In Japan, many races are called marathons, even if they are less than 26.2 miles. Today was the Horonobe Marathon Taikai, and I entered the 5K race. I found out about it and registered at the last minute! I was happy to find out about the race in time.
I arrived at the sports park a little after 8:30 and just after the junior high school students arrived. Then, buses of elementary students arrived. They were surprised to see me. Most of them seemed excited. Lol. It was so much fun to walk around and chat with the students. The elementary students were so cute in their regulation red and white PE hats.
I didn't see many adults, so when the opening ceremony started and we sorted into our respective groups, I was glad to see that there were at least a few!
The first race was elementary school students running two or three kilometers (1st to 4th grade, I think). Everyone else waited and cheered as they ran out and as they came back to finish. I was glad to be able to cheer for the students.
Everyone else ran in the 2nd race - 4-8K, including the parent/preschooler pairs. I got stuck behind a few of them at the start. Pretty cute, though.
I ran with the students for a while and cheered. But most of them were running 4K, so eventually the crowd was pretty much gone.
It was beautiful weather. A little hot, but so pretty. On the way back, there were some nice views of Rishiri. I also caught and passed some of the 4K students. Sorry, guys. USA!
Coming into the finish was so much fun! As in the first race, the students who weren't running were on the sidelines. As I came in, I heard them start yelling "Elizabeth-sensei!" They cheered really loudly as I came down the last stretch. Yup, my heart melted. So I put on a burst of speed (and a little ham - I can't help it).
In the closing ceremony, they announced the top three finishers in each division, and everybody applauded. When they announced the women's 5K, they announced 2nd place, and it was me!
The students audibly oohed. It was too funny.
(I started pleading, "Pleeeeze let there be a third place finisher. My pleas were heard and there was! Pshew.)
Then we all said bye. It was so much fun to be able to meet the students like that outside of school. Three of my schools were represented, which was just awesome.
The first pic me with one of the other 5K runners. She got 1st place and is the mom of a student! And we matched! The second pic is the course after the 5K turn. Third is just a cool cover. We ran across the 45 degree latitude mark, but the last pic isn't from running. I can't post pix of students, unfortunately.
Even though there wasn't any race swag (there was no entry fee either), I think this was my favorite race so far!