Skip to main content

"Hell Running" - Chinese Site Calls Japanese Women's Distance Running Too Cruel

http://www.yukawanet.com/archives/5166613.html

translated by Brett Larner

High schooler Yumika Nagahama leading the Jan. 15 National Women's Ekiden for the Kanagawa team.

Since the start of the month it's been cold in Japan.  A record-breaking kind of cold that has seen snow piling up even on the Pacific side of the country, and for better or worse that word "snow" has been generating buzz around the world.  Yes, it has been a cold winter, and now that fact has become a hot topic in China.  Particularly in relation to women's distance running.

The picture above is from the "National Women's Ekiden" that took place in Kyoto on Jan. 15.  Kyoto experienced a blizzard, even "whiteout" conditions.  Far too harsh to go ahead with staging a running race in conditions like that.  It's natural to wonder why the race wasn't cancelled, but it seems likely that they weren't expecting the snow to escalate to the point that it would be enough to stop the race.

Japanese women's distance running is being called, "hell running," "crazy" and "too cruel."  The athletes are probably so focused on their race that they can't worry about such things, but is anyone worried about whether it's OK for the people watching?  There's no telling what will happen next year, but if people are expressing concern all around the world then they have to take some sort of measures.

The original article, translated below: http://tt.mop.com/16274540.html

Unbelievable!  "Appalling" Images of Japanese Women Running Relay in Snowstorm

Recently Japan has experienced a winter of bitter cold, but although Kyoto's National Women's Ekiden was held as scheduled, anyone who watched it onscreen would feel that the snowy conditions were too cruel.  Snow fell from the Jan. 14 and through the noontime start on the 15th, but despite 10 cm accumulation and temperatures close to zero it wasn't enough to stop the race.  Never having been cancelled since its first running, the National Women's Ekiden went ahead as planned with a full live television broadcast.

During the broadcast announcers struggled to accurately cover the race, saying, "There is really too much snow," as the snow obscured runners' bib numbers.  After a total of 42.195 km the women representing Kyoto won the final victory.  Some netizens expressed admiration of the first-class resistance to the cold exhibited by the Japanese, but many viewers were distressed by seeing the "appalling" scenes on the broadcast.  It became difficult to make out the human forms on the screen.

Comments

Anonymous said…
That's not too cold. The real travesty was the announcing.
Patrick said…
Zero Celsius? As in 32 Fahrenheit? I live and run year-round in Minnesota, USA, where our winters usually resemble Siberia. These conditions are nowhere near "cruel", evidenced by pictures of these strong women in singlets voluntarily choosing to compete.
Brett Larner said…
I take the criticism as an indication of differing cultural ideals of gender identity or women's roles in society. Many people watching the race including me saw hundreds of strong, tough badasses. Others apparently saw delicate flowers they think belong in a hothouse.
Metts said…
Civilians, non runners, will never understand.

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…