translated and edited by Brett Larner
Targeting high school students, the Rikuren-sponsored Junior Men's Long Distance Training Camp took place Aug. 3-7 in Nagano's Fujimitakahara area. In the past Rikuren has organized summer training camps only for junior women, but in an effort to strengthen Japanese men's distance running from the ground up by giving young runners from different schools a chance to train together and learn from different coaches, this year Rikuren added the junior men's camp.
Local students from last year's National High School Ekiden champions Saku Chosei (Nagano) attended the camp as well as runners from powerhouses Nishiwaki Kogyo (Hyogo), Omuta (Fukuoka), and 22 other schools from across the country. 270 runners signed up for the camp to have a chance to train under former Nishiwaki Kogyo coach Koji Watanabe, former Sendai Ikuei coach Takahiro Watanabe and others. The camp's training menu included two sessions a day, one each morning and one each afternon. Koji Watanabe commented, "We want the young athletes at this camp to see that the top runners, even the prodigies, get that way through hard work and dedicated training, and that all the runners from other schools share the same kind of lifestyle and struggles."