translated by Brett Larner
Half marathon national record holder Atsushi Sato (Team Chugoku Denryoku) has announced that he will retire following next month's Fukuoka International Marathon. Now 35, he has increasingly been forced to deal with running in pain and numbness in his legs. In an interview on Nov. 20 Sato admitted, "I've had more and more problems with injuries and just can't seem to be able to do the kind of training I need any more."
Sato relocated his training base from Hiroshima back to his hometown of Aizubange-machi, Fukushima following the 2011 disasters with the intent of training for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, 2016. He has been building his mileage there, but realizing he would not be able to achieve this goal and deciding to retire, he said, "I've always had the dream of being a mentor and coach, so I'd like to put the punctuation on one phase on my life and move on to the next."
Sato is on a leave of absence from the Chugoku Denryoku company until next September. "I told them about six months ago that I plan to become a coach," he indicated. His exact future plans are still undecided, but he plans to discuss the situation with the higher-ups in the company management. Of his work helping with disaster reconstruction efforts within Fukushima prefecture he said, "I certainly intend to continue that work."