Skip to main content

Hoshino Takes Seventh Fuji Mountain Race Title

http://mainichi.jp/area/yamanashi/news/20100724ddlk19040123000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

With 4686 runners making up its largest-ever field, the 63rd annual Fuji Mountain Race took place July 23. With last year's race having been cut off at Mt. Fuji's 5th Stage due to fog and rain at the mountain's summit, this year under dazzling summer skies the event returned to its usual format with runners competing in either the 21 km, 3000 m climb Summit division or the 15 km, 1460 m climb 5th Stage division. In the men's Summit race, Shinya Takahashi, 35, of Iwate Prefecture, took his first win in 2:53:00. Yoshimi Hoshino, 44, of Shizuoka Prefecture, the course record holder and two-time winner in the 5th Stage division, took her fifth Summit win eight years after her last Summit victory. 5th Stage men's winner Satoshi Kato was only 38 seconds off the course record, running 1:19:57, while women's winner Mina Ogawa was only a minute and a half off Hoshino's record. It was the first win for both Kato and Ogawa.

Beginning this year, the Summit division is limited to runners who have completed 5th Stage division in less than 2 1/2 hours within the past three years. Thanks to this restriction, the rate of participants completing the Summit race under the 4 1/2 hour time limit rose 10% among men and 9.8% among women. 1198 men completed the Summit division, a finisher rate of 54.1%, while only 48 women reached the mountain's top, a finisher rate of 39.0%. On the 5th Stage course 2041 men finished, a rate of 97.9%, and 248 women completed the distance under the time limit, 94.3% of the starters. While temperatures at the start were over 30 degrees, Mt. Fuji's peak was only 8.6 degrees.

"I like courses that are so steep you have to crawl," Takahashi told members of the media afterwards, "so this was perfect for me, especially the rocky part near the peak. That was a lot of fun." At the 5th Stage checkpoint more than 10 runners were ahead of Takahashi, but, he says, "I told myself to just take my time." One by one he overtook the leaders as the course steepened, and near the 9th Stage checkpoint he took the lead and ran unchallenged to the finish, his first win in the prestigious Mt. Fuji race. However, his joy at winning is tempered by feelings of regret towards his colleagues at Hachimantai City Hall in Iwate. Takahashi leaves work promptly at the end of each day in order to get in his training rather than staying to work overtime with everyone else in the office. "Since today is a weekday I couldn't tell any of them that I was taking time off to come run here," he said. "I don't think I'll be able to tell any of them that I won once I get back. But for me this wasn't about winning or losing, it was about conquering myself."

Women's Summit winner Hoshino commented, "I came here to say thank you to Mt. Fuji for the last time. I was not thinking about winning." The 5th Stage course record holder, Hoshino won the Mt. Fuji Summit race four times in a row from 1998-2002. Her best time of 3:05:16 would be good enough to put her in the top ten in the men's race most years. But, she says, "Age is catching up to me, and my strength is slipping away. I've had a lot of problems with fatigue and injury." In recent years Hoshino has repeatedly dropped out of the Summit race and has frequently opted to run the 5th Stage course instead. She planned for this year's Fuji Mountain Race to be her last. "This time I wanted to leave everything, including my past shame, on the slopes of Mt. Fuji," she said. "But now I'm already thinking about running next year."

Men's 5th Stage winner Kato was running the race for the first time. "Damn, that was long. I'm beat," he told reporters. "Once we got into the woods I was completely on my own." Kato trains on mountain trails near his home in Aichi Prefecture each morning before work. "I always train in the mountains, but getting to the 5th Stage felt way longer than 15 km," he said. "I'm really happy to win. I wanted to run the Summit race, but this was my first time and with the rule change I couldn't. I'm going to take it easy for a while now but I'll be back next year."

Women's 5th Stage winner Ogawa was also running for the first time. "I was only aiming to finish, not even thinking about winning," she laughed after the race. A competitive marathoner, Ogawa typically trains 20-30 km a day, but the area she usual trains in is relatively flat. "The sunshine was so strong," she said, "and once we went off the roads onto the trails it got so tough that I was pretty doubtful of finishing." Nevertheless, she gutted it out and beat runner-up Noriko Onodera by more than 15 minutes. "I'm pooped. The people who run the Summit course are unbelievable," she laughed again. "I have to do more strength training to get ready for it next year."

Translator's note: Summit Division women's 3rd place finisher Kiyoko Shirakawa was the top Japanese woman at this year's 24 Hour World Championships.

2010 Fuji Mountain Race - Top Finishers
click here for complete results
Summit Division Men
1. Shinya Takahashi - 2:53:00
2. Suguru Emoto - 2:53:53
3. Dai Matsumoto - 2:56:52

Summit Division Women
1. Yoshimi Hoshino - 3:18:41
2. Naomi Ochiai - 3:27:18
3. Kiyoko Shirakawa - 3:30:47

5th Stage Division Men
1. Satoshi Kato - 1:19:57
2. Hiro Tonegawa - 1:26:01
3. Yoichi Nakanishi - 1:26:06

5th Stage Division Women
1. Mina Ogawa - 1:33:54
2. Noriko Onodera - 1:49:08
3. Keiko Nagasaka - 1:50:38

Comments

Anonymous said…
This race is BRUTAL!! 2006 I missed the 4:30 cutoff by the slimmest of margins, 2007 went back and finished with less than 2 1/2 minutes to spare. Was think about 2011, but with the rule change???
Chris Pavey said…
Thinking about doing this race in 2011. I'm keen to find out how many Australian's have completred this race before and what times in. There doesn't seem to be any race results in English? Not sure if you could be of help Brett?

cheers

Chris
JA3 said…
Darn, really disappointed to hear about the rule change, I'm living in Japan for a short time and I'd been looking forward to attempting this race in 2011.

I guess I'll still do the 5th stage race and cross my fingers that I can make it back to try the summit race within the qualification timeframe...
Anonymous said…
Hi
Planning on flying to Japan and running Fuji with my brother. Nothing on the English web site mentions the requirement of qualifying by completing 5th station race. Maybe it doesn't apply to overseas applicants?
Brett Larner said…
Sorry, I don't know whether the rule applies to overseas entries.

Most-Read This Week

Norway's Moen Blasts 2:05:48 European Record to Win Fukuoka

More than living up to the promise of his 59:48 Norwegian half marathon record at October's Valencia Half, Sondre Nordtad Moen took down all comers to win the 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon in a European record 2:05:48.

【福岡国際マラソン】

🏆優 勝 モーエン 2:05.48! pic.twitter.com/lpzMUYHfhu — NOBUKI T&F (@nobu_777__tf) December 3, 2017
Superb pacing work took the lead group through 30 km with almost perfect 3:00/km splits along the way, a race of attrition that shaved down the field to a core group of five real contenders. Defending champ Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) was the first big name to go, with 2:06 man Lani Rutto (Kenya), the debuting Keita Shitara (Japan/Hitachi Butsuryu) and last year's 3rd-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Japan/Saitama Pref. Gov't) among the other big names to lose touch in the first half, leaving Moen, favorite Bedan Karoki (Kenya/DeNA), London Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), last year's 5th-placer Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea) and Boston Maratho…

Morita Goes Sub-32 in 10000 m Debut

Running her track 10000 m debut of a 32:27 road 10 km in the spring, Kaori Morita (Panasonic) closed hard off a slow opening pace to win the National Corporate Federation Women's Long Distance Time Trials 10000 m Friday afternoon in Yamaguchi.

A new filler meet to take up space on the calendar following the National Corporate Women's Ekiden's move to November, the Corporate Time Trials meet featured one heat of 3000 m and three 5000 m heats before its main focus, the 10000 m. After a 3:19 first 1000 m Morita's teammate Yuka Hori, winner of the 10.9 km Third Stage at Nationals, took over, leading the field at 3:12 to 3:14 / km pace through 7000 m. Morita, who won the 7.0 km First Stage, went to the front at that point with a 3:14 to 8000 m before taking off.

Clocking her fastest split up to that point with a 3:07 between 8 and 9000 m, Morita closed impressively with a 3:01 final km to dip under 32 minutes as she won in 31:59.94. Steepler Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) w…

Saitama International Marathon Top Two's Times Annulled Due to Last-Minute Misdirection by Race Officials

At the Nov. 12 Saitama International Marathon, Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel won a sprint finish over Bahraini Shitaye Habtegebrel by 3 seconds to take her second-straight Saitama title in 2:28:39. On Dec. 11 race organizers announced that both runners' times had been annulled.

In the midst of the pair's battle for the win, race officials misdirected the pair into the righthand lane on the final corner instead of the lefthand lane in which the finish line was located. Both ran over the curb dividing the two lanes and returned to the original course before finishing.

At the time JAAF executive director Mitsugi Ogata said, "This was a mistake by the organizers and the athletes did nothing wrong. There was no effect on the finishing order and no advantage gained in terms of the distance run." After later consultation with JAAF officials, race organizers decided that Cheyech and Habtegebrel had not covered the complete distance and that their times should be annulled. N…