Skip to main content

'There's an Incredibly Exciting World Waiting Just a Step Outside Japan'

http://ameblo.jp/1984-0220/entry-11758652352.html

translated by Mika Tokairin and Brett Larner
photo courtesy of race organizers Aravaipa Running

14:16 / 29:44 track runner Tsutomu Nagata, 29, took up ultramarathons after an accident in 2010 left his right arm permanently handicapped.  In 2013 he finished 3rd at the Lake Saroma 100 km in 6:44:33, a time that ranked him 6th in the world for the year.  

Nagata made his 100 mile and international debut Jan. 25 at the Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile Trail Run in the U.S., leading for the first two 20-mile laps before being overtaken by eventual winner Catlow Shipek (U.S.A.). Post-race he wrote about his experience.

Japanese emoticons:

(^-^)/ = happy/waving
(T-T) = crying (embarrassment)
(-_-;) = worried/stress

To begin with I'd like to thank Iwamoto-san and Rina-san from Club My Star for first suggesting this opportunity. Also to everyone in Tokirun, Igarashi-sensei, Seki-sensei, Ota-san and others who supported me, I don't know how to thank you enough.

The race started at 7:00 a.m. on the 25th.  At first there was a pack of four, but it quickly became just two of us.

Him: (^-^)/ "Hi! Blah blah blah blah."
Me: (T-T) "I don't speak English.  Sorry!  Sorry!  Sorry!"
Him: (^-^)/ "What's your name?"
Me: (T-T) "NAGATA!"
Him: (^-^)/ "Oh, NAGATA!"

We talked to each other like that but I couldn't understand his name. (-_-;)  Cat!?  He tried to imitate a cat going meow meow but...

He went to the toilet at the end of the first loop and I took the lead.  On the second lap the sun started to shine and it got so hot that I couldn't believe it was really winter.  There were three aid stations per lap with great cheering and support, and I really appreciated the staff's efforts to understand my poor English.  In the second half of the third lap I started slowing down and the guy caught back up to me (although I think I was the only one thinking of it as being caught).  When he caught up to me he asked, "Nagata!  You doing OK?"  I could tell from the difference between his positive way of thinking and mine that he was very strong, but I couldn't give up then so I chased after him.

On the fourth lap I was going as hard as I could trying to close the gap since there were people who were looking forward to seeing how I did. I was feeling like, "Hey, jackass! Wait up!" I wonder what the gap between us was at the end of the fourth lap? I was going through pain and agony I'd never tasted before while I was chasing him.

The fifth lap took an hour longer.  On the fifth lap I used a headlamp for the first time and ran through the darkness.  I crashed into cactuses, fell lots of times, took wrong turns, and the headlamp died.  I encountered a million problems, but somehow I got to the finish.

100 miles is a very long way.  If I was told to run it all by myself it'd be impossible.  Every person I lapped, saying "Good job!" to each other gave me strength.  I felt a new world in this race and became a new person again.  I find enjoyment in this through seeing my own growth and change.  That's my style.

Thanks to Rina-san's translation, after the race I was able to talk a lot to that guy I met there in the States.  I think there are great races and great race staff in Japan too, but my words are insufficient to express how much I felt that there was an incredibly exciting world waiting just a step outside Japan.

When I get back I want to talk about all this over some drinks.  I'd like to talk more to other people who are interested in ultramarathons.

Over and out.

Update: Read Catlow Shipek's account of the race here.

Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile Trail Run
Goodyear, AZ, U.S.A., 1/25/14
click here for complete results

Men
1. Catlow Shipek (U.S.A.) - 15:09:52
2. Tsutomu Nagata (Japan) - 16:14:21
3. Jeremy Bradford (U.S.A.) - 18:29:30

Women
1. Gina Dhaliwal (Canada) - 20:05:43
2. Katelyne Fischbeck (U.S.A.) - 21:00:52
3. Ema Eliason (U.S.A.) - 23:26:14

photo (c) 2014 Aravaipa Running
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Miura Breaks Osako's U20 Half Marathon Record to Lead Juntendo University to Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Win

Cold rain couldn't hold back the fast times at Saturday's Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon, the qualifying race for January's Hakone Ekiden university men's championships and the first major elite-level road race held in Japan during the coronavirus era. Held on a 2.6 km loop around an airbase runway in western Tokyo's Tachikawa suburb, 46 university teams from the greater Tokyo area fielded teams of 10 to 12 runners at the Yosenkai, with each team's 10 fast men scoring and the 10 fastest teams joining the top 10 from this year's Hakone Ekiden to make up the field for next year's Hakone.
Temperatures at the start were 12˚C, and with the rain letting up just before the gun conditions were actually pretty good through the first half of the race. Last year's runner-up Vincent Raimoi (Kokushikan Univ.) took an all-Kenyan lead quartet out hard on sub-60 pace, going through 5 km in 14:05 and 10 km in 28:14 before slowing as the rain returned in the sec…

Karoki Under 27:10 Again - Weekend Track Roundup

A typhoon passing to the south brought rain and wind to most of the country throughout the weekend, but with what's left of ekiden season getting off the ground next weekend there were a million high-level meets across the country.None higher-level than Friday's Chubu Corporate Track and Field Championships, where Bedan Karoki (Toyota) turned in his second sub-27:10 clocking in the last three weeks, winning the men's 10000 m A-heat in 27:08.91. 19-year-old Philemon Kiplagat (Aisan Kogyo) was 2nd in 27:46.67, the first sub-28 by a junior this year. Five other men were under 28 in the same heat, including first-timers Yusuke Nishiyama (Toyota) and Daiji Kawai (Toenec). A total of 44 men were under 29 minutes between all three heats.Victor Korir Kipkirui (GMO) took the top spot in the men's 10000 m A-heat at Saturday's Track Games in Tokorozawa, a quad meet between Waseda University, Meiji University, Toyo University and Soka University with some GMO corporate interl…

Princess Ekiden Preview

National championship ekiden season looks like it's going to mostly happen, and this will be the first full weekend of qualifying action for the winter's main events. Following Saturday's Hakone Ekiden qualifier is Sunday's Princess Ekiden, the qualifying race for the Nov. 22 National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships. This is the first major ekiden to be held on public streets during the coronavirus era, so there is a lot of attention, good and bad, to how it goes and the organizers have banned cheering groups from the different teams in the race and asked fans not to come cheer along the course. It's a test drive to see how the rest of championship season will go to be sure.
Last year's top 8 teams at Nationals are guaranteed the return trip this year, The top 14 teams at the Princess Ekiden will qualify to join them, and with 28 teams entered following scratches from Aichi Denki and Daiso that means a decently competitive race to make it. Last year S…