Skip to main content

With Large Way to Go to Overtake Japan, Chinese Media Asks How Far Behind China is in the Marathon

http://www.excite.co.jp/News/chn_soc/20161201/Recordchina_20161201005.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Nov. 29 the Chinese media outlet Tencent published a column examining why China is not the equal of Japan in the marathon.  At the Nov. 20 Ageo City Half Marathon in Saitama, Japan, 196 men, all Japanese and most university students, ran faster than 1 hour 6 minutes.  No Chinese men have cleared that time this year.  Even going back two years, only a total of two have done it.

According the the Tencent column, Japan far surpasses China in distance running because "Japan's running boom has been happening for 40 years, and what keeps its fire lit is its women.  A large number of housewives run to relieve stress, and it is said that a sport that tests patience and mental power like the marathon is ideal for the Japanese woman.  On the other hand, few Chinese women run to relieve stress, with many instead involved in community plaza dances, large groups of middle-aged women who dance together in parks.

The article also pointed to inadequate physical education programs as part of school curricula, the relatively small number of races and the lack of interest and participation in them.  Sounding a positive note about current trends, however, it said, "As health awareness increases within China, its running boom is also expanding.  The marathon is becoming a popular sport for Chinese people but the difference with Japan is still considerable."

Translator's note:  As JRN documented earlier this year, China has grown into the world's third-largest marathon market behind Japan and the United States.  While it is still far behind the two leaders in terms of quality and quantity it will be no surprise to see it overtake both in the foreseeable future. The Abbott World Marathon Majors have already discussed adding a Chinese race, either the Beijing Marathon or Shanghai Marathon, to the series to reflect the growth in an economically important and rapidly developing market.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…