Fuji Susono Half 10K
This race is located pleasantly in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
The Fuji Susono half-marathon course is quite hilly, but still reasonably fast - after 2 laps on a track there is a long, straight, gradual climb to the 5k mark following by two rolling loops and then a fast downhill 4k to the finish.
Report from Jay:
I stayed behind Yoshida-san for the first 5k and when I heard our split of 21:45 I was not optimistic about my ultimate finishing time. Thanks to Yoshida-san’s comfortable pace, the long uphill climb on the first 5k did not actually seem so difficult to me. So when we got to top of the hill I accelerated, running 18:54 for my second 5k. At 14k I started to weaken a bit. But here is the wonderful thing about the Fuji-Susono course: since the last 4.5k is downhill, I merely needed to survive until about 16.5k and then I could cruise. And cruise I did, covering the last 5k in approximately 16:30. I have always assumed that you cannot make up time on the downhill that you had lost because of running slower on the uphill, but somehow at Fuji-Susono I did make up lost time (even though I do not consider myself a strong runner on downhills).
But of course Fuji-Susono is not really about the race, it is about the resort experience with Namban teammates, particularly the world-renowned German Style Sausages and Bavarian beer brewed on site.
I certainly recommend the Fuji-Susono marathon weekend to other Nambanners. It is a pleasant and convenient journey to the Gotemba resort by Odakyu romance car, and the resort is about 5 minutes by taxi from the marathon site.