Skip to main content

Waseda Ace Osako to Join Salazar's Nike Oregon Project

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2012/12/25/kiji/K20121225004849190.html
http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20121225-OHT1T00207.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

In a Dec. 25 interview about the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, Waseda University junior Suguru Osako, Japan's #1 collegiate runner and one of the brightest hopes of Japanese men's distance running, revealed that he will join the 2012 national champion Nissin Shokuhin team following his graduation in 2014.  Osako's long list of achievements includes the 2011 National University Championships 1500 m title, the 2011 World University Games 10000 m gold medal, and the Asian junior half marathon record.  He chose the Nissin team, he said, "because they are going to give me the freedom to do what I want to do."  According to Waseda head coach Yasuyuki Watanabe, Osako plans to move to Portland, Oregon to be coached by one of marathon legend Toshihiko Seko's great rivals, American Alberto Salazar.

Coach Watanabe revealed, "Starting next year Osako is going to be based in the U.S.A. for his training."  His destination is the Nike Oregon Project in Portland, Oregon.  The pride of Waseda, Osako has been accepted into a special program for advanced students. Beginning in 2013, while continuing on as a member of the Waseda long distance team and as a student he will go to Oregon on a short-term foreign study program.  Following his graduation in 2014 he will join the Nissin Shokuhin team for competitions but plans to relocate to Oregon on a more permanent basis for training.

The Nike Oregon Project has the reputation of being one of the world's leading training environments, coached by the ruthlessly competitive Seko-era Salazar.  The group includes London Olympics double gold medalist Mo Farah (GBR) and London 10000 m silver medalist Galen Rupp (U.S.A.), one of only two non-African runners to have broken 27 minutes.

At this year's National Championships 10000 m Osako lost out to future Nissin teammate and fellow Saku Chosei H.S. graduate Yuki Sato by 0.38 seconds, missing a place on the Olympic team as a result.  Looking toward the 2013 Moscow World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympics teams, Osako was emphatic about his intentions, saying, "To be able to compete with the best in the world I have to train with a group that's strong on the track."

When Seko was unable to pass Waseda's entrance exams he spent time at America's University of Southern California before matriculating, but it is a truly exceptional case for a long-distance athlete to relocate abroad while still an active student.  It's a mark of how high Osako's hopes are.  Asked whether he thinks Osako has the ability to break the Japanese national records for 5000 m and 10000 m, 13:13.20 and 27:35.09, coach Watanabe said, "He is an athlete who is trying with all his heart to become one of the best in the world.  This will give him the chance to do the training that will let him target 26 minutes."  Maintaining his supervision of Osako during this time, Watanabe himself hopes to absorb some of the long-distance knowhow to improve his own coaching.

Before he sets off to pursue his dreams Osako will spend the New Year taking on Hakone. As a sophomore last year he won the First Stage.  All of his competitors from rival schools will no doubt be keying off him.  Coach Watanabe said, "He'll run either the First or Second Stage," but Osako himself said, "If I can, I want to be put on the Second or Third Stage. Whichever one I run I want to set a new course record.  The team atmosphere is as good as when we set all three university ekiden course records [2010-11], so I want to give us the momentum we'll need."  For Japan's #1 university runner Hakone's roads look set to lead on to the wide world beyond.

Suguru Osako - 3rd year, Waseda University.  Born 5/23/91 in Machida, Tokyo.  
1500 m: 3:42.68   5000 m: 13:31.27   10000 m: 27:56.94   half-marathon: 1:01:47

Translator's note: Osako was to have joined the Seko-led S&B team, which late in the summer abruptly announced its dissolution this coming March.  The second article linked above erroneously states that Rupp was the first non-African to have broken 27 minutes.  I have corrected the mistake in my translation.

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Wow, that's pretty big news. It sure worked for Mo Farah.
Anonymous said…
Rumors were abound that the Bekele brothers might join Salazar. If that's the case - this kid will be training with the best of the best.
sadaharu honda said…
Best wishes for Osako to challenge to the world level training environment to challenge to the world records among other international athletes. As a Waseda gradate I wish him best.

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Kipchirchir and Chebii Take on Three Gold Coast Winners

The men's race at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon is usually a Kenya-Japan head-to-head, Kenya taking six wins and Japan three in the last ten years. With not a single Ethiopian in the field for this year's 40th edition it looks set for it to happen yet again.

Sub-2:10 Kenyans Victor Kipchirchir, Douglas Chebii, Philip Sanga and the Japan-based Michael Githae will line up to take on three of the race's last four winners, 2017 champ Takuya Noguchi (Konica Minolta), 2015-16 winner and course record holder Kenneth Mungara (Kenya) and 2013 champ and perpetual top three placer Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). Give the advantage to team Kenya in this bout, but as Noguchi and Kawauchi have proven Gold Coast is a race where Japanese men are legit contenders.

With the window for getting qualifying times for next year's MGC Race 2020 Olympic trials starting to close, the powers that be in Japan have taken note of the success of Noguchi and Kawauchi on the Gold Coast…

Japan's 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon to be Held September 15, 2019

On June 15 the JAAF announced the date and course for the Marathon Grand Championship Race, or MGC Race for short, its new almost-one-shot trials race that will determine at least two of the three members of its men's and women's marathon teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The MGC Race will be held 11 months prior to the Olympics on September 15, 2019. The winners of the MGC Race will be named to the 2020 team, with either the 2nd or 3rd placer also named to the team depending on whether either has broken a fast standard, 2:05:30 for men and 2:21:00 for women. The remaining top three placer will have to wait until March, 2020 to find out whether they will be included on the team or passed over in favor of someone who clears another fast standard in one of the big six domestic elite marathons in the winter of 2019-20.

The MGC Race course will closely follow the already announced Olympic course, the only key exception being a start and finish in the Jingu Gaien district nearby …