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Monday, December 15, 2008

Okajima completes 6-hour Honolulu Marathon

Great Grete gruels! That’s longer than a Yankee/Red Sox game!

It really is a marathon, not a sprint.

Under rainy and wet conditions, Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima completed today’s Honolulu Marathon in 6:10:26 (gun time).

Okajima, who turns 33 on Christmas Day, was among 23,000 runners who were expected to start the 26.2 mile race with about 60 percent of the field from his native Japan.

The Globe’s Amalie Benjamin reported Friday that the Red Sox were surprised to learn that Okajima would be running in the marathon. “One team official said the Sox were not pleased and would have discouraged him had the team been apprised of his decision,” Benjamin wrote.

Repoz Posted: December 15, 2008 at 12:59 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, special topics

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   1. Daryn Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#3028895)
6 hours? That's pretty sad. You could walk it quicker.
   2. Xander Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:36 AM (#3028897)
He did walk most of it from what I heard.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:42 AM (#3028898)
Jerking his head after each stride makes for inefficient form.
   4. Textbook Editor Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:50 AM (#3028900)
6 hour marathon is a normal walking time; something like 13 minutes a mile (I'm too lazy to do the actual calculation). Did he lose a bet or something?
   5. andrewreinsch Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:54 AM (#3028901)
I was going to write and say that it was a gun time and that he may have covered the course a fair amount fast, but apparently he didn't. Chip time is 6:08.35. That seems like pretty efficient race management on the organizer's part. Anyhow, I bet the Red Sox are happy he took it easy.
   6.  Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:59 AM (#3028904)
Jerking his head after each stride makes for inefficient form.


Except when Tim McCarver keeps stalking you to talk about it.
   7. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:34 AM (#3028908)
I've completed two marathons, both pretty damn slowly. (First one in 5:57, second in about 5:17.)

And yeah, a 6-hour marathon might be "normal walking time" if done for 5 or even 10 miles. 26.2 is a different story.

Oh and also, I know a few people who've run Honolulu, and unless the course has changed it has some pretty tough hills.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:35 AM (#3028910)
6 hours? That's pretty sad. You could walk it quicker.
Even so, let's see Sabathia do it!!!

It did say it was "rainy and wet conditions." I'm not a runner and so couldn't speculate how much difference that makes.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:37 AM (#3028911)
I think it's cool that he did it at all. That's still one long ######' walk, y'know?
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:43 AM (#3028915)
It did say it was "rainy and wet conditions." I'm not a runner and so couldn't speculate how much difference that makes.

Rainy probably means it was reasonably cool, which is good. But anything more than a light rain can get pretty dispiriting, to say the least. To say nothing of waterlogged socks/shoes. (Or, god help him, his short if he was dumb enough to wear plain cotton.)
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:54 AM (#3028983)
The key question is, how fast could a 300-pound NFL lineman do it?
   12. Jeff K. Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:21 AM (#3028987)
On the Hot Topics bar, I thought this said Obama. I hope this doesn't start happening every time I see Okajima. Or worse, now that I think about it, the reverse.
   13. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 12:32 PM (#3029035)
It seems to me he likely just didn't train for it (or train well). I concur that few of us could walk 26.2 in six hours (though I once covered 25 miles of a hilly bit of the AT in just under six hours with a pack on, but I was in damned fine shape at the time). I do have a hard time believing that a professional athlete who looks like Okajima couldn't do a marathon in sub-5 hour time if he trained for it. I've known some pretty mediocre athletes who have trained and gotten close to 4 hours.

Still, as folks say, going 26 is much, much different than even something like 18.
   14. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 15, 2008 at 01:29 PM (#3029047)
It did say it was "rainy and wet conditions." I'm not a runner and so couldn't speculate how much difference that makes.

I'd expect it to speed him up by about 10 seconds per mile. Rain is generally the best-case weather for a marathon.
   15. Jay Z Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:04 PM (#3029060)
I have run 5 marathons, mostly right around 4 hours, two just under. One I ran the whole way through, that was 3:58. At 6 you would still have to do some running, but likely a lot of walking. Over four on a walking pace is pretty fast.
   16. Worrierking Posted: December 15, 2008 at 02:45 PM (#3029075)
I've known some pretty mediocre athletes who have trained and gotten close to 4 hours.


I ran a 4:31 at age 44 and I am nowhere near a mediocre athlete. My next I think I can go sub 4:00 if I stay healthy. 6:00 is fat old lady time.
   17. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: December 15, 2008 at 03:23 PM (#3029112)
I'd expect it to speed him up by about 10 seconds per mile. Rain is generally the best-case weather for a marathon.


How so? I've run a couple marathons, and if you make the stupid mistake of wearing cotton rather than some synthetic blend, the water will weigh you down and chafe you something fierce. I'm trying to think of a scenario where rain would have made me go faster.

Unless you were being sarcastic, in which case, I need more coffee this morning anyway.
   18. flournoy Posted: December 15, 2008 at 03:29 PM (#3029123)
I haven't done a full yet (that's on the schedule for fall '09), but I've done a few halves, one of them in the rain. Rain does not help. A very light mist would be nice, but any heavier is bad.
   19. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 15, 2008 at 03:39 PM (#3029135)
The cloudy and cool conditions would help, but I don't see how actual rain can help.

He averaged 14.12 minutes per mile. This would be a very fast walking pace, or a very slow jog. Likely some of both.

I could do that right now.
   20. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:26 PM (#3029178)
6:00 is fat old lady time.

Actually, to be fair, a lot of the marathons I've been to lately (the wife runs them, not me) have featured fat old ladies who "run" the race in 8 or 9 hours. There are a lot of charity organizations that promote various things and, to expand their potential clientele, have adopted the "everyone can run a marathon" philosophy. On the one hand, great. On the other, they don't train these folks at all. In the last race my wife ran there was, every half mile or so a big clump or folks (mostly older women who did not look to be in great shape) taking a break. That is fine as far as it goes but they were doing so by standing together in the road. ALso not a problem except it was a loop course so faster runners kept running into/around them. The faster runners (i.e people actually running) got very, very annoyed.

I'd argue that if you didn't keep constantly in motion and run 75% of the course you didn't "run" the marathon. But as I've not done anything longer than a 10K I have little room to criticize.

The wife agrees that a very fine mist and heavy cloudcover is best but not actual rain. (FWIW, wife's PR is 3:12 and she's run a dozen under 3:30. Also done a 50K which, though she wasn't fully aware at the time, was done on a stress fracture. She's also slightly nuts (which explains a lot, including me)).
   21. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:26 PM (#3029179)
How so? I've run a couple marathons, and if you make the stupid mistake of wearing cotton rather than some synthetic blend, the water will weigh you down and chafe you something fierce. I'm trying to think of a scenario where rain would have made me go faster.

Unless you were being sarcastic, in which case, I need more coffee this morning anyway.


Well, I'll admit to never having run a marathon, but when I go out for a 20 miler or so, I love the rain. Keeps you fairly hydrated, cool, and motivated. Especially in a race in Hawaii, where it's likely to be quite hot and humid, I'd imagine that rain would be a huge help.

Also, I can't imagine anyone, particularly a professional athlete, would wear cotton to run a marathon. Or compete in any sporting event, for that matter. Cotton will kill you in any weather, never mind rain.
   22. Frisco Cali Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:31 PM (#3029190)
Doing a 6-hour marathon is not a big deal for most current athletes, even if they haven't trained for it at all (though the next day or two could suck).

Doing a 6-hour marathon is a big deal for 300+ pound athletes and for people who haven't done anything athletically before.

Go to the finish line of a big marathon and watch the people come in at the 6-hour mark. It is the biggest accomplishment ever for some of those folks. Very cool.
   23. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:34 PM (#3029192)
Go to the finish line of a big marathon and watch the people come in at the 6-hour mark. It is the biggest accomplishment ever for some of those folks. Very cool.

I'll agree to this for 6 hours. Not for 8 or 9. Those folks shouldn't be out there.
   24. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#3029204)
every half mile or so a big clump or folks (mostly older women who did not look to be in great shape) taking a break. That is fine as far as it goes but they were doing so by standing together in the road. ALso not a problem except it was a loop course so faster runners kept running into/around them. The faster runners (i.e people actually running) got very, very annoyed.

That's why the organizers (usually) put the fastest runners at the front of the starting line and the slowest at the rear.

I once was flipping channels, and ESPN2 was showing a marathon that was previously recorded, with the leader within 2 miles of the finish line. I decided to watch the rest of it. With the camera on him as he ran alone, he suddenly started to toss his cookies. They continued the shot, with the announcers gamely commenting on it. He eventually quit puking and won.
   25. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 04:55 PM (#3029212)
That's why the organizers (usually) put the fastest runners at the front of the starting line and the slowest at the rear.

It was a loop course. 2 laps to finish. So if, say, you have a big clump of people taking up 2/3 of the road at mile 4, they're also taking that space up at mile 17 or so.

I have two problems: first, and most important, these folks are NOT in good shape and those that finish look terrible - as if they may keel over any second. Second, these folks think (mostly because their "trainers" tell them over and over) that the race is about them. That the point is for some out of shape person to overachieve. I agree that this can be cool but it doesn't give them the right to impede others. If they want to actually stop and take a break, move off the course. There should be a rule that if you ever come to a complete stop in the course you're DQed.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#3029221)
Also, I can't imagine anyone, particularly a professional athlete, would wear cotton to run a marathon. Or compete in any sporting event, for that matter.
Wade Boggs: "What a fabric! Finally, we can breathe."

Luis Polonia: "Cotton is king!"

Paul O'Neill: "I never dreamed anything could be so soft and fluffy."
   27. Worrierking Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#3029222)
The wife agrees that a very fine mist and heavy cloudcover is best but not actual rain. (FWIW, wife's PR is 3:12 and she's run a dozen under 3:30. Also done a 50K which, though she wasn't fully aware at the time, was done on a stress fracture. She's also slightly nuts (which explains a lot, including me)).


Congrats Bunyon, you landed a fast woman! Those are some really smokin times. BTW, My wife is faster than me too (except at the shorter races, I can kick her butt at a 5k, which helps my ego from the bruising it takes in a half or full marathon). My Personal best half marathon (1:51:53) was in a light mist for the first half hour or so. The only problem was that my shoes got pretty heavy.
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:10 PM (#3029224)
Second, these folks think (mostly because their "trainers" tell them over and over) that the race is about them.

Well, who else is it supposed to be about? It's probably the biggest athletic accomplishment of their life. If a marathon is not supposed to be about the slower runners as much as the faster runners, then require a qualifying time, like Boston does.

There should be a rule that if you ever come to a complete stop in the course you're DQed.

So you'd remove all portapotties from the course?

If the race is set up so that the trailing runners can impede the elite runners, that's the fault of the organizers, not the slower runners.
   29. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:11 PM (#3029226)
I once was flipping channels, and ESPN2 was showing a marathon that was previously recorded, with the leader within 2 miles of the finish line. I decided to watch the rest of it. With the camera on him as he ran alone, he suddenly started to toss his cookies. They continued the shot, with the announcers gamely commenting on it. He eventually quit puking and won.

I remember watching the NY marathon one time. Grete Waitz had the opposite problem. She kept running, wiping her leg with napkins, and still won. Pretty gross.
   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:13 PM (#3029230)
So you'd remove all portapotties from the course?

His point was that people stop in the _middle_ of the road. So I would remove all portapotties from the middle of the road, yes. But people and potties are allowed to congregate on the side of the road.
   31. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: December 15, 2008 at 05:24 PM (#3029238)
I'm with Tom Nawrocki on this one.

A race should be set up so that runners and walkers of all levels can use the course in the way that they need to. There are bound to be a few issues -- slower runners lining up too close to the front, etc. -- which happen at any race, but course design and marshaling are the keys.

As far as what time constitutes a worthy marathon run: getting to the finish line without endangering yourself is all that matters. If that's three hours, great. If it's eight hours, so be it.

It's not being a slow runner that creates problems, it's being an uninformed / unaware one.
   32. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:16 PM (#3029312)
Congrats Bunyon, you landed a fast woman! Those are some really smokin times. BTW, My wife is faster than me too (except at the shorter races, I can kick her butt at a 5k, which helps my ego from the bruising it takes in a half or full marathon). My Personal best half marathon (1:51:53) was in a light mist for the first half hour or so. The only problem was that my shoes got pretty heavy.

The distance at which I could beat her has been dwindling as we've aged. When we met I was 24 and could take her in a 5k. Today that distance is probably below 400m and falling awfully fast. I can still outlift her (though if we start judging as percentage of body mass I'm back in trouble). She's a good cook and smart, too. I could probably get a herd of goats for her in many parts of the world.

Heavy shoes are her complaint with rain, indeed.


It's not being a slow runner that creates problems, it's being an uninformed / unaware one.

This makes my point much better, and more humanely, than I had been. I have no trouble with slow "runners" (though, again, if you walk the course, you didn't "run" it). But, if they want to go out there that is fine so long as they don't interfere with other runners. I'd be just as upset with a 2:30 runner interfering with a 6 hour runner, I'm just not sure how they'd do that other than assaulting them after they finished.

The race is about ALL the runners, fast, slow, young and old. It isn't JUST about the old and slow. If you want to have a race about the old and slow have a maximum qualifying time (i.e. if you've ever run a marathon faster than 6 hours, you're ineligible).
   33. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:19 PM (#3029323)
I have two problems: first, and most important, these folks are NOT in good shape and those that finish look terrible - as if they may keel over any second.

Hey, even people who finish in under 4 hours are usually keeling over and/or having dry heaves at the end. Anecdotes in this very thread.
   34. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#3029334)
I saw part of the Ironman broadcast this weekend and they interviewed Jeff Conine. He didn't smoke the coarse (though his marathon split was still comfortably ahead of Okajima), but he did beat David Samson.
   35. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#3029339)
There are bound to be a few issues -- slower runners lining up too close to the front, etc. --

That has always been a major issue in my book. The one time I was honest and lined up according to time ( I have run all my marathons between 2:55 and 3:20), it took me 10 minutes to hit the starting line and I couldn't run until almost the 2 mile mark. It wasn't until the fifth mile that I was running easily. The whole time, I was passing people who were 4 hour plus marathoners who had line up at the 2:45 range plus lots of people in costume (London).
   36. Frisco Cali Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:31 PM (#3029349)
The whole time, I was passing people who were 4 hour plus marathoners...

I stopped running large marathons years ago. Smaller ones (2000 participants or fewer) are more fun for me. Often, not as well organized, but it is an overall win.
   37. bunyon Posted: December 15, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#3029406)
My wife will not line up dishonestly and, thus, she always ends up behind slow runners. I'm not sure anyone lines up right. She, too, likes smaller races for that reason.

Hey, even people who finish in under 4 hours are usually keeling over and/or having dry heaves at the end. Anecdotes in this very thread.

I probably am just jaded because of the last one she did. Not only did all these folks block the road (by literally stopping and grouping in the middle of the road) many couldn't finish, several were taken off in ambulances and when she and I went by the finish nine hours after the start they were staggering in, incoherent, bloody from falls. You probably think I exaggerate. I blame the group that brought them but, as mentioned above, the organizers and marshals bear some responsbility. It was clear that these were folks in no condition to attempt a marathon. Sure, anyone can succumb in such a race and my wife has her share of stories, but in my opinion it was simply not plausible for these folks to even start. Just a bad scene all the way around.


All of you folks who've run marathons, my hat is off to you. It's a hell of a race and I really do enjoy watching them, including the older, rounder folks who grit it out. Human willpower is amazing. But rational thought is nice, too.
   38. Jay Z Posted: December 15, 2008 at 07:21 PM (#3029472)
I have two problems: first, and most important, these folks are NOT in good shape and those that finish look terrible - as if they may keel over any second.

Hey, even people who finish in under 4 hours are usually keeling over and/or having dry heaves at the end. Anecdotes in this very thread.


Yeah, I don't think speed changes the affect on your body much. I was in shape for my marathons, but I would never do better than 3:40 on a perfect day - simply don't have the athletic ability. I'm sure plenty of good athletes in worse shape could beat my times.

As far as weather goes, I had one where it was in the 40s and misting all the way through and that's the best, for me anyway. I felt like I could have kept going easily. Worst would be in the 60s and clammy.
   39. Gaelan Posted: December 15, 2008 at 07:30 PM (#3029492)
Doing a 6-hour marathon is not a big deal for most current athletes, even if they haven't trained for it at all (though the next day or two could suck).


I had a roommate who, on a dare from his girlfriend, ran the marathon that she was training for. He did it without any training at all and finished in under five hours (ahead of her). He was a pretty good athlete but other than the couple of times a week we played basketball didn't do anything active. He was quite sore for a couple of days.
   40. Srul Itza Posted: December 15, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#3029516)
The rain was damn hard right at the beginning. Most people had soaked shoes pretty early on.

Also, it has been raining here very hard, on and off, since Wednesday. The ground is soaked, lots of puddles, lots of run off.

The Honolulu Marathon has 28,000 participants. The elite runners go up front, and everyone follows, stratified by expected times.

We get a huge number of people from Japan -- thougsands -- who essentially walk the marathon. The Honolulu Marathon is known for accommodating these people, and keeping the course open until the last person finishes.

And yes, there are two pretty severe hills, one around Diamond Head and one in Hawaii Kai -- and you take each one twice.

I ran the 20th Anniversary Honolulu Marathon in 1992. I injured my right leg partly through it, and limped home in 5 hours.
   41. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: December 15, 2008 at 07:45 PM (#3029517)
I had a roommate who, on a dare from his girlfriend, ran the marathon that she was training for. He did it without any training at all and finished in under five hours (ahead of her). He was a pretty good athlete but other than the couple of times a week we played basketball didn't do anything active. He was quite sore for a couple of days.


Up until about five years ago, I was a very casual runner -- maybe once or twice a week during the fair weather seasons.

I heard about a local running club event, which encouraged entrants to see how far they could run in 6 hours and 23 minutes. For whatever reason, I showed up at the run (with no special training), which took place on one of the hottest days of the summer on rolling trails, complete with boggy areas and swarms of mosquitos.

I covered around 35 miles, collected my finishers' medal, went home and cried myself to sleep. There were moments through that first night when I considered going to the ER. My knees bothered me for weeks.

Needless to say, that was not among my finest decisions. Since then, I've done some other extreme events, but have trained accordingly.

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