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Japanese woman lowers W60 world record with 2:52:01 run in Tokyo

For the second time in 2021, Mariko Yugeta has beaten her own W60 marathon record

Japanese masters running sensation Mariko Yugeta broke the W60 marathon world record on Saturday, posting a blazing-fast time of 2:52:01 at the Itabashi Trial Marathon in Tokyo. The result improved on her previous world record of 2:52:13, a time that she ran in January at the Osaka Women’s Marathon. 

Coming into 2021, the 62-year-old Yugeta already owned the W60 world record in the marathon. The record stood at an amazing 2:56:54, which she ran in 2019. Yugeta has raced three times so far in 2021, and she has shattered that time on each occasion. 

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She kicked off her season at the Osaka Women’s Marathon on January 31, when she ran to what was then a world record of 2:52:13, earning her a 48th-place finish in a field of some of Japan’s best runners. On March 14, Yugeta lined up for another race, this time at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon. She failed to beat her world record that day, but her 2:54:31 result (which was good enough for 70th place) still smashed her pre-2021 PB.

Finally, on Saturday in Tokyo, she ran her new world record, lowering the mark by 12 seconds and just barely missing a sub-2:52 result. The race results from the Itabashi Trial Marathon are not yet public, and her final placing in the race is unknown. According to Japan Running News, Yugeta also set two Japanese W60 records earlier in April, running 2:43.00 in the 800m and 10:54.05 in the 3,000m to add to her already impressive resume. 

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Yugeta has had a phenomenal couple of years competing in the W60 age category, and her result on Saturday is the fourth time she has broken the marathon world record since turning 60. She kicked off her record-breaking campaign in November 2019 at the Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon, where she ran 2:59:15 to become the first W60 athlete to run a sub-three-hour marathon. Her result at the Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon crushed the previous world record of 3:02:50, which had belonged to a French athlete named Claudine Marchadier

Just a few weeks after her sub-three performance in November 2019, Yugeta broke her own world record, this time at the Saitama International Marathon in Japan. There, she finished in 18th place, running the previously mentioned 2:56:54. It took her a little over a year to beat that time, but she eventually succeeded, lowering the record significantly on multiple occasions this year. 

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What’s even more amazing is the fact that Yugeta’s 2:52 run is her new PB in the marathon. She’s 62 years old, but she’s running faster than she ever has in her life. She doesn’t seem to be slowing down, either, so the running world could be treated to a few more world records from her in the coming years.