translated and edited by Brett Larner
Toshihiko Seko and Takeyuki Nakayama, Jan. 26 at Tokyo Midtown. Click photos for full-sized versions.
For the first time since their glory days in the 80's, two of Japan's greatest marathoners, Toshihiko Seko (53) and Takeyuki Nakayama (50) appeared together in public Jan. 26 at Tokyo Midtown. The two former rivals gave a two-way discussion of Japanese men's marathoning as part of the Tokyo Marathon Tune-Up Week series of events promoting the Feb. 28 2010 Tokyo Marathon.
Both Seko and Nakayama ran the 1988 Seoul Olympic marathon. When Seko was injured and unable to run in the Olympic selection race at the 1987 Fukuoka International Marathon but was given special clearance by Rikuren to run another race to qualify, Nakayama infamously said, "If he wants to run the Olympics he should crawl to Fukuoka!" Looking back at that time, Seko said, "I liked Nakayama, but he always hated me. It seemed like his motivation was always, 'I'm going to smash Seko and his times!'" Nakayama replied, "I respected you. For me you were like somebody from up above the clouds, but when we raced it was a different story."
Looking at the Kenyan and Ethiopian whirlwind that has blown through the Japanese men's marathoning world, Seko said, "Japanese people's hunger has disappeared." Nakayama agreed, "They have to start running like they want it again." At this low point in the history of Japanese marathoning both men felt today's training is insufficient, saying, "If they don't work harder in training they won't become stronger."