Last weekend saw the 11th running of the Tokyo Marathon. It’s one of the “big six” world marathons.
- Tokyo Marathon
- Boston Marathon
- London Marathon
- Berlin Marathon.
- Chicago Marathon
- New York City Marathon
Its also one of the worlds most boring races!
In fairness – I find all marathons boring but surprisingly, for a man who hates long runs, I have done quite a few of them.
The first one, I didn’t actually enter. Andrew had trained for months to do the 2003 Edinburgh Marathon. This was when the marathon ran through Edinburgh rather than its modern incarnation which heads away from the city to Musselburgh. It should really be called the run away from Edinburgh marathon.
He was supposed to run it with his friend but his friend got the flu before the race. Andrew asked if I’d do it instead. I had done no training. I did some last minute cramming to get fit but blew it all by drinking until 3am the night before the race!
This picture does not do justice to how hungover I was feeling. On a drinks consumed scale I was somewhere between George Best and Oliver Reed.
If you look closely you will see a mobile phone in my right hand. I’d promised to phone my mum to let her know how it was going. I bet Mo Farah doesn’t do that.
I lasted until the 14 mile point then gave in. I took my number off and jumped on a bus to the finish.
My next race was the Berlin Marathon. This time I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t even make it to Berlin.
I suffer from a fear-of-flying-itis. I got a really bad dose of it and didn’t make it onto the plane.
My next attempt was a marathon in Fort William. It was 13 miles out then 13 mile back. I did the 13 miles out and then jumped in a car for the way back!
Did I mention I don’t like long runs.
Which is why you might ask how I ended up in Tokyo doing a marathon that going by previous records I’d be unlikely to finish. I was actually out visiting an ex-flatmate who worked there. We both thought it would be a good idea to time it with the marathon. It was only the second time the race had been run.
I can’t remember if I did much training for it which I think means I didn’t do much.
The race itself was very boring. Tokyo is a great city but its very modern. The route was up and down straight roads passed identical office/housing blocks. 26 identical miles is pretty dull.
The only thing that livened up the race was trying to work out what to eat and drink at the feed stops. Everything was in Japanese. I’d pick something that looked tasty only to discover it tasted disgusting!
The day after the race I went snow boarding. My friend had recommended it as Japan has great snow and slopes. Which was lost on me as I’d never ski’d or boarded before.
On my first morning I went to the children’s slope to practice. I stood on the board. Slid down the hill and promptly fell over. Whilst falling I managed to accidentally punch myself in the chest, cracking a rib.
So my abiding memory of japan is a boring run and an incredibly painful 4 days of snow boarding.
I’ve never been on a board since or done a marathon!