Sunday 28 February saw the 10th anniversary running of the Tokyo Marathon 2016. The conditions were near perfect, with clear blue skies and temperatures rising from 5 to 10 degrees centigrade as the race progressed.
While Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa took out the men’s race and Helah Kiprop led home the women, further back in the field were about 25 brave men and women from Namban Rengo doing battle with the distance and the crowds of other runners.
In the only sub three-hour result among our ranks, Jackson Thodey came home in a strong 2:57. Not normally known for sandbagging, Carol Cunningham went into the race with a declared goal of 3:40, but came storming home as our first woman in 3:23. After them came a mix of performances and individual stories that ranged from the triumphant to the middling to the better luck next time.
Among the thronging mass of runners was the usual wonderful collection of colorful costumes. Spidermen, pirates, pigtailed schoolgirls (usually men), Tiger Lillies, belly dancers and a myriad of cartoon characters who all added to the splendor of the occasion.
As always, support from Namban friends and clubmates was strong all around the course. Runner Mika Kume perhaps summed it up best, “During the run I only focused on getting to the next spot where the Namban cheer squad was, which made my legs move forward.”
Afterwards, nearly 80 runners and supporters gathered at the Footnik pub in Osaki to rehydrate, re-fuel, re-live the day’s events, and generally celebrate this great sport of running.
No matter the outcome, all participants in the Tokyo Marathon were winners, what with the brilliant weather, military-level organization, cheering crowds, and comradeship of fellow runners. Bring on 2017!