24 Nambanners Enjoy the Tamako Ekiden

After a day of rain on Thursday the 20th, Friday fortunately brought blue skies (plus strong wind) for the Tamako Ekiden. 24 club members traveled 40 minutes out the Seibu Shinjuku line to the Tamako (Lake Tama) reservoir, where teams of four ran 7.242km (hope that’s precise enough for you) legs around the lake (women ran a 2.4km course). We fielded 5 men’s teams and one women’s team, all of whom did well. Out of 362 teams, our men were 15th, 27th, 34th, 40th and 110th. The women were 5th out of 16. Top honors for times went to Mark Callon in 25:27, Fabian Dubois in 25:57 and Rie Onodera in 9:55. Best of all, every person was pleased with their performance, and had an enjoyable time. Thanks to David Murakami Wood for organizing our teams.

Tokyo Marathon Draws a Crowd

What is now Japan’s most popular race, the Tokyo Marathon, was held on February 23rd. Despite a lottery that makes the event increasingly hard to get into, Namban Rengo had a large contingent of runners, about 25. And as every year, an equally large number (or more) of club members turned out to cheer the runners at various points along the course—most people even raced (by train) across town to cheer at two different places. This year’s race was blessed with perfect weather, about 7°C and sunny, with almost no wind. This resulted in course records for both men and women, and a number of PBs for our club runners. And once again, the post-race party at the aptly named Footrace (or was it Footnik?) pub was a great way for runners and supporters to recount the day’s experiences. Hope to see you there next year!

More fun in the sun - Watarase 2013

The Watarase Half Marathon takes place at a pleasant park and reservoir (which is available for boating) in the “middle of nowhere” up in Saitama. Namban has had a presence there for the last five years, ever since Paddy discovered it. Despite being Paddy-less this year, 12 of us navigated our way on the many trains to tiny Yagyu station and then trekked cross-country to the site. It was worth it, as everyone (well, in varying degrees) had an enjoyable race, and despite 26-degree heat, posted respectable times, led by Tomoaki Uchiki in 1:19 and Jay Johannesen in 1:24 (4th in age group). Others were: Bob Poulson: 1:31:30; Philippe Boué: 1:31:35; Padraig MacColgain: 1:38:16 (Watarase PB by 2 minutes); Dave Cahill: 1:49:06; Adrian Ringin: 1:54:50; Ruedee Vance (visitor from Shanghai): 1:56:55; Pat Higase: 1:57:00; Hemant Tikelar: 2:07; Yoshi Niitsuma: 2:00+?; Tomohiro Mitani 2:00+?