By moving the body while it is depleted of energy and water, the body can be pushed to be more efficient. Yusuke Ogura

Morning is a sacred time for runners. The only sounds echoing in the quiet town are your own footsteps and breathing. Focusing on one's mind and body, one checks the daily differences. The changing of the seasons and the changing of the light can be sensed most noticeably throughout the day. This is all because I got up early to run.

The second installment of "MORNING RUN WITH," in which we share such a special time for runners, features Yusuke Ogura, the Japanese record holder in the half-marathon and who, with his 2021 Lake Biwa Marathon record, has moved into the top 10 all-time marathoners.

I'm in a position to fight my own marathon.

Soon after HERENESS was launched, an unexpected person followed us on our Instagram account. Yusuke Ogura, the Japanese record holder in the half marathon. The HERENESS staff was thrilled to receive a follow from Ogura, who combines ability with good taste by ordering and using independent sportswear from overseas.

We were also surprised by Ogura's ability to gather and disseminate information. Please take a peek at Ogura's SNS account (twitter:@conboy0416 instagram:@yusuke_ogura1993). You will be fascinated by his warm personality and sincere attitude.

The Japanese long-distance world, in which Ogura is a force to be reckoned with, is now in the midst of a harvest. Yuta Shitara broke the Japanese record at the 2018 Tokyo Marathon for the first time in 15 years, and eight months later, Suguru Osako set a new record. And at the historic "Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon" (unfortunately, this was the last time it was held), Kengo Suzuki unexpectedly became the new Japanese record holder in 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 56 seconds.

Ogura, who ran the Biwako Mainichi Marathon in 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 51 seconds, making him one of the top 10 marathon runners of all time in Japan, said, "I was aiming for the victory. I didn't think I could run 2 hours 6 minutes and not win the marathon," said Ogura, who is now one of Japan's top ten marathoners of all time.

In the world of running, the term "Roger Bannister effect" is well known: in 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mark in a one-mile race, a record that had been considered unbreakable by mankind, and within a year, 23 runners had broken the four-minute barrier. In the year that followed, 23 athletes broke the four-minute barrier. The psychological barrier is thus high. The Japanese long-distance world is also in a very exciting time, where psychological barriers have been broken down and anyone can set a new record.

Ogura is certainly among a group of athletes with a mass of potential, and his Japanese half-marathon record of just under one hour set at the 2020 Kagawa-Marugame International Half Marathon (what an easy record to remember!) is a byproduct of his pursuit of the full marathon record. (How memorable!) was a byproduct of his pursuit of the full marathon record.

I ran Marugame as part of my marathon training. I had even done a long run the day before to get an idea of how fatigued I would be in the second half of the marathon. I was wondering how far I could go with my heavy legs, and the results came.

Despite setting such a milestone, Ogura remains calm.

I think I can do up to 59:30, if Aizawa, Osako, and the other top athletes aim only for the half marathon record," he said. Of course, I don't think that 60 minutes is the limit, either.

Ogura's ability to calmly analyze the current situation is one of her strengths, but at the same time, she sets her goals high.

To be honest, I wasn't strong enough to compete in the MGC (Marathon Grand Championships), which was part of the Tokyo Olympics selection process, and Osako took my place in the Final Challenge. However, I strongly feel that I am in a position to compete in the marathon, so I definitely want to compete in the Paris Olympics. Before that, I also want to qualify for the World Championships in Athletics."

Running is a stage for expression and a common language for connecting with others

Ogura practices hard every morning at the Yakult track in Saiko. He sees the benefits of running in the morning as follows.

I would prefer to sleep in in the morning if I could, but running in the morning is meaningful. In the morning, energy and water are depleted. By exercising my body in that state, I can push it more efficiently. It's efficient in giving my body the damage it needs. If I can win easily as a feeling, I really prefer it that way. But I can't do that, so I do the hard things. If I don't do it, I can't win, so I do hard things. That's how I feel about it.

These words alone make me feel that he is stoic to the end of the line. This is natural for a top athlete, but it is not the only reason. He also sees the act of running in a much more relaxed manner, which is what makes Yusuke Ogura so appealing beyond his athletic background.

Running is my job, and it's a stage on which I express myself. At the same time, running is a way to connect with people from all walks of life and to share a common language. I like that about running.