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

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of university ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to sta…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved