Ohtawara Marathon and 10k
A small but superbly catered marathon, Ohtawara counts Japanese corporate and university runners among its approximately 1000 entrants. The marathon course is two gently undulating loops, starting and ending on a beautiful new (as of 2007) running track in the town of Ohtawara. Though most of the course is on quiet rural roads, many local people show up in the urban areas of the course to cheer the runners. The 10K race also attracts elite runners in every age group.
Located in Tochigi prefecture some 130 km north of Tokyo, Ohtawara boasts the enviable record of producing clear, though occasionally windy, weather on the day of the race for over ten consecutive years. Tochigi Prefecture is famous for its hot springs, and the Namban Rengo contingent joining the race usually makes an overnight stay at a traditional ryokan with rotenburo (outdoor hot spring bath) part of its post-race celebration.
When: November 23 (Japanese national holiday)
Getting there: From Tokyo the Shinkansen (bullet train) ride takes about an hour.