Skip to main content

MGC Race Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier - Yuki Sato

Yuki Sato

age: 32
sponsor: Nissin Shokuhin
graduated from: Saku Chosei H.S., Tokai University

best time inside MGC window:
2:08:58, 10th, 2018 Tokyo Marathon

PB: 2:08:58, 10th, 2018 Tokyo Marathon

other PBs:
5000 m: 13:13.60 (2013) 10000 m: 27:38.25 (2009) half marathon: 1:02:30 (2019)

marathons inside MGC window (Aug. 1 2017 – April 30 2019)
16th, 2019 Tokyo Marathon, 2:15:07
6th, 2018 Berlin Marathon, 2:09:18
10th, 2018 Tokyo Marathon, 2:08:58 – PB
DNF, 2017 Fukuoka International Marathon

other major results:
6th, 2019 HDC Abashiri Meet 10000 m, 28:08.34
2nd, 2019 Gold Coast Half Marathon, 1:02:36
2nd, 2019 Sendai International Half Marathon, 1:02:30 – PB
DNF, 2019 Marugame Half Marathon
13th, 2019 New Year Ekiden Fourth Stage (22.4 km), 1:06:03
2nd, 2018 East Japan Corporate Ekiden Fifth Stage (7.8 km), 23:00
DNF, 2018 National Championships 10000 m
16th, 2018 Marugame Half Marathon, 1:02:33
15th, 2017 Valencia Half Marathon, 1:02:53
4th, 2017 National Championships 10000 m, 28:09.01
DNF, 2017 Tokyo Marathon
11th, 2016 London Marathon, 2:12:14
14th, 2015 Berlin Marathon, 2:12:32
20th, 2015 Tokyo Marathon, 2:14:15
30th, 2013 Tokyo Marathon, 2:16:31
2nd, 2009 Hakone Ekiden Third Stage (21.5 km), 1:02:18
1st, 2008 Hakone Ekiden Seventh Stage (21.3 km), 1:02:35 – CR
1st, 2007 Hakone Ekiden First Stage (21.4 km), 1:01:06 – CR
1st, 2006 Hakone Ekiden Third Stage (21.5 km), 1:02:12 – CR

Sato has taken his time transitioning into the marathon, a superstar at the Hakone Ekiden and one of Japan’s all-time greats on the track but taking five years to progress from a 2:16:31 debut to the 2:08:58 that got him into the MGC Race. A graduate of Saku Chosei H.S., the only high school with three male graduates in the field, and of Tokai University, where he set new Hakone stage records three out of four years, fans had expected marathon success from Sato pretty much from day one. But as the years went by and a new generation started to take over Sato’s presence faded into the general background of the corporate scene. If he’d run 2:08 even a year or two earlier it would have been big news, but by the time he did get there he was a kilometer behind Yuta Shitara (Honda).

Sato followed that up with a solid 2:09:18 in Berlin, then went for it in Tokyo this year. Along with Berlin 4th-placer Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu) and fellow Saku Chosei grad Suguru Osako (Nike Oregon Project) Sato went through halfway in 1:02:04, well faster than his half marathon PB. All three ended up paying for it, but the belief and ambition were there. Since then Sato has run two good half marathons, including beating Fukuoka winner Yuma Hattori (Toyota) at July's Gold Coast Half Marathon, and finished high up in the field against a lot of other MGC qualifiers at the Hokuren Distance Challenge Abashiri 10000 m in late July before heading to St. Moritz for altitude training.

As a marathoner he’s still short on credentials, but there’s no question about his talent or fitness. And when Nissin Shokuhin disbanded its corporate team earlier this year he was one of the only runners they kept on board, specifically to get him to the Olympics, so you know his motivation is high. Like Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal) in the women’s race, Sato isn’t one of the favorites, but it would be a mistake to count him out.

Next profile: Reia Iwade (Under Armour).

© 2019 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee

Comments

Most-Read This Week

How Things Played Out - Hakone, Marathon Development, Where Things Went, and What's Still Ahead

Four and a half years ago JRN published a look at 20 years' worth of the Hakone Ekiden and the relationship between development at the university level on Japan's Hakone circuit and later success in the marathon. There are a lot more important things going on right now, but, since we've got some time on our hands, let's follow up on where things have gone since then and what might still be ahead.



In the original article I wrote, "In the next 4-6 years we are going to see a lot more Japanese marathoners running fast times, the first really significant overall change in Japanese men's marathoning since Barcelona ('92).....Once that ball gets rolling we should see an impact on the all-time marathon lists and when that happens you are talking real times. There's nothing to suggest Japanese men are going to start running 2:03 or 2:04 marathons, but given the numbers involved 2:07 and 2:08 should become normal, with 2:06 in range of the top men the way 2:07…

Osaka Governor Admits "It Would be Pretty Difficult" to Put On Osaka Marathon This Year

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, 44, appeared remotely on a morning news talk show on May 31. Asked by one of the hosts whether the Nov. 29 Osaka Marathon, one of the world's ten largest marathons, would be held this year, Yoshimura answered, "I think it would be pretty difficult this year, but the organizers are in the final stages of their decision-making process. They will make an announcement soon."

Held annually since its launch in 2011, this year the Osaka Marathon is set to celebrate its tenth edition and its first running as a World Athletics label race. As mayor of the city of Osaka Yoshimura himself ran and finished the 2017 race. With a new course finishing at Osaka Castle Park, last year's race had 32,989 finishers. With that number of people it is likely that they would come into close proximity to each other at the start in front of the Osaka Metropolitan Government offices.

"We are in discussion with all involved parties," said Yoshimura. …

Ageo City Half Marathon Canceled - AGU Coach Hara Calls for "Medical Worker Support Half Marathon" Instead

On June 2, the organizers of the Nov. 15 Ageo City Half Marathon announced that this year's race has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Every year Ageo attracts hundreds of collegiate runners hoping to impress their coaches over the distance and have a chance of making their Hakone Ekiden dreams come true. Marathon national record holder Suguru Osako showed his talent there in 2010, winning Ageo his first year at Waseda University in a still-standing Asian junior record 1:01:47. Since the 2011 race, every year the top two Japanese collegiate finishers have been invited to run March's NYC Half Marathon. This year Ageo was certified by World Athletics as a world-class event, but its cancelation means that a key part of the fall season has been lost.

Susumu Hara, the outspoken head coach of this year's Hakone Ekiden winner Aoyama Gakuin University, was quick to take to Twitter to comment. "One of the most important fall university races, the Ageo Half, …