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Post-Race Quotes From the Japanese Men's World Championships Marathon Team

translated by Brett Larner

Kitaoka, Oda, Kawauchi, Nakamoto and Horibata with their team silver medals, Japan's eighth-straight World Championships finishing on the men's team podium. Click photo to enlarge.

Hiroyuki Horibata (Team Asahi Kasei) - 7th, 2:11:52

"I came down with a fever before the race.  It didn't hold me back and I ran with my full strength, but now I can't breathe through my nose.  It was cloudy on race day and felt very cool so I thought it was going to go out fast, but it started a little slow.  After 5 km the pace started going back and forth, something I've never experienced before.  It was my first time running Worlds, and up until 15 km I had some margin to enjoy it, but after 20 km things picked way up and I could feel the margin disappearing from my legs.  I figured the pace would slow down again so I thought I would try to stick with them, but things never slowed down and I drifted back from the top pack.  This time my training was solid all the way until the end, so even once I was all alone I had confidence that I'd be able to keep going like I did in practice.  Finishing 7th met my pre-race goals, so I'm very happy about that."

Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Yasukawa Denki) - 10th, 2:13:10

"It was good that I was able to hang on through the second half but I'm disappointed at not making the top eight.  I feel disappointment and a sense of accomplishment about fifty-fifty.  I couldn't roll with [the Africans] when they started shaking things up."

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) - 18th, 2:16:11

"Personally speaking it was a failure, but I'm glad I was able to help win a [team] medal.  I achieved my minimum goal.  I had trouble sleeping because of stress, but once I started running it was like normal.  After I finished my hands, feet, lips, thighs and shoulders were all shaking.  I'm glad I could do something for Japan.  In the winter I'm going to run Fukuoka and Tokyo.  I'll be shooting for 2:07 there, or at least Seko and Nakayama's best times"

Yoshinori Oda (Team Toyota) - 29th, 2:18:05

"I couldn't handle the speed all the international runners brought.  In my training before the race I focused on building my stamina, but I can see now that I should have worked on my speed more as well.  The left leg injury I've had before felt like it was on the edge of coming back, so I tried to just maintain a steady pace but it was hard and I had to just run by feel.  It was a good experience.  It'll be a bitter memory but I hope to learn from it for my next marathon."

Yukihiro Kitaoka (Team NTN) - 38th, 2:23:11

"I'd had injury problems and was just barely ready.  After the beginning of August I felt a lot lighter but I didn't have nearly enough training under my belt.  It was hard after 5 km and there was no way around that, but since I was running for the Japanese national team I'm glad I was able to finish."

Update 9/7/11: Click here for a screenshot of American track fansite Letsrun.com's strangely bigoted response to Japan's silver medal.

source articles:
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/p-sp-tp0-20110905-830600.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/osaka/sports/article/news/20110905-OHO1T00079.htm
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/chuspo/article/sports/news/CK2011090502000071.html
http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/110905/spg1109050506002-n2.htm
http://www.asahi-kasei.co.jp/asahi/jp/csr/sports/rikujo/result/2011/110904.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830294.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830298.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/seriku/2011/news/f-sp-tp0-20110904-830299.html

Comments

Brett Larner said…
The letsrun link to this article erroneously says Japan won bronze, not silver, and its author apparently believes team scoring is based on top three placing rather than combined time.

Not sure what to make of letsrun's seeming dismissal of the Japanese team's accomplishment as only due to "some other countries screw[ing] up." Japan had the third-best team on paper and, while it's true that they got silver rather than bronze thanks to three Ethiopians dropping out, Japan would have had to be the one screwing up not to finish in the medals.
Kenyan Runner said…
Hi Bret,

I have also been a little bit baffled by some of Letsrun's comments of late. Anything achieved by a non American is in danger of being downplayed or undervalued at the moment it seems.

Congrats Japan - I think anyone with the slightest knowledge of world marathoning knows that Japan is an incredibly strong country in terms of depth!
Anonymous said…
Awesome running in difficult conditions.
Brett Larner said…
Via Race Results Weekly:

Marathon World Cup:
(Score there men per nation on total time):

1. KEN, 6:29:23 USD 20,000
2. JPN, 6:41:13 15,000
3. MAR, 6:42:18 12,000
4. ESP, 6:53:41 10,000
5. CHN, 6:54:32 8,000
6. KOR, 6:57:03 6,000
7. USA, 7:04:52
[7 teams total]

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

Launched in September, 2015, Runnet Japan is an English-language branch of Runnet, Japan's dominant online entry service, catering to the international community.  The number of races offered on Runnet Japan is still limited but constantly expanding.

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