Skip to main content

New JAAF Development Project Leader Toshihiko Seko After Saitama: "Our Marathoners Don't Train Enough. Toughen Up."

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2016/11/14/kiji/K20161114013722210.html

translated by Brett Larner

With the major corporate league women giving it a miss due to the conflict with ekiden season, Sunday's Saitama International Marathon had predictably disappointing results.  Newly appointed leader of the JAAF's long distance and marathon development project Toshihiko Seko commented, "You might call it old-fashioned, but they're simply not training enough.  We need people who can run tough in both the marathon and the ekiden."  Articulating the sense of crisis, development project director Tadasu Kawano warned, "We won't necessarily be filling all three spots [on the national team for next summer's London World Championships marathon]."

Translator's note: In an interview moderated by JRN, Takayuki Nishida, a former Seko-coached athlete who ran 2:08:45, told Finnish writer Tuomas Zacheus, "Seko is a great man. What should I say about him as a coach, though? He judges things by feeling. He remembers how it felt when he was doing well as a runner, and he wants people to replicate that. Seko tells his runners to do the same training he did, really, really hard stuff. But not everyone can do the same thing as Seko. The only one who ever pulled it off was Tomoaki Kunichika. He did all Seko's workouts and won Fukuoka in 2:07 in 2003. It would've been great if he'd been able to keep going like that, but by the time the Athens Olympics came around he was overtrained and spent."

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
That's very interesting. Yes, Seko was a machine (even looked like a machine when he ran) and not many people can run like that. Or even the way he did it, which was all (except when he would go to New Zealand for a month or so) on a 1.3km loop just outside the national stadium. Around and around, twice a day, often for 30 or 40 km.

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …