Lidia Simon has been one of the most prolific elite women marathon racers over the past decade. On her run on Sunday, a fourth win would tie her with Katrin Dorre as the only women to win four times and move her past New Zealand’s Lorraine Moller, who won three times at Osaka…
Romaniaâ€™s Lidia Simon Set For Ninth Run on Osaka Marathon Course
Three-Time Champion Aims at Record-Tying Fourth Title
(January 23, 2009)
In her first race since a solid 8th-place finish at last summer’s Beijing Olympic Games marathon, Romaniaâ€™s Lidia Simon will run the 28th annual Osaka International Ladies Marathon this Sunday, January 25th. The only woman ever to win three consecutive titles in Osaka (1998-2000), this will be Lidia’s eighth appearance in the Ladies Marathon, to go along with her 5th-place finish in the 2007 World Championships held on the same course.
Simon, a Romanian citizen who is a long-time resident of Boulder, Colorado, is the most popular foreign athlete in the event’s history, and one of the most well-known foreign athletes in Japan. Her fame stems not only from her three consecutive wins at Osaka, but from her duels with two prominent Japanese athletes at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2001 IAAF Edmonton World Championships. In Sydney, Simon and Japanâ€™s Naoko Takahashi fought over the second half of the course before Takahashi pulled away the final four miles. Refusing to admit defeat, Simon regrouped and made a late rush to close in on Takahashi, but fell eight seconds short; nevertheless gaining the silver medal. The following summer, Simon found herself dueling with Japanâ€™s Reiko Tosa over the final two miles of the Edmonton world championships marathon. This time, she was able to take the gold over a Japanese rival, winning by five seconds over Tosaâ€™s silver medal run. With both races broadcast live in Japan, Simon gained an enormous level of popularity and appeal among not only Japanese marathon fans, but also among the general populace.
With a win on Sunday, Simon would tie Katrin Dorreâ€™s mark of four victories in Osaka. New Zealandâ€™s Lorraine Moller is the eventâ€™s only other three-time champion.
Simonâ€™s Osaka history is marked not only by longevity, but also by performance. Only once has she failed to finish in the Top Six on the Osaka course, and that was in an injury-hampered 2006 season.
Lidia Simonâ€™s Osaka Results, 1997-2008
1997 2:27:04 3rd Place
1998 2:28:31 1st Place
1999 2:23:24 1st Place
2000 2:22:54 1st Place
2005 2:27:01 5th Place
2006 2:33:53 9th Place
2007 2:32:09 6th Place
2007 (IAAF World Championships) 2:31:26 5th Place
2008 2:27:17 6th Place
This yearâ€™s Osaka International Ladies Marathon begins at 12:10 p.m. local time on January 25th. The race will be broadcast in its entirety nationally in Japan by Fuji TV.
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