Lots of things are going on (like the scene at US Indoor Championships and “Cardio is Dead” stuff…) and, especially when the runner you were rooting for didn’t do as well, it’s hard to get your fingers moving to write a report…
Thanks to Brett Larner, as usual, he had posted a in-depth report on 2014 Tokyo Marathon here:
This is also the only place I could find where they posted Yoko’s result! It was her worst showing. Just spoke with her coach, Watanabe. Despite the result, Yoko’s fine; not devastated or anything… But perhaps that might be her issue right now??? I wish I were there to comfort her but, instead, I just sent her a message. Haven’t received any comment from her yet.
The race itself was quite exciting. The second fastest All-Comer time on Japan’s soil for men with 2:05.42 by Chumba. Five Japanese men broke 2:10 which is second best showing by Japanese (see Brett’s report). A good news for Japanese is the fact that all these 5 runners are new faces in the marathoning. One of the problems I see the US seems to always face is that they have the old great athletes always hanging in there for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE to see runners like Meb and Ryan Hall continue to do well. But who’s up and coming? To me, this really shows the fundamental differences in approach. In the US, if you are a good athlete, you are sponsored and can make lots of money (likes of Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Galen Rupp).
Up-and-coming runners hardly make anything. Naturally, it’s hard for those up-and-coming athletes to stick with it. In other words, you have to be an already-good-athlete in order to be sponsored and sponsored well. In Japan, they support the program. The top runners won’t make as much; but they support up-and-coming runners. This way, you’ll secure the continuity. Lydiard always said “Coaches are investment…” In Japan, they pay coaches well. In the US, athletes pay coaches.
Now back to Yoko… I would like to continue posting some update of her. After all, she’s still the 14th fastest marathon runner in history with 2:19.41. It was set almost a decade ago. But, frankly, I don’t think she’s physically that much “down” now. She doesn’t seem to be able to put it all together. She’s still searching for “it”.
Everybody is talking about Galen Rupp’s impressive workout right after his indoor 5k American record. Toshi Takaoka, the national marathon record holder (2:06.16) told me that he saw Yoko doing some sprints after her disappointing performance at Nagoya Marathon a few years back. “She meant business…,” he said. Behind all the comical comments she makes, I can see an approach of a Zen monk in Yoko. “I can’t retire until I get satisfied…,” she said a few years back. Certainly, 3:11 is not satisfactory; and I hope she continue her journey and “retire happy”…a few years from now!!