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

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …