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Run Takeda Run

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February 7, 2024

What do running and pharmaceutical manufacturing have in common?

Quite a lot, says Masashi Hashimoto, a member of the track and field team at Takeda’s Hikari Site in Japan. “In a running race, you sometimes face headwinds and tough hills to climb. It requires the same kind of perseverance to run a race as to deliver medicines to patients.”

Masashi Hashimoto is finishing the "Ekiden" race.

Masashi Hashimoto is finishing the "Ekiden" race.

Twelve employees at Takeda's Hikari Site participate in running and relay competitions as members of the track and field team. They all work full-time to produce medicines, but due to their different working hours and divisions (API and formulation manufacturing, packaging, and inspection), they are only able to run together once or twice a month. Even so, they have all improved their performance through daily workouts. The team has twice succeeded in representing the Chugoku region in the famous Ekiden (road relay) competitions in 2016 and 2022.
Hitoshi Matsufuji, the Hikari site track and field coach, says, “Road relay and our daily work have countless things in common; manufacturing medicines requires many hands of our allies, inheriting Takeda's more than 240 years of history and passing the baton to the future. I hope to continue helping patients through the manufacture of Takeda’s medicines and participating in athletics.”

Working hard and seeing results


In Japan and around the world, our colleagues who like to run have put their passion to work to help foster our company culture of collaboration and our drive to continually evolve. They’ve used running to get and stay fit, improve their well-being, enhance existing work relationships, and meet new colleagues.

The Takeda Running Team in Poland participated in a 5-kilometer charity run.

The Takeda Running Team in Poland participated in a 5-kilometer charity run.

Krzysztof Woźniakowski was looking for novel ways to meet people when he started Takeda Running Team in Łódź, Poland, in 2021. He got approval from his site’s management to start a company-sponsored running team and began gathering people who were interested in training and racing together.

A team coach now leads weekly practice sessions, and the team enters one local race a month, usually 5 or 10 kilometers, complete with Takeda t-shirts for the team’s 30-40 members. The team recently added kids’ races to their repertoire so members’ children can participate.

“I want the running team to be part of the well-being of the entire company,” Krzysztof says.

Krzysztof, who works as a customer finance solutions specialist, says that, in addition to transforming the lives of our colleagues who participate, the team has helped the site recruit new employees.

“We’re a bunch of smiling faces wearing the Takeda logo at these local races, so it attracts people to learn more about the company,” Krzysztof says.

And Krzysztof has not only found the socialization he was looking for when he started the group, but he finds that the team represents the very values our company has built over more than two centuries.

“What I take from running is perseverance and resilience,” he says. “You have to work, work, work, hard and also work smart to achieve your goals. It takes time to get in shape and see the results.”

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“I get to hang out with my colleagues. I’ve learned what people do in different parts of the organization, and it’s helped me connect with different cross-functional teams. For me, it’s a huge part of the culture I stay at Takeda for.”

Jen Yee, associate director of clinical data management

‘It’s a huge part of the culture I stay at Takeda for’


Jen Yee was also looking to socialize with her colleagues when she learned about a group called Takeda Runners shortly after joining our U.S. Cambridge, Massachusetts, office in 2018.

The group’s core members meet for weekly runs after work year-round. In the warmer summer months, the group’s numbers grow and often include colleagues visiting from other office locations who are looking to meet people and exercise.

Cambridge-based colleagues run every Wednesday.

Cambridge-based colleagues run every Wednesday.

Nick Heath, associate director of the Center for External Innovation Alliance Operations, who started Takeda Runners in early 2018, said the group extends an open invitation to our global colleagues, and that the invitation is often reciprocated.

“Visitors from other parts of the world will run with us and then say, ‘if you come to Tokyo or Zurich, let us know and we’ll go for a run.’” Nick says.

While the group isn’t company-sponsored like the Hikari and Łódź teams, its members often enter local races together. The most popular such race is the 5-kilometer Cambridge Classic; in 2022 approximately 30 colleagues raced together dressed in holiday-themed outfits.

Jen’s current role as associate director of clinical data management is fully remote, but she says she still comes into the office once a week to stay connected to Takeda Runners.

“I get to hang out with my colleagues,” she says. “I’ve learned what people do in different parts of the organization, and it’s helped me connect with different cross-functional teams. For me, it’s a huge part of the culture I stay at Takeda for.”