Obuse Mini Marathon 2007

Fifteen Nambanners took part in the 5th Obuse Mini Marathon last Sunday in almost perfect conditions — many came away with PB’s and better times than expected. The organisation of the event was almost perfect (see Christian’s report). The first event hosted about 500 runners, it’s now approaching 5,000. Gary and Mami’s organisation of the trip, as usual, was faultless.

Christian —1:25:58 (P.B.) Obuse 2007 was definitely a marvelous weekend, many thanks to Mami and Gary for organising this great trip. The half-marathon, too, was very nice. After a busy week without much training (experts might say tapering, I was just too lazy) and a lot of food and coffee, I, nevertheless, aimed at a 4 minutes pace (or slightly faster). A goal, which I somehow achieved, however, officially (1:25:58, new PB), I obviously did not. My half-way time (quarter-marathon?) showed promising 39:58, I was right on pace, not too tired, and I even passed some runners during the third quarter. Race organisation was almost perfect, however, at one point there was no volunteer marking the track. Between kilometer 19 and 20, a group of runners (unfortunately including me) went off track and continued running straight for about 200-300 meters until we realised that we had missed a turn. After a while we found back to the race and finished. The weekend ended having a Namban party in a nice ryokan with a scenic onsen. I am looking forward to the next Namban trip.

Gary —1:33:13 (P.B.) I ran a PB of 93’ 13” and since Obuse is long by about 200m, I think that’s about 92’ 30”, a 2 and a half minute PB. Since my goal is to run 90 at Ohtawara this year I was very pleased to be half way there. Course and town were as charming as ever, but the skinny-dipping was definitely colder.

Neil —1:33:37 (P.B.)  My First Half-Marathon and my first Namban Rengo road trip! and what a great experience both were, Despite driving up to Nagano the day before in the pouring rain, the race itself was luckily enough dry - apart from the large puddles towards the end of the race which ensured everyone got wet feet and no doubt led to a few blisters amongst the Namban faithful. for the race itself had set myself the vague target of going round at a pace of 4min 30secs per 1km (which I had initially thought would lead to a 1hr 30min time ..mistakenly assuming it was 20km - until I was corrected the day before !) so set my trusty Garmin to the above pace and set off with Paddy, feeling a touch nervous about the upcoming 21 and change, km. The first half of the race consisted of faster than anticipated km 1- 3 .. before the inevitable slow down as we started the gradual 2-3km ascent sometime just after the 2km mark .. this included the slowest km of 4:55 as we neared the highest point of the course - during which we had the dubious pleasure of being passed by Gary ! the pace then picked up to around 4:10 per km for a couple of km with a few longish downhill parts before finally settling down to the pre-race requirement of 4:20-4:30 per km around the half way point.
By now I was starting to feel the effects and realised at the 18km?mark that that was the furthest I’d ever run continuously .. fortunately I just stuck with Paddy and kept chugging along .. Paddy decided to pick the pace up from the 19km mark and the belligerent side of my nature took over as I followed suit and we recorded successive kms of 4.15 and 4.11 .. before I embarked on a semi-sprint finish from about 2/300m out to finish - aching and exhausted - in the above time .. ahead of the target,
after that it was on to .. sashimi lunch , the ryokan and a beer, wine and sake fuelled evening . .. a little 3km jog - climbing 250m in the process - up a to see a mighty impressive waterfall in the morning .. before a quick dip in the river .. - must check out the theory behind these ice baths as the freezing cold water certainly stopped my legs aching for a good few hours ..
all-in-all a fantastic w/e .. thanks a bunch to Gary and Mami for organising .. and thanks to everyone else who went and made it such an enjoyable w.e.

Paddy — 1:33:50 A full 10 minute improvement over last year, felt fairly good throughout. I and Neil paced each other well. As good as the race itself is, the real Obuse experience begins when the race is over. The relaxing drinks on the patio, sashimi lunch, the sake bar, the ryokan, the spectacular onsen, the post meal party, the big breakfast, the waterfall….. roll on Obuse 2008.

Chika — 1:37:33 Place; 9th, overall (6th in women, age group) I was glad the weather wasn’t affected by typhoon. We could run under perfect weather for half marathon, no sun, no heat, no strong wind and no rain!! It proves I and Mami-san am “Hare Onna” (literally “fine day girl”, who bring fine day for his or hers event). Anyway, I am happy for my result, 5 min faster than last time and better place I could in. However, I am regret that I couldn’t keep my speed. First 5 Km, my pace was faster than I expected and my condition was really good (Genki Ippai) at the moment. But around 10Km, my leg became heavy…I didn’t expect I would be placed in 8th, but I hoped it…and then 2 women passed me by :’-( I lost my hope. Lucky thing is other 2 women went toilet (one is Rie-san, gomen) so that I could in 9th, overall. This time also I enjoyed whole event, lunch, Sake tasting, Onsen, post party and so on. Thank you all Obuse runners, especially Gary-san and Mami-san.

Yuka — 1:51:48 (P.W.) Typhoon went away and we could run in a perfect weather but my result was the personal worst. I am a fire girl, so even if it was in such cool Nagano, my body became too hot to run. And I applied waterproof sunscreen-for surfer. It was like a Mask. However Obuse trip was really relaxed and fun-good foods, calm atmosphere and with nice Namban friends. Thank you very much Colin for long driving. And thank you very much Gary & Mami for the hard organizing job! ARIGATO!

Nicole —1:55:05

Chiba— 1:58:14 At first, I’d like to express our thanks to Mami-san and Gary-san. The success of Obuse trip owed to your devoted organization. And Mami- san proved that she has a magical capability to move a typhoon-No4 into the Pacific ocean. It’s not a joke, she told me about her marvelous power, a kind of psycho kinesis, the day before that race day. And taller guys in our horde, Colin-san and Neil-san, kindly helped many people to and from Obuse by a blue chic Pajero and a cool black Skyline. Thanks a lot.
As for that race, I’m rather pleased to finish on 1.58.14. As I told some people, I have a strange small bone piece which was broken in my left ankle now. The fragment of broken bone, it is called a joint mouse, causes sometimes serious pain. I’m not able to run but able to jog at the moment. Although I have to have a surgical operation in near future, I dared to run that great race on Sunday. Therefore my target time 2.15. I’m happy to break my modest target. I love Obuse for a nice hospitality, an excellent administration for that race by Ms. Commings and real beautiful country side. Some domestic ales and Sake are also nice. I’ll participate in that race with new brilliant yellow shirt in next year again. Thanks to you all.

Chris — 2:01:43 (P.B.) 7 minutes faster than 1st half; Shinjuku

Mami — 2:02:00 From the start until 17k, I was constantly at good pace, which might be able to break my PB. Although my right side knee has started pain at that point…..I guess I was too excited at the down hill… Sadly I am not happy with my time part, otherwise I really enjoyed the whole trip to Obuse! Weather was perfect, small historical Obuse town, Yamada Onsen, party with Namban fellows ....etc I will definitely join the next Obuse mini marathon again!

Daniel — 2:20:41 (P.B.) First Half-Marathon 1st Obuse mini marathon. I also established new PBs on road for 5, 10, 15 and 20K. Santa Claus overtook me in the last kilometer. Great Namban crew and fantastic efforts of Gary and Mami for the organization. A must.

Other participants- Colin, Terry, Yumiko,