Yoshikazu Hara (HOKA One One) has speedy legs and runs 100k in 6:33. Japanese favorite champion of last year’s Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji (UTMF) will run with runners from the world. In our interview with Hara-san, he says he is “99%” healthy since he canceled Tarawera Ultramarathon in March with hip injury.
D/C: You will come up to Kawaguchiko on Thursday. How are you feeling? You did not start Tarawera Ultramarathon in March due to hip injury. Getting healthy since then?
Hara: I have no worry on my hip. 99% recovered, though not perfect. In March, I could not running enough miles to build up my fitness for UTMF. I was a bit nervous not to get another injury during my preparetion for the big race in the end of April.
D/C: We have dozens of talented elites from the world. I talked to them and they said how you are doing, and are happy to run with you. Do you have any plan to race with them?
Hara: Well, UTMF is 169km, a bit longer than last year. I am wondering why race organization says finish time is not very different, or even shorter than last year. How can we run that fast? I know such explanatiion does not help us at all, though. (laugh)
D/C: You run keeping behind the leaders, and pushed hard yourself in later half in UTMF last year, the race you win.
Hara: Yes, I will avoid leading the race in early miles again this weekend. If I lead at A7/Kodomonokuni(80.5km), I will blow up after that. The key is how hard I can push myself from A7 to A8/Nishifuji(104.4km).
D/C: The course turned its direction from last year. Clockwise route has Tenshi Mountains in later half, tons of steep ascents and descents.
Hara: Well, I am not very nervous on direction. Just different direction, terrain is identical. Tenshi is difficult part for everyone. I will focus to run (from A7) to A8, where easy runnable descent leads to trailhead of Tenshi.
D/C: You sounds pretty cool-headed. No excitement, just waiting the time to toe the line?
Hara: Yeah, later half of course is exactly where my race starts.