translated by Brett Larner
19-Year-Old Big Hope Reia Iwade (Team Noritz) Riding the Wave to Hyogo Relay Carnival Grand Prix Women's 10000 m
Just 19, Iwade will be showing off her best stuff on home ground in Hyogo prefecture this weekend. In her first year in the corporate leagues she went through tremendous growth that took her all the way to March's World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ahead of her first serious 10000 m, Iwade is strongly motivated as she says, "I want to earn the right to wear the Rising Sun again as soon as possible."
Iwade was born in Mie prefecture. She was the star runner at Aichi prefecture's Toyokawa H.S., and after graduating she joined Hyogo's Noritz corporate team where she began to make an impact on the ekiden circuit. A few days after her 19th birthday, at December's Sanyo Women's Road Race half marathon she ran a Japanese junior national record 1:09:45. Coming just eight days after she finished only 12th on the National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships first stage, she says, "I was still tired but at the same time having had that result made me raise my game in Sanyo." She ran with the lead pack until 10 km, and, giving herself passing marks for the second half, she says, "I was able to push myself."
Over the winter Iwade trained with Mari Ozaki and other teammates preparing for marathons, building up a mileage base of over a thousand kilometers a month. In her international debut at the World Half she lost touch with the lead pack in the first half, finishing 19th as the third Japanese woman but still helping win the team bronze medal. "I could tell how inexperienced and underdeveloped I still am," she says in a strict self-evaluation. "I have to build up the mental toughness you need to run a PB overseas."
Depending on how her summer training goes, Iwade is eyeing November's Yokohama International Women's Marathon. "This is the time when she's growing most rapidly," says her coach Yoshihiko Morioka. "I want her to become one of the best." As a measure of her development their target for the Hyogo Relay Carnival is the National Championships A-standard of 32:30.00. "I want to run an aggressive race, get the time, and leave people saying, 'Wow!'" Iwade says with enthusiasm.
The Japanese national record of 30:48.89 was set in 2002 by Yoko Shibui (Team Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo). Of the all-time ten fastest 10000 m times run by Japanese women, places 2-10 are all occupied by Kayoko Fukushi (Team Wacoal) and Hitomi Niiya (Team Universal Entertainment). These three are the only Japanese women to have ever broken 31 minutes. At last year's Hyogo Relay Carnival Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) was 2nd overall in 32:32.15, the first time in 18 years that the top Japanese woman in that race did not break 32:30. With Fukushi having shifted focus to the marathon and Niiya, 5th in the 10000 m at last summer's Moscow World Championships, having retired this year, the pedestal is empty and waiting for the next big star.
Top Ten Japanese Women's 10000 m Performances of 2013
1. Hitomi Niiya (Team Univ. Ent.) - 30:56.70
2. Ayumi Hagiwara (Team Uniqlo) - 31:45.29
3. Kasumi Nishihara (Team Yamada Denki) - 32:05.88
4. Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) - 32:06.70
5. Sayuri Oka (Team Daihatsu) - 32:06.79
6. Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) - 32:07.41
7. Yuko Shimizu (Team Sekisui Kagaku) - 32:07.70
8. Rei Ohara (Team Tenmaya) - 32:08.73
9. Yuko Mizuguchi (Team Denso) - 32:10.15
10. Risa Takenaka (Team Shiseido) - 32:10.66