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Mara Yamauchi’s PB wins Osaka marathon updated

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27 January 2008.


On a super Sunday for UK endurance running, Mara Yamauchi (Harrow AC) won the Osaka Ladies’ Marathon in a lifetime best time of 2 hours 25 minutes 10 seconds; her club mate Andy Baddeley (Harrow AC) continued his Olympic preparations with a huge 3000m PB in Boston, USA; Andrew Lemoncello (Fife AC) and Kathy Butler (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) ran half marathon PBs; and David Forrester (St Helens Sutton AC) and Jo Harvey (Exeter Harriers) won their races at the Lisbon Junior International cross country match and led Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams to victories over Spain and hosts Portugal.


Yamauchi’s Osaka triumph was hailed as “an outstanding performance” by UK Athletics senior performance manager for endurance events Alan Storey. He added: “It is just reward for all the hard work Mara is putting in.”


Yamauchi, who is on the UK Athletics lottery-funded World Class Podium programme, is living and training in Japan, homeland of her husband and coach, Shigetoshi, to prepare thoroughly for the Beijing Olympic Games.


She finished ninth over the same Osaka course at last summer’s World Championships and, after finishing 24 seconds ahead of her closest rival, Tomo Morimoto (Japan), said today: “I made a mess of things last year. I was determined to be stronger this time.”


Baddeley, whose outstanding cross country work this winter includes leading home the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Senior Men at the European Cross Country Championships and winning the 4.4km race at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International only a fortnight ago, lowered his 3000m PB from 7:54.74 to 7:45.10 in finishing third at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Craig Mottram (Australia) won in 7:34.50 with Markos Geneti (Ethiopia) seconds in 7:41.81.


Lemoncello took 3 minutes 17 seconds off his previous marathon best in Austin, Texas, in what he described as “a nice return to racing”. He led from eight miles until the last 250 metres and clocked 63:12 as he prepares for the World Trials at the UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Nottingham on 15 March.”


Butler, also working hard to bid for a place in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team to race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in her home city of Edinburgh in March, lowered her half marathon PB to 70:55 in the same race as Lemoncello. It represents a 10-second improvement for Butler, who is 11th in the UK all-time rankings.


And the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team dominated the annual Lisbon Junior Cross Country International.


Forrester and Mitch Goose (City of Norwich AC) dominated the Men’s race from an early stage. Forrester, a fabulous fourth in the Junior Men’s race at the European Championships last month, won in 21 minutes 51 seconds, five seconds ahead of Goose with Ross Murray (Gateshead Harriers) third in 22:06 and Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire and Tameside AC) – who will still be a junior next year – eighth in 22:59.


In temperatures that climbed to 17° Celsius under clear blue skies, the GB Women shone even more brightly.


Harvey won in 12:53, proving just the stronger in a finishing sprint with her team mate Jessica Coulson (Stockport Harriers), who was second in 12:55. Laura Park (Ellenborough AC) was third in 13:11 and Stevie Stockton (Vale Royal AC) 13:47.