Skip to main content

Gebrselassie Gives Words of Support to Kawauchi

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/120228/spg1202280505000-n1.htm
http://mainichi.jp/enta/sports/general/track/news/20120227spn00m050018000c.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter


Pre-race and pre-haircut.

A day after the Tokyo Marathon Olympic selection race, pre-race favorites Arata Fujiwara (30, Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and Yuki Kawauchi (24, Saitama Pref.) were on opposite sides of the fence after finishing 2nd and 14th.  While Fujiwara celebrated securing his Olympic ticket, Kawauchi appeared at a post-race ceremony at his high school with a "penitent" shaven head, a sign of how seriously he has let go of his hopes of making the London Olympic team.  "I was unable to produce results and I want to apologize to everyone who has supported me," he said.  "My shot at the Olympics is over.  With this result I do not expect to be selected.  I have no regrets about it."

The same day, former world record holder Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) made an appearance as a "coach" at an Adidas-sponsored program at a Tokyo-area school after finishing 4th in the Tokyo Marathon.  When a journalist showed him a picture of the bald-headed Kawauchi, Gebrselassie gave a shout of surprise and shock.  Hearing of Kawauchi's words of despondency Gebrselassie sent him his personal encouragement, saying, "You cannot give up.  If today was a bad day then you must look to tomorrow, and then to think of next year.  There is no other choice."

Although he has given up on his Olympic dream, the truth of the stimulus this full-time working amateur has provided to the Japanese men's marathon world remains unshaken.  "If other Japanese athletes make us all proud and run 2:06 or 2:07 to make the Olympic team then maybe my being here meant something," he said.  In the wake of Tokyo he plans to run the April 29 Metro Group Dusseldorf Marathon, where German Olympic hopefuls and Kenyans will also be lining up.  "This time I want to run in the lead pack and then show all the Germans and Kenyans the strength of the Japanese," he said.  For Kawauchi's competitive spirit, there is no finish line.

photo (c) 2012 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

60-Year-Old Hiromi Nakata Wins Tottori Marathon Overall Women's Race

The Tottori Marathon held its 12th running on March 10. In light rain and 11˚C temperatures 3717 people ran Tottori's one-way course that passes local historic sites such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Tottori Castle ruins. Running 3:12:44 for the overall women's win was 60-year-old Hiromi Nakata.
"I was as surprised as anyone that I won," said Tanaka. "I had to stop at the toilets early on and lost some time, but I tried using the double inhale, double exhale breathing method that the actor Kankuro Nakamura uses on the Idaten TV show and got into a good rhythm. Thanks to that I could just keep going and going. I had no idea I was in 1st, and when they put up the finish tape as I was coming in I thought, 'No way!'""
Nakata is a resident of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 2017 she ran the fastest time of the year in Japan by a 58-year-old, 3:05:02. In the mornings she does housework and works in her garden for an hour, fitting in 30 to 60-minute run…

Meet Ken Nakayama

Chuo University fourth-year Ken Nakayama is running Sunday's United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, the eighth year that the New York Road Runners have invited top Japanese university men from November's Ageo City Half Marathon to run their half. You might have seen his training partner Kensuke Horio finish 5th in the Tokyo Marathon in his debut a couple of weeks ago. Nakayama is one of the very top graduating seniors in Japan this year, but his route to that level has been one of the most unconventional.

Japanese distance running is highly systematically organized, with top high schools feeding into top universities where the best runners will run the Hakone Ekiden and get recruited to top corporate teams and then go on to become the country's top marathoners. Scouting at the university level is intense, and for the most part it's pretty clear early on in high school who the cream of the crop are going to be.

Nakayama was nobody in high school. He played soccer in junior…

The 2020 Olympic Trials Qualifiers and the New Olympic Standards

Sunday's Nagoya Women's Marathon and Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon pretty much wrapped up qualification for the Sept. 15 MGC Race, Japan's new 2020 Olympic trials in the marathon. There's still a chance for people who haven't qualified yet to get in if they can clear the wildcard standards, 2:24:00 or a two-race 2:28:00 average for women and 2:08:30 or a 2:11:00 average for men, by the end of April. At least two men with good chances of making it, Kenta Murayama (Asahi Kasei) and Asuka Tanaka (Hiramatsu Byoin), are planning to race again in April to try to go that route, and there will probably be others. But realistically the numbers of qualifiers probably won't change too much from what they are now.

As of the end of Sunday's races, 14 women and 30 men have qualified. On the women's side, the Tenmaya corporate team, the most successful at putting women on national teams in the marathon, has produced the most qualifiers with three, Honami Maeda, Mizuki …