We Are Namban Rengo
Namban Rengo has always been a loose group without real rules or structure. This is a good thing. Nevertheless, we’ve put this guide together as suggestions for things we can all do to make sure that Namban functions smoothly and fits into the Japanese running community. A lot of this will be pretty obvious and/or already part of the club’s practice and is included for anyone who might not be familiar with the local peculiarities.
There are no fees to turn up and run with Namban Rengo. Access to our website Forums and Mailing List costs 2000 yen per year. Email administrator at namban dot org to request initial registration.
The fees go toward administrative costs (especially maintenance of the website), Rikuren (the national track and field governing body) registration, and subsidizing various club events.
Registration with Rikuren is a good idea if you`ll be here for more than a year, will run in some of the bigger domestic races, or are one of the faster members. Registration costs 2500 yen and gets you a better starting position in certain races. The club also benefits by having more members registered. Kazuo Chiba handles the annual registration process each April (deadline April 16).
Etiquette On the Track
Namban Rengo’s home ground is Oda Field, the main public track in central Tokyo. Joggers, amateur clubs like Namban, school teams, professional teams and Olympians all use it, and with the current running boom it has become very crowded most Wednesday nights. It is important to follow a few etiquette points to avoid collisions and to respect others’ use of the facilities.
-Don’t do warmup, recovery or cooldown jogs in lane 1; try lane 2 or 3 between intervals and lane 7 or 8 for warmup or cooldown.
-When not running, stand well away from the edge, not right outside or on the track.
-Look back in the direction of oncoming runners before stepping onto the track or starting an interval.
-Don’t step onto the track until ready to start running.
-Watch out for sprinters in lanes 3-6, especially when lining up to start an interval.
-Run in single file or at most 2 abreast if absolutely necessary, but NEVER 3+.
-If you’re running slower than 4:30 / km pace (1:48 / lap) during a normal workout, run in lane 2. If doing a time trial it`s OK to run in lane 1 regardless of your speed, but any time you see really fast people working out please consider showing them the courtesy of running in lane 2.
-If somebody calls out “course” or “track,” move to lane 2 after looking back to make sure lane 2 is clear.
-When passing someone, pass on the outside, not the inside, after making sure the outer lane is clear.
-Watch out for blind runners accompanied by guides and give them extra room when passing.
-If you accidentally bump another runner or clip one of their shoes, say, “Sumimasen.”
-When finishing an interval, don’t stop on the track. Keep moving and look back before you go out of your lane, then move off the track as soon as safely possible.
Race Entry and Etiquette
Racing is one of the cornerstones of Namban’s activity, be it on the road, track or trail, in an ekiden (long-distance relay), or in a triathlon. Some points to keep in mind:
-Race entry deadlines are long before the event, usually at least one month. Many races fill up before the application deadline, especially in the fall season.
-Most races can be entered online through Runnet or Sportsentry, but few have entry in English.
-If you have strong enough Japanese ability to handle online race entry, please volunteer to organize club entries for a race at least once in the year. A separate guide is available for entry organizers.
-When someone in the club is organizing entries and sends you the meeting time and place for that event, be there on time.
-Club identity is important here, so if possible wear a Namban Rengo shirt when you race. If running an elite-circuit race, you will probably be required to use the small-logo version of the singlet.
-Remember that when you are wearing a Namban shirt or registering in a race as a Namban member you are representing the club and all the other members and that your actions shape the club`s image in the Japanese running community.
-Make sure you know the rules for any particular race and follow them even if you disagree or can`t see their logic.
-Accept the decisions of race officials without arguing (especially if you have not taken the trouble to study the rules).
-Do not intentionally cheat, break rules, or falsify your entry and qualification information.
-Avoid verbal or physical conflict with other runners, officials, spectators, etc.
-Club policy is to discourage race entry substitution and number switching across nationalities, age groups or gender and to positively disallow one person running multiple stages in ekidens.
-Signing up for an ekiden means that you`re making a commitment to your teammates to run. Cancelling at the last minute prevents your teammates from participating. A separate guide is available for ekiden entrants.