translated and edited by Brett Larner
Fukuoka University junior Takuro Nakanishi's hand pops open a can of coffee, then freezes in position as he closely reads the list of ingredients printed on the side of the can. "This looks.....OK," he says. Reassured, he drains the can dry in one gulp. Nakanishi believes that eating natural food is crucial for maintaining your condition as you become a strong marathon runner. Living near the university campus and cooking for himself, Nakanishi checks every item he buys at the supermarket carefully. He avoids buying pre-prepared meals, food containing additives or processed vegetables at all costs. "If it's not something I've made myself from things I know came out of the ground then I can't trust it," he says.
Born in Shingu, Fukuoka, Nakanishi attended the strong Saitama Sakae H.S. northwest of Tokyo. He joined the JR Higashi Nihon corporate running team after graduating from Sakae. The food in the company dormitories wasn't bad, but he but soon came to have doubts about the central emphasis on ekidens. Feeling limited, he quit the team during the summer of only his second year at JR. Looking for "an environment where I could concentrate on the marathon," he chose to return to his hometown to go to university.
Nakanishi has shown one aspect of his talent in the track races he has run to help develop the discipline necessary for the marathon. At September's National University Track & Field Championships he was a surprise 3rd overall, beating out the best of the Kanto Region to take the top Japanese finisher spot in 29:23.99. At November's National University Ekiden Championships he led much of the 14.6 km First Stage despite having hurt his left ankle before the race and finished only 7 seconds off the leader in 5th.
Nakanishi has run riverside amateur marathons before, but Sunday's Hofu Yomiuri Marathon will be his first time running a certified 42.195 km elite marathon. For this student runner, the achievements of Daegu World Championships marathon team member Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.) have been a tremendous motivation. "He has given me the courage to believe that I can do this by myself too," he says. As an invited elite alongside Kawauchi at Hofu this year, what better stage could Nakanishi ask for in his serious marathon debut?
Translator's note: Nakanishi has previously said that following his 'debut' in Hofu he plans to run March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon to contend for a spot on the London Olympic team.