The is no gain, if there is no pain…
It was September 2012 when I joined a lottery; Not really the lottery where you can win jackpot and go home a millionaire but a lottery in qualifying as a participant in one of the major marathons in the world: The Tokyo Marathon 2013.
October when it was declared that I won the lottery; to be honest, I am not really sure of how many people are applying for that spot but I was just glad that I qualified. I felt that it was a once in a lifetime invitation so I decided to take this opportunity. Thanks to my good friend who also qualified I do not have to worry about my few logistics.
Fast forward (I don’t want to talk about my issues in obtaining a visa and a flight but we made it to the Expo where you claim the bib and eventually and there at the starting line). I was culture shocked! Cultured shocked because I never thought that the event could be so festive. All the anime characters I grew up with where there. Power Rangers, Dragon BallZ, Super Mario, You name it! Almost 36,000 runners piling up to the starting area. Good thing we booked our hotel nearby and we arrived early at the area. I was in the Coral H and it actually took me 13 minutes to hit the starting line.
I thought I had enough about the culture shock but I had even more. The whole route was clogged by an unbelievable number of supporters from Km 0 to the finish! Gambatter Kudasai (Do your best)! Fai-to (fight)! Their kindness didn’t stopped there for they are even sharing chocolates, candies, rice balls and awesome bread that are truly aji ichi ban (number 1 taste). Some of them are even in costumes too! There are even support groups who were dancing and cheer dancing. There’s just got to be no way that you will stop and feel defeated on this race.
In the Philippines we always look forward for a cloudy day but in Tokyo, you would really wish it was sunny. In my opinion, it was really cold at that time, probably around 2-8 degrees Celcius; not to mention that the wind was sometimes blowing towards you giving you an uncomfortable chill. I was litterally chasing the sun when there was an opportunity! At the start of the race, most runners were covered by a wind breaker or rain coat but you will see all of those on the street when they started running and their body temperture raises up.
Portalets will defintely an issue as well. If you are bothered on your time, you would really have to unload all of what you’ve got in your bladder so that nature would not call you and would not slash 5-10 minutes of your time due to the portalet queue. Hehehe! (I took a break at Km38 and slashed 5minutes while my good friend had it at Km 1 and missed 10minutes of his precious time).
Overall, it was really a supecalifragelistic experience. I finished below 6 hours (no excuse for the weight gain) but this I must say is my best (bestest) marathon experience. How I wish I can do it again!