translated by Brett Larner
Having finished 45th in the London Olympics men's marathon, Arata Fujiwara (30, Miki House) has confirmed that he is planning to go after the Japanese national record at next February's Tokyo Marathon. Fujiwara left his training camp in Fujimi Kogen, Nagano to attend an event honoring his alma mater Takushoku University's Olympians at a Tokyo-area hotel. Asked at the event about his future goals Fujiwara announced, "I'm strongly motivated to go after a time goal. I want to run at least 2:06, and that means I'll be aiming for the national record. If I'm going to go after a time, it'll be at that race."
"That race" is of course Tokyo, where he has finished 2nd three times. This year he ran 2:07:48 in Tokyo, making him Japan's all-time 7th-fastest man. "The way they put the race together makes Tokyo more and more suitable for going after a time goal," he said with obvious confidence. In making the announcement, Fujiwara is putting himself forward as the one who will erase the now 10-year-old national record of 2:06:16 set in 2002 by Toshinari Takaoka.
On the other hand, Fujiwara's rival, civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi, is on a roll and feeling good with three straight marathon wins in the last two months. With regard to Kawauchi's upcoming bid to make the Moscow World Championships team at December's Fukuoka International Marathon, Fujiwara said, "I want him to give me a sharp jab." After the heartbreak of his Olympic failure, the lone wolf of Japanese marathoning is once again on his feet and aiming upwards.
Translator's note: In addition to his three 2nd-place finishes, Fujiwara was also 57th in 2:29:21 at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon.