Skip to main content

Nao Kazami A Month On From the World Record



It's Sunday, June 24. At the western end of Japan's main island of Honshu the competition at the Yamaguchi National Track and Field Championships has been heating up. On this day alone, the final day of the Championships, the national records have fallen in both the men's 110 m hurdles and men's discus throw. On the very same day, far to the northeast of Yamaguchi at Lake Saroma, Hokkaido, another new record was born. After standing for 20 years, the 100 km ultramarathon world record has finally fallen. The man who accomplished this deed is Nao Kazami (Aisan Kogyo).

The previous world record of 6:13:33 was set at Lake Saroma by Takahiro Sunada (Sekisui Kagaku) in 1998. Kazami improved that mark by more than four minutes with a new record of 6:09:14.  "I was targeting place more than time," said Kazami of the race where he needed to finish in the top four to have a chance of being selected for the Japanese national team for this year's Croatia World Championships. After a high-paced first half Kazami lost touch with the leaders near 50 km and dropped back to 4th, but maintaining his own pace he managed to keep the lead trio in sight. At 70 km he returned to the front, then abruptly broke free to run away for the win and the superb new record.

Kazami runs while working a full-time job. He regularly trains in Aichi Kenkonomori Park in Obu, Aichi, a popular spot for local runners thanks to its multitude of running trails. It might be too much to call him Mr. Misfortune, but looking back on his career as an athlete it's safe to say Kazami has had his share of setbacks.

A member of Komazawa University's ekiden team during its strongest era as a repeat winner at the Hakone Ekiden, Kazami made Komazawa's Hakone entry roster four years in a row but never got to realize his dream of actually running in it. Even though he was only an alternate, as a fourth-year he had the extra disappointment of seeing Komazawa's Hakone Ekiden winning streak come to an end at four years. After joining the Aisan Kogyo corporate team following his graduation he got to run in the Chubu Region Corporate Ekiden and New Year Ekiden national championships, but he retired from the team after just four years without accomplishing any major achievements.

But where most other athletes would have given up at that point Kazami persevered. After retiring from the Aisan Kogyo team Kazami built a daily schedule around his full-time job with the company, running every morning at 5:00 a.m. and after he finished work for the day. He has run as much as 50 km on a regular weekday workday. This accumulation of value was what led him to the 100 km world record.

The September issue of Running Magazine Courir that went on sale July 21 features a long-form interview with Kazami. It also features talks with his coach at Komazawa, Hiroaki Oyagi, as well as with former world record holder Sunada. Amateur runners everywhere can find tips and inspiration in Kazami's approach to training and racing while holding down an ordinary full-time job.

Translator's note: As today is 100 days since the Boston Marathon, a little-known fact: Kazami ran Boston this year prior to setting the 100 km WR at Lake Saroma. After starting off well he began to have problems with cold after 10 km, then went into a medical area between 15 and 20 km to warm up for nearly an hour and a half. Eventually he started running again, plugging along to finish in 3:47:02 for 12,618th overall.

source article:
https://www.bbm-japan.com/_ct/17190812
translated by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Bradley said…
Are there other English sources of information (biographical or otherwise) about Kazami? Thank you.
Brett Larner said…
Not that I know of, sorry.

Most-Read This Week

Koech and Maeda Run Year's Best 10000 m Times in Fukagawa

Conditions were on the humid side for the second meet in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido, but that didn't stop the fast times.

In the race of the day, Benard Kibet Koech (Kyudenko) went out front in the men's 10000 m from the gun, opening a lead of more than 5 seconds over a small chase pack led by Bedan Karoki (Toyota) at just over 27:20 pace. Karoki reeled Koech in over the second half, but when he was caught Koech didn't lie down, fighting back and retaking the lead repeatedly. With 200 m to go it looked like Karoki would get away, but in the home straight Koech came back again to win in 27:14.84, a PB and the fastest time in the world so far this year. Karoki was next in a quality 27:15.97, with Cleophas Kandie (MHPS) 3rd in 27:51.19. Tatsuhiko Ito (Honda), one of the stars of the Second Stage at this year's Hakone Ekiden, running a 60-second final lap to clear 28, taking 4th in 27:58.43 in his corporate league debut…

Today's Race - Live Streaming of 2020 Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa Meet

Live streaming of today's Hokuren Distance Challenge Fukagawa meet starting at 15:30 local time. Timetable here. Although the start time for the live streaming is listed as 15:30 the first race begins at 15:00, so the live stream may begin earlier. Start lists here. The main races start at 18:25, with highlights including:

*1:05:34 half marathoner Rosemary Monica Wanjiru (Starts) and Sayaka Sato (Sekisui Kagaku) in the women's 5000 m A-heat at 18:25.
Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), Hideyuki Tanaka (Fujitsu), Hiroki Matsueda (Fujitsu) and Masaki Toda (Sunbelx) in the men's 5000 m A-heat at 18:45.
*Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) and 2:06 man Daisuke Uekado (Otsuka Seiyaku) in the men's 10000 m B-heat at 19:15.
*Top-level marathoners Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal), Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) and Yuka Ando (Wacoal) in the women's 10000 m at 19:50.
*3000 m world leader Dan Kiplangat (JFE Steel) in the men's 10000 m A-heat at 20:30 with pacing from B…

Baire and Kiplangat Drop World-Leading Times, Endo Just Off - Weekend Track Review

As the numbers in Tokyo's second wave go up and up the likelihood that we're going to get many more weekends like this one goes down, but for this little window of opportunity, at least, there was action on the track at at least five elite-level meets across the country.

At the 75th Kagoshima Prefecture Championships, 17-year-old Cynthia Baire (Kamimura Gakuen H.S.) ran U20 world-leading times in both the women's 1500 m and 5000 m, running 4:10.67 to win the 1500 m Saturday and then 15:14.30 Sunday to win the 5000 m. Both times were also meet records. On Friday 36-year-old amateur Takahiro Nakamura, who ran a 1:00:57 half marathon in February, won the men's 10000 m for the fifth year in a row, running a meet record 29:23.09. Sunday he was back to try to score the 5000 m title too but was outrun by Kanta Tokumaru (Kagoshima Jitsugyo H.S.) 14:18.21 to 14:28.36. Tokumaru was doubling off a win in the 1500 m Saturday in 3:57.17.
Across Kyushu at the Saga Prefecture Champi…