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Marathon Course

Race day is almost here. At the time of this writing it is only 18 days away.  I remember when I first saw the poster advertising the event.  I knew I had to do it.  I don’t know why I do these things; I just knew I was going to.  I applied in July and waited for the day in November when the list of participants would be announced.  The race has restrictions.  Only 25000 would be allowed to enter the marathon and 5000 for the 10k race.  30000 people running in the streets of Tokyo, wow.  If the number of applicants for the marathon exceeded 25000 then a lottery would determine who would run.  I began to prepare, just in case I was lucky enough to get in.  Unfortunately I was working towards bad weather because winter was coming.  But every morning before daylight I hit the streets and ran.  I must say that for the first few weeks I created quite a stir in Otsukimachi, the part of Koriyama where we live.  But soon I was just a regular and I hardly received a second glance.  I eventually worked my way to 10 miles a day and an occasional long run of 17 miles.  Except for the arthritis in the ankles and bad knees I think I am ready to inflict agony and pain on myself on 18 February.  Why do I do this?

As the middle of November came and went I was beginning to get a little discouraged.  People were being notified that they were in but I hadn’t heard a word.  Finally towards the end of the month an e-mail arrived congratulating me, I was in.  70000 people had registered for the event.  This was only the second lottery I had ever won.  The first was the 1969 draft lottery and now the Tokyo Marathon.

I received final notification in early January.  It was a disclaimer to sign that I was healthy and fit and that if I get fatigued or injured during the race I will have the courage to quit.  I think I’m ready.  My goal is to finish in 4 ½ to 5 hours.  Not world class I know but none the less an achievement. In the words of the Tokyo Marathon organizers, "A finish with a smile is advisable".