Skip to main content

Akaba Feeling Positive About Aggressive Osaka Performance

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20100202-OYT1T00890.htm
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/100202/spg1002021231002-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Yukiko Akaba (Team Hokuren) may have dropped out of Sunday's Osaka International Women's Marathon, but she remains positive about her aggressive performance and values the experience. Akaba led the front pack right from the start, taking them through 25 km in 1:23:59. This was only 18 seconds off national record holder Mizuki Noguchi's split in her 2003 course and Japanese soil record. Rikuren Women's Marathoning director Yutaka Taketomi said her early stages were a welcome turn of events, commenting, "If Akaba can deliver on that kind of strong, assertive race it will elevate the whole level of Japanese running."

Akaba injured her left knee in mid-January and was unable to keep up the charge after 25 km. She probably had a contingency plan to drop out if her knee began bothering her during the race, but if she made any mistake it was to follow her runner's instinct to keep going. Her coach and husband Shuhei wanted her to stop early, but although he intercepted her twice at 35 km and 37 km she evaded him until he physically pulled her from the course at 38.6 km.

Akaba said, "I wanted to run my way, so I went hard from the start. I don't have any regrets, just some lingering knee pain that needs some recovery time." Shuhei commented, "I think the important thing is that she had something she wanted to do and went for it." Looking toward April's London Marathon, neither coach nor athlete feels any pessimism.

In February Akaba will be part of Rikuren's national marathon training camp in New Zealand. Shuhei will also attend the camp, meaning the couple will be separated from their 3 year old daughter Yuna for 3 weeks. Akaba plans to run the Mar. 21 Matsue Ladies' Half Marathon as a tuneup for the April 25 London Marathon. Her third marathon may have ended with her sitting on the roadside for the first time, but for Yukiko Akaba the experience was another opportunity for growth on the road to the 2012 London Olympics.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kipsang Talking Loud and Aga Mumbling Bold - Tokyo Marathon Preview

After stepping up to the big leagues last year with course records in the 2:03 and 2:19 range, the Tokyo Marathon hopes to go one better this year. Men's course record setter Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) is back, stepping up from a 2:03:50 prediction for Tokyo in January to a 2:02:50 world record prediction at Friday's pre-race press conference. In the unmentioned absence of women's course record breaker Sarah Chepchirchir the top-ranked woman is Ruti Aga (Ethiopia), coming in hot off a 1:06:39 win last month in Houston and turning heads at the press conference with a boldly mumbled 2:18:00 prediction.

Management for both Kipsang and Aga were skeptical to JRN of their athletes' predictions, people from each camp saying times two minutes slower would be more likely, one minute slower in a best-case scenario. But whatever the prediction, Kipsang was clear to fellow past champs Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) and Dickson Chumba (Kenya) about one thing: he wants a more conservative fi…

Kenyans Kabuu, Jemeli and Cheyech Lead Nagoya Women's Marathon Field

The Nagoya Women's Marathon is the largest women-only marathon in the world, one with a long history as an elite race and adapting to the times with a mass-participation field of 20,000. The last few years it has seen a series of dynamic, high-level performances by top Japanese women, from Sairi Maeda's 2:22:48 in 2015 to the 2:23:19 to 2:23:20 sprint finish battle between Tomomi Tanaka and Rei Ohara in 2016 to Yuka Ando's stellar 2:21:36 debut and teammate Mao Kiyota's 2:23:47 breakthrough last year.

Maeda, Ohara and Kiyota all return this year to face the Kenyan trio of Lucy Kabuu, Valary Jemeli and Flomena Cheyech Daniel. Kabuu went to high school in Japan before moving on to the big leagues, but she hasn't finished a marathon since her 2:20:21 in Dubai 2015. Cheyech also used to be based in Japan as is a familiar face here, winning the last two Saitama International Marathons. Jemeli is making her Japanese debut, and with a 2:21:57 win in Prague and a 2:20:53 …

Kawauchi Takes Six Minutes Off Kitakyushu Marathon Course Record to Lead Weekend Results

After a seven-week break from the marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) scored his third-straight marathon win, second-straight course record and came just shy of a third-straight negative split as he ran a completely solo 2:11:46 to take almost six minutes off the Kitakyushu Marathon course record. Following up on negative split wins at December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon and January's Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, the latter a course record by half an hour, Kawauchi was on his own in the first 100 m in Kitakyushu and never looked back.

In the hilly first 10 km his pace fluctuated from high-2:12 to high-2:10, but once Kawauchi got into the flatter section of the course he settled out on track for a high-2:11 to low-2:12 time. After a 1:05:51 split at halfway he slowed slightly on the outbound trip to the turnaround near 31 km, but picking it up again after 35 km he marked a 6:34 from 40 km to the finish to stop the clock at 2:11:46,  a 1:05:55 second half …