A laid back low key event, you can enter via Runnet, but I managed to get us in a month before the event. There is a marathon(ish) length run and a half marathon (ish) length run. Pretty accessible from Tokyo, about 1h 15 on the Odakyu line from Shinjuku and then half an hour on a bus so no need to stay overnight.
We entered the 22k race, 1900m of vertical. About 50% trail (the uphill bits) and 50% tarmac (flat or downhill bits). They have a mens, ladies, and pair race. Paul and I went for the pair race. The time of the second runner is the time of the pair. This means you if you think you might get sick of the sight of your partner you don’t have to run together, (an important consideration for Paul, although not entirely sure what he meant by that…). The rules insisted you carry wet and warm weather clothes with you or face disqualification. It was 25C and we decided to chance it and dump our hat and gloves, quite a few people didn’t even have a rucksack and no checking at all. Maybe these rules only applied to the marathoners.
Race started by Tanzawa lake, about a mile on the road by the lake before the steep sections started. Some very steep parts and two or three long painful sections (lasting several hours?!) on quiet trails not used by the local hikers. A couple of aid stations to fill up on salty plums and pickled vegetables.
Circular route took us back to the lake, we had an arbitrary 3hr target in our head and so we did the last mile on the road at sub 4m/km pace. Missed the target but amazed to hear at the finish that we had somehow managed to win the pair race in 3:06:41. Got a nice Salomon bag on our trip to the grassy slope (podium). Someone even asked us to take a photo, Paul’s charm and good looks winning the day once again. No signature requests though. Maybe if we try and defend it next year?
Definitely recommend for those new to trail running and tempted to see what it is all about, a day trip and no need to plan months in advance.