Skip to main content

Ekiden Ace Izawa to Join Koide Collective in Pursuit of Marathon Medal

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aichi/news/20131111-OYT8T01064.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having helped lead Toyokawa H.S. to its first-ever National High School Ekiden Championships title, women's long-distance runner Nanaka Izawa (Sr., Juntendo Univ.) has signed a contract to join the 2012 national champion Universal Entertainment corporate league team following her graduation next spring.  At Universal she will also receive coaching from the legendary coach of Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi, the Universal-affiliated Sakura AC's Yoshio Koide.  Currently doing student teacher work back at Toyokawa, Izawa showed her resolve as she said, "My future is in the marathon, and the Tokyo Olympics are my goal."

At the National High School Ekiden Championships Izawa ran the Third Stage as a first-year, the Second Stage as a second-year, and the ace First Stage as a third-year, winning each of them.  When she was a second-year in 2008 Toyokawa won its first-ever national title, repeating within a follow-up win in 2009.  After entering Juntendo University she suffered a long period of injuries, but on the 9.2 km Fifth Stage last month at the National University Women's Ekiden Championships, the longest and most competitive leg of the race, she returned to the top with a stage win.  "I was surprised too," she smiled.  "I was really, really happy."  The stage title was proof that she had finally worked out the issues that led to her serial injuries.  The years of setbacks meant that her university career was nowhere near as stellar as her high school years, but, she said, "I've learned to be able to think about my training for myself and from that things have been improving bit by bit. These four years were an investment in the future me."

Izawa received offers from a large number of corporate teams, but the chance to work with Koide was the deciding factor.  "I think he's the greatest coach in the world," she said, "so I have asked Mr. Koide to guide me."  In addition to taking Takahashi to her Olympic gold medal and world record, Koide also led Yuko Arimori to two Olympic marathon medals, silver at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, to solidify his reputation as one of the world's leading marathon coaches.

Up to now Izawa has focused mostly on 5000 m and 10000 m track races.  Looking toward the future she said, "I know it's probably not realistic to jump straight to the marathon, but I want to start making the migration in that direction."  With the 2020 Olympics just seven years away this period will see intense attention paid to the activity and achievements of Izawa's generation.  "My career goal is to win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," she said with full determination.  "The challenge for me now is to develop the means to make that goal a reality."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

'Niiya and McSweyn Take Zatopek:10 Victories in Melbourne'

https://www.iaaf.org/news/report/niiya-mcsweyn-win-zatopek-10-2018

58th Zatopek:10Melbourne, Australia, 12/13/18
complete results

Women's 10000 m
1. Hitomi Niiya (Japan/Nike Tokyo TC) - 31:32.50
2. Sinead Diver (Australia) - 31:50.98
3. Ellie Pashley (Australia) - 32:17.81
4. Emily Brichacek (Australia) - 32:22.38
5. Camille Buscomb (New Zealand) - 32:28.37

Women's 1500 m
1. Whitney Sharpe (Australia) - 4:16.48
2. Madeleine Murray (Australia) - 4:18.36
3. Lilli Price (Australia) - 4:18.73
4. Natalie Rule (Australia) - 4:22.15
5. Isabella Thornton-Bott (Australia) - 4:23.53
-----
7. Ran Urabe (Japan/Nike Tokyo TC) - 4:27.32

action photo © 2018 Riley Wolff/Tempo Journal, all rights reserved
trophy photo © 2018 Masato Yokota, all rights reserved

Fukuoka Winner Yuma Hattori: "Running Isn't Fun"

At the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International MarathonYuma Hattori (25, Toyota) ran 2:07:27 to win and become the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever. It was the first time since 2004 that a Japanese man became the Fukuoka champion. Hattori now stands among the leading competitors in the fierce battle to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team.

Hattori and his younger brother Hazuma Hattori (23, Toenec) were star members of Toyo University's 2014 Hakone Ekiden winning team. They rank among the most famous brothers in Japanese athletics, but neither of them actually wanted to be a runner. "I wanted to play soccer," Hattori said. "Hazuma wanted to play table tennis. We're from the sticks out in Niigata and my junior high school didn't have a soccer team. I thought about joining a club team, but it was too far away."

"My dad had been a decathlete," Hattori continued, "so I started doing track and field as well. My mom was a cross-country skier, so bo…

Iron Injections Remain an Issue in Japanese High School Girls' Distance Running

To treat anemia some of the country's top high school ekiden teams inappropriately utilize iron injections that could have a harmful effect on athletes' health.

Iron injections are primarily used to treat serious anemia arising from iron deficiency, but according to experts they also improve endurance. As a result their use has spread across the country over the last 20 years, primarily among female athletes who are more prone to anemia.

Following a 2015 case in which an athlete was confirmed to have suffered liver damage as a result of excess iron levels, in April, 2016 the JAAF issued a warning for coaches to stop the practice of injections, saying, "The accumulation of iron in the internal organs has deleterious effects on the body." In an interview two women who graduated prior to the JAAF's warning talked about their firsthand experience in high school. Under their coaches' direction both used iron injections throughout their high school careers and pro…