Tokyo Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Tokyo Marathon! It was an amazing experience. And although I did not have the time (4:27) I wanted I had fun and enjoyed the race.

The Expo was at a convention center on the out skirts of town. I went on Thursday afternoon and did not have to wait in any lines. I stopped taking brochures when I realized nothing was n English. Most of the vendors were Japanese. Asics was the only retailer with clothing options. I was very disappointed when I saw that the race shirt was unisex and I ordered a large, with no chance to swap it out.

Sunday morning I left my apartment about 7 for a 9:20 am start. It was only about a 15 minute walk but due to closed streets it was more like 25. I quickly got through security and bag drop, then waited and waited for a porta-potty. This was a low point for organization. I waited 40 minutes for a squat porta-potty. I then headed to my coral and chatted with 2 Canadian women. The race started promptly at 9:10 and I crossed the start line at 9:16. It was about 50 and full sun. I don’t love running in the sun. The next 5 pictures are courtesy of a Facebook friend, Kevin Murphy. Thank you Kevin!

The race course was great. Pretty flat, with a few little hills. The volunteers and spectators were great. Many with signs that said “Fight” and a Westerner that said “Your feet hurt because you are kicking ass!”Many people were yelling “Ganbatte” which means do your best. It was warm for me with the sun. The water stops were a bit of an issue. The tables were long, but everyone wanted to stop at the first few. I was taking Pocari Sweat, yes that is the name of the drink, and water at each stop. It was very crowded the whole race. One of my favorite parts of the race, was when a speaker had the YMCA song playing and seeing thousands of runners making the hand movements, priceless!

finish

A few things I found different than US races. The Japanese runners had clear plastic coats for throw away clothes. And they were all over the ground at the start and for the first mile. Most runners used the boxes for cups and did not throw them on the ground. They gave out tomatoes and bread as fuel. There were volunteers every few hundred feet with plastic bags to take your trash.

After the finish we had to walk about .5 mile to get a drink. Then they slowly handed out your towel, blanket, water, banana, bread and medal. We were slowly walking during this time. Then we had to walk about another mile to get our clothes. Then more walking to get to the changing area. This was a new finish line area and by far the longest I had to walk after a race.

I had to walk more to get to the subway and back to my unit. I had amazing ramen and dumplings for dinner.

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to run this race. It was a great experience. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped me along the way, and to the amazing spectators cheering on the course. This is a first class race in an amazing city.

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