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Ikegami Makes Waves at Half Marathon in Tokyo

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Kameoka native and long distance runner Hideyuki Ikegami (20, Kyoto T&F Assoc.), won a half marathon in Tokyo on Jan. 12.  In scoring the win he took down famed "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't).  Ikegami is only a second-year at Kyoto Kyoiku University but is already forging his own way of doing things outside the school's track and field team in pursuit of his dream: "I want to take on the world in the marathon."

At the Jan. 12 Tanigawa Mari Half Marathon, Ikegami took more than two minutes off his PB to run his 1:03:09 winning time.  In the middle part of the race he threw in a long surge to break Kawauchi, opening a convincing 1:08 lead over him.  It was only Ikegami's third half marathon but a major upset, and post-race he was surrounded by reporters. "Kawauchi always looks like he's in pain when he runs," Ikegami told them while reviewing the race, "but this time his face looked really exhausted so I think I only really won by making a sneaky move."

At Rakunan H.S. Ikegami ran in the National High School Ekiden Championships three years in a row, and at Kyoto Kyoiku University his achievements have included winning the Kansai Region University Track and Field Championships 10000 m and half marathon.  But in October he quit the school's team.  With academics as his highest priority, he gets up at 5:20 a.m. every day to follow a self-imposed regimen of two hours of training every morning and evening.  "I wanted to make the mistakes that would help me grow without having to worrying about the restrictions of being on a team, so I chose to be independent," he said.

At the end of last year he passed the test to join Team Arata, the athlete development project established by London Olympics marathoner Arata Fujiwara (32, Miki House). The project pays members a training stipend based on their results at amateur races and other events.  Project member Hiroaki Onishi (30), a Kyoto Sangyo University graduate living in Kyoto, gave a positive evaluation of Ikegami's performance, saying, "He has been training and developing by himself, and that is exactly why he was able to beat Kawauchi that way."

"Like Kawauchi, whose running is an extension of a hobby and something that he does because he loves it from the heart, and Fujiwara, who has put his life and livelihood on the line to risk a career as in independent pro, my goal is success as a runner who doesn't believe in the established system," Ikegami said.  He plans to run his marathon debut this winter.


Metts said…
I'm looking forward to seeing what he and the other independents can do in the future. Looks very exciting.

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