Japan’s Takehiko Gyoba just started running ultramarathons a few months ago and now he finished second at the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships. In this interview, our first with Takehiko, he talks about his long history with running in general and short history with ultrarunning specifically, how his job as a running journalist ultimately led him to ultramarathon running, and how the Japanese team knew when to work together and when to run solo to maximize their potential.
Be sure to read our in-depth results article for more of the race story.
Takehiko Gyoba Post-2018 IAU 100k World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Takehiko Gyoba after his second-place finish at the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships. Congratulations, Takehiko.
Takehiko Gyoba: Thank you.
iRunFar: You were one of the interesting members of the Japanese team. A lot of the members have a long history of ultrarunning that I could find on the internet. In your case, I know you’re a running editor. What is your history with running?
Gyoba: I started running when I was in high school, for my track team. I went to the Waseda University and wanted to be on the Ekiden team for my university [competing in long-distance relay events]. Unfortunately, I wasn’t good enough to make the Ekiden team, so I turned into a team manager for the team.
iRunFar: So you continued to love running. When did you discover you were such a strong long-distance runner?
Gyoba: When I became a team manager, I didn’t run at all. For a few years after college, I stopped running. I had a five-year hiatus. That’s when I restarted running.
iRunFar: You restarted running. When did you find either marathons or ultramarathons?
Gyoba: I was an editor for a newspaper company. Within my company, I was asked to run for my company’s Ekiden team. That’s when I started to run once again.
iRunFar: When was your first ultramarathon?
Gyoba: The first was this year’s Lake Saroma 100k.
iRunFar: This year? In June? Your first ultramarathon was a 6:22 100k?
iRunFar: It was a long journey to success, but quick. Now you’re second at the world championships in your second ultramarathon. Incredible!
Gyoba: It was a tough race.
iRunFar: Does it feel like a dream?
Gyoba: It’s very hard to believe.
iRunFar: You’re a runner but you also work as an editor at a running magazine. Can you tell me a little about that?
Gyoba: The magazine told me that if I wanted to write about ultramarathon running at all, I should actually run a race. To edit better, write better, and understand the aim, I need to do it and to get involved. So I got involved this June and here I am.
iRunFar: Wow. For me, it’s the opposite. I started as a runner and became a journalist. You were second, but the Japanese team won gold. Was that special for you?
Gyoba: Individually, I was hoping to finish in the top eight. I was able to finish second today, so that is very superb. Of course, as a team if we do our own race, we should be able to win as a team. I think we got our jobs done.
iRunFar: You’ve been an ultramarathoner for less than three months. Do you think you’ll continue?
Gyoba: Today’s race was very tough. I’d like to think about it [laughs].