Skip to main content

Men's Marathon Training Camp Departs for New Zealand

translated by Brett Larner

Note: This article repeats that of a few days ago but fleshes out the details significantly.

Led by Team Chugoku Denryoku head coach and Rikuren director of men's marathoning Yasushi Sakaguchi, the athletes in Rikuren's men's marathoning reinforcement training camp depart Mar. 7 for two weeks in New Zealand. Departing from the usual practice, this year's camp is targeting university runners. Among the five student athletes attending the camp is two year-straight Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage record setter Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.). We spoke to Director Sakaguchi about the training camp.

Last year Rikuren revived the overseas training camps which had been a fixture of its calendar in the 1990's. What is the aim this time in focusing on athletes under age 23?

Our goal is to get our most talented young runners looking toward the marathon from the start. We have a lot of runners who can handle 2:08, but right now we're lacking the people who can realistically target 2:06. We want to help them realize that the Hakone Ekiden isn't everything and to look out at the world with higher goals in mind.

Who is attending?

Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.), Takuya Ishikawa (Meiji Univ.), Yo Yazawa (Waseda Univ.), Hiroki Mitsuoka (Kyoto Sangyo Univ.) and Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.). Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) and Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) are also joining.

Why are Sato and Matsumiya going to be there?

Like Sato (finishing last) in Beijing, we want them to learn that a world-class athlete keeps his motivation to compete in the face of tough international competition. A local event like the Hakone Ekiden is different. We want them to feel how tough it is to be internationally competitive.

What kind of training will they be doing?

While focusing on cross-country we'll be building the base for track season. They won't be doing actual marathon training. We don't expect a dramatic change to happen in just two or three weeks, but by experiencing this kind of high-level elite training we hope that the tension will be born within them. In normal group training there are athletes of a variety of levels and the best athletes may have a little room for slack, but on a national-level training camp that is not the case. I listened to what World Championships marathon silver medalist and Team Daiichi Seimei head coach Sachiko Yamashita had to say, and she believes that this sort of opportunity is the gateway to building the motivation to make a national team.

What are you hoping to build toward?

Developing the perseverence to keep going for the long period of time necessary to make a big change is the most important thing. If these young athletes have a high-quality experience and come out of this thinking, "I want to do this again," that feeling will spread to other runners on different teams. If they begin to think, "I want to be part of that too," then being invited to join this program will become fiercely competitive. If we can harness that then the level of our national teams can only improve.


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Japan Names Asian Games Marathon Team

On Mar. 16 the JAAF announced the Japanese marathon team for this August's Jakarta Asian Games. Hiroto Inoue (MHPS) and Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) make up the men's squad, with Keiko Nogami (Juhachi Ginko) and Hanae Tanaka (Shiseido) named to the women's team.

A member of the Japanese national team for last summer's London World Championships, Inoue ran an all-time Japanese #4 time of 2:06:54 at February's Tokyo Marathon, the 2nd-placing Japnaese man behind national record setter Yuta Shitara (Honda). Sonoda ran a PB of 2:09:34 to finish in the top Japanese position at 2nd overall earlier in February at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.

The silver medalist at November's Asian Championships marathon, Nogami was 5th earlier this month at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a PB of 2:26:33. Tanaka was next behind her in Nagoya in 6th in 2:27:40, the only member of the Asian Games team not to have yet qualified for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials race. A meda…