Skip to main content

A Tough Road to Complete Recovery: Megumi Kinukawa

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2009/05/20090530t14040.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The way back to a complete recovery can be steep and grim. The greatest young hope of Japanese women's distance running, 10000 m junior national record holder Megumi Kinukawa (Team Mizuno), finished last of 35 entrants in the May 17 East Japan Jitsugyodan Track and Field Championships women's 5000 m, virtually staggering in to a 17:54.97. "This is the best I can do right now. More than being discouraged I just feel surprised." Just 19, she's learning the hard way the bitter taste of tears.

"I've been injured and sick and....." Kinukawa trails off. Last year she was infected with an unidentified virus which caused her to miss most of the year including her dream of running in the Beijing Olympics. In October she resurfaced, breaking her own national record with a mark of 31:23.21 which cleared the Berlin World Championships A-standard. Having felt a total comeback within her grasp, the shock of Kinukawa's performance at the East Japan meet was huge.

Kinukawa ran the 2007 Osaka World Championships women's 10000 m as a senior at Sendai Ikuei High School, feeling the spotlight for the first time. However, it was just months later that she became ill and faced a year of setbacks. This year she began to experience Achilles tendon trouble in January, then caught a severe flu virus. "I couldn't even stand for a month," she reveals.

Kinukawa began training again in May, but she experienced breathing trouble severe enough to require emergency examination. Her unstable condition continues. With the National Track and Field Championships coming up in late June, Takao Watanabe, her coach since high school, has opted for her to sit out for the second year in a row. "She's still young," he says. "What she needs now is complete rest."

Translator's note: Takao Watanabe was the head coach of national champion Sendai Ikuei High School, guiding a young Samuel Wanjiru to his first half marathon world record among other achievements. Following Kinukawa's new 10000 m junior national record in October he resigned from Sendai Ikuei to become her personal coach. The pair's stated goal is the marathon in the 2012 London Olympics.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Tokai University Outruns Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin to Win First Izumo Ekiden Title in Ten Years

Kanagawa's Tokai University outran two-time defending champion Aoyama Gakuin University to win the 2017 Izumo Ekiden, its first win at one of the Big Three university men's ekidens under head coach Hayashi Morozumi and Tokai's first Izumo title since 2007.

Formerly head coach at Nagano's Saku Chosei H.S. where he produced the fastest-ever all-Japanese high school team and standout Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) on a cross-country based training regimen, since taking over at Tokai in 2011 Morozumi has set about systematically developing the Tokai program into one with the greatest depth in Japanese university running. On paper AGU had a slight advantage over Tokai over the first half of Izumo's six stages, but with Tokai's second half runners, including its top two men Shota Onizuka and Hayato Seki, ranked at the top of their stages AGU needed a decent lead by halfway to stand a chance.

From the start it wasn't to be. In hot and sunny conditions Tokai&#…

From Madarao to the World - Tokai University's Hayato Seki

Long-awaited by university ekiden fans, the 2017 ekiden season is underway. The Izumo Ekiden was held Monday, with Tokai University living up to expectations to score the win. The athlete who broke the finish line tape as Tokai's anchor was second-year Hayato Seki. This year Seki has run PBs of 13:35.81 for 5000 m and 28:23.37 for 10000 m, marking his growth into one of the unquestionable stars of the university ekiden scene.

A week earlier, the Madarao Forest Trails race was held on Oct. 1. Flashback to the 2012 edition of the race five years ago. The winner in the 16 km Beginner Class men's race was none other than Seki, then in his third year of junior high school. The picture below is of his win at the 2012 Madarao Forest Trails race. Even though he was only a junior high school student Seki ran brilliantly, opening up a huge lead of well over four minutes over the 2nd-placer.


After that Seki entereed Nagano's ekiden powerhouse Saku Chosei H.S. and has now grown into …

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…