Skip to main content

Sasaki Wins Karatsu 10-Miler

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nsp/local_other/article/144411

translated by Brett Larner

The 55th Karatsu Road Race took place Feb. 8, starting and finishing at Karatsu Municipal Field in Saga.  Marathon national team member Satoru Sasaki (Team Asahi Kasei) took his first Karatsu win in the men's 10 miles division in 47:12, outkicking Masatoshi Kikuchi (Team Fujitsu) and Naoki Kudo (1st yr., Komazawa Univ.).  Yuka Takashima (Team Denso) won the women's 10 km divison in 32:33, likewise her first Karatsu title.  Kiyoshi Koga (3rd yr., Tosu Kogyo H.S.) won the high school boys' 10 km in 29:48, while Yuki Yokoishi (3rd yr., Shiraishi H.S.) set a course record 16:48 in the high school girls' 5 km.

The win gave Sasaki momentum in his bid for the Beijing World Championships men's marathon team.  Sasaki ran mid-pack in the lead group until late in the race, unconcerned when other runners started throwing in surges with 2 km to go.  His own move to the front came with just 1 km left.  "My experience in the marathon helped me not to do the work up front, instead just riding the flow," he said.  "That was pretty much the way I thought the race was going to go."  With a new 10 mile PB by 6 seconds he was more than satisfied.

At the New Year Ekiden Sasaki ran the longest stage, the 22.0 km Fourth Stage, where he was only 15th, but after running mileage on a tough course at a training camp in Ayamachi, Miyazaki in mid-January his condition began to pick up.  "My results today were in line with my training and confirmed that I'm in good shape," he nodded.

Sasaki's next race is March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon where he hopes to make the World Championships team.  Last year he was 2nd in the Karatsu 10-Miler in preparation for Lake Biwa, where he ran a PB 2:09:47 for 2nd, the top Japanese finisher and his first time sub-2:10.  "Things are moving along the same way as last year," he said.  "This year I want to run 2:08 and be the top Japanese man, and I think that will get me to the World Championships."  The 29-year-old captain of the prestigious Asahi Kasei team is clearly confident of his chances.

In the high school boys' 10 km, Koga struggled with brutal 30 kph north winds but still came out with a PB by 4 seconds.  Koga held back for the first 3 km before taking advantage of a slight weakening of the headwind to take control of the race.  "I didn't run the kind of time I was hoping for, but I did achieve my goal of winning," he said happily.  After graduating next month he will join Fukuoka's Yasukawa Denki team where he hopes to run the New Year Ekiden.

The high school girls' 5 km came down to a photo finish, both of the top two getting the same time of 16:48 but coming down to a ruling that Yokoishi had crossed the line first.  Despite having set a new course record Yokoishi was disappointed, saying, "My target time was 16:20, so this wasn't good enough."  Following her graduation she will join the Kyudenko team in Fukuoka, where she hopes to continue to grow as an athlete.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

How Things Played Out - Hakone, Marathon Development, Where Things Went, and What's Still Ahead

Four and a half years ago JRN published a look at 20 years' worth of the Hakone Ekiden and the relationship between development at the university level on Japan's Hakone circuit and later success in the marathon. There are a lot more important things going on right now, but, since we've got some time on our hands, let's follow up on where things have gone since then and what might still be ahead.



In the original article I wrote, "In the next 4-6 years we are going to see a lot more Japanese marathoners running fast times, the first really significant overall change in Japanese men's marathoning since Barcelona ('92).....Once that ball gets rolling we should see an impact on the all-time marathon lists and when that happens you are talking real times. There's nothing to suggest Japanese men are going to start running 2:03 or 2:04 marathons, but given the numbers involved 2:07 and 2:08 should become normal, with 2:06 in range of the top men the way 2:07…

Osaka Governor Admits "It Would be Pretty Difficult" to Put On Osaka Marathon This Year

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, 44, appeared remotely on a morning news talk show on May 31. Asked by one of the hosts whether the Nov. 29 Osaka Marathon, one of the world's ten largest marathons, would be held this year, Yoshimura answered, "I think it would be pretty difficult this year, but the organizers are in the final stages of their decision-making process. They will make an announcement soon."

Held annually since its launch in 2011, this year the Osaka Marathon is set to celebrate its tenth edition and its first running as a World Athletics label race. As mayor of the city of Osaka Yoshimura himself ran and finished the 2017 race. With a new course finishing at Osaka Castle Park, last year's race had 32,989 finishers. With that number of people it is likely that they would come into close proximity to each other at the start in front of the Osaka Metropolitan Government offices.

"We are in discussion with all involved parties," said Yoshimura. …

Ageo City Half Marathon Canceled - AGU Coach Hara Calls for "Medical Worker Support Half Marathon" Instead

On June 2, the organizers of the Nov. 15 Ageo City Half Marathon announced that this year's race has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Every year Ageo attracts hundreds of collegiate runners hoping to impress their coaches over the distance and have a chance of making their Hakone Ekiden dreams come true. Marathon national record holder Suguru Osako showed his talent there in 2010, winning Ageo his first year at Waseda University in a still-standing Asian junior record 1:01:47. Since the 2011 race, every year the top two Japanese collegiate finishers have been invited to run March's NYC Half Marathon. This year Ageo was certified by World Athletics as a world-class event, but its cancelation means that a key part of the fall season has been lost.

Susumu Hara, the outspoken head coach of this year's Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University, was quick to take to Twitter to comment. "One of the most important fall university races, the Ageo Half, …