The month began as usual with the Okutama Ekiden. This year Namban Rengo fielded 7 teams, 4 men’s and 3 women’s. The A team finished 7th out of 122 teams, Namban Rengo’s best result since 1991!! The other men’s teams were 54th, 67th and 76th, while the women did well with 12th, 14th and 27th place finishes.
Also on the 2nd were the Minato City Half Marathon Rika Homma 1:34:14 (3 min. PB), Yumi Kato 1:42:58 (7th AG, PB), Hiro Terada 1:45:27 and the Chiba Marine Marathon which Quint Oga-Baldwin ran,
At the Shonan International Marathon, Glidas Tuffin, Mark Shrosbee, Renaud Isman, Emmanuel Obser, Josh Ferris and Kim Man Li all ran really well! The first four were under 3:00 in 2:53:01, 2:57:36, 2:58:26 and 2:59:03 (10min+ PB), and the other two ran PBs of 3:21:24 (25min PB) and 3:38:17. Must be a good place to run a sub-3 and a PB.
Sachiyo Harima did a crazy ultramarathon in Hong Kong – long, hot and very hilly. She didn’t finish, but still ran 100 miles despite having hallucinations! (You know it’s a tough race when you’re so tired that you’re hallucinating!)
The Saitama Marathon on the 9th was cold and windy. The course was boring and a bit hilly, but the support and aid stations were good. 8 Nambanners were there: Tomoaki Uchiki 2:49:47, Francesco Frova 2:57:23, David Sweet 3:10:15 PB, Chika Kanai 3:17:41, Faith Geraghty 3:19:56, Yoann Potiron 3:43:42 (first marathon), Hang Yu 3:48 and Hiro Terada 4:53:41.
At the Nishiwaki Half Marathon Emily Furuichi ran a 1:32:02 PB in Vaporfly 4% shoes!
Gary Wilberforce was at the Mitake Trail 15K, where he came in 6th with a time of 1:11:15.
Carol Cunningham ran the Singapore Marathon, where she had a hard time but finished. It was her 50th marathon!
And Marcus Kosins came through at Honolulu with a PB of 3:54!!
On Dec 16th, Yuta Suda ran the Hagaji Fureai Marathon in 2:37:21, good for 4th place. It was his 3rd marathon of the year and the 22nd of his career. And across Japan at the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon, Daigo Asada ran 2:54:57 and Rika Homma recorded a time of 3:23:38.
Several Nambanners took up the challenge of ultras on the 16th. At the coast-to-coast 68km ITRA race on the Boso peninsula, Yoko Kubo finished in 11:2:15. The race was half on roads and half in forests. Taras Koochin and Shihori were also there. And down in Okinawa, Nick Coyle ran the Okinawa 100K in 11:46, finishing 16th in his AG. Yukari Oimatsu also ran it.
Jay Johannesen traveled to Chang Mai, Thailand, where he ran a 10.5K Mini Marathon (strange…) on the 23rd, finishing 1st in his AG. Arnaud and Leng Leng from Singapore were also there.
Gary Wilberforce ran the Hachimine Moutain Trail 33K race out near Mt. Takao on the 24th. He was in 3rd until spraining his ankle at about 20K, but still finished 10th.
And to end the year, Brett Larner and Mika Tokairin ran the Year-End Marathon, somewhere, which was a half marathon. Brett in 1:23:45, coming in 7th and Mika in 1:40:26, coming in 23rd.