2010 Tokyo Marathon by Kuniko Noguchi

05 Mar 2010 11:04 PM | Deleted user

2010 Tokyo Marathon

Sunday, February 28---It was rainy and the cold weather returned after we had started to see the signs of spring approaching in previous days.  Rain was not welcome, especially for those who wanted to make their efforts bear fruit on the day.  It was Tokyo Marathon race day!

Nippon Television was broadcasting the Tokyo Marathon race live from 9am onwards and, like the Olympic Games marathon or Hakone marathon relay, they were exclusively covering the leading group which left the rest far behind.  It is interesting to watch these elite athletes running, but there is another way to enjoy the Tokyo Marathon.  So I decided to see ‘the real Tokyo Marathon’ and rushed to the race course!


IMG_0881.JPGI arrived at Nihonbashi, which was around the 30 km point.  It was drizzling and some runners were starting to show fatigue.  This was the third time I had gone to watch the Tokyo Marathon, and I had noticed that from this 30 km point onward it becomes challenging for most of the runners, and even those who responded to the cheers of spectators at Ginza seemed to want to save energy for the rest of the course.  I noticed some people starting to walk for a while, going down to the toilets of the subway stations to ease some discomfort, as in this area particularly, aid stations were busy and bustling to ease the runners’ fatigue.  The stream of runners were grabbing snacks and drinks as they passed, and so the volunteers were kept busy putting chocolates in the trays, passing drinks to runners, and even peeling bananas to make it easier for participants to eat them!


It was interesting to see ordinary runners striving for a best time, to which we were easily able to relate, but there is more to it than just the running.  It was hilarious to see some runners wearing peculiar costumes, and every year we see Super Mario, cartoon characters, samurai, and others that are ‘unclassifiable’. This year a Japanese girl-group dressed like Michael Jackson added to what struck me as fancy dress parade.  Moreover, if you are media-savvy you can also spot celebrities in the crowd such as Japanese comedians, actresses and high-profile politicians such as the governor of Miyazaki (a former comedian) and Muneo Suzuki, an LDP politician.  Furthermore, if you are really lucky, you might spot Michael, the president of Australia Society as well!

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The snowy rain and low temperature of 5 degrees in the morning made the 2010 Tokyo Marathon more challenging for everyone but, nevertheless, the overall result was a good turnout.  Out of 32,080 starters 30,182 runners finished the full marathon (94.1%), and of all the disabled runners entering 100% finished.  With the number of applicants increasing every year, there were 311,441 applicants in total for both full and 10 km marathons this year and draw ratio was around 8.9 times.  With the increasing interest in running in Japan, the Tokyo Marathon is likely to be more spectacular next year!





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