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"If I Run Well..." - Mitsuya, the Marathon, and the Kumanichi 30 km Road Race

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/sports/other/090217/oth0902170859002-n1.htm

translated and edited by Brett Larner

"I came to Kyushu because I want to run the marathon. Now we're getting close," says Yu Mitsuya (Team Toyota Kyushu). A runner with 5000 m and 10000 m World Championships experience, at age 24 Mitsuya has begun his move up to the marathon.

Mitsuya is scheduled to run the Feb. 22 Kumanichi 30 km Road Race in Kumamoto, Kyushu. "If I run well then the marathon is next," he says, hoping that the 30 km race will give him insight into the marathon's 42.195 km. Giving him added motivation is the fact that Athens Olympics 5000 m runner Ryuji Ono (Team Asahi Kasei), also 24, will likewise run Kumanichi.

Mitsuya is coached by Barcelona Olympics silver medalist Koichi Morishita, who guided Beijing Olympics marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru through his transition to the marathon. Morishita looked towards their plans for the next three years, saying, "Yu doesn't have any experience at this kind of distance, so it's very important that we set goals clearly before him. If he chooses the marathon and his body shows the right capacity in training then I'd like to think about the London Olympics."

Translator's note: The Kumanichi 30 km Road Race is where Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta) set the current world record of 1:28:00 in 2005. Mitsuya and Ono are, along with graduating student runners Kensuke Takezawa (Waseda Univ.), Yuki Sato (Tokai Univ.) and Masato Kihara (Chuo Gakuin Univ.), and, further down the road, Ryuji Kashiwabara (Toyo Univ.) and Akinobu Murasawa (Saku Chosei H.S.), part of an exceptional group of runners in the next generation who may bring Japanese men's marathoning out of its recent slump.

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