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

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."


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.

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