Hisashi Kitamura
    hisahi

    HISASHI KITAMURA

    JAPAN

    HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH MILE 27?

    I have trained with mile27 since beginning of 2019. In 2018 I finished Asia Trail Master 2018 series in 4th place and the gap between the myself and the  top 3 runners was large. I needed a breakthrough to be a strong runner to catch up and hopefully overtake them. So I turned to Mile 27.

    HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN THE SPORT?

    After reading the book “Born to Run”.

    WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE SO FAR?

    9 dragons ultra 50/50 (Hong Kong). [2 days stage race, first day 50miles (89.6km D+5070m), Second day 50km(53.5km D+3550m.)]

    The edition 2018 was my first ultra trail race. This race is well known for high DNF rate. In 2018 edition, only 32% runners were able to complete 2 days race. I love this race for some reason, the unique format of the 2 days stage race, beautiful but tough trail, excellent staffs, beer and recovery protein at finish line etc.

    However, the biggest reason that 9 dragons became a special race for me come from my personal experience. 9 Dragons changed my world 2 years in a row.

    It was my first ultra trail. I had just achieved my full marathon PB was 2 hours 55 min (in Malaysia 30℃ condition) one month before. It gave me some confidence to run strongly, I thought I might achieve top 10 in 9 dragons. But it was nothing on the Hong Kong trail.

    By the time I reached 45km, it was only half way of the race, I realized that I overestimated myself. Both uphill and downhill took almost all my energy. I just tried to focus on not to walk remaining 45km. I didn’t have confidence to even finish, it was longest day ever in my life. I barely finished 89km by taking 16 hours. It was only finish of first day.

    9 Dragons 50/50 is 2 days race. 2ndday would start after 15 hours. But I thought my first ultra-trail was over as first DNF. After I managed to came back to my hotel, I fell asleep with half disappointed and half relief for not repeating the suffering tomorrow.

    When I woke up 2nd day morning, physically nothing recovered. It seemed rather worse. But mentally it was different. I was thinking about possibility to finish the second day to get a return on traveling to Hong Kong. Every single step gave me nasty pain, but that was not for injury, just for ultra fatigue. It was not critical. I could run slowly.

    I had decided to go to start line. I could DNF anytime, I had nothing to lose. I started with slow jog pace. When I reached first CP,I felt that I can still run more. I had decided to continue to CP2, I did same at CP3, CP4 and CP 5…..

    I was deeply being impressed while crossing some mountains, thinking about limits of human body. I realized that the limit I used to think didn’t exist. I was about to cry on the trail when I found it. By the time I reached final CP, 10km to go, I was quite sure to finish the race. The limit I had yesterday was already gone. It changed my world.

    I finished my first ultra 2days in total 25 hours 52min, 24th overall.

    WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM A RACE?

    When I became from “nobody” to elite runner who was battling for podium
    The moment was in 9 dragons ultra 2019 (9 dragons again!!) I returned to the 9 dragons ultra with some experience and confidence. I wanted know how much I improved over the year. The answer was in 9 dragons.

    I ran smart and strong on the trail which desperate me a year ago. Surprisingly, everything went well. I scored 6th place on first day 50 miles. It was huge jump from last year 24th. To be a prize winner (1 to 5thplace are prize winner) was just round the corner.

    I was determined to flight for 5thplace on 2ndday. The difference between 5thplace runner and me was 10 min on a first day result. To be 5th place, I needed to finish 10 min faster than 5th place runner of first day.

    2ndday, my big challenge had begun. All the way 52km, I battled with the 5th place runner keep changing the position back and forward. On flat and downhill, I was faster. On uphill, He was faster. Every time I reached aid station, aid staffs cheered me up and telling my position like “you are 5th now, 4th is just 2 min ahead”.

    One year ago I was “nobody”. I run only to finish the race. Aid staffs cheered me up “Hold on! You can finish!” But this year, I was a strong runner who is fighting for podium. It was very touching, I run on same trail but everything seemed to be different. It gave me courage to push myself.  I finished 3rdplace 2ndday with 12 minutes faster than my competitor. I achieved overall 5th in 2 days total time.

    WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ULTRAMARATHON ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR ?

     9 dragons 50/50 2019 5th place.

    WHAT IS ON YOUR RACING BUCKETLIST?

    Western state, UTMB, Big dog backyard ultra,

    Bromo Tengger Seneru (Indonesia) 100 miles,  Fukuoka international open championship (Japan) which is full marathon eligibility below 2:35:00 at IAAF certified race, and more…

    I would like to join major trail races, but there are a lot of fascinating trails in South East Asia.

    So many races are in my bucket list.

    WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM ULTRAMARATHONS? WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE AND YOURSELF?

    Great runners have excellent mind. My limit doesn’t exist where I think.

    WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF TRAINING?

    Speed training like interval on track. That is extremely tough but I can see my limit and progress every time.

    HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM TRAINING WITH MILE 27?

    Mile27 provide you many elements to be a strung runner.

    1. Weekly training instruction is very flexible to meet your condition. Right training in right timing.
    2. By discussing about strategy before the race, you can minimize your concern. it gives you confidence to compete.
    3. You can acquire latest running studies and equipment like a power meter. After I started using Stryd, my race pace monitoring and training has drastically changed.
    4. Minimize the time to learn about all kind of ultra running. You can ask everything you would like to know to your coach.

    WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE A FELLOW ATHLETE TO HELP THEM ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING AN ULTRA MORE?

    Enjoy your pain. You cannot avoid painful moment as long as you run ultra distance. But you still have choices. Take the pain as suffering or Take the pain as valuable moment and enjoy as rare experience. Pain is inevitable but suffering is your choice.

    WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RACE?

    The Magnificent Merapoh Trail (Malaysia) 100km on 23rdAug. This is one of Asia trail master race.

    Runners run through the trail includes running inside and through some of the iconic caves and wading through refreshing rivers. This race is a fast course with less technical sections, it is suitable for me.