Skip to main content

Russian Victor Ugarov Wins Inaugural Kanazawa Marathon (updated)

http://kanazawa.keizai.biz/headline/2553/
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/hokuriku/article/news/CK2015111602100006.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner
updated 11/16/15 with a quote from organizers from the second article above

The first running of the Kanazawa Marathon took place Nov. 15, with 11,821 runners traversing the course from the start on Hirosaka Dori to the finish at Seibu Ryokuchi Koen Field and enjoying the best of the Kanazawa autumn.

At 9:00 a.m., almost in sync with the starting pistol fired by Mayor Yamano, the rain that had been falling all morning abruptly stopped.  Runners from across the country and from Taiwan, America and other far-off lands made their way through the 7-zone course designed with the catchphrase "Run the whole of Kanazawa!" in mind.

Volunteers along the course handed out unusual refreshments like traditional Japanese sweets and Kanazawa curry, and brass bands and local firefighters in fancy dress provided courseside entertainment and encouragement to the runners.  At the finish at the prefectural track and field grounds, children's taiko drum and women's hula dance groups helped runners summon up the last bit of their strength as they ran toward the finish line.

In the men's race, Victor Ugarov from Kanazawa's sister city Irkutsk in Russia won in a PB 2:17:19.  Mai Fujino from Hokkaido won the women's race in 2:53:22.  According to race organizers, because Ugarov is not a member of the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) he is not subject to the ARAF's suspension and there was no problem with him participating.  The next edition of the Kanazawa Marathon is scheduled to be held Nov. 13, 2016.

Translator's note: According to its website the Kanazawa Marathon is certified by the IAAF, JAAF and AIMS and is held in compliance with 2015 JAAF rules and regulations.  As such, Ugarov's participation must be in violation of the IAAF's Nov. 13 suspension of the Russian Federation and prohibition on Russian athletes competing internationally.  Russian Tatyana Arkhipova was blocked from running today's Saitama International Marathon for this reason.

Update: The Kanazawa Marathon organizers' claim, added above, that there was "no problem" with Ugarov participating perfectly illustrates much of what JRN talked about yesterday in reference to problematic attitudes evinced at the Saitama International Marathon; details over big picture, relationships over appearances, indifference to attitudes overseas.  In the picture in the second article linked at the top Ugarov is the runner on the right in grey.  The Russian athlete next to him is rocking a Russian national color uniform.  Ugarov does have a profile on the IAAF website, and it has now been updated to include his post-ARAF suspension Kanazawa performance.  Apparently all it takes for Russian athletes to keep competing internationally is to cancel their ARAF memberships and find races that just don't give a shit.  

Kanazawa Marathon organizing committee contact info from the English-language section of its website for journalists and others wanting to follow up on this story: 

tel: +81 (0) 76-220-2726
email: info@kanazawa-marathon.jp

Update 11/18/15: Ugarov's victory has now been annulled and he faces a suspension of up to four years for running while ineligible.  Click here for more.

Comments

I ran the Kanazawa Marathon yesterday, wondering how a 2:17 Russian marathoner was allowed to compete. There were two invited male Russian runners, one proudly wearing their national uniform. I assumed that since it was sister city relationship invitation the situation was different from the Saitama Marathon. I suppose if those two Russian runners were receiving Russian state funds to compete and Kanazawa is claiming to be abiding by IAAF rules then something isn't right here. I would like to hear an official statement from the Kanazawa Marathon.

Most-Read This Week

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

Late-Bloomer Hiroko Yoshitomi Dropping One Course Record After Another

There’s a woman in her 30s who has been breaking marathon course records left and right. A native of Saga, her name is Hiroko Yoshitomi (34, Memolead). In the last year she has broken course records at three domestic marathons including a 2:33:57 at March’s Saga Sakura Marathon. “In terms of my age, I’ve still got years left to be breaking records,” Yoshitomi says. “If you approach your running in terms of that kind of thinking then it’s totally natural that the times are going to come.” At one point she had thought about retiring this season, but for now she’s determined to push on.

Tokyo-based running Industry conglomerate Rbies recently launched the Marathon Challenge Cup (MCC) series, a grouping of 33 domestic marathons across the country. In the 2017 season 19 of those member races saw a total of 23 new course records. The only person to set multiple new course records was Yoshitomi. Along with these records, at December’s Honolulu Marathon, February’s Tokyo Marathon and April’s…