translated by Brett Larner
Across Hokkaido the summer gasshuku training camp season is underway for the top university teams in the ultra-competitive Kanto region. With two new Kenyan recruits in its lineup, Takushoku University arrived in Mombetsu, Hokkaido on Aug. 13. Takushoku is just one of nine schools training in the area as they seek to run the Jan. 2-3 Hakone Ekiden. Including athletes and coaches, the 27 members of the Takushoku squad landed at Mombetsu Airport on Aug. 13 and immediately ran their first practice session. Scheduled to be in Mombetsu through the 23rd, the team's training plan calls for runners to average 40 km a day throughout the gasshuku to build a base for October's Hakone Ekiden qualifier Yosenkai 20 km Road Race.
In Mombetsu for the sixth time, assistant coach Keigo Tabata (26) explained why the Mombetsu region is good for training, saying, "The weather is cool here and there isn't much traffic so we can train safely here." Junior Kenta Ishii (21) commented, "Nothing is better for recovering from a hard workout than Mombetsu's delicious local fish."
Thanks to the efforts of the Mombetsu chamber of commerce, between now and mid-September nine Kanto-region universities will hold gasshuku in the area including four schools seeded for the 2011 Hakone Ekiden: Chuo University, Josai University, Aoyama Gakuin University and Meiji University.
Translator's note: Summer gasshuku have a significant impact on the local economies of rural towns across Hokkaido, Nagano and elsewhere in Japan. For a detailed look at Josai University's summer training menus click here (subscription required). For a more general look at a Josai gasshuku click here.