Rinku Relay Marathon

Back in October I was invited by my Board of Education to run in a relay race marathon.  I have never heard of a thing but the premise is pretty self-explanatory:  you make a team of several people and take turns running around a giant lap measured to be 2 kilometers.  After you run one lap you either can A) continue running or B) Pass the “baton”, aka the sash you have on to another teammate.  You can run in whatever order you want and switch at the ready.  I always wanted to run in some sort of event so I was happy to accept the offer.  A marathon by myself would be impossible but with 7 other people it was very doable.  Runners of all ages were accepted so it wasn’t strange to see young kids running this thing.  People also liked to dress up in costumes or wear silly hats.  Needless to say, it was a laidback, family event.

A section of the course.

A section of the course.

The marathon was to take place in Rinku Town, a place I have not been to since I first came to Japan.  We would be running right by the sea.  Luckily it was a very pleasant day for the fall so the weather was not going to be an issue.  I was around the 6th person to go in our order.  In the beginning, I didn’t think one could run while listening to music . I have been listening to music every time I jogged so without it was quite the difference.  I felt less motivated to run and keeping my pace up was very difficult.  In the end, I wore myself out after a mere 2 kilometers.  However, after noticing other people running with headphones on, I decided to do the same next time.  It helped tremendously; the run was ridiculously easy compared to my first lap.  I can’t imagine people running without listening to anything but I know the majority do in major events since it’s not allowed.

While the weather was nice and warm, the section where you ran next to the sea was extremely cold and windy. My nose was stuffy so I unfortunately had to breathe through my mouth.  Due to the cold winds, my throat dried up really fast, wearing my out a faster.  It was a bit better while listening to music.

Before we knew it, the end was near.  Over 3 hours had already passed and half of the teams had already finished.  My boss Ohashi-sensei and another BOE member decided that I should be the anchor; aka the final runner to finish the race.  I felt honored and accepted.  The second my teammate handed me the sash, I was revitalized with a drive to finish as fast as we could.  The last lap is really a special moment.  The anchor wears a special tag notifying everyone that it’s the team’s final lap.  When the crowd sees you wearing this tag, they applaud and give you lots of words of encouragement.  I think it’s really cool that complete strangers will cheer you on, which definitely helped my tired self continue on.  Before I knew it, I was on the last turn of the lap.  Out of nowhere, an elementary school kid blasted through me.  Not willing to lose, I began to sprint after him.  However, I didn’t manage to catch him before finishing 😛 but at least I had my entire team waiting for me and giving me high fives as I crossed the finish line.

I had a lot of fun running in the Rinku Relay Race Marathon.  Our total time was 3:40:05.  One of my bosses told me “What a good time!  However, I think we can do better next year!”

I can’t wait until then!

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