Skip to main content

Taiga Ito Back on Track for Sunday's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon

http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news-spe/20090507-606401/news/20121212-OYS1T00296.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

If you ask Taiga Ito (26, Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) who he is targeting, he immediately brings up Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) and Kentaro Nakamoto (Team Sagawa Express).  It's not just that he respects them as his former senior teammates at Takushoku University, but something more.  Having missed the London team himself, Ito views the two Olympians as his rivals.  "I don't just want to be like them, I want to beat them," he says.  With that state of mind Ito will make a return to the marathon on the start line of Sunday's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon.

As a general division entrant in Hofu in 2010 Ito took 2nd in 2:15:42, the top Japanese man behind winner Serod Batochir (Mongolia).  The following July he ran his best of 2:13:16 abroad at Australia's Gold Coast Marathon, taking 4th.  But despite making straightforward progress and a boost in his confidence from getting the results and the times he was looking for, his blueprint for making the London team was torn in half.

At the 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon Ito went out at sub-2:10 pace for the first time.  "My training and fitness were perfect," he says, and his taper going into the race was likewise on-target.  Nevertheless, the pace proved too fast and he fell off after only 20 km, ultimately finishing 76th in a dismal 2:29:55.  He made a last-chance bid for the London team two and a half months later at this year's Tokyo Marathon but was only 33rd.  "It hurt to feel how weak I really was," he reflects on his failed Olympic selection race runs.

But despite the crushing defeats Ito did not turn away.  He was soon deep in discussion with Suzuki head coach Takuro Mikata and the team's assistant coaches about where his problems lay.  Their diagnosis: "You can be confident in your stamina, but we need to improve your overall speed."  Ito's new goal was settled.

His new program leading up to his return to the marathon included sessions of full-effort 1000 m and 2000 m repeats, thoroughly polishing his speed.  An indication of his improvement came in October when he set a new 10000 m personal best.  "There have been no mistakes in my training," he says, showing that his lost confidence has fully returned.

Now he is back in Hofu for the first time in two years.  "My goal is to break my PB," he says.  "I want to show the people of Hofu how much I've improved since last time."  In his eighth marathon Ito hopes to relaunch his bid to join the ranks of the world class.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Miura Breaks 3000 m U20 National Record

With two weeks to go until the pre-Olympic National Championships, Saturday was a big day for the 3000 m for Japanese men. In Tokyo's western suburbs, 10000 m national record holder Akira Aizawa  (Asahi Kasei) tuned up for the 5000 m at Nationals with a win in the 3000 m A-heat at the Setagaya Time Trial s meet, his 7:49.66 ranked him at all-time Japanese #5 for the distance. Right next to him and also in for the Nationals 5000 m, Kyosuke Teshima (Meiji Univ.) clocked 7:49.76 for 2nd, the second-fastest collegiate time ever in Japan and best-ever by a Japanese-born university runner. The top six all broke 8 minutes, all from the Asahi Kasei and Meiji teams. Minutes later,  Ryuji Miura  (Juntendo Univ.), U20 half marathon NR breaker at age 18 and 3000 mSC NR breaker earlier this season at age 19, bettered them both at the Juntendo University Time Trials in Chiba, the video above. Miura won the 3000 m there in 7:48.07, coming in at all-time JPN #4 and knocking both Aizawa and Tesh

'The 2021 Olympic Marathon Course: Everything You Need to Know'

https://www.podiumrunner.com/events/olympics/the-2021-olympic-marathon-course-everything-you-need-to-know/ An article I wrote for Podium Runner about the move of the Tokyo Olympics marathon course to Sapporo, its design process, and the layout of the new course. Features interviews with course designer and measurer David Katz , Olympic test event podium placers Hillary Kipkoech and Katharina Steinruck , and four-time Olympian Rob de Castella .

National Championships Entry Lists

Entry lists are out for the June 24-27 National Championships in Osaka. It's been a season that has seen the JAAF gaming the system with multiple high-scoring meets with little to no international competition, boosting multiple Japanese athletes into the quotas on points in events where Japan has historically had only one athlete every few Olympics. Coming in just under the deadline for Olympic qualification, Nationals are the last chance for two dozen of those athletes to score enough points to scrape by onto the home soil Olympic team.  Some events have already been held separately, but below are entry list highlights for the events that will happen in Osaka. Times listed are the athlete's best time within the Nationals qualifying period. Olympic standards are listed in parentheses after the event name. Athletes in italics are currently inside or within 5 points of the quote without having hit the Olympic qualifying standard in their event.  Complete entry lists are availabl