Skip to main content

Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon: Fumihiro Maruyama Making Comeback From Near-Retirement

http://mainichi.jp/articles/20170202/dde/035/050/065000c

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tormented by injuries and having been on the brink of retirement, Fumihiro Maruyama (26, Asahi Kasei) has chosen tomorrow's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon for his second marathon.  With Asahi Kasei's long legacy behind him, including Koichi Morishita's 1992 Beppu-Oita win that took him to the Barcelona Olympics and a silver medal, Maruyama's desire to succeed and earn a place on the London World Championships team is strong.  "I want to take a big step up and win so that I can compete at the world level," he said.

At last March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Maruyama made an aggressive marathon debut, surging away from the all-Japanese chase pack at 30 km. But at 39 km he was run down and finished as the fourth Japanese man, missing the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.  His time of 2:09:39 meant he had achieved a rare sub-2:10 debut, but, he said with lingering regret, "I didn't feel any happiness about that at all."


Maruyama is a native of Sahaku, Oita and joined Asahi Kasei eight years ago after graduating from Oita Tomei H.S.  His life as an athlete, he said, has been "a wild ride."  Taking time to develop, his breakthrough came in his fourth pro season at the February, 2013 Kumanichi 30 km where he finished 2nd by three seconds behind Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) in 1:29:34.  A month later he won the National Corporate Half Marathon in an outstanding 1:01:15, at the time becoming the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever.  "My body was finally getting to the level I'd always imagined myself at," he reflected.

But in October that year he started experiencing pain in his left knee, and for an entire year he was unable to train as the problem persisted.  He kept avoiding surgery on his leg, but, deciding that he was ready to retire, in November, 2014 he finally underwent the needed surgery.  Luck was on his side, and after a month of hospitalization and rehabilitation he was back on his feet.  Just six months after the surgery he returned to racing, winning a track 5000 m at the Asahi Kasei-hosted Golden Games in Nobeoka meet.

At Lake Biwa Maruyama ran his marathon debut with a partially ruptured right Achilles tendon.  After the race he underwent rehabilitation until August.  He is still worried about not having put in enough training over the summer, but, feeling good heading into Beppu-Oita he said, "I want to run the kind of race that will let people know I've become strong."  He is bound to get a boost in his World Championships bid from the hometown Oita crowds.  Maruyama doesn't feel that he has returned to his original pre-injury level yet, but looking forward with a positive mindset he said, "I hope my career will be one that lets me look back and think that it was a good thing that I had these periods of being injured."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kisaisa Wins Second-Straight Yosenkai Half Marathon in 1:00:44, Komazawa University Averages Ten Men Under 1:03

The Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai is the qualifying race for Japan's most prestigious road race, the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. University men's teams in the Tokyo area that didn't make the top ten at Hakone the year before square off in Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park with teams of up to twelve. The top ten score, their cumulative times determining the team's placing with the top eleven teams advancing and high-placing individuals from schools that don't make the cut rounded up to form a select team.

The Yosenkai has long been the world's #1 20 km road race by a wide margin, with winning times among the fastest in the world for the distance and the same kind of incredible depth seen at November's Ageo City Half Marathon and March's National University Men's Half Marathon. In light of changes in the IAAF's ranking system and the level of performance at the Yosenkai, this year organizers took the historic step of changing it from its traditional distance to …

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
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
           …

Osako Brings Japanese National Record Back to Chicago

Just over seven months since Yuta Shitara broke Toshinari Takaoka's longstanding 2:06:16 national record from the 2002 Chicago Marathon with a 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February, U.S.-based Suguru Osako brought the record back home to Chicago with a 3rd-place finish in 2:05:50.

Running the same pattern as in his first two marathons, Osako sat back in the lead men's pack, never exerting himself as it whittled down to the core members. Just past the turn into Chinatown near 35 km his Nike Oregon Project teammate and 2017 Chicago winner Galen Rupp fell off the front group to leave Osako in contention with former NOP member Mo Farah, 2:04 Ethiopian Mosinet Gemerew, former Asahi Kasei runner Kenneth Kipkemoi and 2017 world champion Geoffrey Kirui.

As in Boston and Fukuoka last year, when the real move came, this time in the form of a surge by Farah and Gemerew, Osako was left behind to battle it out for 3rd. While Farah kicked away for the win by 13 seconds in a European record 2:05:11,…