translated by Brett Larner
2009 Miss International Queen pageant winner Ai Haruna, 37, announced at a Tokyo-area press conference on June 8 that she intends to run a 100 km ultramarathon as part of Nihon TV's "24 Hour Television 33: Love Will Save the Earth" annual charity fundraiser on August 28 and 29. Haruna made the announcement after appearing on the TV program "Ten O'Clock Witches," nervously saying, "I'm pretty worried about it but I'll do my best." The 100 km event, which each year follows a celebrity runner over the course of the broadcast, became part of 24 Hour Television in 1992. Six women have taken part so far, but Haruna will be the first transsexual celebrity to have run.
Last year Haruna undertook a strict diet and exercise regimen to get into shape for the Miss International Queen "new half" transsexual and transgender beauty pageant, becoming the event's first Japanese winner. After winning the title Haruna found that the discipline and constant striving for self-improvement which came with the training had become an important part of her daily life, and she continued to stay in shape.
Having began training for the 100 km run early last month, Haruna has gradually progressed in distance to the point where she has done an 8 km long run. "My body is so weak!" she admitted, revealing her anxiety about the event. "I'm terrible at running and sports!" Worried about her always-immaculate makeup streaking with sweat, Haruna told reporters, "I want a makeup kit at every water station. It's going to take so long that I'm worried my beard will start to grow, so I'm going to have my facial hair permanently removed first." "Ten O'Clock Witches" host Junji Takada, 63, retorted, "Why don't you just run wearing a mask?" Can the beauty queen really complete her first "new half marathon?" The charity program's patented theme song "Sarai" awaits her at the finish line.