As is the case with most serious runners and our genre, the Strawberry Canyon TC brigade has toiled solidly in relative anonymity for a few years now, but the veil was recently lifted. Indeed, our club’s modest local presence was exploded when Shinji Nakadai WON the 4th annual Oakland Marathon, which fielded over 9000 competitors.
Shinji was using this run to prepare for qualifying for the Japanese 100K national team, but he had expected a little more competition up front.
He didn’t get any. The marathon can be a fickle mistress, and one by one other strong competitors faltered due to a variety of reasons, including last year’s winner Chris Mocko who’d had an old injury flare up.
Shinji did not necessarily go into this with the mentality of winning. He used the run from Berkeley to the race’s start line some seven miles away in Oakland as part of his daily mileage. When a couple of the very top competitors had to fall off due to various issues, Nakadai’s ultra-marathon back-ground kicked in and he proved opportunistic. Why not win this thing? Sure enough, Shinji took the lead on the hilly course at roughly the 30K mark and never looked back. he finished in 2:37.24 and then added another 20K to his run before the day was out. By the day’s end, Shinji had logged roughly 50 miles.
He was also a sweet plane ticket to Hawaii and $500 richer!
We knew this might generate some good local pub for the club, but no one anticipated this much publicity. Shinji’s race and quotes were linked seemingly everywhere, such as here:
And here in PASADENA:
….Annnnd here (you get the idea):
All we can say is AMAZING job, Shinji!
- Carl Rose