Skip to main content

Sho Matsumoto Looking to Take Down Kawauchi and Pick Up His Ticket to Worlds

http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/20121126/ath12112605020003-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

At the Nov. 25 Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon, Kawagoe resident Sho Matsumoto, 27, won overall in a course record time of 1:05:33.  As a first-year at Tokyo University he showed his determination by making the 2005 Hakone Ekiden on the Kanto Regional University Select Team.  Crossing Kawagoe's finish line with arms outspread almost eight years later, he outran all the invited university runners in the field.  "That was a lot faster than I planned," he said with a rueful smile.  "I'm surprised too.  Maybe I overdid it a little....."  The truth is that Matsumoto is entered to run next weekend's Fukuoka International Marathon, a selection race for the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  "I just planned to go out at a moderate, conservative pace, but it was feeling easy and I found myself running in 2nd.  With 500 m to go I kicked for the win.  I'm probably going to pay for it next week."

At Kobayashi H.S. in his native Miyazaki, Matsumoto ran the National High School Ekiden Championships as a first-year and again as a third-year.  After entering Tokyo University he ran the 2005 Hakone Ekiden on the Kanto Regional University Select Team, finishing 10th on the Eighth Stage.  The fact that the elite Tokyo University even had a running team became news, and Matsumoto earned a reputation as a top scholar-athlete.

After graduating he joined the TEPCO corporate ekiden team but resigned after three years.*  He now works at the Nikkei Business Service company in Shinjuku, Tokyo.  Since quitting the TEPCO team, as an amateur he frequently runs in Yoyogi Park nearby his office and on the Koedo Kawagoe Half Marathon course in Kawagoe Suijo Park near his home.  He typically runs 10 to 20 km on weekdays and reserves his 30 km long runs for weekends, a perfectly ordinary training schedule.

Burning in Matsumoto's mind, however, is his greatest rival, the role model for amateurs everywhere, Yuki Kawauchi, 25.  Kawauchi is also on the entry list for Fukuoka.  Matsumoto couldn't ask for a better chance for a good fight.  "(In Fukuoka) I want to be up front and on TV in the first half," he says.  "If I don't blow up in the second half then hopefully I can finish around 2:13."  With his times steadily improving lately, Matsumoto says his ultimate goal is, "to break 2:10 and make the Japanese National Team in the marathon."  Next week may well turn into a battle between amateurs for a Moscow ticket, and that is sure to create some buzz.

*Translator's note: This would likely mean that Matsumoto quit the team following the Mar. 11, 2011 disasters, when members of TEPCO's ekiden team were sent to help with cleanup in Fukushima after the explosions at TEPCO's nuclear plants in that area.  

Matsumoto's recent results include a 2:19:26 win, a PB by 6:53, at the Oct. 28 Oikawa Marathon and a 1:04:01 at the Nov. 18 Ageo City Half Marathon.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kiplagat, Ichiyama, Tadese and Shitara Lead Marugame Half Elite Field

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon is always one of Japan's deepest races of the year on the men's side, its 2012 running setting a world record for the most men under 64 minutes in a single half marathon in history. On the women's side the field is always smaller but still home to the 1:07:26 Japanese national record set by Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) back in 2006.

Edna Kiplagat (Kenya), Sara Hall (U.S.A.) and Betsy Saina (Kenya) lead the women's international field, two-time defending champ Eunice Kirwa (Bahrain) giving Marugame a miss this year. Fresh off a 1:09:14 PB at last month's Sanyo Ladies Half, Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) leads a trio of Japanese women with recent sub-1:10 times, something that has become a puzzling rarity lately. Fukushi is also back, her recent best of 1:12:04 a long way from her best days.

Speaking of which, world record holder Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea) will be looking to break 60 minutes for the first time since 2015. His toughest…

Kawauchi Outruns 103 Teams to Win Yashio Isshu Ekiden

2017 London World Championships marathon 9th-placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) gave local club and high school runners something to remember when he ran Sunday's Yashio Shinai Isshu Ekiden solo against 103 six-runner teams. Kawauchi spent most of the 20.0 km race in 2nd, briefly taking the lead at the end of the 3.9 km Second Stage before falling behind after a Third Stage course record run by Kotaro Minowa (Matsudo T&F Assoc.).

Down 13 seconds, Kawauchi came back to split a time 14 seconds faster for the 2.7 km Fifth Stage than its fastest ekiden runner, Yusei Otsuki (Kasukabe H.S. A). Now ahead of Matsudo and out front alone, Kawauchi saved his biggest running for last, dropping a 2:40 final km to split 14 seconds under the 12:34 course record for the 4.0 km anchor stage. Desperate to catch him, Matsudo anchor Shunsuke Matsui went 6 seconds under the old record to become its official new holder but couldn't match Kawauchi's closing speed.

Kawauchi's…

Cheboitibin, Kiprono and Sonoda Top Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon Elite Entries

With just over two weeks to go the organizers of the Feb. 4 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon have released their elite field for this year's race. With its history as an elite men-only race Beppu-Oita's women's field is still tiny given its status as an IAAF silver label race, but this year promises a good race between two local 2:32 women, 2016 winner Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) and Yuka Takemoto (Canon AC Kyushu), that should see the 2:39:57 course record fall. Defending champ Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) also returns with a 2:38:43 PB from last fall that puts her range of the course record as well.

The men's race is heavier-duty, with a spot in the MGC Race Tokyo Olympic Trials available to the top Japanese man under 2:11:00 and to up to five others if they clear 2:10. Hayato Sonoda (Kurosaki Harima) and Taiga Ito (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) are the only Japanese men in the field to have run those kinds of times in the last couple of years, and with support from 2:09~2:10 men