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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.


 

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

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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’.


 

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■■ TOKYO MARATHON CHARITY ■■
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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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Where to run in Tokyo. Yoyogi Park.

 

Located in central Tokyo, Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi Kōen) is a staple destination for runners of Tokyo.

Given it’s central location it is easily accessible by public transport, with train stations ‘Harajuku‘ (Yamanote Line) , Meiji-jingumae and ‘Yoyogi Kōen‘ (Chiyoda Line) all taking you to the parks doorstep.

Yoyogi Park hosts all the facilities you need for an enjoyable run as there are plenty of toilets, water fountains, vending machines throughout the park. The paths are superbly maintained and if you are looking to go for an afternoon or evening trot, the inner loop paths are well lit.

 

One less common known points about running in Yoyogi Park is that it offers not only one, but two running routes; an inner loop and an outer loop.

Yoyogi Park – Inner Loop

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This one is as simple as following the footpath around the park from any of the main entrances. It is possible to weave around a little as there are a number of foot paths to choose from that are all connected, just stick in one direction (for some reason, counter clockwise is the standard in Japan) and you can easily explore the options. The example pictured below is the very inner loop.

Length: Approx 1.3 km long
Track: 100% Pavement
Good for: Interval training, short jog under 10k, people watching while you jog.

 

 

Yoyogi Park – Outer Loop

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This is also pretty easy to find as long as you know it’s there! Locate one of the main entrances and look for a worn path that follows the outside of the park. You can traverse the park and see a different perspective of Yoyogi and enjoy a trail run like feeling.  Depending on the weather you might want your trail shoes for this path as it can be muddy in parts if it has been raining. This loop is slightly longer and offers a trail run feel despite being in the center of Tokyo city.

Length: Approx 2.6km long
Track: 20% Pavement / 80% Dirt Trail
Good for: Trail run feeling, longer runs (longer distance means fewer loops)

Tips for running in Yoyogi Park

  • It can get very busy and a congested during weekends and public holidays when the weather is good. If that is the case when you plan to go, head out early to avoid the crowds
  • There are a number of large crows living in the park. Generally they are a bit of a nuisance as they sometimes do like to swoop low as you run past but I haven’t heard of them ever causing any harm
  • Careful to avoid cyclists as there is a cycling route in the park that’s used mostly for parents with young children to enjoy so keep an eye out especially when you are crossing the cycling path
  • Don’t run in the Meiji Shrine area of the park (the right side entrance to the park after exiting Harajuku station) it’s forbidden to do so and there are too many tourists to make it a comfortable location to jog anyway. Stick to the routes above.
  • Take a break from your run by the dog fenced area (you will pass it on the inner loop) and enjoy watching the dogs at play
  • If you would like a locker, a place to shower and change after your run the check out Nohara by Mizuno. This service is especially for runners and as shown in this google map and as you can see it is conveniently located in Harajuku. The service is available to the public for a small fee.

 

 

  • Inner Loop Track

 

 

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Where to run in Tokyo. The Imperial Palace.

Where to run in Tokyo. The Imperial Palace.

If you are visiting Japan for the first time and looking for a place to run that’s central in Tokyo then look no further than the Imperial Palace. The track at the Imperial Palace is the quintessential Tokyo City running destination and it might well be the most popular of all running locations in Tokyo for Gaijin and local Japanese alike.

Why is Running at Imperial Palace so Popular?

  • Central access from a number of stations in the area makes getting there by train easy. There are nine train stations (Hanzomon, Sakuradamon, Hibya, Yurakucho, Nijubashimae, Tokyo, Otemachi, Takebashi, Kundanshita) that all either take you right to the route or close enough for a short walk/jog or jog to the track
  • There are no traffic lights or other reasons to stop/start along the way
  • It’s an even 5km loop start to finish, so it’s simple to measure your 5km 10km 15km etc etc distance if you don’t have a sports watch
  • Access to numerous clean public restrooms along the route
  • Water Fountains access for a quick sip or replenishing your water bottle. Especially handy if you are doing multiple loops in the summer time.
  • Community spirit of runners is alive. Rain, hail or shine and regardless of time of day, there seems to be always at least a handful of runners out enjoying the course with you
  • Well lit and safe while Tokyo itself already has an exceptionally low crime rate the Imperial Palace is well lit and guarded by numerous police who are stationed around the palace
Gardens at Imperial Palace
Gardens at Imperial Palace

Helpful Tips

  • Most (maybe all) of the train stations have lockers if you need to store goods while you jog
  • Check out the running services in the nearby area such as Runners Station where you can shower, use a locker, grab supplies – you can even rent running gear from them if you need it. They even have an english text imperial palace running map illustrating the water stations/bathrooms.
  • Run only counter clockwise around the course, it’s simply an etiquette that’s followed by all to keep congestion to a minimum.
  • Much like most of Tokyo, there are no trash cans on the loop so be mindful of this and hold onto any litter until you are home.
  • In contrast to the last point and somewhat out of place for Japan there are no vending machines along the route, if you seek a drink other than water you can simply cross one of the roads at the traffic lights and run for a while. You are bound to come across a vending machine in no time.
  • The route can get congested as some areas of the path narrow and the runners numbers do get high during peak times. The Japanese runners of course are generally highly courteous people, locals will nearly always clear the way when they can ‘sense’ you are wanting to pass. If you are stuck and the person is unaware, simply call out Sumimasen (pronounced soo-mii-mah-sen), which simply means Excuse me!

 

Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace
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Tokyo Marathon. Registration Opens!

Tokyo Marathon. Registration Opens!

The buzz in the city surrounding the Tokyo marathon epitomises to me the the depth of the running culture of Japan. The marathon is televised live and nationwide on Japan’s national public TV network (NHK) and as you explore the city ahead of your race participation you will be hard pressed to find a resident of Tokyo who isn’t aware and excited about the event.

Spectators turn out in the thousands and are frequently numbers deep as they energetically cheer you along.

 

I personally have completed the Tokyo marathon for the past 4 years in a row and plan to do so for at least the next 6 years. In coming posts I will be writing more about the Marathon and why it’s the the one marathon I plan to return to for a decade.

If you are going to run the Tokyo Marathon, or visiting Japan and need help to find your way around the health and fitness scene, don’t hesitate to Contact Me with any questions.

Don’t delay register for for a space in the 2016 Tokyo Marathon lottery now! Ganbatte!

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Held annually in Tokyo, the Tokyo marathon has been officially titled as one of the ‘Marathon Majors’, positioning itself among the ranks of Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York and London marathons.

From today Saturday, August 1, 2015, 10:00 a.m. (JST) until Monday, August 31, 2015, 5:00 p.m. (JST) it is open for registrations.

Competitors have a 6 hour 40 minute window to complete the 42.2 km marathon course which routes through the heart of Tokyo starting in Shinjuku and finishing in Ariake Bay providing participants a unique marathon experience throughout the vibrant Tokyo city streets.
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