Skip to main content

Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon: Fumihiro Maruyama Making Comeback From Near-Retirement

http://mainichi.jp/articles/20170202/dde/035/050/065000c

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tormented by injuries and having been on the brink of retirement, Fumihiro Maruyama (26, Asahi Kasei) has chosen tomorrow's Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon for his second marathon.  With Asahi Kasei's long legacy behind him, including Koichi Morishita's 1992 Beppu-Oita win that took him to the Barcelona Olympics and a silver medal, Maruyama's desire to succeed and earn a place on the London World Championships team is strong.  "I want to take a big step up and win so that I can compete at the world level," he said.

At last March's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon Maruyama made an aggressive marathon debut, surging away from the all-Japanese chase pack at 30 km. But at 39 km he was run down and finished as the fourth Japanese man, missing the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.  His time of 2:09:39 meant he had achieved a rare sub-2:10 debut, but, he said with lingering regret, "I didn't feel any happiness about that at all."


Maruyama is a native of Sahaku, Oita and joined Asahi Kasei eight years ago after graduating from Oita Tomei H.S.  His life as an athlete, he said, has been "a wild ride."  Taking time to develop, his breakthrough came in his fourth pro season at the February, 2013 Kumanichi 30 km where he finished 2nd by three seconds behind Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) in 1:29:34.  A month later he won the National Corporate Half Marathon in an outstanding 1:01:15, at the time becoming the eighth-fastest Japanese man ever.  "My body was finally getting to the level I'd always imagined myself at," he reflected.

But in October that year he started experiencing pain in his left knee, and for an entire year he was unable to train as the problem persisted.  He kept avoiding surgery on his leg, but, deciding that he was ready to retire, in November, 2014 he finally underwent the needed surgery.  Luck was on his side, and after a month of hospitalization and rehabilitation he was back on his feet.  Just six months after the surgery he returned to racing, winning a track 5000 m at the Asahi Kasei-hosted Golden Games in Nobeoka meet.

At Lake Biwa Maruyama ran his marathon debut with a partially ruptured right Achilles tendon.  After the race he underwent rehabilitation until August.  He is still worried about not having put in enough training over the summer, but, feeling good heading into Beppu-Oita he said, "I want to run the kind of race that will let people know I've become strong."  He is bound to get a boost in his World Championships bid from the hometown Oita crowds.  Maruyama doesn't feel that he has returned to his original pre-injury level yet, but looking forward with a positive mindset he said, "I hope my career will be one that lets me look back and think that it was a good thing that I had these periods of being injured."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Japan's London World Championships Marathon Squad Arrives Back Home

The six members of Japan's men's and women's marathon teams at the ongoing London World Championships returned to Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Aug. 9. Decked out in the official team suit, Japanese team captain and at 9th the top-placing Japanese marathoner in London Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) spoke to the media.

Having declared pre-race his intention to withdraw from consideration for future Japanese National Team positions, post-race Kawauchi showed no change in that intent. With regard to his future plans, his motivation as a competitor likewise remaining unchanged, Kawauchi indicated that he will run Decmeber's Fukuoka International Marathon,where his 3rd-place overall finish last year earned him his place in London. "In Fukuoka I want to break my PB and run 2:07," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish besides being on the National Team."

Kawauchi revealed that his next marathon will be September's Oslo Marathon, whe…

Silver and Bronze - Summary of Japanese Performances at 2017 London World Championships

Thanks to a last-minute rush Japan walked away from the London World Championships with a passable haul. The JAAF judges performance in terms of medals and top 8 finishes. Up to Saturday, only one Japanese athlete had met either, 18-year-old sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown finishing 7th in the men's 200 m final as the first Japanese man to make a 200 m final at Worlds since 2003. Three other Japanese athletes had scored top 10 placings, Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto in the men's marathon and Ayuko Suzuki in the women's 10000 m, but under the JAAF's criteria these were not viewed as success.


Saturday's men's 4x100 m final brought the first Japanese medal of the Championships, with Japan following up on its Rio Olympics silver with a bronze, its first-ever Worlds medal in the discipline. Sunday morning brought Japan's best-ever showing in the men's 50 km race walk, Rio bronze medalist Hirooki Arai moving up to silver, Kai Kobayashi taking bronze wit…

London World Championships - Day Nine Japanese Results

Following up on its silver medal at the Rio Olympics, the Japanese men's 4x100 m relay squad delivered the first Japanese medal of the London World Championships as it took bronze behind hosts Great Britain and U.S.A. Swapping in alternate Kenji Fujimitsu for ailing anchor Aska Cambridge in the final, the team featured only two starting members of the Rio lineup. Lead runner Shuhei Tada, a student at Kwansei Gakuin University who burst onto the scene in May, again proved himself the best new development in Japanese men's sprinting with a fast start. Rio members Shota Iizuka and Yoshihide Kiryu did their bits on second and third to keep Japan even with Jamaica in 3rd before Fujimitsu delivered the goods.

With bronze at the Beijing Olympics and silver in Rio last year it was Japan's first-ever World Championships men's 4x100 m relay medal. At age Fujimitsu may not make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but with Cambridge, 200 m finalist Abdul Hakim Sani Brown and Rio team …