Skip to main content

Arata Fujiwara Wins Tsukuba Marathon Four Weeks After Breaking Toyama Marathon CR

Priding itself on having one of the flattest courses in the country, the 37th Tsukuba Marathon took place Nov. 26 at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki. Just four weeks after a course record-setting win at the Toyama Marathon, 2012 London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara, 36, won the men's race in 2:18:08.

With a 4th-place finish on the anchor stage of last year's Hakone Ekiden to his name, Akihiro Kaneko led a group of six through 30 km before the action began. "I didn't want to fall apart mid-race, so I was careful to keep it conservative and stay in the group," Fujiwara said post-race. At 39 km he suddenly took off without warning, running alone the rest of the way to the finish line. "I think my last kilometer was about 2:50," he said. His experience showed in the ease with which he put away the 23-year-old Kaneko and other younger athletes. "The time wasn't great, but it gives me hope for the future," Fujiwara smiled.

With regard to the future, Fujiwara said, "I'm thinking about whether or not to go train in Kenya again this year. It's far away, but training in Kenya is fun at its purest. I don't have a coach right now, but I'm doing most of my training with Hideyuki Ikegami in the Fujimi Highlands in Yatsugatake. Fujiwara is not actively looking for sponsors. "My thinking right now is that when I'm running in a way that's worth sponsoring then I'll think about it," he explained.

Asked about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Fujiwara was enthusiastic, saying, "It's really interesting to compete with rivals for something where so few people can succeed, so I want to give it everything I can to be there." Hopes were high for Fujiwara at the London Olympics, but when they ended in failure for him Fujiwara frequently faced criticism and insults from people on the street, even in the middle of training.

Fujiwara was 2nd at the Tokyo Marathon three times, every time returning from prior disappointment to bring excitement to the crowds with his light and refreshing style. After he finished he was always mobbed by adoring fans who loved his heroics. For the record-setting 18,000 runners in Tsukuba, Fujiwara's latest resurrection seemed to be just as big a cause for celebration.

source article:
translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo c/o Arata Fujiwara


Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

1500 m Olympian Assefa Wins Nagoya, 22-Year-Old Sekine 2:23:07 Debut

Two-time 1500 m Olympian Meskerem Assefa (Ethiopia) ran down favorite Valary Jemeli (Kenya) with 4 km to go to win the 2018 Nagoya Women's Marathon, with the home town crowd wowed by the debut of the latest next big thing, 22-year-old Hanami Sekine (Japan Post).

Supported by three pacers, a lead pack of seven including Assefa, Jemeli, Sekine, Ethiopian Bahraini Merima Mohamed, Saitama International Marathon winner Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) and top-ranked Japanese women Reia Iwade (Dome) and Rei Ohara (Tenmaya) went through halfway in a decent 1:11:32. This proved too hot for a few of the past next big things to have run well in Nagoya the last few years, as Sairi Maeda (Daihatsu), 2:22:48 in Nagoya three years ago, and Mao Kiyota (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC), 2:23:47 last year, were off the back of the pack in the first 10 km.

By 25 km Cheyech, Ohara and Iwade joined them off the back, leaving only Sekine in contention with the African trio of Jemeli, Assefa and Mohammed. Sekine, a…