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Spartan Race comes to Japan

 

 

In the countries they are held, is hard to find someone that has not heard about the iconic Spartan Races series that are currently held in 14 countries throughout the world and that number is soon to be 15 countries as the Spartan race is now coming to Japan with the first event to be held on 27th May 2017!

A spartan race is setup with a variety of spaced obstacles of varying difficulty that must be traversed throughout the course. The races vary in difficulty, ranging from 3 miles (Spartan Sprint) to marathon distances.

The inaugural Spartan Japan event will be a spartan sprint (3-5 miles long, 20-30 obstacles).  The spartan sprint is designed for everyone but that does not mean it is a walk in the park! The spartan organisers do not announce the obstacles for the course ahead of the day, but you can expect to have a lot of fun on the day challenging yourself with the obstacles on the course, such as wall climbs, moats, mud pits to name a few.

Participation can be as an individual and all participants are time and recognised individually, however racing a team with friends is encouraged. And what better way to have fun with friends than getting out of your comfort zone accomplishing a feat of endurance together!

 

The spartan sprint is the perfect a race for anyone to try out and discover what they are made of and is an ideal goal for pushing yourself to train and get into a better shape! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and sign up today!

There will be English speaking support available at the event.


Training

The Spartan team recommend the following as minimum preparations for the event:

  • Walk/jog/run at least 1 mile per day
  • 30 burpees per day
  • 30 of the best pull-ups you can do per day

You might also like to check out a meetup group in Tokyo who train in Hibiya park every saturday to support members get ready for the Spartan race!

Location

Less than an hour out of Tokyo, the closest station is Sagamihara on the Yokohama line and the venue entrance is less than 1 minute walk from the station. There is no parking space on site.

Weather

The average weather in Sagami ranges between during May is 13.5°c with the warmest around 19.5°c

Official Website

For more information please refer to the official Spartan Japan website that is kept up-to-date with the latest and official information.  

 

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Fuji-San Marathon

Fuji-san Marathon is held late in late Autumn (last Sunday in November) at the base of Mt.Fuji. The race loops two lakes, Lake Kawaguchi and Saiko Lake. The start and finishing point is in the town of Fuji-Kawaguchiko, where you will find incredible hospitality and a festival atmosphere on the weekend of the event. The whole town gets involved and along the course many of the local residents will come out to cheer you on or offer you treats to keep you going along your way.

As you can expect from a Japanese event, the marathon is organised very well and despite some early congestion on the course, this isn’t a race you need suffer anxiety about. With some steep climbs and undulations on the route, this isn’t a course to try for a PB, it’s a marathon to settle into and enjoy for the unique experience that it is.

 

For locals in Japan its an easy weekend trip from Tokyo by Shinkansen, for those coming internationally I would highly recommend booking a Ryokan in the town for the weekend and enjoying the traditional Japanese experience. If you do, book early, the township has limited capacity.

 

However you get to the race, be sure you make sure you leave time to visit an Onsen to relax yourself after the Marathon. With the cold weather and aching legs post race, relaxing in the hot volcanic waters after the race is about as enjoyable an experience as you can get!

 

2016 was my second time participating in the five events they have held, the number of participants have jumped significantly with a lot of international participants travelling to join the day.

With 2016 seeing them become accredited by AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) and Japan Association of Athletics Federations, it is not hard to imagine that in the coming years this will become an iconic event of Japan that will become so popular they will need to start capping the numbers.

While not as prestigious as Tokyo Marathon, this is a race worth planning the trip to Japan to participate in.

 

 

 

For all the official information including registration information they have well written english content on their website. http://fujisan-marathon.com/en_info

 

 

 

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Tokyo Marathon 2017 – Registration Information

This article is a summary of registration options for foreigners to Japan looking to enter the Tokyo Marathon 2017.

Tokyo Marathon

**** We have a Tokyo visitors guide book available, you can download your free copy at  https://www.fitjapan.com/tokyo-marathon/

1. General Entry is open from August 1st 2016

General Entry is drawn by lottery. There are 35,500 spaces and registration exceeds 300,000 ++ entrants to the lottery. You will need to be lucky to get a space, がんばって!

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter , we will remind you when it’s time to register!

2. Charity runner registration opened from July 2nd 2016

There are 3000 spaces reserved for charity runners and given out on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. If you absolutely certainly MUST run the Tokyo Marathon and don’t want to risk missing it, this is a great option and proceeds going to some great causes that you can select at the time of application.  You may raise the donations or simply donate yourself to the value of ¥100,000 (roughly $1000 USD).

More information about the types of charities and the charity registration page are found on the official Tokyo Marathon website here.

3. Overseas Booking Agencies – To be Announced in August

Many fitness focused ‘travelling agencies’ secure spaces and provide additional services (Airport transfers, Race Day transfers, Accommodation and excursions from Tokyo etc) for foreigners travelling to Japan at the agency specified cost. You may prefer this for some additional support for your trip to Tokyo. Two that I have personally used in the past are Travelling Fit (Australia) and Athletes Journey (Singapore). The complete list of agencies will be provided on the official Tokyo Marathon website.

4. RUN as ONE – TOKYO MARATHON 2017 from August 7th 2016

The “RUN as ONE – TOKYO MARATHON 2017” program is for any overseas runners from Japan who meet the semi-elite qualifying criteria and can apply through the page found at  http://www.marathon.tokyo/en/runner/run-as-one/


 

These are the primary options for gaining entry to Tokyo Marathon for foreigners, there is also the wheelchair marathon. If you are interested to learn more about this any other information be sure to head over to official Tokyo Marathon english website http://www.marathon.tokyo/en/

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Tokyo Marathon – Race Day Preparations

Tokyo Marathon 2016 is almost upon us and here at Fit Japan we have been busy preparing a guide book aimed to help first time runners of the Tokyo Marathon to plan and prepare for their Tokyo Marathon adventure. The blog post that follows is an extract of tips regarding food, hydration and clothing for the day.

Hydration

The hydration stations are well equipped; clean water is used and stations are frequently, and evenly, spaced throughout the course. You should note the restrictions regarding your own hydration, which can be confusing – I suggest just relying on the very well-equipped hydration stations.

Food

So far, as official stands go, there are plenty of food sources; you can expect bananas, buns, plums, and even tomatoes to be supplied along the race.

The crowd very often brings plenty of goodies to the sidelines and offers them freely to runners as they cheer you along (fighto!!!). Some have chocolates, some have plums, some have miso soup… Don’t be shy and be sure to say arigatou!

Of course, pack your favorite brand of fuel, but just be careful about travel restrictions on fluids.

Clothing

Poncho

Whatever you are wearing for the race itself, it is highly recommended that you pack a poncho for the start line as wind, rain or light snow is likely.

Throw Away Cottons

On top of that, some old warm clothing that you don’t mind disposing of will go a long way. You can quickly whip these extra layers off a few minutes before the gun fires and carefully toss them over the sidelines or hold onto them and drop them into a trash bag along the side of the course.

Of course, you can be a penguin, and huddle in the crowd and try to keep warm by jumping around, but trust us on this, you are much better off packing a pair of warm sweatpants and a cotton jumper to wear while waiting at the start line. When the cold wind rushes through the crowd, you will be thankful.

Gloves

I strongly recommend gloves for the entire race.

Beanie / Buff / Ear Warmers

This one is optional but something to keep your ears and head warm, especially at the start of the race, is worthwhile. Depending on the conditions of the day, you probably can wear this item for the whole race. Again, something you don’t mind tossing away is smarter if you don’t want to end up carrying it the entirety of the race.

Glasses

Transition sunglasses, they help with keeping rain and wind out of your eyes and the sun when it does shine can be quite bright.

Long Pants

If you don’t tolerate the cold well, consider compression pants for your legs and a long sleeve shirt or even two layers for your top.

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The Osaka Marathon

 

I write this post while bound for Tokyo sitting aboard the effortlessly swift ‘Nozomi Super Express’ Shinkansen at 320 kilometers per hour; I’m returning home from a magnificent weekend in Osaka after participating in the Osaka Marathon.

Fortunately for me I gained a lottery placement into the event which took place this weekend on Sunday Oct 25th, 2015, this year celebrating it’s 5th event.  With 30,000 slots this and with over 130,000 hopefuls these numbers are yet another indication of the depth of running culture in Japan. Not as oversubscribed as the Tokyo Marathon, but still a particularly strong interest for a Marathon ran in Japan’s second largest city.

Precisely organised, polite / well-prepared participants, fantastic crowd support and abundantly equipped aid stations. I have observed these elements to be a true hallmark for Japanese events. Osaka Marathon was by no means an exception. Of course I should also mention the entertainment. Japanese cheer squads, native drummers, Hawaiian dancers and quirky costumes both in the race and the crowd that provide a uniquely Japanese edge to the day.

The theme for the year was ‘making a rainbow together’ with a variety of colors you could select at registration, each of which has a unique charity donation (part of registration fee) associated with it. You also had the option to purchase a t-shirt or hat to run the event in and represent your color. As you can see from the photo’s they certainly achieved that goal as the field of runners were bright and vibrant!

The Osaka Marathon course provides runners with an excellent perspective of Osaka city. Starting at Osaka Castle in the cool morning sun, the course coils its way through the heart of Osaka city and in the last 10km or so the route unwinds into wider spaces out into the harbor area of Osaka to the Inpex convention center for the finishing line.

I wasn’t out to make a personal record so I really just focused on relaxing and enjoy the race, which Osaka certainly made easy for me! The bonus with not my pushing hard in the run is it allowed me to snap a number of photos along the way which I share with you here.

Okonomiyaki!Osaka Marathon Route

For post marathon entertainment Osaka has plenty to offer with Karaoke, fine dining or Izakaya, bars and café’s, but as there was an Octoberfest event happening it seemed only natural I’d go to enjoy a beer and bratwurst followed by dinner with a locally famous dish of Okonomiyaki!

I stayed at the Mitsui Garden Premier Osaka  which I highly recommend. While not right in the center of Osaka downtown, the hotel offers a Onsen bathing on the top floor which is exactly why I booked the hotel. A hot Onsen post race does wonders for muscle recovery.

 

Next year the Osaka Marathon is schedule for the 30th of October 2016, why not try your luck to get a spot in the lottery yourself? Ganbatte!

 

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Tokyo Marathon Charity Runner

 

Charity Runner Tokyo Marathon.

During the day of  September 16th the Tokyo Marathon Foundation drip fed its lottery results out to the Marathon hopefuls via email. With 308,810 applications and only 36,500 spaces many folks had to expect to be disappointed (like myself) by receiving the following brutally worded email.


 

 ======================================================

◇◇  Tokyo Marathon 2016 Notification of the Lottery Result  ◇◇

======================================================

Thank you very much for your application for entry.
We regret to inform you that you have lost the lottery to run the Tokyo Marathon 2016.
We look forward to your application for our future events.

 

While not the news I was hoping for, this isn’t the first time I have lost the lottery but my love for this absolutely fantastic event I have in the past ‘purchased’ my way in by using an agency that sells marathon package tours.  The package tour option is a very helpful especially for first timers to Tokyo one as they provide options that include accommodation and support with the race logistics also. But as this will be my fifth time running the event and also now that I’m actually living in Tokyo it was time for a change and I have registered myself as a charity runner

This option is actually mentioned in the email sent for those who missed out, but if you are like me you probably deleted the email right after reading ‘you have lost the lottery’.


 

——————————————————–
■■ TOKYO MARATHON CHARITY ■■
——————————————————–
Charity runners are still being accepted for “Tokyo Marathon 2016 Charity”
Charity runner is to donate 100,000 yen or more and you will be guaranteed to run Tokyo Marathon 2016.
Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis (up to 3,000 runners).

Please visit the following website for more detailed information.
http://www.runwithheart.jp/en/

 

While it’s not a lot cheaper (¥ 100,000 minimum donation) and the price doesn’t include accommodation, what I like about this option is all funds go to one of the 13 charities you can choose from when registering and you are free to plan your itinerary to your own desires.

I will be writing more about the Tokyo Marathon including tips and options for first timers in future blog posts so drop your email below and subscribe to get that and more health and fitness news from Japan.

 

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