21 Nambanners Carry the Sash in the Okutama Ekiden
Dec. 5th saw the 72nd running of the Okutama Ekiden, with 5 Namban Rengo teams taking part. A traditional ekiden, with runners actually running from eki to eki (station to station), Okutama features a 44.4km men’s course from Higashi Ome to Okutama, 3 legs out and 3 legs back.
The women, however, run just 11.1km over 3 legs. Results won’t be in for about 3 weeks, but the Namban teams held their own against stiff competition. Namban bragging rights went to the men’s B team of Anthony, Brett, Terry, Paddy, Bernd and Taro, who finished ahead of the A team of Michael, Christian, Robert, Matthew, Tom and Alex. The women’s A team was comprised of Yuri, Yoshiko and Chika, the B team was Mika, Elsie and Elena, and the C team was Taeko, Satoe and Kanna. Eiko, Bonnie, Kasuza and Bob provided on-course support. After the race we enjoyed beer and sushi while watching the Fukuoka marathon at the same sushiya-san that the Namban teams have been going to for 22 years.