translated by Brett Larner
With a student body of 833 led by Principal Kenji Tamashima, Nagasaki's Isahaya H.S. held a pep rally at the school Dec. 16 for its boys' and girls' ekiden teams who will be competing in Sunday's National High School Ekiden Championships in Kyoto. The entire student body turned out to show its support for the school's athletes.
The pep rally was held in the school gymnasium. Special guest Mayor Akio Miyamoto told the teams, "There are a lot of returning members from last year's [National Championships] team, so our hopes for you are high. Please give it your best."
Boys' captain Hiroyuki Sakaguchi, 17, told the assembled students, "We will run with the feeling that you are all sharing here today within our hearts." Girls' captain Sakura Kawakami, 18, added, "With our running we want to show our thanks for the support of every person here." Pep rally committee chairman Hidehiro Funakoshi said, "We want you to run with confidence and give it all that you have!" After Funakoshi's comments the school cheerleaders took the stage to lead the school's support for its athletes.
Translator's note: The Isahaya H.S. boys finished 14th last year, while its girls were 22nd. Isahaya H.S. alumni include London Olympian and 2:07:48 marathoner Arata Fujiwara and 1999 World XC junior bronze medalist Yoshiko Fujinaga. The National High School Ekiden Championships will be broadcast live nationwide commercial for 4 1/2 hours this Sunday on NHK starting at 10:05 a.m. Japan time. Follow @JRNLive for live coverage.