Skip to main content

Mongolia's #1 Marathoner Bat-Ochir to Join NTN Corporate Team in April

by Ryosuke Sakasegawa, published 1/30/14 in the Asahi newspaper
translated by Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin



Sumo is not the only sport where you can train in Japan to become strong.  Targeting the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Mongolia's #1 marathoner Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, 32, is set to join the NTN corporate team in Kuwana, Mie in April.  Having won December's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, Bat-Ochir looks set a threat to Japan's athletes at this fall's Asian Games and beyond.

Earlier this month Bat-Ochir took part in the NTN team's training camp in Miyazaki in preparation for the Feb. 2 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon.  At the time temperatures in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator were 30 degrees below zero, but after completing a 2 1/2 hour run surrounded by Japan's southern seas Bat-Ochir said, "Mongolia is too cold to train enough, but the environment here in Miyazaki is superb."

Bat-Ochir took up the marathon after graduating from the Mongolian National Institute of Physical Education.  Watching a marathon on TV he thought, "It was interesting because you have to use your mind to win."  In Mongolia he had no competition.  Since 2003 he has run at every World Championships and Olympics but never placed better than 20th.

His times gradually improved, and in 2011 he broke 2:12 without the input of a coach. Telling a Japanese sports maker, "I want to train in Japan," Bat-Ochir received introductions to different corporate league teams and last year received an OK from NTN. In June just before the Moscow World Championships he did altitude training with the team at Ontake, Gifu.

"It's been 10 years since I started marathoning and I've never had a single injury," he said. "I don't get massages after workouts either and have never had problems."  NTN head coach Tadayoshi Kametaka was surprised by this toughness, the exact opposite of Japanese athletes who often get injured and can't stay consistent in their training.

At the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Bat-Ochir took more than two minutes off his PB to finish in 2:09:00, beating civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) for the win. Afterward, coach Kametaka said, "There's no excuse if you lose to another Asian.  I want to light a fire in Japan's younger athletes." With that line of thinking in mind, Kametaka made the arrangements for Bat-Ochir to be hired as a contract worker at NTN.

Of Sunday's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon he said, "I'm going for the win, whatever time that takes." Looking ahead to the Asian Games he said, "I will win the gold medal."  Coach Kametaka said, "He has the ability to run 2:07."

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…

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…

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