Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Third Seika Marathon

On October 7th, runners from all around Seika came to the Mukunoki Center to participate in the 3rd annual Seika Marathon. Not having anything else to do on a Sunday morning, I thought it would be fun to participate.


The event had a 2km jog, and 3km, 5km, and 10km races. People from all age groups took part, with elementary school kids running in the 3k and 5k races, while some of the people in the 10k were clearly over 60 years old. I had signed up to do the 10km race, so even though I got there at around 8:30, I had a good long wait. It was really fun seeing everybody else go though, especially watching all the races start, and the little kids just straight out sprinting. Although the 2km jog was mostly for fun, the 3km and 5km were clearly serious business, and some of the times posted were really impressive. (I think 17 minutes was the winner for the 5km).


The start of the 10k/ 10kのスタート
Finally, the time for the 10km race had come, and all the racers were getting lined up to start. Now, I am not a runner. I’m about as fast as molasses in January, and I couldn’t even finish a 2km jog when I was a kid. So all I was aiming for finishing, ideally in under an hour. I got an ok start, but I slowed down really quickly, and watched nearly every single person pass me. A real nice thing was the support that all the other runners gave each other, and you could always hear cries of “Fight!” whenever they passed each other. After 10 long kilometers, I finally got back to the starting point, where some kids from a local school cheered me on. Sprinting to the finish line, I was able to finish in 59 minutes and 44 seconds. I didn’t care that I was the second to last guy; it just felt really good to finish.

The finish. Notice how my face is the color of a bruised tomato

Obviously all the winners got prizes, but every participant got a Seika Marathon towel and a free udon lunch. (Apparently in Japan you get a towel instead of a shirt for events) The race was really well attended with a couple hundred participants and all their supporters. Running is clearly very big in Japan, and many people were already talking about what race to do next. Although I hurt like heck afterwards, the race was really fun, and I’m looking forward to running again next year. Time to start training.