Namban turn out in force to support TELL


On Sunday 24th May, the Tokyo English Lifeline (TELL) charity races and walk were held along the Tamagawa river at Furuichiba in Kawasaki. It was the first time that the race had moved away from the Imperial Palace in the center of Tokyo in living memory and it was run along straight and open stretches of the riverside path with only a few pedestrians to contend with. Both the 5km and 10km race courses were very accurately measured and there lots of extra activities such as balloon art, face painting and back massages for everyone to enjoy.

Namban Rengo has traditionally supported this event in great numbers and this year was no exception with almost 30 runners and one cameraman (thank you Mr. Lacey) showing up to support the Stand Up To Bullying Campaign. The starts of both races were very calm and relaxed for Japan with Namban’s own Bob Poulson as Race Director reading out the course directions to both groups of runners. The terrain was very flat but the ground was a little rough in some places and there was a slight wind blowing. None of this stopped the Namban runners who scooped lots of the combined 40 prizes totaling more than 400,000 yen. 

In the Men’s 5km Chris Winter brought home the gold in 18:22 with Alex Ieno 3rd in 19:12, Michael Rayner 4th in 19:28, Oumer Teyeb 5th in 20:08 and Engin Yenidunya 10th in 23:17.

In the Women’s 5km Audrey Ting came in first in 21:43 with Ruth Yanai 4th in 24:11, Mika Kume 5th in 24:24 and Taeko Hara 7th in 25:18.

In the Men’s 10km Stephen Karnes came in 4th in 39:10 with Padraig MacColgain 6th in 41:53 and Gareth Evans 10th in 43:37. The highlight of this race was definitely the 11 year old Japanese boy who finished 3rd in 38:51.

In the Women’s 10km Naoko Hanakawa was Namban’s sole representative on the podium finishing in 4th place in 49:04.

Strong Namban Showing at Toda Marathon

The popular Toda Marathon (Half and 10K) was held on November 16th in wonderful sunny weather with a bit of wind. 18 Nambanners were on hand, along with several supporters, to run 21.1km or 10km around a nice quiet lake (Saiko) in Toda, Saitama. The course was almost fully flat except for a few small jhills. Everyone was happy with the venue, the race organization, and the perfect not-too-hot-but-sunny weather.
Pat Higase (47:06 for 10K) and Derek Leong (1:22:59) ran personal bests, Chika Kanai was the 6th fastest woman, six of our men placed in the top 50 in the half, and Taeko Okamoto did a great job running her first half in 1:49:33. Also Jillian Healy made a gutsy effort to complete her first half marathon despite an injury. Congratulations to all!

Sun, Run and Loads of Fun — the Namban Fall Race &  BBQ

The club’s annual 10K and Half Marathon, followed by a barbecue, was held on Sunday, October 26th along the banks of the Tama river. Indian summer came to Japan, with the temperature climbing to 26C/79F, so it was pretty warm for racing (they were dropping like flies at the Osaka Marathon), but better than cold rain! We had a great turnout of about 80 people, who enjoyed running, cheering, watching the kids’ race and eating, eating, eating. Alistair Bibby and his team prepared massive amounts of food for an American (hamburgers and hot dogs) and Australian (beef and shrimp on the barbie) BBQ, along with plenty of beer and wine. Winners were Joe Siegel and Rie Onodera in the Half (1:23:43 and 1:38:42) and Chris Winter and Jenene Marks in the 10K (36:28 and 43:13), plus Nicholas Whiteoak, who blazed the kids’ course.