translated by Brett Larner
Overseas elite athletes scheduled to run the 69th edition of the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon on Feb. 1 took part in sessions at elementary schools in Utazu and Marugame on Jan. 30, talking with local children and offering them advice and guidance in their running. The sessions were part of the schools' "Real Experience" program, seeking to increase children's interest in activities like sports by letting them interact directly with athletes from around the world.
2014 Continental Cup women's 5000 m 4th-placer Eloise Wellings (32, Australia) visited Utazu Elementary School, taking questions from the children about how to develop fast form and proper breathing. "Relax when you run," she told them. "Inhale through your nose and try to exhale from both your nose and mouth." Afterwards, students enjoyed the thrill of racing Wellings in short sprints in the school gymnasium, full of smiles for the valuable experience. Sixth grader Hidema Enami, 12, said, "It was inspiring to have such a rare opportunity. Ms. Wellings' advice about running will be very helpful in my future in athletics."
At the same time, 2014 World Half Marathon Championships silver medalist Samuel Tsegaye (26, Eritrea) did a demonstration session at Joto Elementary School in Marugame, running and interacting with representative children from the school. The children warmly wished Tsegaye good luck in Sunday's race.