translated by Brett Larner
ND Software, makers of nursing and wellness-related software based in Nanyo, Yamagata, have announced the formation of the ND Software AC men's running team. Alongside a core lineup of runners transferring in from strong corporate league teams, a number of athletes are transferring to ND Software from the Nanyo City Hall team which qualified for the last two straight New Year Ekiden national championships. As a corporate team they are set on making the New Year Ekiden.
According to a company spokesperson, the new team was officially launched on April 1. Plans call for a team of around 10 runners including those who have run the New Year Ekiden with other corporate teams and recent graduates who have experience at the Hakone Ekiden. Team members will work alongside regular company workers, and recruitment offers have already gone out to top-level athletes across the country. Kenyan Joseph Onsarigo, who retired from his position at a temporary employee at Nanyo City Hall in January, will be welcomed to the ND Software team along with Tetsu Takashima, who likewise retired as Nanyo City Hall head coach in January.
As holder of the naming rights to Yamagata Prefectural Sports Park Field, ND Software already has a history of contributing to society through supporting sports. With the purpose of making further contributions to the region, the team and company will conduct running education and training sessions for local elementary and junior high school students to help develop local middle and long distance athletes, all the while working toward the goal of qualifying for the New Year Ekiden within three years. A company spokesperson commented, "The goal is not PR for our company, but rather to highlight the city of Nanyo and Yamagata prefecture."
While several members of the Nanyo City Hall team are set to transfer to ND Software AC, the remaining members are hard at work on preparing to go for a fourth-straight win as part of the Nanyo Higashi Okitama team at the Trans-Yamagata Ekiden. In an interview Nanyo mayor Takao Shiraiwa commented, "I hope that those athletes who want to further themselves even more will find great success in their new club environment. Working together as a team still based here in the same city, I hope that it will lead to a positive contribution to the local community."