translated and edited by Brett Larner
London Olympics men's marathoner Arata Fujiwara (31, Miki House) revealed Nov. 9 that his primary motivation in running the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon is to defeat civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (25, Saitama Pref.).
Appearing at an event in Tokyo commemorating the Tokyo Marathon's entry into the World Marathon Majors, Fujiwara was asked about his reasons for running Fukuoka. He answered, "Once the Olympics were finished and I had to think about what would motivate me next, I thought a showdown with him would be the most fun."
After Fujiwara's Olympics ended with a 45th-place finish as the last Japanese man on the team, this season it's time for another swing at the younger "upstart." With four wins in seven marathons so far this year, Kawauchi is a golden target. His stated goal for Fukuoka is the 2:07:59 qualifying time for the 2013 World Championships marathon team.
Fujiwara also indicated that he will probably be going for a fast time in February's Tokyo Marathon. "In my training for Fukuoka right now I'm focusing on faster turnover," he said. His eyes narrowing with intensity, he added, "There's no problem with recovery time for Tokyo. If Tokyo goes well I'll run 2:04~2:05."
Translator's note: Fujiwara had the fastest Japanese men's time of 2010 and currently leads 2012, while Kawauchi was the fastest Japanese man of 2011. In their head-to-head marathons so far Fujiwara leads Kawauchi 2-1.
2012 Tokyo Marathon: Fujiwara: 2:07:48, 2nd Kawauchi: 2:12:51, 14th
2011 Tokyo Marathon: Kawauchi: 2:08:37, 3rd Fujiwara: 2:29:51, 57th
2010 Tokyo Marathon: Fujiwara: 2:12:34, 2nd Kawauchi: 2:12:36, 4th