translated by Brett Larner
On Dec. 13 Jobu University's ekiden team held a workout session at the school's track in Isesaki, Gunma prefecture as it prepares for the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. Speaking to the media at the workout, the team's captain and senior ace Yusuke Hasegawa, holder of the fastest 10000 m time of the year by a Japanese university student, revealed that he has signed to join the elite Team S&B following his graduation in March.
Hasegawa, the national university 1500 m champion as a sophomore, is a top-class speed runner among university athletes. At November's Nittai University Time Trials meet he ran a 10000 m PB of 28:07.47, the best of the year by a Japanese student and all-time #8 on the collegiate 10000 m rankings. Having led Jobu from scratch to Hakone in a remarkably short time, head coach Katsuhiko Hanada, a former S&B star himself, will continue to serve as Hasegawa's coach in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.
Before that, Hasegawa has one major score to settle: Hakone. At the last Hakone Ekiden Hasegawa ran the Third Stage, but shortly before the race he began experiencing trouble with the back of his left leg and ended up a "disastrous" 19th on the stage. "I blew it for everybody else on the team," Hasegawa says. "This time I'm going to be there with my best game." Coach Hanada revealed that Hasegawa will run the ace Second Stage. "I want him to break my best time on the Second Stage (1:08:16 for 23.2 km)."
Hasegawa has also received advice from two former Second Stage stars who will become his new teammates in April: Waseda alum Kensuke Takezawa, 24, and Josai alum Yuta Takahashi, 23. "They told me to start with a good pace and then progessively push it," Hasegawa says. With this advice in hand he hopes to help deliver Jobu its first finish in the seeded bracket (top ten).
Yusuke Hasegawa -- Born June 8, 1988 in Tainai, Niigata prefecture. 22. Business information major at Jobu University. Began running at a first-year at Kurokawa J.H.S. Ran the 1500 m and 5000 m at the 2006 National High School Championships as senior at Tokyo Gakukan Niigata H.S. Entered Jobu in 2007. 2008 National University 1500 m champion. 5000 m PB of 13:40.83. 174 cm, 55 kg. Lives with parents and brother.
Translator's note: Team S&B, which includes marathon great Toshihiko Seko on its coaching staff and which does not participate in ekidens, will now include:
Yusuke Hasegawa - 13:40.83 / 28:07.47
Bitan Karoki - 13:23.85 / 27:23.62
Yuta Takahashi - 13:31.37
Kensuke Takezawa - 13:19.00 / 27:45.59
Yuichiro Ueno - 13:21.49
along with a group of 13:40's / mid-28 men.