Skip to main content

Shigeru Aburuya Going For the Win in Last Run at Hofu Yomiuri Marathon

http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news/national/20111207-OYS1T00173.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At February's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Olympian Shigeru Aburuya (Team Chugoku Denryoku) ran a disappointing 2:19, leading him to make the decision to hang up his shoes at the end of this season.  In his 17th year as a professional runner, Aburuya has chosen Yamaguchi prefecture's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon as the site of his final pro race.  "I'm from Yamaguchi, so I feel like it's on home ground," he said.  "I want people to see that I haven't given up."

Aburuya was 5th in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 5th again in two World Championships marathons.  Two years ago he shifted his emphasis to coaching at [Chugoku Denryoku].  With new responsibilities for athlete recruitment and other obligations of coaching, his own day-to-day training routine became difficult to sustain.  "My position [as a runner] is just an ordinary one, so it got difficult to keep it," he said.  Aburuya began his serious training for Hofu in early September.  Fighting off a body that has become easily fatigued and a spirit that has grown afraid of injury, Aburuya has roused himself for one more challenge.

Along with 2005 World Championships marathon bronze medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata and half-marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato, Aburuya was one of the three pillars that supported the Chugoku Denryoku team through its heyday.  Taking pride, motivation and confidence from his training, the quantity and intensity of his workouts increased over time.  One of the products of this increased training was the 2003 World Championships.  Aburuya, Ogata and Sato all made the five-man marathon team, but they each trained in different places in the lead-up to the championships.  Their coach Yasushi Sakaguchi made the arrangement because he felt that if they were all training together it could too easily affect their psychological readiness by causing them to make subtle adjustments to each other during workouts.

In contrast to Sato, who was captain of the elite Waseda University ekiden team, Aburuya did not become a serious runner, "until it I had almost graduated from high school."  He played youth baseball until junior high school.  Running in an ekiden on the off-season mileage he was doing to stay fit for baseball, he excelled and showed results far out of the ordinary for someone in his situation.  As a third-year he won his stage, helping his team take the overall win.  Entering Mine Kogyo High School, he joined the track and field team and began to run seriously.

Facing his last run, Aburuya feels that he has one piece of unfinished business left.  In thirteen tries so far he has never won a marathon.  "I think it would be really cool to retire with a win," he smiles.

The 42nd Hofu Yomiuri Marathon takes place this Sunday, Dec. 18.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…