Skip to main content

Aoyama Gakuin’s Shimoda Completes Marathon Training Camp With 42.195 km Run in Prep for Tokyo

http://www.hochi.co.jp/sports/etc/20170115-OHT1T50072.html
http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/1765865.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Having won the January 2-3 Hakone Ekiden with an unprecedented “double triple,” victories at all three Big Three University Ekidens in a single season and three-straight Hakone titles, Aoyama Gakuin University’s marathon training camp featuring under-20 marathon national record holder Yuta Shimoda (2:11:34, age 19) wrapped up Jan. 15 with a full marathon-length run in Futtsu, Chiba.

The 42.195 km run was the last workout on the schedule of the three day, two night training camp. Two days earlier on the 13th the camp’s participants ran 32.195 km, a tough schedule coming just two weeks after Hakone. Shimoda ran the first 40 km of the final workout in 2:21:18, roughly 3:32 per km, before accelerating to 2:52 per km for the final 2.195 km. His total time for the run was 2:27:35.

Aoyama Gakuin head coach Susumu Hara views the key to success as the last 2.195 km of the race. Both of the training camp’s main workouts, Friday’s 32.195 km run and Sunday’s 42.195 km run, were centered around picking up the pace to under 2:55 per km after running conservatively for the first part of the run. “It is critical to get your mind and body used to running one gear faster after 40 km,” said Hara. “That was the main purpose of this camp, to prime the mind and body to be ready to go for the last 2.195 km. It was excellent training.”

Along with Shimoda, other Aoyama Gakuin runners who did the 42.195 km included third-year Yuki Nakamura who is training for the Feb. 26 Tokyo Marathon along with Shimoda, and third-year Shunpei Oda, who will run the Mar. 5 Shizuoka Marathon. Joining the Aoyama Gakuin trio, independent runner Aritaka Kajiwara, 28, who ran Hakone all four years at Shoin University as part of the Kanto Region Select Team, also completed the camp. Star Aoyama Gakuin fourth-year Tadashi Isshiki, training for the Mar. 5 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, developed a sore throat after the 32.195 km session and sat out the main workout. “It’ll take three or four days to fully recover,” he said. “Once I’m healthy again we’ll pick up where I left off.”

Having targeted the Hakone “double triple” as a thank-you to the country’s ekiden fans, Hara views Aoyama Gakuin’s pursuit of the marathon as an extension of that mission. “We want to deliver results that will show our gratitude to marathon fans as well,” said Hara. “Our goal is to raise the level of Team Japan’s results in the buildup to the Tokyo Olympics.” A long surge may be Japanese athletes’ best hope at competing seriously with overseas runners, but Hara hopes to bring out the speed needed to stand on equal ground with foreign athletes with kicks of their own. “Our rivals are Kenya and Ethiopia,” he said.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Breaks Nobeyama Ultra Course Record

2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov’t) won the longest race of his career to date Sunday in Nagano, taking over six minutes off the Yatsugatake Nobeyama Kogen 71 km Ultramarathon in 4:41:55.

A training run for next month’s Stockholm Marathon, Kawauchi set off solo at a steady pace around 3:45/km. Climbing from 1355 m to 1908 m as he approached 20 km he naturally slowed, but with over 1000 m of descent over the next 30 km he was soon back on track. Hitting the marathon split around 2:39, he was so far ahead of the 2nd placer that the announcer initially forget Kawauchi had already gone by and announced the next runner as the leader.

At 58 km Kawauchi was on track to clear 4:30:00, but hitting the uphills in the final 10 km and feeling the effects of the unfamiliar distance he slowed to almost 5:00/km. But with so much leeway to work with there was never any danger of the 4:48:13 course record slipping out of reach. Kawauchi stopped the clock in 4:41:55, please…

What Value Does Four-Straight Hakone Ekiden Titles Have for Aoyama Gakuin's Athletes and Staff?

An editorial by Nikkan Gendai.

Nothing rings in the New Year like the Hakone Ekiden. With TV viewership ratings around 30% it's one of the most popular sports programs in Japan. The king of that cash cow is Aoyama Gakuin University, winning four-straight Hakone titles since its first victory in 2015. But no matter how well its students perform, every school in Hakone gets the same share of the proceeds, a uniform 2,000,000 yen [~$18,000 USD at current exchange rates].

The AGU team currently includes 44 athletes on its roster. Although athletes can get preferential admission, their tuition is the same as for other students and there are no exemptions or reductions. First year tuition in the Department of Social and Information Studies is around 1,520,000 yen [~$14,000 USD], and with additional fees including dormitory and training camp expenses the burden upon students' parents is considerable.

By comparison, in the United States the NCAA has made its collegiate sports a succes…

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…