After much anticipation and excitement during the build up towards the actual race day, I've finally completed the Tokyo Marathon 2011 last Sunday, 27th February 2011. The trip to Japan was part of a family holiday, but I'll leave that to another upcoming blog post. This one will concentrate on the event and I'll write about how the event ran, and my feelings after completing it. For a start, I registered for the run around 5 months ago. 350,000 applications for 36,000 slots and the runners were selected via a balloting system. Luckily for me, the quota for foreign runners seem to be more than the ones catered for the native Japanese runners, and I was delighted to be selected. Paid up about $250 dollars online, and I secured my slot for the race. I didn't really had much time nor chance to train for it due to study and work commitments, but at least I cleared 2 half marathons (in a week) before flying.
Start point was at Shinjuku. There were really a lot of people, but everything was managed and organised, and I never felt trapped in human traffic. Huge signs helped with orientation to the baggage deposit area, and it only took 5 seconds for me to get my stuff taken care of. Soon it was time to head off to my designated start area, which was the last and final waiting area. I guess it's due to the fact that I stated my end time to be 5hrs 30 minutes, and that's considered pretty slow. Well, I did finish the run in around that time, as you can see from the result in the table below. Not a fantastic timing, but it's my new personel best. I aimed for it and got it, and it's over 30 minutes faster than my previous run at Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2010 last December.
The route was a magnificent one as well, taking us to fantastic tourist attractions such as the imperial palace, Asakusa Sensoji, and the Tokyo Tower. I wanted to stop and take photos but I only had my phone with me. Speaking of photos, there were countless photo pitstops along the way, hence the many photos you see me uploading here. I think it's a great idea and the local runs should start having this instead of randomly deployed stealth photographers catching us with shack faces. With the official stops, you can pose and at least look less tired than you really are.
The end point was equally efficient. The runners were channeled to pits where we were handed out drinks, oranges, fruit bars, and the finisher medal and towel. Although the run was attended by so many people, everything was in place and it was organised with clockwork precision. The only complain I had was that the public transport from the end point was pretty limited and I queued up over 30 minutes just to get on the train, which was packed like sardines. I had to stand for another 40 minutes on the train back to Ikebukuro via the JR Yamanote line. Luckily I didn't really stink (too much) and I generally kept away from the Japanese girls in my carriage. My heart would break if they held their noses and walked away. :p
All in all, the run was most definitely the defining moment in the trip, and dare I say in my short running stint. I bought lots of goodies as you can see from the expo, and I did it because I figure I won't be coming back for the run anytime soon. But after the race, my opinion has some what changed. If possible, I would want to return to Tokyo for another go at the marathon again. The climate, conduct of the run, and most of all the people all made this a very memorable trip for me. No regrets at all, and I encourage all runners to try and attend it if possible. It's very convenient, and everything gets explained in English. Feel free to ask me for advice if you're interested, and perhaps we can go again next year. I hope you enjoyed the photos and this write up, and look forward to the rest of the entries on the holiday with Rena and Mabel soon. Thanks! 東京マラゾンは楽しかった！できれば、必ずまた行きます！
(yup that's me with a super shack face :p)