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

Beppu-Oita Marathon to Review Staff Training After Interpreter Refers to African Athletes as "Chimpanzees"

On Feb. 14 the organizers of the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon confirmed that a local woman in her fifties who served as an interpreter at this year's race had published a blog post in which she referred to the African athletes on whose behalf she had worked as "chimpanzees." The woman said she had no malicious or racist intent behind her comments, but a spokesperson for the organizers called her choice of words "inappropriate." Organizers plan to review their training and guidance procedures for all race management staff members.

The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon took place in the two cities on Feb. 3. According to the spokesperson, the blog to which the woman posted the comments is for members of a sports club to which she belongs to report on what they have been doing. On Feb. 10 she wrote about her work with the African athletes, posting it with public access so that anyone could read it. She described the struggle of talking to the African athletes, saying …

Cheboitibin Breaks Seko's Course Record at Ome 30 km

One of Japan's longest-standing course records at its elite races fell Sunday as Kenyan Ezekiel Cheboitibin (Sunbelx) beat the great Toshihiko Seko's 38-year-old Ome 30 km Road Race record by almost 30 seconds.

Tough and hilly with a net climb in the first half and descent on the return trip, Ome is a standard spring marathon prep run and a natural partner for April's Boston Marathon, with which it has a longstanding athlete exchange program. The 2017 Ome winner, this time out Cheboitibin was gunning for Seko's record from the start, hitting the mostly uphill 10 km completely solo in 29:47, 20 km midway through the return trip in 59:30, and saving his fastest 10 km split for the end as he crossed the finish line in 1:29:06. Seko's 1:29:32 just two months before his first Boston win had made him the only man in Ome history to break 90 minutes. With the best performance of his career Cheboitibin turned the page on that history.

With the withdrawal of Fukuoka winner

Japan Names National Team for 23rd Asian Athletics Championships

Japan has named a team featuring ten individual medalists from the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games to get an early taste of this year's World Championships  at April's Doha Asian Athletics Championships. Along with its gold medal-winning men's 4x100 m team, standouts include Jakarta gold medalists Yuki Koike (Sumitomo Denko) in the men's 200 m, Seito Yamamoto (Toyota) in the men's pole vault and Keisuke Ushiro (Kokushin Univ. AC) in the decathlon.

The women's long distance roster is strong, led by 2018 World U20 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka (ND28 AC) in the 5000 m and the resurgent Hitomi Niiya (Nike Tokyo TC) in the 10000 m, while the most interesting name among the men is Jakarta 3000 m steeplechase bronze medalist Kazuya Shiojiri (Juntendo Univ.).
23rd Asian Athletics ChampionshipsJapanese National Team
Doha, Qatar, Apr. 21-24, 2019
complete team listing
underlined athletes are 2018 Asian Games medalists

Women
Sprints
Chisato Fukushima (Seiko) - 100…