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Kayoko Fukushi Hits the Wall in Marathon Debut and Literally Falls on Her Face (3 Times)
by: LetsRun.com
January 28, 2008

The 2008 Osaka Marathon was the marathon debut of Japanese 5k and half marathon record holder Kayoko Fukushi.

Fukushi is seen by many as the future of Japanese marathon running. In her half marathon debut, she defeated 2004 Olympic champ Mizuki Noguchi AND set a Japanese national record of 1:07:26. Pretty impressive.

Fukushi tried to keep her marathon debut in Osaka lowkey. Her team asked to not be an invited elite athlete because as her coach said, "...she is aware that she is new to the marathon and is not resting upon her past achievements." However, there was no way Fukushi's marathon debut was going to be low key in marathon mad Japan (major marathons garner national television coverage in Japan).

The Japanese have a lot of respect for the marathon and the marathon distance. We're sure Fukushi has a lot more respect for the distance now after the race. Things started out perfectly fine for Fukushi as it was almost a Sunday stroll. Brett Larner at his Japanese running blog reported:

But as every marathon runner knows, the marathon doesn't begin until somewhere around 20 miles, or in this case 30km for Fukushi. According to Larner, she slowed to 3:42/km and then really started to lose it:

Yes the future of Japanese marathoning was running 10 minute miles. But if you think that was tough for her, wait until you see the video below. Fukushi at the end could barely stand, but she kept struggling on to the finish, because quit was the one thing she was not going to do. What happened was not pretty. She falls here 3 times, sometimes flat on her face (which started bleeding), but valiantly gets to the finish.

According to Brett Larner, Fukushi ran pace runs of only  22km (13.7 miles) before the race. Goes to show no matter how talented you are, talent alone will not get you through the marathon. That is why everyone, but especially the Japanese, have so much respect for the marathon distance.

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