The pre-race press conference was held on Friday afternoon. Five male invited runners – Rachid Kisri, defending champion Salim Kipsang, Atsushi Sato, Arata Fujiwara and Yuzo Onishi were present to answer questions from media. Here are excerpts from the press conference.
To the question “Which workout was the confidence builder?” by Toshihiko Seko, legendary marathon runner who will be working as a commentator, Kisri answered: “There is a two loop training course in Morocco everyone run. The 2003, 2005 World Marathon Champion Jaoud Ghaurib covered this course in 1:55, while I did in 1:54.”
“I started to train for the marathon starting in November. Usually I do 6 to 7 long run of 35 to 40Km before the marathon. For this marathon, my last three 40Km long runs were very good, which build my confidence for the Sunday’s marathon.”
“I finished sixth in the World Championships in Berlin, which was a huge improvement from finishing dead last in Beijing Olympics, and thus I regained my confidence back. However, in Berlin I was never in contention for a medal. Because I would like to contend for a gold medal in the London Olympics, at some point I need to learn how to win a marathon. Although this race will be my 13th marathon, I have yet to win the marathon, so I like to start the marathon on Sunday with the goal of winning it.” Sato is running his third marathon in less than a year and he was asked to comment on it. To which he answered, “In the world standard, running three marathons is not that unusual. In order to run well in the World Championships or Olympics, one needs to run two very good races, first to qualify and the second for the good result in the championships. Last year, I run 2:09 marathon in London to make the team and then finished sixth in the World Championships. To finish the marathon season in high note, I like to run well on Sunday.”
“I was dismal 61st in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, but I learned a lot from that race. In the Tokyo Marathon, I like to make sure that what I have learned from the Berlin’s race is put in good use at the Tokyo marathon.” Fujiwara then talked about the training session that helped build his confidence. “On my 40Km run on February 3, I started to feel bad after 15Km at which point I started to think about quitting my training in the middle. However, soon my rhythm returned and I was able to continue the run at 3:10 to 3:20 per Km pace. In this training run, I learned to regain my rhythm after I started to feel bad, which was a big confidence builder.
“I started to train for the marathon after the New Year Ekiden (on January 1), and I was able to complete all my training as scheduled. As for my goal in the marathon, because so many fast runners are in the field, I will try to finish as high as possible.”
After men’s press conference was done, four invited women were present to answer questions from a media.
“I am in the best shape of my life. My training in Portugal and in Southern Russia went very well. On Sunday, I like to run faster than what I have ran last year.”
“I like to run a good time for fans here in Tokyo. I am in good shape.”
“My fitness is improving rapidly since the beginning of February. I trained hard with the goal of setting a personal best which was set last year here in Tokyo.” Her time goal implies that she is targeting the course record.
“I trained for two month in Albuquerque New Mexico. After returning from New Mexico, I found myself in good shape, so I like to win the race and set the course record, although time may depend on the race day condition.”