translated by Brett Larner
4th in the marathon at the Seoul Olympics and Barcelona Olympics, Takeyuki Nakayama, 55, ran Sunday's Senshu International Marathon as a specially invited guest. Nakayama ran 2:54:26, finishing 19th in the general men's division and far surpassing his goal of 3:30. "I started up front, so I went out at a faster pace than I was planning," he said with a smile. "I figured that if I kept running like that I'd break 3 hours, so that's what I did."
In 1985 Nakayama set the then Japanese national record of 2:08:15. Along with Toshihiko Seko and twins Shigeru Soh and Takeshi Soh he was one of the leaders of the Japanese marathon world. Nakayama won the Senshu International Marathon in 1996 in 2:17:28. "There was a headwind the whole way," he recalled. "When I saw the bridge [at 40 km] I was totally exhausted."
These days the freelance Nakayama makes guest appearances at events and runs in races on his own. Even now the original "natural runner" never misses running 20 km a day. 58 kg during his peak years, he still weighs only 63 kg. "Yeah, I don't really want to get fat," he said. "I'll keep running as long as I can."