43th Tokyo Marathon

43th Tokyo Marathon

This is another marathon blog penned by Geoffrey. 

Please contact me if you are interested in knowing more about anything related to Tokyo of the Marathon event.

Over to Geoffrey …

This was my 16th marathon and was a deferred entry from 2020 which was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.  It was also my 6th World Marathon Major having already completed New York, Chicago, Berlin, London and Boston.  This finally earned me the coveted Abbott 6 Star Medal a goal which I had first embarked on in 2011!  

Elleysen & I arrived in Tokyo 6 days before the race so I had plenty of time to recover from the flight and prepare for the big day.  Our accommodation was in Ginza East which was conveniently close to the finish (and importantly) to lots of good shopping and eating!  I went for a number of short shakedown runs including the popular 5km circuit round the Imperial Palace.  Being marathon week there were lots of other runners from overseas there and this added to the great vibe that was already evident around the city.  Every marathon has an ‘Expo’  where participants first pickup their running bib and then shop for Sponsor’s race gear and other exhibitor merchandise. It’s almost an event in itself with big crowds at peak times.  It all adds to the growing excitement leading up to race day.  

The Race

Race Day weather was great with the day starting at a fairly chilly 8 degrees so I wore a thermal under my normal YMCA singlet.   I was to regret this halfway during the run as the temperature quickly soared and I found myself struggling with the heat coming off the road.  Further compounding this were the race restrictions prohibiting the use of personal water bottles which meant that I also struggled with my hydration for much of the time.  The course was very crowded  (37,500 runners!!) with many out and back sections.  This was actually pretty cool as you were able to see those you knew (both ahead and behind you) coming the other way multiple times.   We even got to see the elites on the course which is very rare for most mass runners!    The course is very much a city course – you run through many high-rise-lined streets, but you do pass through Asakusa and past the iconic Kaminarimon Sensouji, and get good views of the Sky Tree and Asahi headquarters.

I’d set a finishing goal of 4hrs 5min – this being the Boston Qualifying standard for my age group.  I’d already run Boston the previous year so was not necessarily interested in running this again – but the ‘BQ’ standard is a goal that I set myself for most of my marathon events.  I aimed to go out conservatively and with a small negative split strategy (faster 2nd half).  I was right on target at the half-way point but a little concerned as I was feeling more fatigued than I would have expected.  And so it transpired.  I finished 2min 40sec outside my target which was disappointing at the time but in hindsight was a fine effort.  With the crowded course and many twists and turns you end up running about 800 meters more than the marathon distance so you need to factor this end with your pacing and which I failed to fully appreciate.

I was a tired but happy man when I crossed the finish line… 

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