The main reason that I decided to go to Tokyo during my recess week is because I managed to get a slot for the Tokyo marathon. It is one of the six marathons in the world (Berlin, London, Boston, New York and Chicago) under the World Marathon Majors. Being the only one that is in Asia, it was more accessible for me. I was lucky to ballot for the slot because the registration was so popularly that it was over-subscribed by 10 times. This is the 9th marathon that I have completed, with pretty decent timing (not my fastest one though). Running in 5 deg temperature in only my short tights, I was totally unprepared for the cold weather. I checked the weather forecast and it said that it would be sunny, so I thought I should not overdress. Thinking back to my marathons ran in temperate countries such as Hungary and Turkey, the weather was 15 deg with sun, so it was fine running in Tshirt and shorts. This time round, I was running and could feel the cold wind stroking my thighs, plus whenever I breathed there would be steam coming out of my mouth to show you how cold it is.
At the starting point, I was lucky to bump into a fellow Singaporean. She’s an inspiration indeed. She’s 40 years old and still running marathons, this is her second one and she was determined to complete in 4 hours, which she did. Next, she has her eyes set on doing the Ironman race. What a superwoman! We ran together for the beginning part and then we separated and ran at our own pace.
It was such a wonderful experience pounding the streets of Tokyo because of the positivism of the supporters who were shouting がんばってください (gambatte kudesai) and ファイト (fighto) which really spurred me on. Moreover, these strangers also offered homemade Swiss roll, chocolates, candy, snacks, muscle rub spray to the runners. The people serving Pokari sweat and water at the drinks stations were so full of energy and so organised that it felt like a production line. It’s so heartwarming. At the finishing line, we walked in an orderly manner to collect our goodie bag, medal and free towel. Again, there were so many volunteers standing in line to give out the goodies and to congratulate us on our achievement. It was such a wonderful experience indeed and I was almost moved to tears.
The route: Shinjuku- Suidobashi- Imperial Palace- Tokyo tower- Shinagawa- Ginza- Asakusa- Tsukij- Toyosu- Ariake- Tokyo Big Sight! Despite the cold, the positivisim radiated from the Japanese people warmed me up and really motivated me to complete the race. There were times when I started thinking why was I doing this and regretted joining the marathon, but ultimately I managed to pull through. I’m so proud of myself. This has been my best marathon experience so far.
|proud finisher of the Tokyo marathon!|
How to apply for the Tokyo marathon
Due to the popularity of the event, you must register early and you will undergo balloting in order to get a race slot. The chance of getting it is one out of ten.
cost: 12,800 yen (as of 2015)
You will be notified of the lottery result by e-mail by the end of September.
The date of notification for the result of the lottery will be on September 25.
After a successful ballot and to secure your place, click on the URL sent to your email, and follow the given instructions and complete the payment of the entry fee by credit card. Places can be allotted and confirmed only after the relevant fee has been received. If you do not complete the payment by the above date, your place will be forfeited automatically.