The Tokyo Marathon last Sunday was a bitter disappointment for at least two runners...
First of all, the great Haile Gebrselassie finished in 4th place in what was for him a disappointing time of 2:08:17. He was leading the race with just three miles to go but got into trouble over the last few kms. Despite the fact that he is well inside the Olympic qualifying time of 2:15, he is only the 14th fastest Ethiopian over the Marathon distance this year while at least three other Ethiopians ran under 2:05 in Dubai recently. With that in mind, it really puts a huge question mark over whether he can qualify for the Olympics now.
The other disappointed athlete was Yuki Kawauchi...........(see Derek O'Keffe's guest article last week). Otherwise known as the 'Citizen Runner' because he actually works for a living and trains in his spare time, he was hoping to run close to 2:07. Instead, he missed his drinks bottles at the 5 km and 10 km mark and got into trouble before half-way. He finished up in 14th-place with a time of 2:12:51. That was still within the A standard to qualify for the London Olympics but there were other Japanese runners who were faster.
In an interview, Kawauchi said..."I'm disappointed in myself that I let my confidence get shaken by not being able to get my drink bottles at 5 km and 10 km. Maybe it was a lack of preparation, or a lack of experience.....It was disgraceful. If you're not good enough to be internationally competitive then you don't need to go to the Olympics. I tried, and it's over. Selection is based on results, and I do not think I will be picked."
After the race, Kawauchi shaved his head in atonement for his performance. "I felt that I had to give everyone who supported me a sign of my remorse," he said. "It's better that my shame be exposed for everyone to see."
Just as well he didn't pull out of the race! ;o)
Still though, when you consider that he works full time, does half the amount of training of a professional athlete and then still has a 'bad run' of 2:12! If someone had run that time 50 years ago, they would have set a world record.