Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seko Jr. at High School Nationals: "I Want to Run Hakone"

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Tenri Seko at Nationals, July 31. Click photo for full-sized image.

The third son of marathon and ekiden legend Toshihiko Seko (54), Tokai Prep Urayasu H.S. senior Tenri Seko (18) ran the 800 m at the 2010 National High School Track and Field Championships July 31st on Amami island. The younger Seko ran 1:57.10, finishing 3rd in his heat. After the race he revealed that next year he will attend Tokai University where his goal is to make the school's Hakone Ekiden squad.

Tenri ran the 5th heat at Nationals, leading until the final 100 m when he was outkicked. Finishing only 3rd, he did not advance to the semifinal. "My goal was to make the final," he said with obvious disappointment. "I'm still not strong enough yet, and I didn't have my mental game together today either. But I know I'm capable of doing it."

In junior high school Tenri played soccer. When he entered high school he decided to follow in the footsteps of his famous father, a two-time 800 m national champion during his own high school days.* Last year, in his first appearance at Nationals, Tenri failed to make the final. After that disappointment he worked intensively on his speed and strength and earlier this year set a new PB mark of 1:54.17. Before this year's Nationals Tenri received a message from his father which said simply, "Be confident. This year it looks like you're going to go far."

In his days at Waseda University the elder Seko ran the Hakone Ekiden's ace 2nd Stage all four years, setting stage records twice to become one of the race's greatest legends. Tenri is also targeting Hakone when he enters Tokai University next year. "After this I'll be gradually working my way up in distance," he said. "When I'm ready, I want to run Hakone."

*Translator's note: The elder Seko won the National H.S. 800 m in 2:05.05 in 1972. Tenri Seko's first year at Tokai will coincide with the senior year of Waseda University runner Takuya Nakayama, the son of Toshihiko Seko's bitter rival Takeyuki Nakayama.

Tenri Seko - born 6/28/92 in Tokyo. Third of four children of two-time Olympic marathoner Toshihiko Seko. Began running in 2007. 170 cm, 62 kg.

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