Saipan bet Mamiko Oshima-Berger had another record-breaking run in the 50K division of last Saturday’s 2014 Saipan Marathon.
Oshima-Berger completed the longest race of the day in 4:04:14 to defend her women’s division crown and beat 12 other runners in the ultra marathon event. She eclipsed her 2013 winning time by about seven minutes, as she clocked in at 4:11:02 last year when she dethroned inaugural 50K champion Yoko Yamazawa of Japan. The Japanese won the 2012 edition of the 50K (4:19:21), but dropped to second in 2013 after submitting only 4:28:24.
The 44-year-old Oshima-Berger defeated Yamazawa by about 17 minutes in 2013 and this year, the former had a wider margin (about 30 minutes) as runner-up and 11-year-old Kasuga Watabe cut the tape at 4:33:50.
Though she finished way ahead of her closest pursuer, Oshima-Berger missed her target—under four hours.
“It was a good race despite the fact I could not break 4:00:00. I was not happy yesterday (Saturday) but I am today (Sunday). I now realize that it was the best time as far as I could go with my current ability, physically, and especially mentally,” said Oshima-Berger in an email to Saipan Tribune.
“The last four miles was tougher than I expected. I slowed down ridiculously and I even was laughing at myself and said ‘what are you doing? You are too slow.’ I slowed down because of the heat and humidity but then later on I saw the times of the Top 3 (50K) who are not accustomed to this hot, hot weather but they didn’t seem to have any problem with the heat and the humidity. I figured that I am just a whiner and I need more practice,” the three-time Saipan Marathon champion said.
Oshima-Berger was talking of the two Japanese and one Chinese, who completed the 50K between the 3:30:00 and 3:50 mark. Official times and names of the Top 3 finishers were not listed on the results posted at the event site at press time.
The Saipan veteran runner was the fifth overall finisher in the 50K event that brought runners to as far Mariana Resort to the north, a side trip to Capital Hill (near the road leading to Mt. Tapochao) and to the Pacific Islands Club’s southern parking lot before heading back to start/finish line at the American Memorial Park/Micro Beach. Oshima-Berger was greeted by friends and supporters after she cut the tape.
“Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers. Since I was too tired and focused during the race, I might not have showed my thanks at each water station. Last but not the least, big thanks to my husband and my friends who always encourage me,” the back-to-back 50K champion added.
Joining Oshima-Berger and Watabe in the Top 6 in the women’s division were Rika Katsuki (4:37:36), Yoshiko Arai (4:52:29), Hiromi Onuma (5:55:32), and You Matai (6:09:96).
The Top 6 finisher and age group champions were recognized during the awards ceremony at the Fiesta Resort and Spa Saipan. Making it to the list of age group top finishers were 20 to 29’s Fumihiko Kiso (5:37:59) and Yuri Takenaka (6:09:43); 30 to 39’s Tomoya Kishi (5:44:49) and Atsuko Tsuchida (6:27:47); 40 to 49’s Masazumi Yoshida (5:17:17) and Chiaki Kawamoto (6:35:01); 50 to 59’s Ichiro Kubo (5:22:55); and over 60’s Kiyoshi Kadota (5:25:29) and Hiroko Kamatani (6:51:09).
Meanwhile, results in the 10K, marathon, and half marathon will be reported later this week.