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I became the person I am today by meeting people through running 〈MIZUKI KATSUMATA〉

Mizuki Katsumata is a busy pharmacist and organizer of the running community LOL RUN CREW.
  • Photograph:IORI MATSUDAIRA
  • Text:HERENESS

HERENESS MEMBERS introduces "people who know the joy of physical exercise.

In this fifth issue, we introduce Mizuki Katsumata, who organizes the running community "LOL RUN CREW.

Mizuki Katsumata is a busy pharmacist and founder of the running community "LOL RUN CREW. The first time she started running was at the Nagoya Women's Marathon when she was in college.

It's okay to run slow.

I had a feeling that I wanted to run a full marathon at least once in my life. But there were no other runners around me, and I didn't really want to do anything on my own. Then I was approached by a training program for the Nagoya Women's Marathon, and I thought, "This is my chance.

The program he participated in was mainly for beginner runners. The training was new to her, as she gradually became able to run longer and longer distances as she went along. The longest distance she had run before was 5 km, but she naturally became able to run 10 km.

I thought it would be too hard, that it would be impossible," she said, "but there was this content of running together slowly, having fun, and talking with each other. I was told that it was OK to run slowly, and my image of the club as a rigid club changed. We all ran together slowly, and before we knew it, we were able to run 10 km. I realized at that time that it was a prejudice to think that running is hard.

The race was naturally painful, but the joys and surprises greatly outweighed the pain.

I had decided in my mind that I would never stop until the 30km mark. When I crossed the 30km mark and stopped to stretch, a cheerer along the roadside, who I didn't know at all, lent me a spray to cool my muscles. I almost cried. I was almost in tears, thinking, "Why would I do that to someone I don't even know? I thought. After I finished the run, I was sure it was tough, but the feeling that it was fun was much stronger, and that is how I started running again.

I met people through running, and that's how I got to where I am today.

For Katsumata, running has become a part of his life. In 2019, he and his friends started a running community. However, many of the members are in the medical field, and their hours vary, so it was difficult to set up a routine like a general running community, such as a time every day of the week.

He said, "The kids who are able to come at that time take the initiative and decide the time and place. This time, let's run here. We did not just run, but planned various other activities in addition to the run.

As these plans were being developed, the program was also able to address social issues, such as a collaboration with the L'Occitane skincare brand's project to support the visually impaired.

We had a project in which we ran after Braille blocks for the visually impaired on the sidewalks of the city. I was able to notice problems such as the fact that there are so many Braille blocks in Tokyo, but they are peeling off in these places. After that, we actually read the Braille that is always present in L'Occitane products together. It made me aware of many things.

Due in part to the influence of Corona, activities as a community naturally have their limits. Even so, they are trying to maintain connections and motivation with their peers.

We would get together on zoom in the morning, run individually, and then get together again online," said Lisa, who started the community with him. Lisa, who started the community with me, is in Singapore now, and we connect with each other on insta-live while running, and we stay connected. I was like, "Where are you running right now? I would run with her while connecting with her on insta-live, and the members would watch and run together.

I was once asked, "What does running mean to you? I was once asked the question, "What does running mean to you? I really like running as a sport, but for me, I use running as a form of communication. I think I became the person I am today through the encounters I have had through running.