Key players in Hyogo Prefecture's first National Women's Ekiden in 14 years in January, following their graduation from Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. at the end of this month Nozomi Tanaka and Yume Goto will join a club team at the start of the spring season. Both have enrolled at Doshisha University where they will study in the Sports Health Science Department but will run for the ND 28 Athlete Club based in Amagasaki.
Tanaka is the all-time #2 Japanese high school girl over 3000 m with a best of 8:54.27 and beat a field of Kenyan student runners to win last fall's National Sports Festival 3000 m. Goto won the Sixth Stage at the National Women's Ekiden and took 4th in 1500 m at the National Sports Festival.
Regarding their decision to join a club team, Tanaka and Goto commented, "Ccorporate leaguers and university runners seem like they're focused on ekidens, so we've chosen a way that'll give us more freedom to run track." Neither will join the Doshisha University track and field team, and in pursuit of becoming the best they can be both plan to run in Japan and internationally in races that focus on more than just corporate league runners or university students.
"The first year will be about the 1500 m and 3000 m, and I'd like to go after the 5000 m too," said Tanaka. "I want to deliver the kind of results that will be make others think, 'I want to be part of that team.' The National Championships will be critical." Of her vision for the future Goto commented, "While focusing on middle distance, I want to find events like the steeple that might be best-suited to my abilities. I want to deliver convincing results."
Translator's note: Tanaka is the daughter of Japan's best-ever amateur marathon woman, Chihiro Tanaka, a two-time winner of the Hokkaido Marathon with a 2:29:30 PB and over 60 sub-2:50 marathons to her name.
translated by Brett Larner