Skip to main content

2:11 Marathoner Satoru Kasuya Overcomes Cancer to Run New Year Ekiden Star Stage

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20160104-00000008-mai-spo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having overcome serious illness, one runner has made a comeback to the top levels of the corporate leagues after almost three years away.  On Jan. 1 32-year-old Satoru Kasuya (Team Toyota Boshoku) ran the New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships having survived a diagnosis of malignant lymphoma blood cancer two and a half years ago.  At the New Year Ekiden he ran strongly on its longest stage, the 22.0 km Fourth Stage against other teams' best runners, saying, "I want people to know that you can still come back even after suffering a disease as serious as this."

At Komazawa University Kasuya ran the Hakone Ekiden during his 2nd through 4th years in 2003-05.  In 2006 he joined the Toyota Boshoku team where he excelled as a star athlete.  But in June, 2013, he said, "Something starting to feel wrong, like the way you feel when you run when you have a cold."  He was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma and underwent surgery.  As a consequence of anti-cancer treatment following the surgery he couldn't eat, and all his hair fell out.  Face to face with death every day, Kasuya's only thought was, "I want to run again."

In the hospital Kasuya found inspiration while watching the 2013 World Championships in the story of a Jamaican athlete who had overcome breast cancer to make the final of the women's 400 m.  At the absolute depths of his despair he was deeply motivated, telling himself, "If you hang on then you'll be able to show people something too.  It's your turn next."  After half a year of treatment and recovery Kasuya went to cheer his teammates on at the 2014 New Year Ekiden, setting the Jan. 1 date as his re-starting point.  Starting with light jogging, by last summer he was able to get back into serious training bit by bit.  In September, 2015 he ran his lifetime 5000 m best.  "Being able to show that I'm fit and healthy is the best form of gratitude I can show the people who helped me get better," he said.  "To do that I want to produce results that everyone can feel proud of."

Toyota Boshoku finished 27th out of 43 teams.  Kasuya was 28th on his stage, his face blank after he finished.  Greeted by one of his teammates he choked on his words as he said, "I didn't want to just make a comeback here, I wanted to perform.  I'm incredibly disappointed."  His joy at simply being able to run again was balanced by disappointment at not being able to live up to his own expectations.  Even though he knew he wasn't at full fitness the strictness with which Kasuya holds himself to high standards meant he couldn't help but feel that way.  But having survived the worst, Kasuya's sight is already fixed on the future, his goal being to run in the next Rio de Janeiro Olympic Team selection race at February's Tokyo Marathon.

Satoru Kasuya - born July 8, 1983 in Aichi
5000 m: 14:11.62 (2015)
10000 m: 28:55.88 (2004)
half marathon: 1:02:40 (2011)
marathon: 2:11:17 (2011)

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