Random Japanese Marathon (Nagano)

Before I left Scotland in February I said to a few people that I was running a marathon in Japan and I'd write a race report.  So here it is, apologies for dirtying these pages with talk of road running. 

  I entered the Nagano marathon as I had read a book about Japanese running so decided to enter this marathon while we were here. After paying the £80!?! entrance fee I quickly forgot about it until it was time to book accommodation. It turns out that it's quite a popular event and there aren't many hotels in Nagano so resorted to a number of begging emails to hotels to find us space. My wife was really appreciating the slight diversion to our itinerary for this random marathon of mine by this point....    Anyway,  prior to going to Japan we were spending some time in India so the bulk of my training involved running up and down the beach in sweltering heat. I managed a few decent length runs but it was a bit of a struggle and I found myself dreaming of a bit of Scottish drizzle. The Westies top got a few runs so the word has been spread to India.    We had to register the day before which was pretty interesting.  Lots of signs that I didn't understand and not a great deal of western faces.  I started to panic that people might start to think I was some kind of elite runner only to disappoint when they saw me running.  Also,  the Mizuno stall was selling shoes based on the time you wanted to finish.  If only I had known it was that easy...    Race day arrived with an 8.30am start time. I  didn't really have any great expectations due to the sporadic training and just set out to enjoy it. The whole event was amazingly organised and the Japanese participants all looked the part. People getting taped up in places I didn't know you could put tape and a bit of communal chanting and the race started by some kind of celebrity.  The route seemed to take in all of the venues from the 1998 Nagano Olympics with some bits skirting around the city.  It was really scenic for a road marathon as Nagano is surrounded by the Japanese alps so plenty to look at. The first half went by with a decent pace but nothing too crazy knowing I have always struggled in the second half in the past. Lots of gels were being consumed by others  as I ate my chocolate fudge bar as we  went to the second half of the race. My knee was giving me a bit of trouble but I tried to ignore it and just enjoy it. The crowd was really good,  the joy on an old ladies face when someone collapsed with cramp will stay with me forever! The last 10km was a bit of a struggle as the lack of training caught up with me but staring at the mountains in the distance kept me going. The Japanese runners seem to love a dramatic collapse so it was like a scene from Saving Private Ryan near the end but I managed to finish in 3.42 which is a PB.  I was happy with this given the lack of `proper ' training.    My Westies top was out in full glory and being the best small to medium sized hill running club in the west end of Glasgow expected numerous shout outs from others.  They are obviously not well versed in Scottish hill running over here any no one battered an eye lid!   Enjoy your running over the new season. I'll be missing the hills! Westies in Japan

Posted by Russell Crane on Tue 18 Apr 2017 | 3 comments

Category Marathons


  1. JD said...

    well done Russell, great report too. All the best.

    Tuesday 18th April 2017 1.55pm

  2. Alistair said...

    Nice! Did you beat the brown monster round the race?

    Thursday 20th April 2017 4.38pm

  3. Stephani Mok said...

    Great write up, Russell. So glad you enjoyed Nagano. Thanks for posting

    Sunday 21st May 2017 9.47pm

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