Skip to main content

American Tapia, Caught by Ome Cancellation, Says "I'll Never Forget This"

http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/etc/news/20140215-OHT1T00233.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Due to heavy snowfall on Feb. 14, the organizers of the 48th Ome Road Race were unable to complete their preparations for the race and were forced to cancel it on Feb. 15.  Ome had previously been cancelled in 1996 and 2008, but this was the first time it was cancelled the day before the race.  With no substitute date on the schedule, the 49th running will take place next year on Feb. 15.  Invited elite athlete Daniel Tapia, 27, a member of the U.S.A. national team in the 2013 Moscow World Championships marathon, couldn't hide his surprise at how much snow fell.

Tapia was scheduled to run the 30 km at Ome.  In response to hearing that the news of the race's cancellation at around 9 a.m., he said, "And I came all the way to Japan to run...," his shoulders dropping in disappointment.  Tapia arrived in Japan on Feb. 13 and did a test run on the Ome course as snow fell on the 14th.  He ate his favorite Japanese food, tempura, two days in a row, simply enjoying his first taste of life in Japan as he got ready to run.  "I never would have expected something like this to happen the first time I came to Japan," he said with a rueful smile.  "I'll never forget what happened today."  In order to get his training in, on the 15th he went to a fitness club.

Tapia's goal in Ome had been to get some "revenge" on Japanese athletes.  An occasional snowboarder, Tapia watched the Sochi Olympics men's half pipe on TV.  Two Japanese athletes won medals, beating American star Shaun White, 27, in his quest for a third-straight Olympic gold medal.  "The two Japanese guys were great, but I was more surprised that White didn't win," he said.  "I understood how much fear is a part of sport." Their chosen sports may be different, but in the disappointment of his nation's hero Tapia found plenty of motivation for his run.

Asked about what Japanese people he knows about, Tapia immediately answered "Kawauchi."  While training, the aspiring lawyer Tapia studies 6-7 hours a day, but even he is amazed by civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi, 26 (Saitama Pref. Gov't).  "It's incredible that he can train while working in the government," he said.  "His schedule is crazy." Having finished 2:57 behind him at the Moscow World Championships, Tapia showed great curiosity about Kawauchi.

Tapia has plenty of experience training in snow in the U.S., but, he said, resigning himself to the race's cancellation, "It's pretty hard to run when this much piles up."  He is scheduled to go back home on the 18th, but even as he enjoys all his favorite Japanese food he will continue on with his training and studying.

Comments

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

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

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…