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.
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!