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Maeda to Kawauchi: "Stop Making Fun of Corporate Runners"

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Kazuhiro Maeda (31, Team Kyudenko) ran a personal best 2:08:00 at Sunday's Tokyo Marathon to finish 4th overall as the first Japanese man in the race.  He missed the federation's sub-2:08 time standard for a guaranteed place on the World Championships team by just one second, but his ticket to August's Championships in Moscow is all but in his hand.  The driving force behind his aggressive run: pure anger.

Recently the "anti-corporate runners" Yuki Kawauchi (25, Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Arata Fujiwara (31, Miki House AC) have dominated the Japanese marathon world.  Kawauchi's words in particular have been radical to the extreme, such as, "I don't want to lose to ekiden runners who do marathons in their spare time."  At the 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon, after beating Maeda in 2:09:57 Kawauchi said, "It's pretty sad that this kind of time was good enough to be the top Japanese man.  I shouldn't be selected for the Olympics off a time like this."  Winning the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon earlier this month Kawauchi said, "I don't want to run an ugly, boring race, just trying to be the top Japanese man the way people have done for years now."  Two years ago in Beppu-Oita Maeda was the top Japanese man after running a relatively passive race.

Each time he read Kawauchi's words in the news, the fire inside Maeda started burning hotter and hotter.  "I'm putting everything I have into this too," he said.  "Stop making fun of corporate runners and talking about us like we're some kind of joke."  Having won Beppu-Oita, Kawauchi is more or less definitely on the World Championships team.  In Tokyo Maeda beat Kawauchi's time by 15 seconds.  "I don't know whether I'm going to be on the team, but if I am then I'll be running ahead of him," he said, promising a bitter race against his rival on the big stage.  "If I don't beat him he'll just go shooting his mouth off again.  I want to leave him with nothing to say."  At the 2009 Berlin World Championships marathon Maeda finished 39th.  "I ran badly that time, but this year I'm going all the way," he said, his pride on the line.


Its a great result for him at Tokyo .. however, i am quite surprised by the sting in his comments .. my impression has always been that, usually the Japanese tend to not publicly pan their critics like this ..
Brett Larner said…

I think it's more unusual for Japanese people to be as outspoken and directly critical as Kawauchi has tended to be, particularly at Fukuoka '11. Not to say that he wasn't right.....

This isn't the first time Maeda has said this type of thing, at any rate. After Fukuoka '11 he said he was going to run Tokyo '12 "to take Kawauchi down." He ran 2:08:38 there, beating Kawauchi by ~4 minutes.
Anonymous said…
Nothing like a little trash-talk to get the competitive fires going, eh?
juamarti said…
I'd like to watch Kawauchi, Oribata and Maeda running well against the africans in the WC... The enemy for them are the East africans, not themselves!
Khalfan said…
No matter what Maeda says, Kawauchi is still the best in the eyes of the fans as he is always somewhere running. Corporate runners on the other hand just train and train for some events.

If Maeda or any other corporate runner can run as many races a year as Kawauchi and deliver good times, then corporate runners pride might be reclaimed.

Thumbs down corporate runners!
Simon said…
a bit like my rugby club, we're second in a league where we are semi pro and the rest are full time!

kawauchi is obviously saying you guys have all the time to train & recover and you still can't beat me!

good for him!
Brett Larner said…
After the Tamana Half on Sunday Kawauchi reframed his goal for the Seoul Marathon from "2:07" to "beating Maeda's time." Same thing but oh so different.

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