Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Tokyo, Japan. However, now I really feel that Missoula is my home town because of the family, friends, working place, and marathon training class that I have here and love so much. So, whenever I’m asked where I am from, I make it a rule to answer that I am from Missoula.
What brought you to Missoula?
My wife and I met and married in Tokyo, Japan. Fortunately, she is from here. After we married, we had chances to come here often. After several times visiting, I came to love Missoula more and more. Since we have two children, we had talked a lot about moving here to raise them in a good environment. Then about 10 years ago, my mother-in- law, who lived here, needed more support. It was then that we made a concrete plan to move here. We have now been here for eight years.
You just completed your third Missoula Marathon – congrats! What is your favorite part of marathon weekend?
Thank you very much. I really appreciate many people for supporting me and inspiring me.
My favorite part of marathon weekend was the entire race. I enjoyed running and talking with various people. But if I had to choose a specific part of the race, it was the running after the 24 mile point.
Because of an injury to my hip flexor in May, I was not in the best condition for running this year’s marathon. There were several times before the race I thought I may have to drop out of the marathon. And by the time I reached the 24 mile point, it had already taken me 5 and half hours to get there. Before starting the race, I imagined it might take that much time; but, I never imagined how hard it would be both physically and mentally to run that day. I had to walk some parts of the race. By the time I reached the 24 mile point I was totally exhausted.
However, I didn’t feel any regret in participating in the full marathon. I was thankful for having a longer than usual training season for this year’s marathon. And I also ran more frequently than I had for the previous two marathons. Even in the winter I ran on the Kim William Trail, and in the spring I ran 4 times a week. It was not always easy to attend the trainings. I had to wake up early in the morning, make meals for my family, and try and keep a good routine. But I did it and I enjoyed it. And I was surprised to know that my time record had been improved many times during the training season. That was an amazing experience for me.
Unfortunately, in the middle of May, I injured my hip flexor during a long run. After that, for several weeks I could not run at all. But I kept thinking about and researching about how to recover from the injury and restart training. Now I recognize that I might have been a bit obsessive about the situation. Ultimately, I chose to run in this race, and I was able to finish the race.
I also have a lot of positive memories of the many people who encouraged me before and during the marathon. They were very kind to ask me about my condition and shared their own experiences. Some of them gave me chances to run together during training. It was hard for me to catch up with them but it was very important to run with them.
Anyway, after getting to and passing the 24 mile point, I just starting thinking about how lucky I was to have such good friends, family, and circumstances. I felt I had done my own best even if I could not get a good result. I came to know how much I was able to learn and grow.
What is the best advice you received while training for the Missoula Marathon?
I still remember it was on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, we were going to have an evening training class at 6:00. When I was leaving my house to attend the training, I could see and hear lightning and thunder, and it started raining. I changed my mind and stayed home. However at the beginning of the next class, our coach asked us how many people showed up to the previous class. 5 or 6 people raised their hands and said, “It was very tough. I got wet from head to shoes.” And our coach said, “If you are committed to running, don’t try to find any excuse to skip the training.” At that time I felt ashamed and realized I must change something about my attitude. After that, I was determined to make an effort to attend all the training classes.
What’s next on your running calendar?
I’m still in the process of recovering. After a while more, I plan on starting off by riding my bike and swimming. Once my condition has improved I plan on running. As of now, I am not signed up for any races. But if possible, I’d like to attend the Elk Ramble and Snow Joke.
Finish this sentence: When I’m not running, I’m…
I’m cooking, fixing some parts of our house, taking walks with our dog, reading, studying English, drawing, playing music, sleeping, and working. I’m doing something good for family, friends, and myself; and, I can run without worries.