After last year’s surprising fifth place showing at the charity Yell Run at Mega Web in the Odaiba district, Namban Rengo was back this year for more – in force. Namban fielded 24 runners, divided into one men’s 6-runner A team and two mixed B and C teams. Namban A came in first place out of 190 teams, with C placing 14th and B placing 29.
The format was the same as last year’s – run as many laps as possible of the approximately 1.1 km (0.7 miles) course in three hours. The charity was for the Special Olympics, which is a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities.
Switching team members was allowed until 10 minutes remaining – at which point the runner on the track had to anchor and complete the race. Namban A, with Yuki Fukushima (anchor), Mike Hegarty, Alan Cannon, Youri Lavoine, Andrew Drought and George Nicholson ran a total of 41 laps in 2:57:39, well ahead of the second place team which ran 38 laps. Namban C, anchored by Renaud Isman, completed 35 laps in 2:59:55 (just made it!) and Namban B, anchored by Matt Holmes, completed 31 laps in 2:54:16.
There were many celebrity talents on hand to entertain the runners. As Namban’s lead solidified, one could hear the announcers wondering just who these Namban people were!
The first prize was two celebrity signed T-shirts and bullhorns for each member. The award was presented by Miki Ando, a Japanese figure skating National Champion and Olympian, and Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007.
A very enjoyable day was had by all. Thanks to Bob Poulson and Makiko Hosokawa for assembling and registering the teams!