It's a fast new world in Japanese men's marathoning, and one of its exciting new stars comes to it straight out of Kyushu. His name is Kyohei Hosoya (25, Kurosaki Harima). In just his second marathon he ran 2:06:35 for 3rd at February's Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, ranking him at all-time Japanese #6. In college he was mostly sidelined with injury, but since joining the corporate leagues his abilities have come into full flower. Now, with the 2024 Paris Olympics in his sights, he's poised to make another great leap forward.
When the race in Lake Biwa began Hosoya was just an unknown 25-year-old, but when he hit the finish line he'd inked his name on the list of top candidates for the Paris Olympics. What once was just a dream is now a realistic goal. "I'd had some vague hopes before about representing Japan," he said, "but now that feeling is burning bright."
Someone who has been involved with Hosoya's athletic career had often told him, "It's hard to make it to the starting line, but once you do you'll perform." At Lake Biwa Hosoya ran almost perfectly even splits of 3:00/km to come up from the second group and take 3rd. Having debuted in 2:28:47, he cut over 22 minutes off his PB.
As a student at Chuo Gakuin University, Hosoya said, "I was injured for over half of my four years." Right before he started at Chuo Gakuin he hurt his right knee and couldn't run for over a year. After that he had a series of muscle strains and stress fractures, but even so, when he could run he made his presence felt. His second year he ran the Hakone Ekiden's Eight Stage, and his third and fourth years he handled uphill duties on the legendary Fifth Stage. Each time he took 3rd on his stage. His greatest strength? "Consistency," he said.
Since joining the Kurosaki Harima corporate team Hosoya's injury rate has gone way down. More attention to care and cross-training, and head coach Akinori Shibutani's advice to slow down Hosoya's easy runs have proven effective. Hosoya had previously focused a lot on the pace of his runs, but under Shibutani's guidance he found that adjusting the pace depending on how he was feeling and on the intensity of the upcoming main workouts paid off.
Hosoya is something of a late bloomer when it comes to potential national team representatives. Coach Shibutani likens him to Japan's best-ever championships marathoner, 2012 London Olympics marathon 6th-placer Kentaro Nakamoto. "If he makes it onto a national team, he will perform," said Shibutani. "He's just like Nakamoto, but faster." Taking the road forward one step at a time, the high-potential Hosoya said, "If I'm going to go for a national team then I need to run at least 2:07 again."
Kyohei Hosoya - Born Aug. 31, 1995 in Sakuragawa, Ibaraki. Played soccer from his second year of elementary school until he graduated from junior high school and ran in local ekidens during the winter. Began running seriously at Ibaraki's Suijo H.S., making Sujio's team at the National High School Ekiden Championships. After graduating from Chuo Gakuin University he joined Kurosaki Harima in 2018. Finished 4th on the competitive Fourth Stage at this year's New Year Ekiden national championships. 171 cm, 52 kg.
translated and edited by Brett Larner