Marathon REPORT: Tokyo Marathon


Yesterday I ran the Tokyo Marathon. It was my 35 th Marathon and my 8 th since I made a comeback at the age of 61 after a break of 23 years.
Sunday’s race had neither super highs nor super lows. I learnt a few things and was also happy with a few things as well.


Got up at 6 AM ( race start 9.10) and had my usual breakfast of homemade bread,low sugar jam,625ml of water and a coffee. Never try anything new on the day of a Marathon.
I massaged my legs and took an anti inflam pill on the advice of my Doctor. My knee hurt but not very much.
Weather was looking to be OK.


In fact it did not rain once during the entire race. Thankyou Tokyo Weather

Tamami got us to the race in plenty of time and we did a short warm up and then moved into our starting area. We were in E group ( The groups are A-K based on ability or something?).
I wore my plastic poncho that the organizers had given us and binned it before the start.
During the race I wore my Namban Singlet and shorts….most around me were more warmly dressed. But I thought that this is a race not a trip to the snow ( or NYC) so no need to rug up in multiple layers. But i do admit it was damn cold.


START-10 Km. 56.31
Very crowded at the start. First Km 5.55.
Tamami and I moved off at a very conservative pace although a few Kms were a little fast for my liking. People everywhere. As expected I suppose …35,000 runners.
Met an aboriginal girl who is running with Rob De. Castella’s Project group and had a short chat with her. Told Rachel she looked good and then left her.

10-20 55.55
Tamami and I ran together till about 14 Km when I met a nice girl from Iceland and ran with her discussing Chess and the World Championship of 72. Tamami took this opportunity to get about 200 m ahead of me.
I said good by to Ingrid and tried to catch Tamami but it was too late. 😦

Saw the Namban cheer squad at the turn at 15 Km. They were very vocal.
Namban sign. Gave me a bit of a lift.


Tamami was away and I did not see her again. She went on to run really well and qualify for Boston 2016.

20-30km 56.23
Did not appear to be a clock at half way and I did not want to know. I knew I was running a steady but not very fast pace.
At about 25 Km my knee started to hurt …actually both knees….but I ignored and ran on. Thinking about pain is negative thought….no negative thoughts permitted.

Actually by now I was finding the run a little boring. I did not know what part of Tokyo I was in and frankly did not give a damn.
About 30 Km I started to feel a little sick…but I put this down to hunger…it was a long time since breakfast.
Had a small amount of water at 25 Km and that did not make me feel great either…but I knew it was a must and would be needed later.
Passed a guy dressed as a banana. Sad day when I am battling it out with fruit.

30-40 Km. 58.46
My Garmin decided it was low in battery and kept telling me this so I could not read my pace. This upset me no end.I. Am not very tolerant of Mal functioning gadgets when I am in pain. I knew I was getting slower even though I was still passing a lot of people.

When I passed 31 Km I had run further than I did at any time in training. I was pleased that I had not stopped at any stage and did not stop until the finish.
Two weeks ago I collapsed at 24 Km on a training run and Tamami had to get the car and drive me home. So flying through 31 Km was uplifting. ( well it really was not that uplifting but that sounds good to say 🙂 .

I did very few long runs…well actually only ONE and that was just over 30 and I struggled then.

I was still passing a lot of people. Always pleased to pass someone in the A group. 🙂 But I was not feeling crash hot and decided that this was my final marathon.

34 Km a young women ran across my path and tripped me…we both staggered but did not fall…I used her back to steady myself ” Gomen,Gomen” I said…although it was her fault. She ran ahead but I caught her and did not see her again.

Starting to slow and my knee still hurting. I developed a blood blister which later burst causing an impressive amout of blood on my sox. Battle honours.


36 Km met Garvin from Ireland. From Dublin and living in China. It was his 43 rd birthday. I told him I won a Half Marathon in Ireland last year in my age group. He said he was amazed that I turn 63 in a few days. I did not think I was amazing. I thought I was just slow.

It was nice to chat with Garvin as I was struggling.
Running with him I slowed but was still passing people….but a few were passing us which was not a good sign.
I pushed him to run faster but could not,so told him he looked good and left him at 41km. Our last Km together had been well over 6 minutes which is a bit of a shocker.
But I must say his company was helpful when I was feeling bored and a bit ill.

40km-Finish 12.31
With one Km to go I tried to increase the pace. ( not that this was apparent maybe)… I was passing a lot of people but really any sort of increase in pace passes people at this level.

I was thinking of taking off my hat to get a good photo at the finish ( most important) when I noticed the time clock at 4-05.45 with 50 m to go. I estimated that we did not start the race until 6 minutes after the gun went….so if I could run the last 50 m in 15 seconds I would be under 4 hours. Hey…I have a 100m PB of 11.5 so how hard can it be? True that was in 1973 but so what…I still have the same legs.
I launched into a mad ‘ sprint’ and crossed the line. Officials must have thought this guy is crazy.

My Garmin said 3-55.45….UNOFFICIAL time 4-00.06. So who knows ?
I tried to keep the thought away but in the back of my mind I was not sure I could finish yesterday’s race. Apart from perhaps my first Marathon in 79 I was never in doubt about finishing…slow….limping…walking….but I could always finish.

After I finished a turned and bowed to the course. I saw a Japanese guy do this on TV and thought it was rather cool. I do some odd things sometimes.

I got my towel and my can of non alcohol beer. When the women put the medal around my neck I said ” Sugoi ” ( Great). She laughed at how clever I was. People handing out anti inflam sprays were high giving the crowd….nice touch.

I went and got my clothing bag…everything was laid out in order according to trucks…I was truck 81. Every truck had about 5 attendants and they all clapped me as I arrived. Ok…they clapped everyone….but it was still nice …not too many people clap me…well actually no one does.
I was pleased to see few E bags had been taken….so I had 5 attendants getting my bag…took about 15 seconds.
Said ” arigato ” ( Thank you ) and everyone laughed at how clever I was.

Then it was walk walk walk to meeting place. There were 20 numbered balloons hanging from the ceiling. Tamami and I met ( eventually) under number 13.

Tamami was shocked to see my lips had turned purple. Is this good or bad? Some how I do not think it is good. I told her that was my last Marathon and I would go back to being a 100m runner. No more Marathons for this little black duck.

TAMAMI and I have now both qualified for BOSTON 2016.

I awoke at 4.30 AM drenched in sweat and with my heart racing. I dropped my heart rate to 55 so that was ok. I changed clothes.Putting on whatever was handy in the dark. I ended up wearing my running shorts and running singlet….an omen?

PARIS marathon is 7 weeks ( less one day ) away.

It continues……

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