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The Tokyo Marathon Course Change - Masuzoe's Only Achievement as Governor? An Editorial

http://www.zakzak.co.jp/society/domestic/news/20160726/dms1607261200010-n1.htm

an editorial by Minoru Nasu, Sankei Newspaper photo editor
translated by Brett Larner

"Tokyo Station will form the stunningly picturesque backdrop for the new finish line."  With these words Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe confidently announced the change of the Tokyo Marathon course at a press conference on March 29.

The Sankei Newspaper is one of the Tokyo Marathon's sponsors.  Being in charge of photography, I set up an on-site meeting with representatives of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation to discuss issues like the shooting locations in the new finish area so that our reporters and photographers would be able to do their jobs smoothly.  "That's so easy for you to say, Mr. Masuzoe..."  That was my immediate reaction when I heard the news about the course change.  There are a lot of constraints on marathons held on public roads, and things do not proceed as planned.

Runners crossing the finish line framed by Tokyo Station.  There's no doubt those would be spectacular pictures if you could find the perfect angle.  Having now resigned his position as governor in the political fallout from a scandal involving misuse of public funds, is this the only thing Masuzoe actually accomplished?  It may become his lone achievement.  But the issue is whether it survives the July 31 election for his replacement.  We could start to hear calls to "Repeal the course change too!"

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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…

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Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
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Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
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“The Miracle in Fukuoka” - Real Talk From Yuki Kawauchi on “Taking on the World” (part 1)

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/column/detail/201701120002-spnavi

translated by Brett Larner

Ahead of his nomination to the London World Championships Marathon team, Sportsnavi published a three-part series of writings by Yuki Kawauchi on what it took for him to make the team, his hopes for London, and his views on the future of Japanese marathoning.  With his place on the London team announced on Mar. 17, JRN will publish an English translation of the complete series over the next three days. See Sportsnavi's original version linked above for more photos. Click here for part two, "Bringing All My Experience Into Play in London," or here for part three, "The Lessons of the Past Are Not 'Outdated.'"


The Fukuoka International Marathon was held on Dec. 4 last year. Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) took part despite nursing injuries he had sustained in training. Falling rain contributed to less than ideal conditions during the race, but from the very early stages…