Skip to main content

Big Mouth Scores the Big Ticket - Yuichiro Ueno in Berlin

http://www.asahi.com/sports/column/TKY200907250112.html

translated by Brett Larner



In the National Track and Field Championships 5000 m last month, Yuichiro 'Big Mouth' Ueno's usual stupidity was nowhere to be seen.* Hanging back at the rear of the lead pack, Ueno bided his time before attacking to take his first national title. Watching the race, Hiroshi Tako, Ueno's coach since his early days at Chuo University, commented, "Hmmn, this isn't like him at all." That's how much Ueno wanted to make his first World Championships team.



Three days later came the 1500 m. Right from the first lap Ueno took off at a dash. All the real middle distance runners in the race waited as they followed their carefully-built race plans. On the last lap the leaders tried to run Ueno down, but it was too late. "Man, it's pretty weak that nobody even tried to race me," he said in his post-race interview. Ueno became the first person in 24 years to win the 1500 m and 5000 m double at the National Championships. People across the country laughed in amazement that Big Mouth had finally actually done something.

Ueno's career goal is the marathon. That hasn't changed since he entered high school, when he famously said in an interview, "I'm going to set the world record." He plans to concentrate on speed until he's 29. Currently he trains about 400 km a month. Compared to Olympic gold medalists Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, who trained over 1000 km a month, it seems like Ueno isn't working hard enough.

The reality is different. Ueno missed out on the 2007 World Championships in Osaka and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of injuries. "I can't even count the number of times I cried because I couldn't train," he says. "Finally, finally, finally, I did it." Ueno understands that rather than killing himself in training, now it's the time for him to develop himself and flesh out his abilities. He may be a clever runner after all.

Yuichiro Ueno
Born in Saku, Nagano. 183 cm, 58 kg. 23 yrs. old. Runs for Team S&B. While at Saku Chosei High School he broke the 12 year-old 10000 m high school national record. An ekiden star while at Chuo University, he was known as one of the 'Four Princes' of the university ekiden world along with Satoru Kitamura (Team Nissin Shokuhin), Yuki Matsuoka (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) and Hideaki Date (Team Chugoku Denryoku). PBs: 1500 m - 3:42.51 / 5000 m - 13:21.49 / 10000 m - 28:27.39

*Translator's note: Ueno has a long-standing reputation for talking big and blowing up even bigger.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Ueno and another runner wore what looked like black belts. What's it benefit/purpose?
Brett Larner said…
They're for lower back support. A lot of younger Japanese guys wear them, especially ones who graduated from Saku Chosei High School like Ueno and Yuki Sato. All the Saku guys have similar form, so the belt may counteract some of the strain caused by running that way.
Anonymous said…
A 3:42 guy should not be able to participate at worlds...I don't know how this guy can be cocky when he is not even world class
Brett Larner said…
Ueno is running the 5000 at Worlds, not the 1500m. The fact that he's cockier than he deserves is kind of what makes him interesting.

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 Hakone 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 stay wi…

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