Mara Yamauchi is a top British marathon runner who has achieved the qualifying time for the London Olympics and holds the second fastest time by a British woman in 2011.
Mara was a latecomer by today’s standards to marathons running her first marathon at the age of 30. At the age of 34, she won the Osaka International Ladies’ marathon. In September 2007 she finished 9th in the World Athletics championships marathon, and in 2006 and 2007 she finished 6th in the Flora London marathon and she came 6th at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Mara came into the 2009 Flora London Marathon off a new personal best of 2:25:03 she had run the previous November in Tokyo. In the best shape of her life, she hung onto defending champion Irina Mikitenko through the late miles of the race and was rewarded by slashing nearly two minutes off her personal best at 2:23:12 for second place.
An arduous six-day journey to reach London in 2010 due to travel problems caused by the Icelandic volcano may have proved to much as a fatigued Yamauchi posted a 2:26:16. It was still noteworthy as the fastest tenth place time in history.
Injuries ruled her out of competition from the end of 2010 to September 2011. She made her return at the Grand 10 Berlin race in September and was unchallenged, winning in a course record time of 32:19 minutes. This served as preparation for November’s Yokohama Women’s Marathon, where she went on to take third place in a time of 2:27:24 hours and gained entry to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
She has represented Great Britain internationally at the IAAF Half-Marathon Championships, the World Championships marathon in 2005 and 2007 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She also won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres.
Yamauchi has personal bests of 1:08:29 for the half-marathon (Marugame, Feb. 2009) and 31:49.40 for 10,000 metres.
Born in Oxford, Mara was named after “Mara River” which runs through Kenya where her parents lived for 25 years. In June 1995, she graduated from Oxford University in Politics, Economics and Philosophy and in 1996 graduated with a Master Degree in Political Economy from LSE.
She lived in Tokyo from 1998 to 2003 (where she met her husband who is now her coach) working as a Foreign Office diplomat. After returning to Britain she became head of the diversity team in the Human Resources Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
She is currently on unpaid leave from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to focus on her running career.