translated and edited by Brett Larner
Thanks to "the power of being watched," Berlin World Championships women's marathon team member Yukiko Akaba (29, team Hokuren) ran a 40 km test run at her high-altitude training camp in Sugadaira, Nagano, on June 2 in front of 10 members of the press. Akaba's form and rhythm were smooth as she completed the 6-lap practice run in 2:35:27. She smiled afterwards as she said, "That was tough. It's been a long time since I've done something this hard."
Two days before the workout Akaba experienced some discomfort in the middle toe on her left foot, but she nevertheless ran the full distance as planned. "My foot is fine," she said. Her coach and husband Shuhei told reporters, "I think the foot pain she had was just from trying out a new pair of shoes. In terms of this workout, Yukiko always trains without many people around, so sometimes the motivation to push herself is lacking a bit. Without this gallery watching today she might have only run 2 loops [instead of 6]. It's a good thing that she finished the full workout, and that's the power of being watched."
With the success of this public workout it's clear Akaba's preparations for Berlin are going well. Shuhei described the family team's plans for Akaba's summer training. Akaba will continue training in Sugadaira until June 20, adding speedwork to help her get ready for the 10000 m in this month's National Track and Field Championships. After that she will continue her marathon training. "She's going to do 2 or 3 more 40 km runs before Berlin. We're covering all the bases." Asked about her goal for the World Championships marathon, Akaba replied, "A medal, or at worst the top eight."