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

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

'Tokyo Unveils 2020 Olympics Logo By Kenjiro Sano'

Tanaka and Hashioka Win Gold - World U20 Championships Day Two Japanese Results

Working together to execute an aggressive frontrunning team strategy born from failure two years ago in Bydgoszcz, 2018 Asian U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka and 2018 Asian Junior Cross Country gold medalist Yuna Wada opened a massive lead over the African Junior Cross Country medalist Ethiopian duo of Meselu Berhe and Tsige Gebreselama in the early going of the Tampere World U20 Championships women's 3000 m. Tanaka took the lead from the gun before Wada went out front at 200 m to set a fast pace. Through splits of 3:00 and 3:03 for the first 2000 m, Tanaka kicked hard from 300 m out to close with a 2:51 for Japan's first-ever gold medal in the event, winning in a PB of 8:54.01.

Berhe and Gebreselama caught Wada on the back corner but weren't even close to matching Tanaka, taking 2nd and 3rd in PBs just under the 9-minute mark. Wada just held off Kenyan Jenali Jemutai Yego for 4th in 9:00.50, seeming happy in post-race interviews to have helped a teammate score gol…