Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Osaka Marathon 2011...by golly, I want to run it!

After months of waiting, since the announcement was made last year, registration for the inaugural Osaka Marathon has now opened (yes, I know they have a famous elite race, but this will be Osaka's first mass participation marathon).

My form is in and I've got my registration number, but now its about more waiting to find out if I get a place.  With 30,000 places up for grabs you'd think getting your registration in on day 1 would see you right, but with over 200,000 applying for this year's Tokyo Marathon the likelihood is it will go a lottery.  Hopefully the advent of inaugural marathons in Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe (all very close) in 2011 and 2012 will spread the interest a little wider, and the Fates will smile kindly on yours truly.

I lived in Japan from 1995 to 1998 and absolutely adore the country.  Many are the times I've wondered what would have happened had I just stayed there rather than coming back to England, but life is good here and there's no point dwelling on that too much, plus we go back most year's anyway to see family.  Osaka is a wonderful city and my wife's hometown, I had an amazing 3-years living in Kyoto in the mid-90s as an English teacher in a Junior High School and truly had a fabulous time.

I love the city and taking part in the Marathon with family and friends there to cheer me on would be fantastic.  The route starts at Osaka Castle and takes it most of the "sites" of Osaka, but Osaka is more about atmosphere, and there'll be oodles of that on the day and the days leading up to it.
My New Year's Resolution was to run my first 2 marathons in 2011, my debut is in early April in Brighton, where I live, and then running my second in my wife's home city would bring a lovely synergy to my first forays into marathon running, and more importantly give me the chance if only momentarily to take on the guise of one of Osaka's most famous landmarks...

...the Glico man on Dotonburi
...except I'll be GINGER, which if nothing else will make me highly visible in Osaka at 194cm tall (it always does), but I'm sure the sight of me red-faced and puffing as a bouncing ginger head above the crowd of runners will be highly entertaining for all, or at least make is easier for family to spot me as I plod by.

And you never know, I could bring more fame and Osaka's adoration to Matt Murton, one of Hanshin Tigers star baseball players, who in his rookie season last year became only the 4th player in Japanese Baseball history to have a 200-hit season. With both of us sporting ginger hair and mutton chop sideburns, there were plenty of fun comments and curious stares last summer in Osaka, most fun of all having an entire section of the stadium give me (in my Murton Shirt (come on you would take advantage wouldn't you)) give me a standing ovation while the real Murton was a few hundred yards away on the field, which as you can imagine my 8-year old son thought was very cool, if a little weird "coz you didn't do anything dad".

So, fingers-crossed that I'll be out to Japan in the autumn (as well as the summer trip we've already booked) and bagging that second marathon, after all...

...ain't nothing to it.. but to do it!


  1. Good luck with it Steve!

    I reckon the chance of getting a place is good as many, especially in Japan, think training for a marathon over the summer is too much and running one in October also means they won't be able to do all the 10Ks and half marathons they are used to running in November and December, that is, they will be shafted after a full.

    Still this won't be the case for long. I can see this being a great event and once it's established it will be hard/almost impossible to get in!

  2. Hi Scott, I assume your application was in pretty swiftly yesterday - good luck with your application as well. Agree that this could be an awesome event. I'm back in Osaka from mid-July to early August so maybe we can pound a few miles in the heat