Fujio Miyachi: My Journey is Ongoing
Our next athlete post is from Japanese athlete Fujio Miyachi, and as it's his final one for us this year he talks about his thoughts for the future of the sport. We look forward to seeing him taking these ideas forward in the coming years.
This is my last post for the World Mountain Running Association. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to say. So, I am sad to see it end. But, as I’ve been gradually shifting my focus from World Cup to Masters, I’ve been enjoying mountain running as much as I can at any given time. And I want to continue to share my love of this sport and coaching younger generations. That’s why I’d like to share my thoughts on the future with you.
“Good manners and promoting mountain sports in Japan”
I started running in the mountains about 15 years ago. The situation was very different from today. In Japan, there were only a handful of mountains races, and I could see many familiar faces at every race. Time has passed, and now there are more races in Japan than I can count, and they are held all over the country.
Along with the increased number of mountain races, manners while using trails has become a new issue, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The Tokyo metropolitan area is density populated, and on holidays the trails are overflowing with people on popular routes. There are issues unique to Japan such as contact accidents among trail runner and hikers. Along with the popularization of sports, the spread of good manners is an important issue. For this reason, it is important that people who just started running in the mountain learn proper manners. That is why I am teaching junior generations to coexist with others and respect nature in the mountains when they start running there. This is because I believe that focusing on this is essential for “running in the mountains” to take root and culture in the long term. It takes time for education and promotion to produce results, but I will continue to focus on this aspect.
“Challenging at future races”
My own participation in mountain running races will gradually decrease. But, after more than 10 years of racing, I have many friends all over the world. I would like to keep in touch with them and support Japanese runners who will challenge in mountain running races in the future. I would also like to run international races with the runners who grew up from the Junior Trail Runs that I organize or just bring them to the races. Also, by the time this post is published, I will have run in the Masters World Championships in Austria. It’s been two years since I participated in my last race, which is the longest gap since I started running in the mountains. So, I am more nervous and anxious than I have ever been in a long time. But, once I start running, it all goes away. So, I want to prepare as much as I can and have fun. That’s the one thing I am going to focus on.
“Organizing the World Cup in Japan”
Because in Japan “trail running” is more famous, I usually organize trail running races for younger generations under the title of “Jr TRAILRUN” in many places. Again, I love the simple style of “Mountain Running”. I think it is the easiest way to describe what it means to run in the mountains, and I’d like to share more of its appeal. Also, it is difficult to distinguish between trail running and sky running, not only in Japan. Or should I say, the line between the two sports is disappearing? Because at the very least, mountain running is not well known in Japan, not only I want mountain runners from all over the world to run in the mountains of Japan, but also I want as many Japanese people as possible to know the appeal of mountain running by organizing the World Cup in Japan someday.
“I want to help children continue to enjoy the wonderful environment of the mountains”
On the competitive side, I am currently studying to become a certified coach for junior athletes by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations. Combining my experience of running in the mountains with current trends in athletics, I would like to help children not only enjoy running, but also step up and develop more specialized athletic skills, and let more children go out into the world. In addition, we want to leave the mountain fields we enjoy now to our children and the generations to come, but in order to do so, it is essential to expand our base and maintain the fields with the understanding of local residents, coexist with other activities, and be actively involved in conservation activities. My life has been enriched by mountain running, as I was not good at sports as a child. I hope that younger generations will have many of the same happy and exciting (and of course a bit of a hard time) experiences that I have had running in the mountains, and even more.
“And my journey is still Ongoing”
My journey is not over yet. I want to continue to run in the mountains all over the world and bring future junior runners from Japan to race with me. I also want to work with the World Mountain Running Association and athletes in other countries to promote mountain running and create exciting initiatives. There is so much more I want to do. I hope that this article has made you aware that there is a runner like me in Japan, and if you are interested in Japan and my activities, please feel free to contact me. We are a family and an international community that love to run in the mountains together. If we love the same things, language barriers can be easily overcome.
Last but not least, thank you to the World Mountain Running Association for this wonderful opportunity to contribute, and thank you to everyone who reads my article. I look forward to meeting you all in the mountains somewhere.