translated by Brett Larner
Having run in the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden, the Tamura brothers Yusuke (4th yr., Josai University) and Hirotaka (2nd yr., Nihon University), both natives of Noheji, Aomori and graduates of Aomori Yamada H.S., visited Noheji Pre-School, which they both attended, on Jan. 5 to thank the school's children and their teachers for their support and encouragement.
In the Hakone Ekiden, Yusuke, the captain of Josai University's ekiden team, ran the uphill Fifth Stage for the third straight year, finishing 7th on time. Running the First Stage for the Kanto Region Select Team, Hirotaka performed well, finishing 9th. The brothers returned to their parents' home in Noheji on Jan. 4. Visiting their old pre-school, they brought candy as presents for the children. Roughly 100 pre-schoolers greeting them with a unison cheer, "Great job at the Hakone Ekiden!"
Receiving a bouquet of flowers from a student representative, Yusuke thanked the children and teachers for their support, saying, "That was the toughest race I've ever run, but the thought of all your support in my last Hakone Ekiden helped give me the strength to push my body all the way." Hirotaka added, "For myself, I'm not satisfied with my result, but I want to use the experience to do better next year and after that." The two brothers went on to visit thei junior high school on Jan. 6.
Translator's note: The younger brother Hirotaka Tamura, 20, is planning to run March's Biwako Mainichi Marathon in a serious attempt at making the London Olympic team.