translated by Brett Larner
The hope of the junior high world, Chikashi Ikeda (Kakogawa Yamanote J.H.S.) is in great shape. At a time trial meet at Baycom Field in Amagasaki on May 25 he ran 8:21.22 for 3000 m, breaking the seven-year-old J.H.S. national record. Following closely behind a star runner from the illustrious Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S. team, he ran with determination and surprised even himself when he crossed the finish line. "Did I really run that fast?" he asked in open shock.
Throughout the run Ikeda tailed Keisuke Nakatani (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.). "He threw is some wild surges but I stuck with him," said Ikeda. The pair split 2:50 through 1000 m and 5:38 through 2000 m, with Ikeda running a 2:43 final 1000 m. With each lap Ikeda's turnover increased as the pace got faster and faster from what was planned. He ran out of gas with one lap to go, taking 70 seconds for the final 400 m, but even so he knew the old record of 8:27.93 was in range and managed to muster up a final kick as he matched those of four Nishiwaki Kogyo runners around him. His final time of 8:21.22 was a PB by more than 17 seconds.
It was a happy result for Kakogawa Yamanote J.H.S. head coach Toshiro Miyanaga too. Ikeda was able to compete against star high school runners and ran a great time, but more than that, "He ran with patience even when it was getting tough, and that has made him stronger inside. He has learned to control his growing body well."
Having repeatedly set PBs throughout the spring season, Ikeda modestly said, "High school guys were pulling me along this time, so half of this was due to them, not my own ability. I want to run this kind of [junior high school national record] time again running alone." Only one second away from also breaking the 1500 m junior high school national record, fans will be keeping an eye on this 14-year-old.