Skip to main content

Kazuhiro Maeda and the Need for Speed

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/item/112393

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Team Kyudenko's Kazuhiro Maeda (28) will run the marathon later this month at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin after finishing 2nd overall in his marathon debut in adverse conditions at March's Tokyo Marathon. It will be Maeda's second-straight World Championships appearance, having run the 10000 m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. "I'm hungry for a medal, and that's how I'm going to run," he told a crowd of 300 supporters who gathered July 30 to see him off.

Having booked his ticket to the World Championships Maeda isn't trying to take the easy way by hanging back from the competition. Facing the prospect of hot, taxing conditions he has made a firm decision to be among the leaders setting the undoubtedly fast pace. "I'll be up there cruising in the flow. If I fall off I'll do everything I can to hang on," he said with assurance.

However, it's clear these days that even in deepest summer the pace of a world-class race will no longer break. At last summer's Beijing Olympics, Japanese-trained Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya broke the Olympic record by three minutes to win in 2:06:32. 2005 World Championships bronze medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata (Team Chugoku Denryoku) advanced through the field in the second half of the race to finish 13th overall, the top Japanese position. Maeda's coach Kenji Ayabe views this year's race the same way as Maeda, saying, "Trying to come from behind isn't going to get anywhere anymore. Kazuhiro has to stay up front to make sure he finishes in the prizes."

Since June Maeda has been in full-time marathon training, working to bring his 27-minute 10000 m speed to the marathon. Running in Kokonoemachi, Oita Prefecture on a course rich in hills, Maeda has completed four 40 km workouts and one 45 km run. From July 6-17 he moved to a training camp in Hokkaido to work on his speed on track and cross country courses.

Maeda's sole race of the reason was a 5000 m on the track in 13:49.81. Marathon and 10000 m national record holder Toshinari Takaoka, now a coach for Team Kanebo, watched him run the 5000 m and told him afterwards, "When I ran my good marathons I ran the same kind of time for 5000 m that you just did," lifting Maeda's spirits and spurring him on as the big date approaches.

"Kazuhiro hasn't had any injuries or down time, and he's done pretty much 100% of the training on the menu," said Coach Ayabe. In his prime at age 28, Maeda is prepared and eager for the fight. "I've put in everything I need to. Now I'm ready to come out swinging."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

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

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …