirement from women’s figure skating in April, drawing the curtain on an illustrious career that included three world titles, three Four Continents gold, four Grand Prix Final gold and a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Kenyan runners, both defending champions, won the men’s and women’s races in course-record times. Lawrence Cherono claimed the men’s race in 2:08:27 and Brigid Kosgei the women’s in 2:22:15.

Hirotaka Tanimoto, a 32-year-old Japanese sushi chef working in New Zealand, finished sixth in 2:29:07 in the men’s race and Hiroko Yoshitomi, 33, placed fifth with a time of 2:40:13, one of five Japanese women in the top 10.

In the wheelchair race, Japan’s Masazumi Soejima won his fifth straight men’s race and Wakako Tsuchida won the women’s race for the second year in a row. The wins were the 11th for both at the event.

The race featured some 26,000 runners, including about 12,000 Japanese.