Noguchi wins tough marathon

The first Olympic marathon to be run in Greece in over a century was won yesterday evening by Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi, a week before the men’s race will bring down the curtain on the Athens Games. She completed the grueling course, much of which is uphill, in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 20 seconds, 49 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba. The bronze went to Deena Kastor of the USA. It was the first Olympic marathon race to be run by women on the course from northeastern Attica to Athens, which is meant to represent the route taken by an Athenian messenger who, according to ancient writings, sped to the city to announce the victory in 490 BC over an invading Persian army. The first Olympic marathon race, run during the 1896 Athens Games, was won by Athenian shepherd Spyros Louis. «It was very hot, very hard,» Noguchi said after crossing the finishing line in the Panathinaic Stadium, a Roman edifice reconstructed for the 1896 Games. «A big thank you to the audience.» British favorite Paula Radcliffe pulled out of the race 6 kilometers from the end.

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