Skip to main content

Shirotake Wins Second-Straight Tokushima Marathon

http://www.topics.or.jp/special/12254542636/2011/11/2011_132062725767.html
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news/111107/tks11110702200000-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Running along the banks of the late-fall Yoshino River and carried on by a wind of applause, 32-year-old Masahi Shirotake was the first of the 5799 finishers to break the goal tape at the Nov. 6 Tokushima Marathon, winning for the second-straight year and achieving a new course record of 2:24:49.  Headed back toward the finish in the later stages of the race he looked forward to being greeted by the traditional awaodori dancers at the finish line.  "The cheers from all the spectators were neverending and with a warmth that you can only find here," said Shirotake after the race.  "It really feels great to run the Tokushima Marathon."

Shirotake was born in Konan, Kochi prefecture.  In junior high school and high school he was a 1500 m runner, but he could never advance beyond the city-level qualifiers.  After entering the elite Tokyo University's engineering department he began playing tennis, but, he laughed, "No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get any better."  After finishing graduate school at Tokyo University he took a job with the Shikoku Denryoku power company, "so that I could work in an area with abundant nature like Kori, Shikoku."  Initially having difficulty meeting people after moving to the area, Shirotake spend most of his days off from work out running alone to explore the area.  At the Aichi Marathon he ran much faster than he expected and, deciding to focus on the full marathon, joined a local running club.

Once his goal was fixed he set out with characteristic determination and concentration to make it happen.  "I wanted to improve time even just a little bit," he said of the increase in his training volume to 700 km a month.  This year he has run four marathons.  He set a PB in February and just two months later he was on the victory stand of an overseas marathon in New Zealand, showing the toughness lurking within him.

This year's Tokushima Marathon asked runners to write their hopes and prayers for the victims of March's disasters on their bib numbers.  Shirotake wrote, "Let's keep looking upward as we walk on."  "My message wasn't just to my friends in the disaster-hit areas, but to everyone in Japan," he said.  "If we all stick together then we can reach our goal of reconstruction and recovery," he explained.  Drawing strength from this message written across his chest, Shirotake succeeded in winning Tokushima for the second time.

Already busy with balancing the demands of both work and training for the marathon, Shirotake celebrated the birth of his second child in July.  "I'm not usually able to help much with raising the children, so from the bottom of my heart I want to thank my family for their support in letting me run here.  I can't wait to tell them that I won," he said, the gold medal held tight in his hand full of special meaning.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Official Statement From Corporate Federation Director Nishikawa on Anti-Doping Violation and Sanction

A statement by Koichiro Nishikawa, chairperson of the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association

At the 37th National Corporate Women's Ekiden organized by the Japan Industrial Track and Field Association (JITA), a prohibited substance was detected in a sample taken from Moeno Nakamura, at the time a member of the Universal Entertainment team, in an in-competition drug test. After receiving notification of this result, in accordance with the recommendations of the Japan Anti-Doping Agency disciplinary panel, Nakamura was suspended for one year and three months beginning Nov. 26, 2017.

As the JITA not only do we hold anti-doping education sessions for athletes and coaches in partnership with the Japan Association of Athletics Federations and clearly specify that our events must be carried out in strict accordance with anti-doping regulations, but as the JITA chairperson I have personally given strong emphasis to the importance of "Clean Sport." In spite of these effort…

National Corporate Women's Ekiden Champion Team to be Stripped of Title After Member Tests Positive

On July 18 it was learned from several sources connected with the situation that a member of the 2017 National Corporate Women's Ekiden champion team Universal Entertainment who left the team at the end of last season tested positive for a banned substance in a doping test carried out at the ekiden. Universal Entertainment won the national championship race, its second-ever title and first in five years. But because the athlete's result will be annulled the team will also be stripped of its title, an unprecedented situation in the ekiden's history.

According to an involved source, before the race the athlete took her own personal medicine which included the prohibited substance. The athlete denied having taking the medicine in order to enhance her performance. Team management claimed the athlete had not informed then that she was taking it, and that the situation was the result of her personal carelessness.

The Universal Entertainment team was founded under the name Aruze…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…