RETURN OF THE CHAMPION
Olympic champion NAOKO TAKAHASHI returns to the BERLIN MARATHON on September 29, to defend the title she won last year while accomplishing one of the greatest athletic feats of all time.
2002-08-08At the 28th real,-Berlin-Marathon, the Japanese star become the first woman to run the distance under two hours, 20 minutes - a historic achievement.
The tiny Takahashi ran a world record 2hr 19min 46sec around the streets of the German capital realising a dream nurtured by two generations of marathon women. Added to her Olympic title - the first ever for a Japanese (man or woman) - this made Takahashi the biggest star in a country where the marathon is virtually the national sport. The record has been broken in the meantime, and now stands to Kenyas Catherine Ndereba, with 2.18.47.
But Takahashis popularity remains unaffected in Japan and Berlin, although she hasn raced since her world record. At the moment, she is training at altitude in Boulder, Colorado, just like last year.
"I am looking forward to my return to Berlin," said Takahashi yesterday from her US base. "The city, the organisation and the course are all fantastic, and I hope I will be able to excite the many Berliners along the course once again".
German TV network, ARD will broadcast the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON live from 08.35 until 11.30 on September 29. FUJI TV will broadcast the race live in Japan, as they did last year, when they achieved a record 53 million viewers.
With a field limited to 33,000 runners and 8,000 skaters, Berlin on September 29th will host its biggest marathon ever.
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