Initially from Shizuoka, Yonezawa travelled over 500 km to attend Sendai Ikuei. There she centered on the 1500 m and 3000 m, setting bests of 4:14.74 and eight:59.97, in addition to a 5000 m better of 15:31.33. All thrice put her in Japan’s all-time highschool high 7, and her 1500 m and 3000 m are within the U20 all-time finest 8. “I needed to get sturdy,” she says. “and the place to do this was at one of many strongest faculties.”
The tactic of teaching at Sendai Ikuei was completely different from what she’d skilled up to now, and she or he felt refreshed by the change. “You are just about liable for your self there,” she says. “You need to take note of your individual situation, simply do jogging when you have to, and ask for recommendation on coaching based mostly on how you are feeling. By consistently inspecting your self that manner you study to grasp your self and your physique higher.”
Higher data of herself helped Yonezawa hone one of many sharpest weapons in her arsenal, the power to carry out as much as potential in massive races. “I might say that more often than not I ran my quickest occasions once I was competing for place. I ran my 1500 m PB making an attempt to win on the Nationwide Excessive College meet final summer season. Not each race went completely, however I believe studying how to have the ability to ship on the largest races and run quick whereas going for the win had been actually good classes. I am fairly good at timing my peak for necessary races, so sooner or later I hope that can assist me be a robust racer with out a whole lot of ups and downs.”
The last word aim for each highschool workforce is the Nationwide Excessive College Ekiden. Yonezawa’s first 12 months at Sendai Ikuei the workforce received. Her second 12 months they completed third, and her senior 12 months they received once more along with her as captain. In that senior 12 months win she ran the First Stage, the ekiden’s best, and soloed a quick stage win that set the workforce’s successful momentum in movement. “I used to be actually, actually completely satisfied once we received my first 12 months, however once we could not pull off a repeat my second 12 months it was so disappointing. It made the need to win once more stronger and stronger my third 12 months. Throughout my first two years the older runners on the workforce helped me rather a lot, so when it was my flip I needed us seniors to do our half to paved the way. It was one of the best 12 months out of the three years. I used to be so completely satisfied once we received.”
The completely different coaching strategy at Sendai Ikuei wasn’t the one main change. Residing in a dorm for the primary time made Yonezawa respect her dad and mom again in Shizuoka extra, and it deepened her reference to the opposite women she spent all her time with. “Making the choice to return right here I form of talked to my dad and mom about my profession path, and I believe they actually assist what I wish to do. Generally once they ship me issues there’s a bit word inside saying issues like, ‘Do your finest! We’re behind you all the best way.’ Generally a handwritten letter reveals your emotions one of the best. At college, all of us are going again to the identical dorm, so it actually appears like we’re at all times collectively. We are able to discuss to one another about something, like household. I really feel like I’ve met individuals who can be pals for the remainder of my life.”
All through the pandemic, the locations Yonezawa has been in a position to go have been “principally the dorm, the monitor, and faculty, that is about it.” Just lately, although, issues have opened up sufficient that she’s been in a position to go round city extra. “I went and wandered round downtown Sendai. I might been there earlier than to get physio, however I hadn’t gone into any outlets or something by myself earlier than. I used to be a bit afraid I might get misplaced.”
Every time Yonezawa was going house, or when she was going again to highschool, she’d at all times purchase native sweets to present folks as souvenirs. “Once I was going house I might often purchase haginotsuki sponge truffles. Once I was getting back from Shizuoka it would be unagi pie cookies and whatnot. Persons are at all times proud of the classics.”
In January Yonezawa ran the Nationwide Ladies’s Ekiden as a part of the Miyagi prefecture workforce. Up towards collegiate and company league runners on the Fourth Stage, she completed third simply 5 seconds slower than Japan’s nice new hope, Seira Fuwa of Takushoku College, who broke the course document set by 5000 m nationwide document holder Ririka Hironaka.
In April Yonezawa will be part of Meijo College, who this previous season scored a fifth-straight Nationwide College Ladies’s Ekiden title. “Once I took half in considered one of their coaching camps, the folks on the workforce had been unbelievably good, and I might inform everybody obtained alongside and had good workforce spirit,” Yonezawa says. “I might inform it was someplace I would slot in and thrive. I wish to take it one race and one 12 months at a time, study every thing I can from the older runners on the workforce, and hold getting even higher.”
At her commencement ceremony on Feb. 28, Yonezawa took an image along with her classmates, together with 2nd-year ekiden workforce member Kokone Sugimori. They had been all smiles. Yonezawa’s capacity to carry out when it counts places the 2024 Paris Olympics in vary, and with additional improvement at Meijo her highway to the Olympics is ready to open up.
translated and edited by Brett Larner