2017 Shinjuku City Half Marathon

Shinjuku Half

January 29th marked the 15th running of the Shinjuku City Half Marathon (plus 10km and family/children’s events). The convenience and novelty of running in the center of the city and finishing in the Jingumae baseball stadium make this a popular event that fills quickly. According to the official guide, there were 5,006 registered for the half marathon and 2,769 for the 10km.

Shinjuku Half

Those running the half get the earlier start, at 8:30 a.m., and a course that does a big first loop up to and along Yasukuni Dori. They also get to traverse the Gaien tunnel on the second, medium loop. Those in the 10km could enjoy a leisurely 11:10 a.m. start, by which time it was quite warm with the sun shining and no wind. The 10km course is basically three laps of a tighter loop around the Jingu Gaien area, so it is scenic, but there are lots of turns and it gets crowded with the faster runners lapping the more casual ones.

Shinjuku Half

Mike Hegarty (1:16:34) and Olivier Absous (1:20:47) ran impressive times in the half, and the Namban ladies contingent also ran well as usual, including Satohi Numasawa (1:34:40), Rie Onodera (1:34:53) and Rika Homma (1:41:52). For the 10km, Alan Cannon (38:13), Andy Drought (41:18) and Gary Robert (42:04) all managed to gather together at the start. Shinobu Shikauchi and Taeko Hara (4th in age group) ably represented the Namban ladies.


90+ Enjoy Annual Run & BBQ

Unlike last year, for this year’s Namban Rengo Run & BBQ (Nov. 6), we got the beautiful weather we deserve. A strong wind was in our faces on the return 5K, but what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. 90+ runners, helpers and family members gathered on the banks of the Tama River to run, cheer, eat and of course drink. 44 ran the 10K and 17 went the half marathon distance. Winners were Yuki Fukushima (36:48) and Rie Onodera (46:03) in the 10K, and Masaki Kusunoki (1:24:40) and Marie Gras (1:32:57) in the Half. And the always popular kids’ race saw new Namban stars emerge. Huge thanks to Chiba-san for flawless organization, and to the enthusiastic volunteers, too numerous to mention. A great time was had by all!!

Special Olympics Charity Ekiden in Odaiba

Namban Rengo participated in this 3-hour relay charity ekiden in Tokyo’s Odaiba district and came away with a surprising 5th position overall out of 184 teams.

The event was held on an approximately 1.1 km (0.7 mile) course, with the aim to complete as many loops as possible in the three hours. The charity was for the Special Olympics which is a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities.

Although they entered this as a fun run, Nambanners obviously have racing in their blood—starting fast and strong, keeping constant pace and finishing with a respectable podium placing. A total of 40.7 kilometrers (approx. 25 miles) were completed in the three hours.

The ten team members were: Bob Johnston, Derek Leong, Yuuka Yonemura, Bob Poulson, Keren Miers, Makiko Hosokawa, Taeko Hara, Yoshiro Morioka, Yumi Kato and Ikue Ohshio. Naoko Hanakawa was the genki cheerleader for the team.

The official podium result was presented by former Olympic marathon medalist, Yuko Arimori. A very enjoyable day was had by all, topped off by the 5th place prize red megaphones.