Kimino Miyazaki has made the long journey from Japan to run the 2023 Hardrock 100. In this interview, our first with Kimino, she talks about her history with running, why she’s drawn to racing the longer and more difficult ultramarathons, what she thinks of the Hardrock course after a few days of scouting, and how she plans to strategize her race day.
For more on who’s racing, check out our in-depth preview. Follow along with our Hardrock 100 live race coverage from Friday.
Kimino Miyazaki Pre-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Kimino Miyazaki. It’s a couple of days before the 2023 Hardrock 100 Endurance Run. Hi Kimino. Good morning. How are you?
Kimino Miyazaki: I’m pretty good. [laughs]
iRunFar: Excellent. This is your first time in America, but you’ve run ultra trail races for quite some time. How did you become an ultra-trail runner?
Miyazaki: I was running from four years old. I was a track and field runner for 22 years old.
Miyazaki: When I was a university student studying exercise physiology, then I started to climb mountains. I started to run in the mountains in 2014.
iRunFar: In 2014.
Miyazaki: One of my friends hooked me up to trail running.
iRunFar: Very cool. We’re using telephones for some translation to make this interview a little bit easier. You are from Japan. Where in the country are you from? What is your trail running culture and terrain like where you live?
Miyazaki: Yeah. I live near sea and mountains.
iRunFar: Do you live by sea and by mountains?
iRunFar: Oh, wow.
Miyazaki: And there is a small community of child trail runners. They are from six to 15 years old. I run with them once a week in the morning. I learn from them how to enjoy nature. Sometimes they teach me flowers and bugs and the secret trail course.
iRunFar: Oh cool. You learn about nature from the kids?
iRunFar: Ah, I like that.
Miyazaki: Yes. I love it.
iRunFar: I was interested to learn that this is not your first trip to the United States to race. You were here in 2015, very early in your trail running career to run in California. Tell me what brings you to the US to race — what do you like about coming here?
Miyazaki: I was in trouble with heavy jetlag, and scared outside in the US. That race was my first overseas race for me.
iRunFar: The North Face Endurance Challenge in California.
Miyazaki: Yes, yes.
Miyazaki: I was sick from nerves and could not run at all. So, I could not enjoy US trail running culture. Trail race was like a festival. It’s not the same as in Japan.
iRunFar: Okay. So you learned some things about racing in the US in your first challenging experience here.
Miyazaki: Yeah. First time.
iRunFar: Very good. You have increased the difficulty and technicality of the races that you’ve been doing the last couple of years. Longer, harder 100 millers. What draws you to the more difficult events of our sport?
Miyazaki: Yes. I was at a 50 miles race, which was the biggest race in Japan.
Miyazaki: There was a 100 mile also. I saw 100 miles finishers. I was really moved by them. Then I wanted to run 100 miles. hard races show me surprising [people] and beautiful nature.
iRunFar: Okay. So it made you feel good to be out in nature for longer? Being out in nature for long periods of time is what interested you about doing the longest races?
Miyazaki: Nature, dramatic.
iRunFar: I understand.
Miyazaki: And another runner is friendly.
iRunFar: I understand. Yeah, I get it. So Hardrock, now you’re here in Colorado. You’re here in Silverton. You’re here at Hardrock. You’ve been here for a few days to see the course. What do you think about this race?
Miyazaki: Yeah. I was totally surprised about hot weather.
Miyazaki: Yes. It’s like hot and dry. I did not read much about high altitude. I know there is much snow on the course. But I did not expect that snow on steep slopes. For me, it’s kind of scary. I was running many races a year, so I have many experiences. I learned never to give up, from past races.
iRunFar: Very cool. So, it’s the steep snow that will be the challenge for you.
iRunFar: Now that you’ve been here, that you have run 100 milers before, and you’ve seen a bit of the course, what will be your strategy on race day? How will you carry yourself around the race?
Miyazaki: I listen [to] my body and follow my body.
iRunFar: You’ll follow the signs that your body gives you.
Miyazaki: Yes. Yes. My breathing and heart rate. Yes.
iRunFar: Very good. What are some things that you’re really looking forward to that you can’t wait to do on Friday and Saturday at the race?
Miyazaki: I watched Kilian [Jornet]’s movie from Hardrock.
Miyazaki: He Hardrock is an authentic race and explained culture of trail running. I really wanted to know what it is like. And I want to feel it.
iRunFar: You want to feel that for yourself.
iRunFar: Yeah, very good. Fast Japanese runners have run Hardrock before, Kaori Niwa, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, they have done well. Have you learned from other Japanese runners what to expect here?
Miyazaki: Kaori advised me, get used to high altitude. So I came here 10 days before the race start.
iRunFar: To get used to altitude.
iRunFar: Very good. Last question for you. I always like to hear what international people think of the US Think of Colorado. What are your impressions of being here?
Miyazaki: US or trail running? US trail running?
iRunFar: Whatever impression you’d like to share.
Miyazaki: Americans, very royal.
Miyazaki: American runners, American people, so very positive.
iRunFar: Oh okay. Positive runners.
Miyazaki: And they are smiling and have a sense of humor.
iRunFar: Humor. We laugh. [laughs] I’m sorry that took me a while. So, you’re looking forward to laughing with runners.
Miyazaki: Yes, yes.
iRunFar: I love that. Kimino Miyazaki, I wish you the best of luck as you make your loop through the San Juan Mountains. Good luck at Hardrock.
Miyazaki: Thank you so much.
iRunFar: Thank you. Arigatou.
Miyazaki: Yes. Arigatou.