Skip to main content

Focusing on Speed, Fujita is Ready for a New Start

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2009/01/20090109t64043.htm

translated by Brett Larner

Former Japanese men's marathon national record holder Atsushi Fujita (32, Team Fujitsu) is on the road to a rebirth after finding a new style in his running. Fujita set the former national record of 2:06:51 at the 2000 Fukuoka International Marathon, but he has never been able to meet his goals since. "I set that record just running on momentum and energy," says Fujita. "Next time I want to do it by precise calculation." His first step on his new road will be at March's Tokyo Marathon.

A 2:06 marathon is 3 minutes per km. Last year Fujita focused on his track speed, running a new 5000 m PB of 13:54.65 and his fastest 10000 m since 2000. In the New Year Ekiden he ran the 3rd-fastest time on the 4th stage to lead Team Fujitsu to its first victory in 9 years. Fujita reflects, "The last few years I lost some of my speed. I had to work hard to run 3 minute pace." As the years piled up, Fujita began to feel that it was getting harder to maintain his legs' strength only through running, leading him to begin training on exercise machines. "Now," he says, "it just feels like I'm floating. I'm making up for what I'm losing with age through efficiency and experience."

At the 2007 Fukuoka International Marathon Fujita was 8th, missing his chance to make the Beijing Olympic team and leading him to stop training with his alma mater Komazawa University in April and return to Fujitsu's training grounds in Chiba after a four-year absence. Leaving his solitary life behind to live in the company dormitories, Fujita says, "Meals are really lively and a good time. I've always been on my own before this so I never had a chance to see this kind of lifestyle. My perspective's broadened a bit and it's helped me to feel more comfortable about my life in athletics." With fewer wrinkles in his forehead and a noticeably brighter disposition, this veteran has found a new love of his trade as he moves on toward his next goal.

*Translator's note: Atsushi Fujita still holds the fastest 35-40 km and 40-42.195 km splits on the Fukuoka course from his 2:06:51 national record run in 2000, faster than the Fukuoka splits of world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru, silver medalist Jaouad Gharib, bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede and 4th placer Deriba Merga. A comparison of their marks:

Atsushi Fujita
35-40 km: 14:44 40-42.195 km: 6:23 finish time: 2:06:51

Tsegaye Kebede
35-40 km: 14:47 40-42.195 km: 6:25 finish time: 2:06:10

Haile Gebreselassie
35-40 km: 14:50 40-42.195 km: 6:32 finish time: 2:06:52

Samuel Wanjiru
35-40 km: 15:14 40-42.195 km: 6:36 finish time: 2:06:39

Deriba Merga
35-40 km: 15:13 40-42.195 km: 6:47 finish time: 2:06:50

Jaouad Gharib
35-40 km: 14:56 40-42.195 km: 6:53 finish time: 2:07:19

Comments

Most-Read This Week

How Things Played Out - Hakone, Marathon Development, Where Things Went, and What's Still Ahead

Four and a half years ago JRN published a look at 20 years' worth of the Hakone Ekiden and the relationship between development at the university level on Japan's Hakone circuit and later success in the marathon. There are a lot more important things going on right now, but, since we've got some time on our hands, let's follow up on where things have gone since then and what might still be ahead.



In the original article I wrote, "In the next 4-6 years we are going to see a lot more Japanese marathoners running fast times, the first really significant overall change in Japanese men's marathoning since Barcelona ('92).....Once that ball gets rolling we should see an impact on the all-time marathon lists and when that happens you are talking real times. There's nothing to suggest Japanese men are going to start running 2:03 or 2:04 marathons, but given the numbers involved 2:07 and 2:08 should become normal, with 2:06 in range of the top men the way 2:07…

Osaka Governor Admits "It Would be Pretty Difficult" to Put On Osaka Marathon This Year

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, 44, appeared remotely on a morning news talk show on May 31. Asked by one of the hosts whether the Nov. 29 Osaka Marathon, one of the world's ten largest marathons, would be held this year, Yoshimura answered, "I think it would be pretty difficult this year, but the organizers are in the final stages of their decision-making process. They will make an announcement soon."

Held annually since its launch in 2011, this year the Osaka Marathon is set to celebrate its tenth edition and its first running as a World Athletics label race. As mayor of the city of Osaka Yoshimura himself ran and finished the 2017 race. With a new course finishing at Osaka Castle Park, last year's race had 32,989 finishers. With that number of people it is likely that they would come into close proximity to each other at the start in front of the Osaka Metropolitan Government offices.

"We are in discussion with all involved parties," said Yoshimura. …

Ageo City Half Marathon Canceled - AGU Coach Hara Calls for "Medical Worker Support Half Marathon" Instead

On June 2, the organizers of the Nov. 15 Ageo City Half Marathon announced that this year's race has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Every year Ageo attracts hundreds of collegiate runners hoping to impress their coaches over the distance and have a chance of making their Hakone Ekiden dreams come true. Marathon national record holder Suguru Osako showed his talent there in 2010, winning Ageo his first year at Waseda University in a still-standing Asian junior record 1:01:47. Since the 2011 race, every year the top two Japanese collegiate finishers have been invited to run March's NYC Half Marathon. This year Ageo was certified by World Athletics as a world-class event, but its cancelation means that a key part of the fall season has been lost.

Susumu Hara, the outspoken head coach of this year's Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University, was quick to take to Twitter to comment. "One of the most important fall university races, the Ageo Half, …