Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Akaba Reports All Members of Japanese Women's Christchurch Marathon Training Camp Safe and Unharmed


translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin

Shuhei Akaba, coach and husband of 2011 Osaka International Women's Marathon winner Yukiko Akaba, is in Christchurch, New Zealand with Akaba and eight other top Japanese women distance runners on a Rikuren-sponsored training camp. He just posted the following report on today's earthquake a few minutes ago on his blog. Runners at the camp include Akaba, Kayoko Fukushi, Mai Ito, Yuko Machida, Yoko Miyauchi, Yurika Nakamura, Azusa Nojiri, Risa Shigetomo and Kaori Urata.

Today there was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand. It hit after lunch just as we were getting ready for afternoon practice. The shaking was so strong that we couldn't stand up in our rooms, and the ground outside was like a liquid. There was a big crack in the road surface just outside our hotel, too. In the hotel rooms the dishes and glass were all broken, and the electricity and water stopped. The main roads are flooded and full of muddy water and there are big traffic jams everywhere.

There have been a lot of aftershocks, two or three of them almost as big as the first one. Another one just hit right now.

It's been seven hours since the earthquake hit but the staff at the hotel where we've all been staying didn't know when the electricity was going to be back on. We were nervous about our security there, so we've moved to a part of town that was relatively less damaged and where the power is back on.

Thank you for all of your concern, but the athletes and staff on the training camp are all safe and unharmed. But, the damage in town is massive and I heard that there are still people trapped in buildings and vehicles. Safety is our number one concern so we're going replan our schedule. I hope that there won't be any more big aftershocks.

To repeat, all of us, athletes and staff, are safe and sound. The phone lines here are really overloaded so please don't try to call us or anyone else in Christchurch. Thank you all for your concern.

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