translated and edited by Brett Larner
Saku Chosei H.S. head coach Hayashi Morozumi, 44, announced Jan. 17 that in April he will take over as head coach of his alma mater, 2011 Hakone Ekiden 4th-place Tokai University. Morozumi will replace current Tokai coach Toshihiro Arai, 58, who coached Morozumi during Morozumi's student days and asked him to be his replacement. Morozumi told reporters, "My goal is not just to do well at the Hakone Ekiden but to produce Olympians." Morozumi graduated from Tokai Dai-San Prep H.S. before running for Tokai University where he competed in the Hakone Ekiden all four years. He later ran professionally for the Nissan and Daiei teams.
Morozumi has been head coach at Saku Chosei since 1995 and brought the school its first National High School Ekiden Championships title in 2008 along with twelve top-eight finishes. Most of the best current under-25 runners passed through his leadership at Saku Chosei, including 2011 Hakone Ekiden MVP Akinobu Murasawa (Tokai Univ.), Asian half marathon junior area record holder Suguru Osako (Waseda Univ.), Hakone Ekiden 6th Stage record holder Kenta Chiba (Komazawa Univ.), 2009 Ageo City Half Marathon winner Shota Hiraga (Waseda Univ.), 27:38 10000 m runner and three-time Hakone Ekiden stage record setter Yuki Sato (Team Nissin Shokuhin) and 2009 double 1500 m and 5000 m national champion Yuichiro Ueno (Team S&B). Key to Morozumi's success as a coach has been the introduction of cross-country training on a custom-built course near the Saku Chosei campus in the mountains of Nagano.
Replacing him as coach at Saku Chosei is current assistant coach Masaru Takamizawa, 29. Takamizawa, a graduate of Saku Chosei, ran at Yamanashi Gakuin University and Team Nissin Shokuhin before becoming assistant coach in 2008. He won the 2008 Hokkaido Marathon wearing a Saku Chosei singlet. Explaining Takamizawa's selection Morozumi commented, "Takamizawa is himself a strong athlete, and I thought that under his leadership the team would continue to do well." Takamizawa said, "I hope to apply the knowhow and insights I have gained by working alongside coach Morizumi."