We have the task of delivering the very sad news that Mr. Koichi Nakamura, an important member of the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI Race Committee, passed away on February 26, 2019 due to illness.
Mr. Nakamura supported the UTMF as a public official of Fujikawaguchiko town since the first year of the race.
He played significant roles in this unprecedentedly great race in the small town of Fujikawaguchiko.
He was set to retire from his position as a public official in Fujikawaguchiko Town Hall at the end of this March. He was then going to continue working for the UTMF as a director of the NPO Fuji Trail Runners Club. His sudden passing at this time has shocked everyone involved, and we are greatly saddened.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the devotion he put into the UTMF and our deepest sadness at his loss.
Please watch Mr. Nakamura in action at the A5 Katsuyama Aid Station in the UTMF 2018. (He appears at around 1:20 and is introduced in the caption as the manager of the town hall.)
Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, Overall Director of the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI Race Committee
I am deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Nakamura’s passing.
He really knew how to enjoy his work, and he enjoyed tough jobs more than any one of us at the UTMF. When you first met him he seemed solemn, but as you got to know him then you would get to see his friendly, warm smile, which relaxed and relieved us in difficult situations.
As a local government member he always gave us direct yet heartfelt comments and opinions which were always to the point, and I was truly appreciative of this. Also, he was always taking the initiative – his ability to get things done helped us greatly on many occasions.
I remember a few years ago, I met him immediately after the end of the UTMF. I cannot forget that his eyes were brimming with tears while he talked about and reflected on the race. His true love and devotion to the race had the effect of alleviating my own after-race fatigue.
He was going to retire from his work this spring and become the director of Fuji Trail Runners Club, and I was looking forward to working more closely with him. I am deeply sorry for his passing.
From the very beginning he was involved with my wild idea of hosting a 100-mile trail running race around Mt. Fuji. We felt defeated many times in those early days and thought that the race would never be realized. The race to which Mr. Nakamura earnestly devoted so much of his time and effort to is now celebrating its 7th anniversary. It has grown to a race that attracts trail runners from across the globe. I could not have done this without him. I truly appreciate all the amazing work that he did.
Rest in peace and know that we will never forget you. And from heaven please watch over us and the UTMF, and how it will continue to grow in the future. Thank you, with our deepest and heartfelt gratitude, for sharing your life with ours.
Rikka Fukuda, Race Committee Vice-Director // Vice Director of the NPO Fuji Trail Runners Club
“Koichi-san is no longer with us.”
I am filled with a deep, deep sorrow now.
Koichi-san supported the UTMF since the beginning as a public official of the Fujikawaguchiko Town Hall Tourism Bureau.
When he was appointed the manager of Lifelong Learning Bureau, he said he would bring the UTMF with him to the new bureau and so continued working with us.
As a course director in Yamanashi, I frequently and closely worked with Koichi-san before the race every year. Together we removed no-entry metal pipes at sidewalks and stones in parks to prepare for the race.
We also lined traffic cones to mark the race course, and visited shrines and boat houses along the course to ask for their support.
He gave us great ideas such as preparing local food for the racers, and taking one hundred lanterns out of the town hall storage and lining them along the course to provide light and decoration.
He usually wore a grumpy face, and I have been a friend with that grumpy face since before the start of the UTMF. In 2008, he suddenly called me and invited me to an event organized by the town as a member of a screening committee.
A carpenter that I met at the event built a guest house at my house.
A music producer from the event is now in charge of playing music at the UTMF. A woodcraft artist that I met through Koichi-san is creating the UTMF trophies.
Connections with people that Koichi-san built for me have really enriched my life.
Dear Koichi-san, thank you very much for supporting me and the UTMF. You were a true unsung hero. Please keep watching over us from above.
Your boyish grin that occasionally appeared on your grumpy face was really charming.