Misato Michishita, a 42-year-old visually impaired runner from Yamaguchi Prefecture, intends to score a gold medal in the 2020 Paralympic games after qualifying for the Summer Tokyo Games this 2020 and taking three consecutive wins in the World Para Athletics Championships. She runs around 700 kilometers a month, approximately similar to a person training for the ekiden, a long-distance road relay race. Michisita won a silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and she was rated No. 1 around the globe over the last three years in its category. Her labor paid off in 2017 after setting a new T12 world record at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon. Competitors with visual weakness are positioned depending on the severity of their inability, with T11 being the highest and T13 being the lowest.

In 2016, she met Megumi Kawaguchi, a 23-year-old attendee of the women’s athletic club of an insurance company, who became the “eyes” of Michishita at work and during training sessions. Michita said, “Of course I’m aiming for a gold medal. If the race unfolds as I picture it, when I reach the finish line, it will be the best having those companions that have supported me up to now waiting with a smile.” Kawaguchi, together with 10 other members of the club, formed “Team Michishita,” a set of followers who help her in everything from routine practice to global competitions. Michishita said that she intends to express her appreciation by cutting the tape at the finish line in Tokyo’s new National Stadium.