Summary of Post-race Press Conference at Tokyo Marathon
Here is a summary of the post-race press conference of the Tokyo Marathon.
The press conference was held at Tokyo Big Sight the finish of 2011 Tokyo marathon on Sunday February 27.
Hailu Mekonnen, men’s winner, Tatyana Aryosova, women’s winner, Yuki Kawauchi, first Japanese (& third overall) in the men’s race and Noriko Higuchi, first Japanese (& second overall) in the women’s race answered the questions from the media.
"It was a very good race. I am very happy because I won the Tokyo Marathon which is a very big marathon. I did not accelerate very much when I broke away from Paul Biwott (at 33Km). I did not push the pace after I broke away either. The prize money is great, of course. But more than the money, I am happy with my victory itself. I would like to thank the organizer for inviting me to this race.
Haile is a great runner. His absence is very sad. The race won’t be as good as it should be without him. So I made an extra effort to make the race better. However, if Haile was in the race, the race would have been even better. I only started to run the marathon a year ago. This is my fourth marathon, and this was my first victory at the marathon. (note: he has improved his marathon best in three consecutive marathons after his debut)
I was in Honda team (Corporate track team in Japan) for a year. I still have good relationships with my former teammates. I want to run in the Olympics. However, that is not enough to run in the Olympics. I want to win the Olympics, and have thought about specific plan to win the Olympics. I believe I can run in the Olympics."
At the Farewell party Ken Nakamura had a chance to talk to Hailu. Among other things, he said, “I used to get injured a lot when I was running track. For six years I was fighting injury all the time. But after I started running the marathon a year ago, I have no injury problems.”
"I could not improve my personal best today, but I am happy with my win. Since there were many runners in front of me at the early stage of the race, I did not think I could be fighting for victory at the end. I was hoping to be in top 3. I was hoping for faster time than 2:27:29, but since I won the race today, I am satisfied.
The Russian women marathon runners are running very well currently, but neither I nor anybody else knows the secret of our success. As you all know, our success started with Valentina Yegorova, 1992 Olympic marathon champion. The historic success of our predecessor inspires our generation, and it is my hope that our success will inspire next generation.
(On the reason why she did not go with the leader at the start) I found the initial pace of other runners little too fast for me. Furthermore the marathon is very long, so I thought I have a chance to come back in the closing stage of the race."
"When I was in the lead pack during the middle part of the race, I thought, ‘do I really belong here?’ My goal for the day was to be top 8 and run slightly under 2:10 (like 2:09:50 or 2:09:40). I could not even imagine myself running 2:08. I was planning to push the pace in the last 5Km, but since the runners in front started to come back to me. I decided to go early.
(On short interval between his marathons: note that he ran Fukuoka in early December and then again in Tokyo): From the perspective of Corporate team marathon runners, the interval between my marathons may be too short, but from the perspective of amateur runners, I don’t think it is short. Some of the amateur runner srun marathons with even shorter intervals.
My current training has led to 2:08 marathon, so it’s working for me. I would like to continue training in this environment."
"My goal for my debut marathon was to run under 2:30, so I am happy to fulfill my goal today. In Osaka (Women’s Marathon) where I was a pace setter for the first 15Km, I was able to experience the atmosphere of the marathon as well as nervousness of athletes in the marathon. This experience certainly helped me today. My coach told me (before the race) that marathon is won in the closing stage, so I was determined to run a good last half. In the closing stages of the race, I could see the runners in front of me, so I pushed it to the finish line. As for my future, since I am turning myself into the marathon runner, I want to make it to the Olympics at the marathon.
I have only run as far as 40Km in training, so I was wondering what the last 2.195Km was like. It was hard, but at the same time, it was fun also."
By Ken Nakamura