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Monday, February 27, 2017

Tokyo Marathon 2017 at Asakusabashi


This year, 2017, was a special one for the Tokyo Marathon in that it is the 10th year since the event began, in 2007.

This year's Tokyo Marathon followed a slightly different course from previous years' in that it didn't skirt the Imperial Palace Tokyo as closely, following the stretch of Yasukuni-dori Avenue north of the Palace instead, and, while going as far south-east as Koto-ku as in previous years, it went only as far as Monzennakacho, instead of all the way down to Tokyo Big Sight.

Tokyo Marathon 2017 in Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
Bystanders watch the Tokyo Marathon 2017 in Yanagibashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo

As in previous years, the Tokyo Marathon went through Tokyo's "doll town" of Asakusabashi. It was already late morning yesterday when I got down to Edo-dori Avenue, which runs north-south through the district, and - as the caretaker of our building laughingly warned this late-bird on my way out - the main body of serious runners had already gone through long before.

Picking up a drink at the Tokyo Marathon 2017, Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
Picking up a cup of Pocari Sweat at the Tokyo Marathon 2017, Asakusabashi, Tokyo

Yet, life isn't supposed to be all serious, and there was no shortage of runners participating as much to show off their nutty costumes as their athletic prowess. Participants in the Tokyo Marathon are prohibited from carrying bottles, so the course was lined with stalls giving out free Pocari Sweat, a Japanese beverage from way back that has long associated itself with sport.

Tokyo Marathon 2017 happening under the Chuo-Sobu line, Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
Tokyo Marathon 2017, with a Chuo-Sobu Line train overhead pulling into Asakusabashi Station.

The weather couldn't have been better, with bright blue skies and an invigorating, but not freezing, temperature of about 8 degrees Celsius.

Rah-rah for the runners, in Asakusabashi, at the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
Cheering on Tokyo Marathon 2017 runners in Asakusabashi.

Edo-dori Avenue, which could not be crossed while the Marathon was in progress, was lined with boisterous well-wishers, waving and shouting the runners on.

Spectators in wigs encourage runners at the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
Crazy wigs and banners - supporters at the Asakusabashi leg of the Tokyo Marathon 2017

Spectators, too, were dressed up and wielding all sorts of banners and percussive gadgets, and shouting all sorts of slogans, to egg the runners on.

A group of police patrol at the Tokyo Marathon 2017, in Asakusabashi.
Police stand by in Asakusabashi for the Tokyo Marathon 2017.

Police and the fire brigade were a discreet presence, but the cheerful atmosphere and the general youth of the runners made emergencies very unlikely.

First-aid at the 26th kilometer of the Tokyo Marathon 2017, in Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
Medical station at the 26 km point of the Tokyo Marathon 2017, in Asakusabashi.

For medical contingencies, there was a first-aid team at what was the 26th kilometer of the Marathon, just a few meters south of Asakusabashi Station.

Dutch fans at the Tokyo Marathon 2017, in Asakusabashi.
Orange Power - Dutch supporters in Asakusabashi for the Tokyo Marathon 2017

Like the race itself, non-Japanese were well represented among those on the sidelines. I snapped the above picture of a group of Dutch supporters prominently decked out in their national color: orange.

A sign held at Asakusabashi Subway station exit saying Edo-dori Avenue cannot be crossed for the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
Asakusabashi Subway Station -sign saying Edo-dori cannot be crossed while Tokyo Marathon 2017 in progress.

Japanese supporters were not far behind in terms of vividness, with several groups like the one below wearing sunny colors and banging sticks.

Japanese supporters cheering in Asakusabashi for the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
A genki group of Japanese supporters under the blue skies of Asakusabashi for the Tokyo Marathon 2017.

The winners of the Tokyo Marathon 2017, who sped by while I was still asleep and dreaming, were Wilson Kipsang of Kenya who set a men's Tokyo Marathon record (in fact, a Japan marathon record) of 2 hours 3 minutes 58 seconds, and his compatriot Sarah Chepchirchir who was the fastest woman at 2 hours 19 minutes 47 seconds.

Edo-dori in Asakusabashi during the Tokyo Marathon 2017.
A sunny Edo-dori Avenue in Asakusabashi for the Tokyo Marathon 2017.

Read about the following past Tokyo Marathons:

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