translated by Brett Larner
A rebel runner with a high coefficient of variation is set to run the sport's biggest stage. Members of the Kanto Region University Student Alliance team for the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden met with members of the media Nov. 23 in Yokohama for interviews following the Kanto Region University 10000 m Time Trials meet at Keio University. Masaki Matsui, a junior at science powerhouse Tokyo Kogyo University, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he studies in the School of Engineering's Department of Aerospace Mechanics, told reporters, "Most of the time I train alone. I mostly run by myself, so that's the way I want to run my race. Whatever stage I'm put on I want to give it what I have."
As a second-year on the dominant Saku Chosei H.S. ekiden team Matsui suffered a stress fracture in his lower pelvis that forced him to leave the team. Having gotten good grades ever since he was young, Matsui shifted his focus to his studies and was accepted to Tokyo Kogyo University. "When I left the Saku Chosei team I thought that was it for me and athletics, but I started running again the day I got accepted," he said.
After entering Tokyo Kogyo University Matsui began living by himself in an apartment near the university campus. At the university he is working to build "a robot that can do street performances." While studying and working four part-time jobs as a tutor to make the money he needs to live Matsui has improved his 10000 m PB to 29:29.13. His inspiration, he says, is civil servant runner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't). "I'm not thinking about going to the corporate leagues at all," he said. "I want to become the best I can be on my own like Kawauchi has." With a robotic mechanical accuracy to his pitch, Matsui is set to become Tokyo Kogyo University's first-ever Hakone runner.