translated and edited by Brett Larner
1500 m national record holder Yuriko Kobayashi (26, Toyota Jidoshokki), a Beijing Olympian over 5000 m, will retire at the end of this season due to a series of injuries according to an announcement on Jan. 19. After her retirement she plans to make a living on the lecture circuit and making guest appearances at major races across the country.
Kobayashi became a middle distance star while at Asahigaoka J.H.S. in Ono, Hyogo. While at Suma Gakuen H.S. she won the National Championships and National High School Championships, setting the 1500 m national record of 4:07.86 in 2006. Later the same year she won the National High School Ekiden's Second Stage to help Suma Gakuen win the national title.
After graduating she joined the Toyota Jidoshokki team, making the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 Berlin World Championships teams. She later spent time living in the United States training with James Li, coach of multiple Olympics and World Championships medalist Bernard Lagat. Kobayashi plans to run on the Ono city team at the Feb. 1 Hyogo Prefecture Ekiden in Kakogawa, Hyogo.