Deaf marathon runner travels to Africa and meets counterparts

Hisashi Nagai (center) trains
with the Deaf African runners.

Hisashi Nagai (53), a Deaf marathon runner, has conquered the marathon meets in each of the all 47 prefectures of Japan. He recently visited 5 countries in Africa by himself that was his long-cherished dream, and met local Deaf runners.

Hisashi participated in domestic and foreign meets including the long-distance race since he was in the third grade of junior high-school. He established the Deaf Japan record of 2:31:30 for the full marathon in 1983. He has traveled around the world, and, up to now, 55 countries.

Hisashi made up his mind to visit 5 countries to know how faster Deaf Africa runners were, but the travel agency expressed disapproval of his tour plan because of a poor public safety there. He met a Kenyan group who won most of the gold medals at the Deaflympic Games in September, 2009, and determined his solo trip in Africa.

After he had arrived in Ethiopia, he moved on by bus using gestures all the way. He visited facilities for the Deaf and the universities, etc. in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania, presenting shoes and wear for the marathon, etc. which he brought in from Japan.

In Kenya, the final location, Hisashi stayed in lodgings of local Deaf runners with whom he had deepened the friendship through e-mail. He was overwhelmed with their physical strength and the willpower. They trained hard even at midnight while they did not have a job and were poor.

Hisashi concentrates on the practice further because, he says, "I want to tell the Deaf community in Japan about my experience so that they become more interested in the marathon".

Japanese source:

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