Toda Half Marathon &10/5K
The Toda Half Marathon &10/5K is in Saitama, usually the third Sunday in November. It is a very good race, twice around a lake, starting and finishing in a big park. The course is mostly flat, on a wide asphalt path, with two small hills (twice each). There are a few 180 degree turns, which is good because you can see who is ahead of and behind you (helpful if you are trying for a top 6 in your age group…or just want to see your friends).
It is very well organized, everyone gets a nice shoe bag and a big towel, and there are prizes for the top 6 in each division. Men’s age groups are under 40, 40s, 50s and 60s. Women’s are under and over 40. There are also 10K (1,294 men, 438 women)) and 5k (270 men, 240 women) races. There are many sports wear and food stalls, and some stalls have free products as giveaways. There is also a 2k for parents and kids.
There are about 2,200 men in the Half and 525 women. In 2007, the Half winner was about 1:11. Women’s winner was about 1:25.
For anyone who wants to run a Half (or a 10K if you don’t want to go to Otawara), Bob Poulson highly recommends this race. Kita Toda station is only 8 stops from Ikebukuro and they run shuttle buses from there to the race and back (almost no waiting). Reasonable starting times too — 10K starts at 10:10, Half at 11:00.