Student Opinion

Crossing the finish line

Published on 13 March 2023

Kenta Matsumoto

Kenta Matsumoto, currently studying MA Development Studies with IDS, recently featured in the Argus newspaper after completing the Brighton Half Marathon. He shares his insights into running has helped him with his studies.

I started running three years ago, and this was my second half marathon. My first was in Oxford, and it showed me the beauty of the British hills in autumn when the leaves were changing. I have also competed in a 10km race along the seafront in Hove with IDS friends last October. It was a great event, very friendly and I loved running alongside the beach huts with beautiful sea views.

Race day

On the day of the Brighton Half Marathon I was over-paced right from the start and it was a struggle the whole way. But I was so excited that I forgot about it because of the cheers along the roadside, the friends I met at the University and Park Run and the volunteer aid stations. When the photo was taken of me at the finish line I was more than happy to have finished safely for all the people who always support me, my friends and family. I believed that I had energised others, not myself. At the same time thanked them for their support, without which it was impossible to complete the half marathon.

Fitting in training around studies

Training for the Brighton Half Marathon was first about having fun. The beautiful scenery in the Sussex region takes my mind off the hard times of running. I love the beautiful coastline around Brighton Palace Pier, the green path from Falmer to Lewes and Stanmer park hill with lots of vegetation.

But the South Downs Way is my favourite place for running. It is very exciting to come down from that trail towards the University of Sussex and see the Amex Stadium. It is also a great pleasure to see many animals and beautiful city views under clear skies on the way.

Studies are most important to me. I fit early morning running into my day as I have classes and group activities every day, that is the key to starting the day with energy. On busy days I have turned to running and cycling to school to keep fit.
A friend told me about Park Run, which is not very familiar in my country (Japan), so I joined and was hooked. I enjoy taking part in a different Park Run every week, encouraging many friends and socialising with the volunteers.

Mental health benefits

Running is definitely good for my mental health, even if I am jogging at a slower pace, I can forget about complications while running and concentrate on myself. Running also helps me to create healthy eating and sleeping cycles, allowing me to focus more on my studies.

Studying at IDS

Before coming to study at IDS I worked for the government in Japan. I travelled to attend many international conferences on agriculture and worked for the parliament. Before that, I was a physical education teacher in senior high school.
Studying here is like going out into the world for me. Every day I am learning a very broad and full of possibilities field with friends from different values and cultures. I come from a background in administration and agriculture in Asia, but I feel that my perspectives are very broadened when it comes to awareness of global development.

I want to continue to challenge myself to achieve my medium-term goal of working for an international organisation. And I hope I’m running with a smile there too! I will work hard in my studies at IDS so that I can contribute to the people around me all over the world.