SURREY — The second annual Surrey International World Music Marathon turned into a family reunion at the finish line.
Tatsuya and Rika Hatachi brought a burst of emotional warmth on a soggy Sunday morning when the Coquitlam couple swept the gold medals for the men’s and women’s marathon races.
“It’s just incredible,” Tatsuya Hatachi, 46, said after watching his wife cross the finish line. “I knew she had been running well so I thought she might have a good chance to win the race. I still can’t believe we both won. I’ve never won a marathon before so I am very happy.”
Rika Hatachi, 45, not only won the women’s race, she also set a new course record for the event, completing the event in two hours, 59 minutes and 41 seconds.
Her winning time was almost as exciting for her as actually winning the race.
“It was great; I felt so good all the way through,” she said. “This is my first sub-three (hour) time and that has been my goal for a long time. To reach my goal, it's just so wonderful and to be a race record is even more exciting.”
Just a dozen minutes earlier, Tatsuya Hatachi had surprised himself by winning the men’s race in a clocking of 2:47:18, a full 12 minutes faster than runner-up David Papineau of Vancouver.
“The pace was really good and the temperature was cool so it was great conditions for running,” Tatsuya Hatachi said.
Rika Hatachi was not the only runner to set a course standards Sunday as both the men’s and women’s half-marathon winners saw their names entered in the record books.
In the women’s half-marathon, Sidney’s Lucy Smith blazed through the course in a time of 1:20:32 to win by more than four minutes over New Westminster’s Suzanne Evans.
A former national team member, Smith said she found a group of men running at a comfortable pace and stayed with them for more than half the race before picking up speed for the final 10 kilometres.
“It was a little windy at times, but really, the conditions were fine,” she said. “There were a lot of people on the course but it wasn’t crowded. I really liked the trail portion of the course. I’m an old cross-country runner so when the course went from road to trail, I loved it. I thought, ‘Great, I can do this for another five-kilometres.’”
Abbotsford’s David Jackson also rewrote the record book, completing the men’s half-marathon in 1:11:14. Drew Nicholson of Surrey — the winner of last year’s full marathon, was second in a clocking of 1:14:55.
The rain and wind forced many marathon entrants to drop down to the half-marathon distance which contributed to the fast times in the shorter event.
The intermittent heavy rains and accompanying winds did keep the temperatures cool, but the weather also deterred residents from gathering to cheer the runners on. Jackson said the musical format of the race, with 30 stages scattered along the route, kept the runners’ spirits up.
“It’s a long distance so its good see all the different bands out there and the different types of music,” he said. “It makes the race a little more interesting. Sometimes there are not a lot of people out there cheering you on so its nice to see the different bands every half a kilometre.”
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