Sunday 26 February was the day of the 2012 Tokyo Marathon.
I encountered the section of the Tokyo Marathon 2012 that went through Tokyo's Taito ward, just one train stop east of the Akihabara district which is famous for electronics and Japanese manga and nerd culture.
An estimated 35,000 people were running in the Tokyo Marathon today out of the 335,147 who applied (applicants are chosen by lot), 100 of whom are known as "elite" (i.e. serious/pro) runners, and 3,000 of whom were running for charity. The growth of the Marathon's popularity can be gauged by the fact that only 95,044 people applied in the first year of the Tokyo Marathon in 2007.
The course of the Tokyo Marathon 2012 was from Tokyo Tocho to Iidabashi to the Imperial Palace to Hibiya to Shinagawa to Ginza to Nihonbashi to Asakusa-inarimon to Tsukiji to Toyosu to Tokyo Big Sight (where the Tokyo Marathon Expo 2012 took place on 23-25 February).
The Tokyo Marathon 2012 consisted of a 10km course and the full course. It was open to all who were 19 years or over on the day, and those in wheelchairs got a five minute head start.
Participants in the full marathon had to pay to join: 10,000 yen for "in Japan," and overseas participants 12,000 yen (cheaper for the 10 km marathon): an apparent thumbing of the nose at internationalization.
As you can see from the above YouTube video, the Tokyo Marathon 2012 was as much a festival as a race, with no end of weird and wonderful costumes. Check out my favorite, the "salaryman on the commuter train" runner!
Read about the Tokyo Marathon 2011
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Monday, February 27, 2012