• Rie Onodera represented Namban Rengo at the prestigious Beppu Oita Marathon in Kyushu, also on the 6th.
• February started off with the Kanagawa Half & 10K on the 6th, a race that Nambanners have a love/hate relationship with. The course is not the most beautiful in Japan, the weather can be extremely harsh and you have to line up 30 minutes before the start. But each year about 10 people participate and generally run pretty well. Tadhg ran the 10K in 38:19 (8th in age group), Frank and Adam ran the Half in 1:25:59 and 1:30:46, respectively, and Naoko ran her first Half in 1:58. 7 others also took part.
• The 6th also saw the running of the prestigious Beppu Oita Mainichi Marathon. Previously for elites and semi-elites only, the race allowed women to enter for the first time this year, and Namban’s Rie Onodera accepted the challenge. She came through with a 3:22:38, a very respectable time, but a bit slow for Rie, who reports that she has gained some weight recently (although it does not show!). She slowed from 25k, but even so, her split from 35 to 40 was faster than the previous two—she’s tough!
• Shosaku Yamada ran 1:39:27 in the Arakawa Half on the 13th.
• Another very old (45 years) and popular race took place on the 20th — the Ome Marathon. Conditions were perfect: about 8°, cloudy, no wind. Running in the main 30K race were Kuri (1:51), Mark F., Terry (2:15), Kimm, Anthony, Taeko (2:41), Geraldine and Satohi. In the 10K were Bob (38:10, 4th in age group out of 774 men) and Patrick (a bit under 40:00).
• Yoshiko Katakura ran 3:22:48 in the Yokohama Women’s Marathon, just three weeks after running 3:17 at Osaka. (And Rie ran Tokyo 3 weeks after Beppu, also in 3:22.) Namban women are tough!
• Paul ran the Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon with 65,000 people, finishing in 3:43. Is this the world’s largest marathon?
• On the 27th, four members journeyed out to deepest Saitama for the Fukaya Half, also known as “the leeks race.” And yes, they brought back leeks. All three men ran PBs: Harrisson 1:22, Kimm 1:28 and Stan 1:30. Caroline ran 1:42, not quite a PB, but looked much better doing it than the other three.
• And finally, of course, the big running event of the year: the Tokyo Marathon, also on the 27th. 24 Nambanners took part (including Rie again!), with the men led by Jay in 3:03:57 and the women led by Chika in a PB of 3:22. More details and photos are in the main report. PS. Spotted in the race: one barefoot runner (stocky foreigner) and a fast man and woman in Vibram Five Fingers (now on sale at Art Sports).


Key events to mark in your diary:

• 2 (Wed) Namban workout. Yoyogi Park kiosk inside entrance in back of Harajuku station at 7:25pm. 1000m x 6.
• 9 (Wed) Namban workout, same time and place. 3000m, 2000m, 1000m.
• 16 (Wed) Namban workout, same time and place. 2000m, 1000m, 2000m, 1000m.
• 23 (Wed) Namban workout, same time and place. 1000m x 6.
• 30 (Wed) Namban workout, same time and place. 5000m time trial.
March races? We don’t know of any. If any Nambanners are running one, let us know and we will update this.


Hotaru tobu
Shizen no hanabi
Natsu yasumi

Flitting fireflies
Nature’s fireworks display
Summer vacation

— Courtesy of Risto, dreaming of summer in snowy Vermont.