It’s New York City Marathon week here in New York City and while doing a Biofile with Japanese competitor Arata Fujiwara, an unexpected reference to boxing was mentioned.
When asked to name his favorite runners that he likes to watch, the 29-year-old Fujiwara, the winner of the Ottawa Marathon this year, answered that it was Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and Olympic record-holder for the marathon.
When asked why it’s Wanjiru, Fujiwara said, “Because he’s a boxer. He runs like a boxer. I feel the way he runs and approaches the race, is like a prizefighter. And that really tempts me to watch him.”
I found that very interesting because to my uneducated running eye, it’s difficult to see the fighter spirit emanating from a man running as fast as he can.
When asked how he sees Wanjiru expressing the boxer’s intensity and aggressiveness, Fujiwara replied, “Like when he attacks. When he races, he’s in control. He makes a move – he’s the one making the move. Everybody else is responding to that. It’s like he’s going for the knockout punch. I really appreciate that. As an athlete, I really appreciate watching that. I understand what that means.”
Fujiwara says he’s a boxing fan but in Japan K1 is more popular. “I’m a fan of K1, it’s very popular in Japan. On December 31 there’s a big K1 tournament in Japan. That’s the night before a big running competition called Ekiden which is like the focus of the entire year for Japanese long distance runners. I would always watch the night before the big race to get pumped up for it. For the big championships.”
After we finished our conversation in the media center cafeteria, I suggested to the interpreter Brett Larner that before Sunday’s New York City Marathon, Fujiwara should go on YouTube and watch some videos of the best boxer in the sport today, Manny Pacquiao, for inspiration.
Fujiwara said if the hotel internet connection starts working, he will do it.
If Arata Fujiwara can get to see some Pacquiao highlights against Cotto, Hatton and De La Hoya, as well as some of his amazing shadowboxing and smiling ring entrances, it’s possible that Fujiwara could get pumped up enough to shock the Marathon world on Sunday morning in New York.