Marathon 16 - Tokyo Imperial Palace Story*Training*Injury*Schedule*Spectators*Statistics

I was supposed to run the Shamrock/Va Beach marathon on this day, but some last minute work in Tokyo scrapped that plan. Secretly, I was glad for the break, though I would not have skipped the run willingly. Both Myrtle Beach, and Las Vegas sucked the life out of me, and I just was not looking forward to the run.

I made my Japan travel plans and wondered if there were any races during the 2 weeks that I was scheduled to be there. I needed to put in at least a long run on this particular Sunday, and I figured a Half Marathon or even a hard-run 10K would do the trick.

When I was in Japan the first time, I made friends with Masayoshi Nakamura and the Kunitachi Jogging Club. Coincidently, the Executive sponsor of the project I was working on, Shuji "Sam" Shimakage, was in this club. A further coincidence is that Sam ran the Austin Motorola Marathon when I ran it... He is in this picture, with some of the Kunitachi Jogging Club members, lower left in the Motorola tee-shirt.

Anyway, I wrote to Nakamura-San, asking about races in Tokyo. He copied Shimakage-San, who found the Tokyo Imperial City Walk/Run Marathon for me. Nakamura-San graciously filled out the paper work (and paid the 1000 Yen entry fee -- about $9), and voila. Masayoshi (running the 20K) and Momoko (Running the 10K) picked me up at my hotel and brought me to the race. It was great seeing them after 2 years, and I was glad they came out and ran with me.

This was a tiny race -- 100 marathoners and about the same number of 10K & 20K runners. Many Blind and otherwise disabled runners and their guides.

This run took us around the exact center of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace. It is a 5K loop around the walled city, with the Start/Finish at the southernmost gate.
A 5K loop means 8 mind-numbing laps. At the 40K mark, you pass the Start/Finish and run 1.1K along the course, and turn around, back to the Start. That was cruel.
  Photo: Masayoshi Nakamura  
This was a very well run for a small race, and it was a lot of fun. The Race Director, Akira Usami, 3-time olympic winner, cheered us on. He is riding with me to the finish, here. As the only foreigner, I was treated as a minor celebrity.
Photo:Masayoshi Nakamura    
I also met Eco-Marathoner, Hajime Nishi, who has cataloged 255 marathons, using a 46 element scorecard, including Environment, Communications, Management, Safety, Convenience, and Fairness. Hajime Nishi -- EcoMarathoner He has been everywhere, and I look forward to seeing him in June, at Deadwood SD. Its a small world.
  Photo: Christian Matthews  

Updated April 26th, 2003