Skip to main content

Arata Fujiwara Sets Ottawa Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

photos by Brett Larner except Deriba Merga and Arata Fujiwara by Yasunori Sakamaki



In his first race since his unprecedented departure from Team JR Higashi Nihon at the end of March, Arata Fujiwara won the 2010 Ottawa Marathon on May 30. Fujiwara broke the existing course record by one minute two seconds, outkicking Kenyan Laban Moiben and junior world record holder Bazu Worku of Ethiopia to win in 2:09:33.4. His time on the difficult course was the fastest of the year by a Japanese man and came three months after his 2nd place finish in sleet and wind at February's Tokyo Marathon.



A slower than expected first 10 km over challenging hills through Quebec scuttled the expected attack on the Canadian all-comers record on 2:08:32 from last fall's Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but the top four men all broke the previous course record of 2:10:35. Two of the three pacemakers dropped off far earlier than planned, leaving Kenyan Festus Langat to do the rest of the work through 30 km. Langat struggled after 27 km, dropping as slow as 3:10/km before dropping out. Moiben immediately attacked, putting in a 2:55 km and cutting the lead pack down to five. He attacked again at 37 km, and this time Fujiwara was the only athlete to follow. Worku regained contact, but with one km to go Fujiwara applied pressure which dropped the Ethiopian and left the Kenyan dangling. With 500 m to go Fujiwara was free and clear and sailed in to claim his first marathon victory in his first-ever successful overseas run.


"The course was very tough with the hills in the first 10 km," Fujiwara told reporters after the race. "I felt terrible for the first 20 km, but then everything clicked into place. The whole last 500 m I was thinking about the beer that was waiting for me at the finish. This win is a big step forward for me, but more than what it means for me I hope it shows other Japanese runners that there are different ways to have a career and that the corporate team system needs to become more flexible." Fujiwara plans to run July's Sapporo International Half Marathon before heading to Ethiopia for high-altitude training.


In the women's race, Ethiopian Merima Mohammed ran unchallenged to win in 2:28:19 with a margin of nearly seven minutes over runner-up compatriot Radiya Adlo. Canadian Rick Ball also set a world record of 2:57:48 for an amputee marathon, the first one-legged marathoner to break three hours.


2010 Ottawa Marathon - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Men
1. Arata Fujiwara (Japan) - 2:09:33 - CR
2. Laban Moiben (Kenya) - 2:09:43 (CR)
3. Bazu Worku (Ethiopia) - 2:09:53 (CR)
4. Hillary Kimaiyo (Kenya) - 2:10:20 (CR)
5. Wegayehu Girma Tefera (Ethiopia) - 2:11:27

Women
1. Merima Mohammed (Ethiopia) - 2:28:19
2. Radiya Adlo (Ethiopia) - 2:35:04
3. Samira Raif (Morocco) - 2:36:46

Update: Among the articles covering Fujiwara's win, the Ottawa Citizen had a long article on Fujiwara's win and what it means for him. Global TV's piece was also good. This French-language article is in-depth and interesting. Lastly, a shoutout to the Metro's Tracey Tong for her pre-race and post-win coverage.

(c) 2010 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Brett Larner said…
Dude starts blog. Two and a half years later, here we are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyzJnHeA4lg
Anonymous said…
I enjoy reading your blog. keep it up.. thanks for everything
Simon said…
I've been a bigger fan of Fujiwara since reading your interview with him. Congratulations to him on a fine start to 'part II' of his running career (and 'part I' of yours as an agent!).
Haricot 微豆 said…
I was there when he received the award. What a great, record-breaking finish !!!!

Haricot
(Ottawa)

ps: I used the photo above in my blog and attributed credit to you and this article. Hope you don't mind - will take photo down if you object. Thanks !!!

Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…