Skip to main content

A Comeback Victory for Yokoyama in Ome

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20090216-OHT1T00040.htm

translated by Brett Larner

At the 43rd Ome Marathon on Feb. 15, Tomoe Yokoyama (32, Team Toto) won the women's 30 km race in 1:47:01 six years after her previous Ome victory in 2003. Now completely recovered from a right leg injury which sidelined her career for years, Yokoyama is enthusiastically looking forward to running the marathon in the 2012 London Olympics.

Running under a picture-perfect blue sky, Yokoyama left her competitors far behind as she broke the goal tape, exhibiting in her comeback Ome victory the kind of running not seen since her long-ago first win in 2003. "I'm really grateful to everyone who's helped me up 'til now," she commented afterwards. "And my confidence to race is back." Wearing the laurel wreath for the first time in six years as she stood upon the highest point of the podium, Yokoyama's smile transmitted her joy to all.

The period between her wins has been one of nonstop hardship. Soon after Ome 2003 she injured her right heel in training, after which running anything longer than a half marathon became extremely painful. In the midst of this time of trouble, her sponsor Seiko Instruments disbanded its running team in March 2005. She moved to Team Phiten alongside Naoko Takahashi, but after only a year moved again to Team Toto. These six years were, "unbelievably tough," she recalls quietly.

Yokoyama's older brother Kei, 34, a former runner for Team Fujitsu, is now head coach of Team Toto, and together the pair of siblings is working toward a common goal. She receives acupuncture and other medical treatments for her heel, and to improve her core strength has incorporated a six-hour mountain-climbing course in the mountains around Kita-Kyushu into her training. To cut down on the stress on her brother, this time Yokoyama entered Ome's general division. In the first half of the race she ran in the 2nd pack, but after rounding the turnaround point she accelerated rapidly and opened a gap of 28 seconds over 2nd place.

"Ome this year was the first step toward the marathon," Yokoyama says confidently. "I'm planning to run Boston in April, then next season I'll do one of the three big women's marathons (Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya)." She intends to dedicate herself completely to her running over the next three years, even holding off on getting married until after the London Olympics. "I want to be an athlete like (Naoko) Takahashi," she concludes. From Ome's streets a runner's dreams of the world stage have been born again.

Tomoe Yokoyama - born Aug. 9, 1976 in Tokyo. 152 cm, 41 kg. Lives with her parents and two brothers. Began running in junior high school and training in Yoshio Koide's Sakura AC while in high school. Ran for Team Seiko Instruments and Team Phiten before moving to Team Toto in 2006. PBs: 10000 m - 32:55.83 / marathon: 2:34:37

Translator's note: Although it seems unlikely, under Rikuren's new selection procedures a strong performance in Boston would put Yokoyama into consideration for the 2009 Berlin World Championships marathon team.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Shiroyama's 8.40 m Jump Leads Four National Records at Athlete Night Games in Fukui

Held in the stadium where Japan saw its first-ever sub-10 clocking for 100 m, Saturday's new Athlete Night Games in Fukui meet produced four national records highlighted by an incredible men's long jump competition. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) opened with a jump of 8.32 m +1.6 m/s that shattered the national record dating way back in 1992 by 7 cm. Hibika Tsuha (Toyo Univ.) followed him with a jump of 8.21 m + 2.0 m/s that put him into the all-time Japanese top three, then bettered that with an 8.23 m +0.6 m/s.



Out of nowhere, Shotaro Shiroyama (Zenrin) knocked them both back in the record books on his third jump with a new national record of 8.40 m +1.5 m/s, the #2 mark in the world so far this year and only his second time clearing 8 m with a legal wind. Japanese fans were quick to compare the trio's results to this season's Diamond League meets.

DL Shanghai
🥇8m24🥈8m16🥉8m14
DL Lausanne
🥇8m32🥈8m19🥉8m13
DL London
🥇8m37🥈8m32🥉8m11
DL Fukui
🥇8m40🥈8m32🥉8m23 htt…

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Naoki Okamoto

Naoki Okamotoage: 35
sponsor: Chugoku Denryoku
graduated from: Tottori Chuo Ikuei H.S., Meiji University

best time inside MGC window:
2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

PB: 2:11:29, 1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:37.71 (2009) 10000 m: 28:05.84 (2011) half marathon: 1:02:16 (2009)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
DNF, 2019 Beppu-Oita Marathon
1st, 2018 Hokkaido Marathon, 2:11:29 – PB
DNF, 2018 Boston Marathon

other major results:
4th, 2019 Shibetsu Half Marathon, 1:03:53
2nd, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:05:13
1st, 2018 Chugoku Corporate Ekiden Sixth Stage (19.0 km), 56:25 – CR
1st, 2018 Ome 30 km Road Race, 1:33:09
21st, 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 2:13:53

We’re picking Okamoto as our official dark horse of the men’s race. The second-oldest man in a field, Okamoto is a journeyman corporate leaguer who never broke 2:12 and whose PBs all came a decade ago. But, nearing the end of his career, over the last two years he has really come on…

One Month Until the Japanese Olympic Marathon Trials

It's one month to go until what's bound to be the best marathon of 2019, Japan's 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, the Sept. 15 Marathon Grand Championship Race. Up to now Japan has typically picked its Olympic and World Championships marathon teams based on performances in a series of specific races, primarily the Fukuoka International Marathon, Tokyo Marathon and Lake Biwa Marathon for men, and the Saitama International Marathon, Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon for women. This time around they're going with a U.S.-style one-shot trials race, the MGC Race.

People had a nearly two-year window from August, 2017 to April this year to hit tough standards to qualify. Only 34 men and 15 women made it, and after withdrawals for the Doha World Championships the MGC Race's final entry list is just 31 men and 12 women. Swedish Athletics Federation official Lorenzo Nesicalled it "the most difficult marathon race ever to quali…