Skip to main content

Hokkaido's Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. Builds 330 m Greenhouse Indoor Track

Targeting its sixth-straight win at the Oct. 23 Hokkaido Prefecture High School Girls Ekiden, Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. has complete construction of the Asahikawa Ryukoku Indoor Track, at 330 m in length the nation's largest running-specific circuit course entirelyely enclosed in vinyl greenhouse material. The ceremony marking the track's official completion is scheduled for Oct. 28th. In a part of the country known for heavy snowfall, the hope is that Asahikawa Ryukoku's new year-round training ground will help it make the jump to becoming a factor at the national level.

The indoor track was built on the 1650 square meter campus of the former Asahikawa Toei H.S., where Asahikawa Ryukoku H.S. will relocate next summer. Coated in durable vinyl, the massive white torus of the track stands out from its surroundings. Ranging from 5.4 m to 7.2 m in width, the track's housing is wide enough to accommodate four lanes. In the future, two lanes will be covered with artificial turf and one lane will have a 100 m segment coated with standard all-weather track surface material. The enclosure's ceiling is 4 m high at its maximum point, creating a spacious area inside. The facility is equipped with a heating system and can be used throughout the year.

Head coach Fumihito Abe, 45, commented, "From what I hear this is the first greenhouse track of this scale in Japan. I want to take advantage of it to overcome the handicap we face by being in a snowy part of the country. We can't lose at the Hokkaido Prefecture High School Ekiden."

Asahikawa can be more than 20˚C below freezing in the winter, but in years past the school's ekiden team has continued to train outdoors even in that kind of bitter cold. For serious runs the ekiden team had to travel to Sapporo to train inside domed stadiums. Coach Abe asked the school administration to build an indoor track as part of its campus relocation. Construction begin in August through the support of Yukio Tanaka, 72, a senior director of the Northern Hokkaido Athletics Association, head of a building company that handles greenhouse construction and civil engineering work, and friend of the school. 

Team members who did test runs on the track were impressed. Senior captain Sakura Ishibashi said, ”This will be a great place to train without having to worry about wind or snow. We're all super grateful and want to show our thanks by succeeding." Star senior Kanan Tarisawa was also excited about the track, saying, "It feels bright an open inside, and that makes it easy to run in. After we win the Hokkaido race we'll be training here to break our school record of 19th at Nationals." 

Response to the new track has been great. When coach Abe posted a video of the new track on the team's official Twitter account it got likes from Tokyo Olympians Yuki Koike and Haruka Kitaguchi, as well as two-time Olympic marathon medalist Yuko Arimori. In the future the track will be opened to other school sports teams, area clubs and local residents. In a land of deep snowfall it is sure to become an important community-based sports facility.

© 2021 Fumihito Abe, all rights reserved

source article:
translated by Brett Larner

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

Kipchoge to Run Tokyo Marathon If It Happens and He Can Get Into Country

On Jan. 19 it was learned that men's marathon world record holder and two-time Olympic marathon gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge , 37, may run the Mar. 6 Tokyo Marathon. Multiple sources involved in the situation said that the Tokyo Marathon organizers have extended an offer to Kipchoge for his participation. If he does run, there is a strong possibility that he will break both the course and all-comers' records of 2:03:58 set in 2017 by Wilson Kipsang  by a wide margin. At the same time, the Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to have a significant impact on the event's chances. The government has banned all non-resident foreigners from entering the country since Nov. 30 last year. Tokyo and other areas of the country are set to enter a partial state of emergency on Jan. 21. And the Tokyo Marathon organizers have established the policy that they will cancel the race if after Feb. 6 the government asks large-scale events to refrain from going forward and it meets the criteria

Cancelations Hit Beppu-Oita and Nobeoka Marathons

The latest wave of race cancelations sweeping Japan as its coronavirus case numbers climb to record highs hit two elite-level marathons Friday, the Feb. 6 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon and Feb. 13 Nobeoka Nishi Nihon Marathon . Planned as a full-sized race with 4,184 entrants, with just two weeks to go Beppu-Oita announced that in an effort to cope with the worsening situation it was limiting its field to those with sub-2:30 times and their pacers, IPC athletes, and local entrants, all required to be fully vaccinated and tested within a short period before the race. Its new limited field of 543 takes Beppu-Oita back to its roots as an elite-only race, but the remaining 3600+ entrants find themselves out of luck. Just down the coast, Nobeoka took an even more conservative approach. Planned with a field size of only 200 plus an invited athlete field of what would probably have been another 8 or 10, the city government announced on Friday that the race has been canceled outright. In th

Feb. 20 Shonan International Marathon Canceled

Scheduled for Feb. 20, 2022, the 16th Shonan International Marathon has been officially canceled. For everyone who has borne hope through the coronavirus crisis and worked together to bring back mass-participation marathons, we had set as our goal the task of staging an event where everyone could participate safely even in the midst of the pandemic. To that end we were requiring a negative PCR test and full vaccination for all runners, volunteers and staff members, and we are deeply disappointed not to be able to follow through for all of those who understood the need for these requirements and made the brave decision to support them. Our initial plan for implementing the race safely was based on these two requirements and additional countermeasures against the spread of the virus. But with the outbreak of the omicron variant, which has a very short incubation period from infection to expression of the disease that decreases the reliability of PCR testing in the three days before the