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Reports from Japan this week are detailing the court case of former IAAF World Championship marathon runner Yumiko Hara. 

Hara was caught shoplifting from a 7-11 store in the summer and was handed a short-term, one-year prison sentence followed by a three-year suspended sentence. The judge who reviewed her case in Ashikaga took into consideration one of the main reasons provided in her defense which was that her 17-year eating disorder triggered her shoplifting habit.  

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Hara, who is now 35 and competed for Japan in the 2005 and 2007 IAAF World Championships, said that she suffered from bulimia during her career and after she left the sport. Allegedly, she started shoplifting as a way to save money on food which she knew she would bring up later. 

According to Japan Times she was arrested in August. She was given her sentence though on Nov. 8. She was arrested after being caught on camera. 

According to Toyko Reporter, she stole eight items from the store. The value of what she took was worth about 2,700 yen which translates to about $30 Canadian dollars. As the news report explains, she fessed up to the allegation as well. 

The Asahi Shimbun news outlet explained that she sought treatment for her eating disorder at a hospital not long before this case went before the judge.That was a detail which came up during her sentencing. Though it has been a while since she retired, she has continued to battle with the disorder long after her competitions on the road and on the track. She reportedly sought treatment at a psychiatric hospital after being released on bail.

Hara is known on the running scene as she represented Japan in two IAAF World Championship events in 2005 and 2007. Her marathon PB is 2:23:48. Her best race was arguably at the World Championships in 2005 where she placed sixth among the world’s top elites in that event. She returned in 2007 to place 18th. She was also sent competed in the World Half-Marathon Championships twice, though in 2002, she did not start her race. Her half-marathon time is 1:09:28. 

When reviewing her case, the judge claimed that she had a problem of habitually shoplifting however he determined it not to be out of selfish desire. 


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