Reigning Saipan Ultra Marathon champion Mamiko Oshima-Berger showed her winning ways in the Hirosaki Apple Marathon in Japan last Sunday.
Oshima-Berger finished second overall out of the more than 200 female runners who joined the 42.195-kilometer race in Aomori last weekend. She timed in at 3: 15:05, just less than seven minutes behind her personal best time and Saipan Marathon record of 3:09:49, which she posted in 2012 before she moved up to the ultra 50K race this year.
Last weekend’s race in the area known for its apples was a first for Oshima-Berger and a warmup for a much bigger competition in Japan next month—the Fuji Marathon. The many-time Saipan long distance runner said since it was her debut in the Apple Marathon, she had to pace herself early, as she was expecting big climbs in the second half of the course.
“I was told that the first half would be very hilly and I took it easy on the first half because of this, but it was not a hilly course at all. By the time I figured this out, there was not enough distance to catch up my time in the second half. I was not in as good a condition as I hope to be in my next marathon (Fuji Marathon) and I misunderstood the course. But having said this, yes, I am okay with my time,” she said.
Besides placing second out of more than 200 female runners in the field, Oshima-Berger was walso ranked No. 76 among 1,442 finishers. The No. 1 female finisher clocked in at 3:00:30, while the male top placer submitted 2:53:54.
“It had good views. I knew the weather would be cold and I wanted to take Josh to that area,” Mamiko added when asked to compare the course to previous races she had been to.
Her husband, Joshua, joined the event, too, but competed only in the half marathon after participating in a triathlon tournament with Paul Viator in Murakami a week earlier.
After failing to set a new PB in the Apple Marathon, Oshima-Berger is aiming to get that feat on Nov. 24 when she participates in the Fuji Marathon or the former Lake Kawaguchi Marathon.
“I will run the Fuji Marathon this year again. It is the sister event of the Saipan Marathon and I am invited by its organizer and MVA (Marianas Visitors Authority). I will try to break my personal best,” the veteran runner said.
Besides the marathon in Japan, the 2010 Micronesian Games 5 and 10K gold medalist will also compete in several local races before the 2013 season ends. She will be joining the PIC Half Marathon on Nov. 10, the Annual Turkey Trot Run later next month, and the SSC Jingle Bell Run and Christmas Island Relay in December. She will also team up with her husband in the 2013 Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle Race set for Dec. 7.