Skip to main content

Monument Honoring Japan's First Women's Marathon Unveiled

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/running/news/20140322-OYT8T00326.htm?cx_thumbnail=01

translated by Brett Larner

The winner of Japan's first women's marathon and other dignitaries took part in a ceremony at Lake Tama in Higashiyamato, Tokyo on Mar. 21 unveiling a monument commemorating the race held at the site 36 years ago.  According to city officials, the first women-only full marathon, the "First National Women's Turtle Marathon Race" took place in April, 1978, sponsored by the Japan Turtle Association.  On a course covering three laps around the banks of Lake Tama, 49 women started the race, the oldest among them 71 years old.  46 finished.

The Higashiyamato city government planned the monument in connection with its sports promotion and local revitalization initiatives.  Including the base the monument measures 1.8 m tall, with a width of 0.5 m.  According to Musashino Art University lecturer Yasuyuki Nishio, 47, tying the monument's design to its location overlooking Lake Tama, which forms a vital water supply for Tokyo residents, the monument depicts an undine, a mystical female water spirit.  The design was selected by local citizens from among a group of finalists.

Taking part in the ceremony was Ichiko Hokazono, 73, winner of the first race in 3:10:48. "I can see my memories of running hard through the dancing cherry blossoms again as though watching them projected from a lantern," she said with a smile.  "In those days I was always happy just to run."  Mayor Yasuo Ozaki told attendees, "Together with Lake Tama, ever-changing and always beautiful throughout the four seasons, I hope that this monument will become the new symbol of Higashiyamato."

Also in attendance at the ceremony was 1991 Tokyo World Championships women's marathon silver medalist Sachiko Yamashita, whose Daiichi Seimei women's corporate team took part in the 24th running of the Lake Tama Ekiden following the ceremony.  A record 433 four-person teams took part in the ekiden, with more than 1700 people battling strong winds around the lake.  Yusuke Kodama, 27, anchor of the winning Comodity Ida corporate team, commented, "There were a lot of quick ups and downs, but it felt good to run surrounded by the abundant nature and I drew strength from that to push hard to the end."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Winner Shogo Nakamura Wins First Race of Year in PB Time

2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (27, Fujitsu) ran a course record 1:01:40 to win the Jan. 12 Takanezawa Genki Up Half Marathon in Tochigi. His time bettered his 2016 PB of 1:01:53 by 13 seconds. "I ran pretty much according to plan," he commented afterward.

Nakamura's sponsor team Fujitsu finished 17th at November's East Japan Corporate Ekiden, failing to qualify for the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national championships. As a result, Takanezawa was his first race of the Olympic year. Alongside him were members of 2020 Hakone Ekiden champion Aoyama Gakuin University, runner-up Tokai University and other top collegiate programs. Most fielded 3rd-year and younger team members who didn't make this year's Hakone lineups, giving them valuable experience for the buildup to next year's 97th running.

Next up Nakamura plans to run in the Mar. 29 World Half Marathon Championships. His coach Hiroaki Oyagi, 61, commented, "At the World Half we wil…

2020 Japanese Distance Rankings

2020 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Distances will be added as the season progresses. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2019 ・ 2018 ・ 2017 ・ 2016・ 2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2020 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Coming Down From Hakone - This Year's Race in the Cold, Hard Light of Day

Damn, has it already been a week? Time goes by so fast. Times at the HakoneEkiden this year were fast too. Eight guys broke course records on four of the five stages on Day One, and another five broke the records on three of the five stages on Day Two. Two of the three stages that didn't have new records were just seconds off. Four teams broke the Day One course record, two broke the overall course record, and one broke the Day Two record. This all mirrored what happened a day earlier at the New Year Ekiden, where eight men broke the records on four of the seven stages, at least one other missed by seconds, the top two teams broke the official overall course record and two more broke the record for the actual current version of the course.


And not just records. Some of them were historic, epoch-making marks. None more so than Tokyo Kokusai University's Vincent Yegon, who busted the greatest performance in Hakone history, a 59:25 course record for the 21.4 km Third Stage, 2:01…