In Japan, any race 1km or over is called a marathon. So basically, all foot races that we attend, whether they be 10k or 42.195k, have “marathon” in their title. I often translate them as “half marathon” just for the sake of clarity.
Last weekend I went to Rikubetsu with my father in law for the second year in a row. Rikubetsu has as it’s claim to fame the distinction of being the coldest place in Japan and they call their marathon the “kogarashi marason”, translated as “the cold wind marathon”. True to its name, there was a cold, cold wind blowing on the back half of the course.
From last year they added a half marathon to the event. The event is run on the closed circuit Nissan test track in Rikubetsu, Hokkaido Japan. The event is sponsored by both the town of Rikubetsu and Nissan and there are many Nissan flavored goods as prizes for winners and other lucky participants. Last year I got a Nismo jacket for being the runner coming the farthest distance to the race. This year I got 5k of rice. The course itself is on the Nissan secret test course. Secret in that the course is usually closed to the public and no cameras/cellphones are allowed on the course. You can use your favorite mapping software to find it at lat=43.61457542 and lon=143.66365492. The first 10k of the half is run on the “country road” on the inside of the course and the second half on the high speed road that goes around the outside. There is a lot of up down with a difference of 100m up and down steep hills. At one point there is a sign on the road that shows a car going over an upside down U and taking off into the air. The word on the sign says “jump!”. I can only imagine what the test drivers and engineers are doing there on the course. Must be exciting.
I ran the half in 1:37:28 seconds, a minute slower than last year and two minutes slower than the race the weekend before. That is several minutes slower than my best time this year but considering the amount of practice I have been doing since the end of June, I would say that it is not a bad time.
I thought this year would be the year for some PRs but not so. Maybe next year.