Tag Archives: Toshihiko Seko

Tokyo 2020 marathon to be held early morning to avoid heat

The marathon and a number of other outside sport events in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be held early in the morning to avoid scorching heat, a plan approved by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday showed.

Heat has been a major concern for the games, scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 9, when temperatures frequently rise above 30 C with high humidity during the day, posing a risk of dehydration and heatstroke.

Japan is currently in the midst of a heatwave that has seen temperatures top 40 C and claimed eight lives on Wednesday alone.

The women’s marathon on Aug. 2 and men’s marathon on Aug. 9 will both start at 7 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than Tokyo’s initial plan, while the men’s 50 kilometer walk will start at 6 a.m. on Aug. 8, according to the approved Olympic schedule.

Toshihiko Seko, marathon strategic project manager at the Japan Association of Athletics Federations, said he would prefer a start time earlier than 7 a.m., expressing concern about whether athletes could engage in a decent level of competition under such heat stress.

“It will be a risky race. We want the organizing committee to set up as many mist showers and shades as possible so everyone can complete the full distance,” he added.

The schedule also showed the first event of the games — a softball match involving the Japan team — will start at 10 a.m. on July 22 in Fukushima Prefecture.

Fukushima, hit by a major earthquake-tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011, and a nuclear crisis that followed, is also the starting point of the Olympic torch relay in Japan starting on March 26 and where the first baseball match, which involves Japan, will be held on July 29.

IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell supported the idea of focusing on Fukushima, saying it will help deliver a strong message from the disaster-hit areas and provide a chance for people to learn about what happened and the hardships local people still face.

Japan Softball Association Vice President Taeko Utsugi expressed gratitude for securing the forerunner position in the Olympics and said it is reflective of people’s high expectations for softball and the team.

“By showing our best efforts to the people of Fukushima, we hope to facilitate further rebuilding there,” she said.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will produce detailed time tables for the record 339 events in 33 sports as it prepares to start selling tickets to the public from next spring.

“We are certain that we will see unprecedented levels of excitement in the Games,” said committee president Yoshiro Mori.

The finals of the women’s and men’s football competitions will be held on Aug. 7 and 8, respectively.

The swimming schedule has yet to be decided due to ongoing talks on whether to time the finals for U.S. broadcasting hours.

Kawauchi and Osako join Chicago Marathon field

Organisers of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon have announced that Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi and Japanese 5000m record-holder Suguru Osako will join the elite field for the IAAF Gold Label road race on 7 October.

They will both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said executive race director Carey Pinkowski. “Yuki has taken an unconventional path to marathon stardom; there’s no other elite runner competing today like him. And Suguru is young in his marathon career with a real chance at breaking the Japanese record in Chicago.”

Before becoming the Boston Marathon champion earlier this year amid freezing temperatures and pouring rain (where he said, “for me, these are the best conditions possible”), Kawauchi gained global recognition for his prolific racing schedule. He holds the record for the most marathons run within 2:20 (79), he boasts a PB of 2:08:14, he has won more than 30 career marathons and he finished 12 marathons in 2017 alone.

He has raced more than 20 times so far in 2018, including running the Kuki Half Marathon dressed in a panda suit and setting a course record at the Yatsugatake Nobeyama 71km ultramarathon in May.

Compatriot Osako, who is based in Oregon, is the Japanese record-holder in the 3000m and 5000m. He competed in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and made his marathon debut at the 2017 Boston Marathon, finishing third in 2:10:28. At the time, he was the first Japanese man to make it on to the podium in Boston since Seko’s 1987 victory. He ended 2017 with a 2:07:19 PB to finish third at the Fukuoka Marathon.

Osako hopes to secure an additional bonus in Chicago by breaking the Japanese marathon record of 2:06:11. If he manages that feat, the Japanese Corporate Track and Field Federation will pay him a 100-million-yen bonus.

“I want to try to break the national record, but the most important thing to me is to be competitive with the other runners,” said Osako. “I’m really excited and proud to run with Mo and Galen. I’m going to enjoy the challenge.”

Japan has a long history of producing some of the world’s best marathon runners, stretching back to the post-war era of the 1940s and 1950s. Japan dominated the global scene in the 1960s (in 1966 alone, 15 of the top 17 marathon times belonged to Japanese runners). As Tokyo looks ahead to hosting the 2020 Olympics, it hopes to see its marathon runners – like Osako – back in the medal count.

Kawauchi and Osako will be joined in Chicago by fellow Japanese runners Ryo Kiname, Chihiro Miyawaki, Tsukasa Koyama, Taku Fujimoto and Yohei Suzuki.

Kawauchi beats Kirui to Boston Marathon

Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi made sure that American dream of winning the Boston Marathon remain a dream when he defended his title at the 122nd edition of the Boston Marathon that was held on Monday (16) in Boston.

Kawauchi cut the tape in  2:15.54  and was followed by the World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui OF 2:18.21 with United State’s Shadrack Biwott closing the podium three in 2:18.32.

The last Japanese to win this race was Toshihiko Seko in 1987.


  1. Yuki Kawauchi    (JPN) 2:15.54
  2. Geoffrey Kirui     (KEN) 2:18.21
  3. Shadrack Biwott (USA) 2:18.32