We’ve often said that one of the best things about running has been the people we meet along the way. We rarely go on a trip without meeting someone new or getting to know someone we already know even better. Sometimes it’s just a brief encounter – a short exchange of views or sharing a particular moment in or after a race. Other times there is a connection and we become friends for life.

The runners we meet all have their own story – their reasons for running, their favourite events and their running goals. They come with a wide range of abilities and ambition: some enjoy running, for others it’s a bit of a trial, but they have all found something in running that fulfils a need.

We’ve met some amazing runners over the years and we always find their stories interesting. We’d like to introduce you to some of these people, and we’ve asked then to tell you a bit abut themselves in their own words.

We’d like to start off our Friday Friends by introducing you to Hideo Takano.

Hideo Takano

We first got to know Hideo on a Runners World forum dedicated to the Comrades marathon. Here runners could share information with others taking part in this somewhat daunting challenge. Hideo (aka Slow Duck) was an experienced Comrades runner and proved to be not only hugely knowledgable about the event but also incredibly supportive to others less experienced. (There is more about our Comrades Adventures on our site for example here, here and here).

Over the years we have got to know him as a friend, and for us he was an obvious first choice.

Hideo is 53 years old and first attempted to run a marathon in 1984 – unfortunately this ended in a DNF. It wasn’t until 1992 that he completed his first marathon and 1999 his first ultra. To date he has completed 128 marathons and 50 ultras.

As you will read he has taken part in some amazing races – including the Tor des Geants, a 330Km trail race in the Italian Alps with an accumulated ascent of 24,000m (3 times that of Mount Everest) and just recently the Western States 100 – the oldest 100 mile race, in California’s Sierra Nevada.

Hideo has also completed the Comrades ultra marathon 18 times but what he won’t tell you, because he is too modest, is that in 2018 he won the prestigious Spirit of Comrades Award – an actual gold medal – for sacrificing his own race to help a fellow runner who was struggling to finish. Unfortunately they were both forced to retire from the race with 30km to go. Hideo was described by the awards committee as having  “a great heart and commitment to help” and as being “a true comrade and a great ambassador.”

Here is what Hideo has to say:

1. Why do you run/what do you get from running/why did you start?

Because I am a puppy trapped in a human body! I’m happy just sleeping, eating, running (and pooing).

2. Best running achievement?

Making lots of great friends all over the world.

3. Running bucket list:

Completed: Tor Des Geants, Western States, UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc), UTMR (Ultra Tour Monte Rosa -stage race), UTMF (Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji – shortened), Javelina Jundred (100 miles/Km in Arizona), Swiss Irontrail 88, ND100, SD100, Comrades, Boston

To finish: Hardrock, UTMR (ultra)

To try: PTL (La Petite Trotte a Leon), Passatore (100km Florence), Trans Japan Alps Race

Probably beyond me now but also… Spartathlon

4. Favourite races

Marathon: Boston

Road Ultra: Comrades

Trail Ultra: Hardrock/Western States

Ridiculous Ultra: Tor Des Geants

5. Advice you would give to others/ your earlier running self/what you wish you’d known

Get a good coach, apply yourself properly and enjoy.

Thank you Hideo. What an amazing running CV. It seems the hillier and longer the better. We look forward to many more hours tracking you, in the comfort of our homes, as you take on your extreme challenges in the future. And hopefully enjoy more adventures together.

Click below for a gallery of some of our highlights with Hideo..