What’s your next running target?
Records! Athletics is easy to understand. You can see your position based on records, so by producing new records you can see how you’re improving.
I was invited to run in the Osaka International Women’s Marathon in January 2021 because of my record [2:26:35 at the same event in 2020]. There were a lot of runners I know that couldn’t run because they didn’t have a qualifying time.
Even if they didn’t say it out loud, they all sent me off saying: ‘Please try hard for me.’ But unfortunately I couldn’t respond to that with a new record. During the run and afterwards, I thought: ‘Maybe this is it for me as an athlete. Perhaps 2:26 is the fastest I’ll ever be.’
Afterwards, I tried to sleep. But I couldn’t. I was so upset. I wondered what to do. Until then, I hadn’t ever done strength training, core training or tried a special diet. I actually don’t like any of those things. But I was aware that meant I wasn’t suffering as much as other runners in training. Sponsored runners put up with a lot of restrictions. ‘Citizen’ runners like myself are able to have a more casual routine.
I’m scared of falling out of love with running, so I’ve decided to carry on as before. I want to show to others that you can get to a good level just by enjoying running.
So you still find running enjoyable?
Yes! That’s why I feel so aligned with On, where the mission is to make running fun. Of course, you want to win events. But ultimately, I want to deliver the feeling of fun that comes with running.
A sponsored runner may enjoy running, but it’s harder in some aspects too. The On team are always saying that running is fun, it’s cool and that’s brilliant. It’s the same reason I introduce people to our Futtsu team training sessions on a Sunday.
It’s casual. But the more people come and continue to come, the more friends you develop. There are people of different ages and jobs. And it’s hard to make friends as an adult. So the more you run at Futtsu, the more friends you make. For me, there are only good things that come from running.