If Australian Jeffrey Hunt hadn’t been in Sunday’s Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon the results would not have been especially surprising or noteworthy. Kenyan Jonathan Kipkorir, the only man in the field to break 2:08 in 2009, outkicked Kenyan veteran Daniel Njenga, the only one with a 2:06 PB, for the win in 2:10:50, with relatively unknown Japanese first-timer Atsushi Ikawa running a gutsy race up front to finish close behind in 2:11:04. On the surface Hunt’s 2:11:00 3rd place mark may not appear to add much to the equation, but what made him the defining element of this year’s Beppu-Oita was the way he ran the race. Until 30 km Hunt sat far back in the second pack over a minute behind the leaders. By 40 km he was head to head with Kipkorir and Njenga for the win. It was a dramatic, gripping performance which showed that even in the 2:04-2:05 era a slower race can still be exciting.
A day after Beppu-Oita Hunt’s coach Ken Green talked to JRN via email about Hunt’s Australian marathon debut national record performance, their pre-race training and their future goals. Look for Hunt’s own comments in part two of the interview later this week. If you enjoy this interview, click here to subscribe to JRNPremium’s new subscription-only series of interviews. The first edition, part one of a two-part pre- and post-Tokyo Marathon interview with 2:08:40 man Arata Fujiwara, will be published at the end of this week.
JRN: How do you feel today?
KG: We feel very satisfied.
Why did you choose Beppu-Oita for Jeff’s first marathon? He was in the general division rather than among the invited elites. How did that come about? Did you receive any assistance as a general division entrant? I imagine they treated him quite differently afterward.
The Beppu-Oita marathon has been a good hunting ground for Australians for many years. The date did fit with our training calendar. Between November and January Jeff spent a number of weeks training at Falls Creek in the Victorian highlands. I felt to get best value from the training-effect of such a camp a marathon only two or three weeks after he returned to Sydney was the best option.