Skip to main content

On to Beijing! Atsushi Sato Ready for Fukuoka International Marathon

http://www.sanspo.com/tohoku/top/th200711/th2007112805.html

translated by Brett Larner

A major talent looks set to finally bloom. Having set a new Japanese national half-marathon record of 1:00:25 in October, Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) of Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, says, "Doing something like that gives me a lot of confidence, but at the same time it puts a lot of expectation on me. If I don`t do well [in Fukuoka] a lot of people are going to criticize me. I have to do well." With this delicate balance of confidence and pressure, Sato heads into the Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec. 2.

During his days at Waseda University Sato set the then Japanese student marathon record of 2:09:50 in his debut marathon. Since that time he has made a name as a star corporate ekiden runner but has not lived up to the same potential in the marathon, finishing only 10th in the 2003 Paris World Championships.

Sato trained for last year`s Biwako Marathon at a high-altitude training camp in Kunming, China. He had felt that altitude was the one thing missing from his training but was disappointed with the results, having to drop out of Biwako. "I was pretty depressed. I felt like no matter what I did I couldn`t improve, that I was finished."

Sato`s coach Yasushi Sakaguchi found the light while Sato was struggling. "Sato has very high standards for himself, higher ideals than other runners. He didn`t race well because he punished himself so hard in training. His body just couldn`t match the level he was trying for. It wasn`t until right around Biwako that it finally started to catch up to his mind. Now he is ready."

In the Beppu-Oita Marathon this year Sato finished 2nd. Afterward he said, "I want to break through the wall." His training after Beppu-Oita focused on running flat out from the very start. In July`s Sapporo International Marathon Sato ran well against the foreign runners, finishing 3rd. "When I went out hard from the start my body responded well. In fact it was easier than before. I`ve found a way through the wall."

Sato is famous for the intensity of his personality and, in his words, for thinking too much. In July Sato married Japanese 800m record holder Miho Sugimori (Team Natureal), an event which has changed his outlook. "Being together, we can relax more," says Sato. And together they can prepare for the Beijing Olympics.

Translator`s note: Sato was scheduled to run in this year`s London Marathon but withdrew shortly before the race with a minor injury.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…