Morishita began the marathon from a track background, winning the gold medal in the 10000 m at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. His 10000 m PB was 28:01. The number of current Japanese athletes who have surpassed Morishita's marks is not small. Rikuren director of men's marathoning Yasushi Sakaguchi commented, "If we talk about Japanese men who have run 28 minutes, there are currently over 100. Every one of them has the potential to break 2:10."
So why aren't they? Although Morishita admits that the basic speed of Japanese runners has improved, he says they need to get tougher to succeed. "Gritty marathoners are the ones who are going to get the results. I want to see people who are tougher in spirit. That is Japanese people's greatest strength."
Thursday, February 3, 2011
"Gritty marathoners are the ones who are going to get the results."
From a great article (translated on Japan Running News) on Koichi Morishita, a 2:08:53 debut performer at the 1991 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon and Olympic marathon bronze medalist in Barcelona in 1992: