translated by Brett Larner
With the goal of boosting reconstruction efforts in the northeast, runners taking part in the "Road to Tomorrow 1000 km Relay" from Aomori to Tokyo passed through Fukushima on Aug. 3, starting the day in Koriyama Sports Park in Koriyama and heading to Iwaki's Misaki Park.
At the morning's departure ceremony, Koriyama mayor Masato Shinagawa gave his support to participants, telling them, "Let your hearts be touched by the nature and people of Fukushima as you move on toward your goal." Guest runner and Mexico Olympics marathon silver medalist Kenji Kimihara, 73, told the assembled runners, "Let us pray for the recovery of the northeast, for a successful Tokyo Olympics, and to hand off our tasuki without giving in to the midsummer heat." When Major Shinagawa fired the starter's pistol, around sixty amateur runners from Fukushima and elsewhere set off alongside Kimihara for the ten-stage run to Iwaki.
On Aug. 4 the relay will continue from Misaki Park to Oarai-machi, Ibaraki. Scheduled guest runners on the 4th include former Hakone Ekiden star and Iwaki native Ryuji Kashiwabara (Team Fujitsu), and model Momoko Kozuka.