translated by Brett Larner
The Shiseido corporation has announced that women's long distance team head coach Tsutomu Hiroyama, 46, will retire from the team at the end of March. The announcement comes partly as a consequence of the Shiseido team's 13th place finish at December's National Corporate Women's Ekiden, the latest in a series of increasingly shaky results in recent years. Hiroyama's wife Harumi Hiroyama, 44, who beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics made three straight Olympic teams in track distance events, has been serving as an assistant coach and according to the announcement will also retire from the team. Following their departure current coaching staff member Toshitaka Andoji, 47, will be promoted.
Tsutomu joined Shiseido in 1989, switching the focus of his own career as an athlete to coaching and helping to develop Harumi and others. The couple's stoic character and unassailable conduct in the wake of Harumi not being selected for the Sydney Olympic marathon team despite running a superb 2:22:56 at the 2000 Osaka International Women's Marathon selection race earned them a tremendous reputation. Tsutomu was promoted to head coach in 2007. He commented, "It is very disappointing to be told to leave when I haven't achieved my ambitions yet. If I have the chance somewhere else I would still like to work with athletes who dream of becoming world-class."