Junten Middle School Sponsored Run

By Kie, RIJ student volunteer

On Saturday, February 12, students and teachers from Junten Middle School in Oji, Tokyo, participated in their Annual Sponsored Run. This year was their sixth. However, it was the first time there was a possibility the event might be canceled due to weather conditions. Because the students spend a considerable amount of time preparing for the race and the sponsors make their donations under the condition that students complete the race, Mr. Nakahara, a key organizer of the event faced a new challenge this year as students’ safety is an obvious priority.

Mr. Nakahara said, “This year we came across the worst crisis since we started the event in 2006.  The weather report predicted a few inches of snow during the night.  I wrote a letter to the sponsors announcing the cancellation of the event and asking for kind donation in spite of the fact that their contracts are incomplete. However, it was a great relief to wake up and find there was no snow on the ground.”

Although snowflakes began drifting through the air at one point during the race, luckily, the boys and girls managed to complete their 8km and 6 km courses, respectively. Some students ran with their personal goals in mind, while others overcame their pain by thinking of the contributions their effort would make.

Mr. Ono, second year student at Junten, said, “This year’s was the last marathon competition for me, so I began practicing last autumn to get a good record.  I am happy because I could get that result.”

Expressing her concern for refugees, Miss Tachimoto, also a second year student, reflected, “After I ran about 2.5km, I was very tired and wanted to stop running many times. But each time, I thought about the refugees to cheer myself up. Finally, I was able to run the whole way through. My legs hurt a lot, but I was more than happy.”

At Junten Middle School, the sponsored run is incorporated as part of the physical education curriculum to guide students through the training process. The students begin training in early January when they pledge their goal times and begin collecting sponsorships. Some students choose to invest more time, beginning their training in the fall.

The total figure for this year’s contributions is not yet known as the students are currently in the process of obtaining donations from their sponsors. However, Mr. Nakahara expects there to be a record amount of donations, which will be split between two organizations including RIJ, due to the “Tiger-mask effect.”

Junten Middle School will also host a sponsored walk in May.

* * *

2 月12日(土)、荒川沿いで順天中学校のスポンサード・ランが開催された。今回で六回目となるスポンサード・ランだった。しかし、気象不安定のため大会の 開催が当日まで不確定となったのは今回が初めて。参加する生徒の身の安全が優先されるが、一ヶ月を上回る練習の努力や完走を条件とするスポンサーからの集 金活動を考えると、やはり、ギリギリまで大会開催の可能性を残しておきたかった。


「2006 年に始まって、今年で6回目のスポンサード・ランは、開始以来の最大の危機を迎えました。前日夜のうちに雪が5センチ積もるという天気予報が出たからで す。雪が積もっていればもちろん駄目だし、雨になっていても、夜中に晴れて路面が凍れば、これも駄目です。昨年までの5年間、一度も中止はなかったので、 契約が成立しなかったときの処理は前例がありません。前夜遅くまでかかって、「スポンサード・ラン中止のお知らせ」を人数分印刷しました。それだけに、無 事にランを実施できて本当にほっとしています。」






日 本では未だ、国内外で困っている人々を支援する非営利団体などに募金をするスポンサード・ランを開催する中学校や高校は欧米に比べて少ない。そんな中、順 天中学校ではスポンサード・ランを開催することに限らず、練習を体育の授業の一環としている。スポンサード・ランを通して国際問題などに対する意識を向上 しつつ意識向上をしつつ、大会に向けたトレーニングをすることはまさに一石二鳥だ。

一月にスポンサード・ランの趣意書が配布され、それと同 時に目標を設定、練習を開始し、スポンサーとの契約を結ぶ。トラブルを防ぐため、原則として友達や下級生との募金契約は禁止されている。スポンサード・ラ ンを開催するにあたって、事前に金銭トラブル防止や怪我防止となる大会に向けたトレーニングのサポートは今後スポンサード・ランを企画する学校や団体の良 い見本となりそうだ。




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