The Ultimate Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

#2
I wish I had caught this live - such a fantastic result!

I really hope that the Olympic games take place this summer... I think it will be so exciting to see what kind of effort the Japanese team can put out. It seems that Kipchoge and company won't quite be able to get away with a slower, strategic race.

Thanks for posting this.
 
#3
Yep, Kengo Suzuki, a guy most of us have probably never heard of prior to this weekend with a PR of 2:10+, is now over a minute faster than Galen Rupp. At only 25 years old, and note that in 2nd at age 23 was Hidekazu Hijikata in 2:06:26, less than 20 seconds behind Rupp's PR. Neither of these guys will be on the starting line in Hokkaido this summer. The US has not seen young runners performing this well in the marathon since Ryan Hall ran 2:06:17 at age 25 in 2008. Simply that level of aggression in marathon racing (see also: Kawauchi, Yuki 2018 Boston, MA) is rather foreign to US fields. It's a double-edged sword, as we saw with household favorite Hiroto Inoue making a bold surge at 25K in this same race and holding on for a PR though losing his bid for the win/NR or egregiously in Yuta Shitara's infamous race strategy at the MGC Race in 2019 (Suzuki also made a bold surge at 20K in that particular race to set a teammate up for the win). Then what followed was nearly as compelling, the string of PRs coming through. It looked like a parade across the finish line at 2:08!

Sure, it's the shoes yet it was clearly a perfect day -- cool and cloudy -- and a lot of people were simply ready to take advantage. Osako had the same dang shoes for Tokyo 2020, they haven't improved shoe innovation that much in the past year. A just as talented field had access to these shoes for Fukuoka, too. Furthermore, any and all of these shoes were available for The Marathon Project. To be fair, TMP had neither the money nor the history of Lake Biwa and 2:06 (or even 2:08) would have been a major stretch for most if not all of TMP's entrants. More incremental progress is to be expected in an event that's still more of a sideshow in the sport domestically, with comparatively little money and mass focus put into it. It does sort of follow a bit of a trend we've seen the past couple of decades, for every bit of US marathon improvement we tend to see a requisite leap from the Japanese. It's the basket where the Japanese put all their eggs, as a rule, they cluster the depth of their talent into that event. It also means the Japanese don't have a Centrowitz, a Simpson, a Coburn, or a Houlihan. It's rare to see a distance medal threat from Japan outside of the marathon, Hitomi Niiya might be the lone recent exception to that rule.
 
#4
Holy crow... you weren't kidding about the 2:08 parade...

16. Yuta Shimoda (GMO) - 2:08:00
17. Ryu Takaku (Yakult) - 2:08:05
18. Ichitaka Yamashita (Mitsubishi Juko) - 2:08:10 - debut
19. Kenya Sonota (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:08:11 - PB
20. Kenta Uchida (SID Group) - 2:08:12 - PB
21. Daisuke Doi (Kurosaki Harima) - 2:08:13 - debut
22. Kento Otsu (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:08:15 - PB
23. Daisuke Hosomori (YKK) - 2:08:28 - PB
24. Hiroto Fujimagari (Toyota Kyushu) - 2:08:30 - PB
25. Junichi Tsubouchi (Kurosaki Harima) - 2:08:35 - PB
26. Yuta Koyama (Toenec) - 2:08:46 - PB
27. Keisuke Hayashi (GMO) - 2:08:52 - PB
28. Kazuma Kubo (Nishitetsu) - 2:08:53 - PB
29. Yuki Matsumura (Honda) - 2:09:01 - PB
 
#5
After 7 Americans went sun 2:10 at the marathon project I was like finally we're catching up to Japan in terms of depth....
Then this happened... something like 40 guys sub 2:10 absolutely unreal!
Super excited to see if they can get someone on the podium at the Olympics this summer.
 
#6
Sure, it's the shoes yet it was clearly a perfect day -- cool and cloudy -- and a lot of people were simply ready to take advantage. Osako had the same dang shoes for Tokyo 2020, they haven't improved shoe innovation that much in the past year. A just as talented field had access to these shoes for Fukuoka, too. Furthermore, any and all of these shoes were available for The Marathon Project. To be fair, TMP had neither the money nor the history of Lake Biwa and 2:06 (or even 2:08) would have been a major stretch for most if not all of TMP's entrants. More incremental progress is to be expected in an event that's still more of a sideshow in the sport domestically, with comparatively little money and mass focus put into it. It does sort of follow a bit of a trend we've seen the past couple of decades, for every bit of US marathon improvement we tend to see a requisite leap from the Japanese. It's the basket where the Japanese put all their eggs, as a rule, they cluster the depth of their talent into that event. It also means the Japanese don't have a Centrowitz, a Simpson, a Coburn, or a Houlihan. It's rare to see a distance medal threat from Japan outside of the marathon, Hitomi Niiya might be the lone recent exception to that rule.
I feel like the success and popularity of the ekidens in Japan play a big part in this. Road racing and marathoning is a MAJOR sport there or so I've heard.
Would be interesting if high level road racing could ever get there in the US.
 
#7
I feel like the success and popularity of the ekidens in Japan play a big part in this. Road racing and marathoning is a MAJOR sport there or so I've heard.
Would be interesting if high level road racing could ever get there in the US.
Certainly so, for ekiden the top collegians train for the half-marathon for four years, plus train for ekiden in high school. They do have track season after ekiden season, yet the races that get the lion's share of the public's attention (via media) are ekidens, not track races. It seems only natural that the fascination would extend to the marathon post-collegiately, rather than the track. Further interesting exploration of contributing factors: https://www.podiumrunner.com/culture/42-runners-under-210-at-one-japanese-marathon/
 
Last edited:
Top