Marathon National Record Holder Yuta Shitara Scores a Sweet Ride - "We're Going to Create a Legend Together"
At a ceremony in Sayama, Saitama on June 22, men's marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, 26, was awarded a Legend luxury sedan by his corporate team sponsor Honda. Shitara was praised for cracking the national record with a 2:06:11 at February's Tokyo Marathon. "I didn't think I'd score a car out of it," he smiled. "I'm really happy to get it. I want to hit the road in it somewhere with my teammates."
The basic model of the car Shitara was awarded costs 7,000,000 yen [~$64,000 USD], but what he actually received came loaded with optional features. He was allowed to choose any model of Honda car he wanted, but it was the model's name, "Legend," that caught his attention. "I want to accomplish legendary things in the marathon," he commented. "The Legend and I are in to together for the long haul, and together we're going to create a legend."
Shitara is also into World Cup soccer, and he said that Japan's victory over the powerful Colombian national team was an inspiration and motivation. "Seeing that Japanese athletes can accomplish something on that level gives courage to an athlete like me," he said. "I want to show that Japanese athletes can beat our top foreign competitors in the marathon too."
The stress fracture in Shitara's foot that was discovered after the Tokyo Marathon has now healed completely. He plans to run a marathon this fall. "Going for my own marathon record is a given," said Japan's fastest man. "But bringing home our first-ever New Year Ekiden national title is my other big goal for the year."
translated by Brett Larner