The Keio University track and field club has a long history of participating in the first Tokyo-Hakone Round Trip University Ekiden (Hakone Ekiden) and winning the championship. However, he has been away from participating in about 30 years. This time, we interviewed four athletes and head coach Kosaku Hoshina about the Hakone Ekiden project of the track and field club, which is aiming for Hakone with all their might.
Crowdfunding for the Hakone Ekiden Project is open until September 30th! If you are interested, please check here. →Hakone Ekiden Project
Maehara: My name is Yuma Maehara (4th grade, Kumagai), and I am the head of the long distance block. He’s been doing it since he was in the second year of junior high school, so he’s doing his best because it’s his last year in his 10th year of track and field.
Tajima: My name is Kotaro Tajima, a second year student (Kan 2, Kyushu Gakuin). I started track and field in earnest when I was in the first year of high school, so this year will be my fifth year.
Kurosawa: My name is Eiki Kurosawa, a 3rd year student (3rd year, Niijima Academy). She started track and field when she was in the first year of junior high school, so this is her ninth year.
Kaikawa: My name is Yusuke Kaikawa (4th year student, Minokamo). I’ve been doing track and field since I was in the first grade of elementary school, so this year will be my 16th year. We are having a new year.
Hoshina HC: In 2017, I was appointed as the long-distance head coach of the Keio University track and field club. After graduating from Nippon Sport Science University, he worked as a runner and coach at the Nissin Foods running club, and has been indebted to him since 2017.
――About the Hakone Ekiden Project
Maehara: The Hakone Ekiden Project is, as the name suggests, a strengthening project for Keio University to participate in the Hakone Ekiden. Two years before I entered the school, a project started with the generation two years above us, and the people one year above us joined the track and field club as first-generation students. We are working to strengthen the team by inviting coaches under the project. In the first year after the project started, I was 26th or 27th at the Hakone Ekiden preliminaries, Mr. Hoshina…
Hoshina HC: I don’t remember (laughs).
Maehara: I was 27th in my first year, and since then the team has been strengthened under the project. The number of players has increased, and the strength of each individual has become stronger, and we are working hard every day to qualify for the finals under the project.
Hoshina HC:Originally, Keio University was one of the four schools when the Hakone Ekiden was established, in terms of what we wanted to do for the next 100 years when the track and field club celebrated its 100th anniversary. called “school”. While winning the Hakone Ekiden overall at the 13th tournament, he has left the Hakone Road after the 70th tournament. As an alumnus of Hakone, I cannot enjoy the absence of Keio University. Based on the idea that the past 100 years will not be connected to the next generation, I decided to create an era in which Keio University will definitely be in Hakone for the next 100 years. Did. Among them, as Maehara mentioned earlier, we will recruit excellent players without a sports recommendation, and while we are going through trial and error with our policy of strengthening, we will gradually participate in the 100th tournament. It’s a project.
――Consciousness as a traditional school
Tajima: As a club and OB, we are conscious of it as a traditional school, and the team also calls itself the king of land, so we want to run like that. Personally, I am facing it as a challenger, and even though I was on the road, the scenery of Hakoneji has not been seen as a team for a long time, so I am doing it with the slogan “Challenge to the champion of the land”.
――Does Hakone have a special feeling?
Kurosawa: I have been watching the Hakone Ekiden since I was in the fifth grade of elementary school. I do not think. It will be broadcast live on TV, and I think the Hakone Ekiden is the only event that many people from all over the country can watch, so it’s really attractive.
Kaikawa: As Kurosawa said earlier, the Hakone Ekiden can be seen by everyone as a New Year’s tradition. I see it as a stage where I can show the culmination of my competition to those who have cheered me on and supported me in my competitions so far. I myself started competing in the first grade of elementary school, but the reason I wanted to do my best in track and field was when I saw the athletes running in the Hakone Ekiden and thought it would be cool to run on a stage like this. I have a strong desire to run in
Hoshina HC: Mainly, we are doing a long-term training camp in August, so this is financial support. In addition, our club activities have a large number of people, and everyone moves at once, and trains cannot be used when moving early in the morning, so we have a minibus, but we lease it. We are compensating for the leasing costs.
――Collaboration with OB organization
Maehara: In collaboration with OB-san, we will report the progress of crowdfunding with our members, and in addition to what OB-san is doing, we will think about what we active students can do, and the public relations chief will create a notebook. We are updating and disseminating information on Instagram and Twitter. We are trying to find ways to spread crowdfunding, to get people to sympathize with our activities, and to get people to support us even if they are not related to Keio or alumni.
――Collaboration with integrated education schools
Hoshina HC: At Keio High School, our coach also serves as the head coach. We have a system in place to develop athletes over seven years, three years in high school and four years in college. Currently, not only Keio High School (=Keio), but also SFC (=Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School) and Shiki (=Keio Shiki High School), many players from integrated education schools have joined the club and are playing an active role.
――How did the Hakone Ekiden project change?
Kurosawa: What I noticed in my third year was that each person thought about what they lacked and made up for it, and their desire to improve grew stronger year by year. As a result, we were ranked 19th in the qualifying rounds, and the abilities of the individual players have improved, so I think things are changing in that respect.
Maehara:Because I was in the first grade and became an upperclassman, the desire to go to Hakone is getting stronger as the team grows. I think you can see it. When I joined the club, of course, I was working under the project, but I think that the personal best is the same, and the atmosphere and quality of practice has grown a lot now. I think those things have changed a lot.
Kaikawa: What I think about most is that the Keio team is not just aiming for Hakone, but they are seriously thinking about running in Hakone. It may have been just a reinforced school until now, but as a team that is getting closer to the final selection in Hakone, we will be able to put Hakone in our sights, not just from the perspective of practice and behavior. I think that has changed.
――When you joined the club, did you know that Keio University was running the Hakone Ekiden Project?
Tajima: Knowing that, I decided to enter Hakone here.
―― What you feel as a person who is actually working on it
Tajima: Before I joined, I thought that the team was completely led by the upperclassmen and the lowerclassmen would follow them, but now that I’ve joined, it seems that the students in that grade are working hard together and pushing it forward together. I thought it had atmosphere. I feel that it is precisely because of this accumulation that the first-year students who entered this year are following in their footsteps and contributing to the team in a state of momentum.
――What are you doing at the summer camp?
Maehara: In this year’s training camp, the first training camp was a general training camp, which lasted for a little less than two weeks. As a team, we weren’t able to achieve the results we had hoped for in the first half of the training camp. At the general training camp, I wanted everyone to have the awareness of overcoming practice. As a result, I think I was able to train both physically and mentally and break out of my shell.
The selection camp from the 2nd stage was held with about 15 members in anticipation of the Hakone Ekiden preliminaries. There are also practical, high-quality practices, and each and every one of us has to carry out the practice with a strong desire to run and break through the qualifying rounds. I was. We did 20 30km runs and 1000m runs for the first time this year as training content, but all of the participating members were able to complete the runs as planned, and I think that the atmosphere within the team was very good. I think that I was able to practice the best even if I look at the past. In the 3rd round, we were all tired, but we were able to survive until the end. After returning to Hiyoshi, I’m exhausted and preparing for the qualifiers.
Kaikawa: I was able to spend my time seeking quality throughout. I myself have a lot of injuries, and I often had to withdraw due to pain in my legs while running. . Under such circumstances, as a senior student, I was able to show my juniors the attitude of pursuing high quality in any situation and completing it to the end. I am thinking.
――Looking at the appearance of such a senior
Kurosawa: I feel that we are reliable when we practice together, and even when practice is tough, the 4th graders actively encourage us to work hard together and push us back, so I respect them.
Tajima: At the same time as I thought it was amazing that they took a step forward when it became a competition, there were many scenes where the 1st and 2nd graders attacked the upperclassmen. I think it was the 4th graders who helped me from 1st to 4th grade, so I feel that they are indispensable to building the team.
――What are the summer activities of the players?
Hoshina HC: I didn’t get the results I wanted in the first semester, so this summer I put together a practice menu to thoroughly practice the basics. For example, there are universities that practice 20 runs of 1km or 4 runs of 5km, but universities that compete in Hakone preliminaries usually don’t. There are more effective exercises, and there are many exercises that make you walk faster, but those exercises didn’t lead to good results in the first half, so the whole team was trying to get the basics right first. I also paid attention to the point of raising the level of the training. During the second training camp in Hokkaido, the fourth-year students cheered the team up, and the juniors responded to that, and I think the team was in a good situation. In September, I was feeling tired and there were some situations, but I’m just trying to get rid of the fatigue so that I can learn from what I’ve done. Also, I don’t really like the theory of guts, but I think it’s about how much passion you can keep burning and face the qualifying rounds. I think the 4th grade has grown tightly.
――For the qualifying round in three weeks’ time
Maehara: First of all, it is a must to get rid of fatigue and prepare for the actual race, and to make sure that the people who should be in the race come back with the results they should be able to show in the time they should start. In addition to that, I think it’s important to raise our spirits and unite as a team to run with enthusiasm on the day of the Hakone Ekiden Preliminaries, and to run with all our might. I’ve already done what I can do at the training camp, and all that’s left now is to make sure I’m well adjusted in the point practice, and run on the day of the race with a stronger desire to participate in the Hakone Ekiden. I would like to raise it again as a team.
Kaikawa: I think that we have done what we need to do and have gained strength, so everyone should prepare for the remaining period and prepare to show 100% of their strength in preparation for the performance on October 15th. I think we will be able to break through the preliminary rounds. If there is even one person who thinks they can’t go to Hakone, I don’t think they can go either. I believe in it from the bottom of my heart, and I intend to devote myself to it. Of course, I want to increase the team’s motivation, and I want to spend the rest of the season burning with passion and fighting spirit.
Kurosawa: We’ve done what we really need to do, so I think it’s important to adjust properly for the rest of the period and bring the peak to the actual performance, so all the members will face the same vector and have a high level of enthusiasm for the Hakone Ekiden. I would like to spend the remaining days with a team that can face the qualifying round, so I would like to spend a fulfilling three weeks.
Tajima: The training camp is the end of the training camp, and from now on I won’t be able to increase my speed or increase my stamina. For that reason, I want to build up the confidence to think, “I’ve come this far, so I have no choice but to do it.”
Hoshina HC: It’s as the four said. If things go smoothly, Keio University will be in this order. It is not to make a mistake that decides the order of the performance. With our strengths, if we face it head-on, we’ll be in a tough spot, but even universities on the borderline will definitely make mistakes. Considering how much we can pick up on such things, if we make the same mistake, we won’t be able to go. First of all, I think we have no choice but to focus on fully utilizing the power we have now on October 15th. My ranking in the past qualifying rounds has gradually improved, and I was 19th last year and the year before last, but it wasn’t 100% successful, and I thought I was doing 70%, 80%, so I’m here. If everyone concentrates on giving 100% effort, I think they will be in a position where they can surpass last year’s team and aim for the finals, so I would like them to raise their spirits in the next few weeks.
――To those who are cooperating with the Hakone Ekiden Project
Maehara: I believe that the Hakone Ekiden Project is made possible by the support and expectations of many people, including alumni and other people. What we can do is to do our best to show our sincerity, and the biggest thing is to make it through the qualifying rounds and repay the favor with the results. We players will do our best for the rest of the season, and we hope to receive a lot of support on the day. We will continue to work hard as a team, so please continue to support us!
Hoshina HC: The Hakone Ekiden is not a place that we can reach on our own, but with the support of many people, we have finally reached the point where we can aim as a team. First of all, every year at the qualifiers on October 15th, there are some players who cry because they can’t show their strength, but this year, I want to make it a qualifier where everyone smiles and reaches the finish line. I’m here. I’ll spend the next few weeks adjusting and polishing, and I’ll do my best to show that kind of smile after I’m done, so please support me on the day.
ーーThank you for taking time out of your busy schedules!
(Interviewed by Yoshinobu Nagasawa)