I’ve only run three marathons, but one of those was Chicago, one of the five World Marathon Majors, and Tokyo sits atop my admittedly short list. Granted, the race today was a wholly unique experience for a foreigner like me, but the 2012 Tokyo Marathon was energetic, welcoming, challenging and tons of fun, a sentiment that everyone from our press tour (pictured above) shared as well.
I’ll be posting a more detailed recap next week, along with a boatload of pictures (I snapped more than 300 alone during the race today), but that opinion won’t change. The more than 2 million spectators were thrilled to be cheering on 36,000 runners this morning, no matter their nationality, and there were all sorts of costumes and signs alongside the course to help the runners briefly take their mind off the demanding task at hand.
The course itself was spectacular, and though we took a guided bus tour of the course yesterday afternoon, there were still so many things that caught my eye (hence the 300 photos). From all the colorful signs in the various parts of the city to the Tokyo Tower (below), the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo Sky Tree and Thunder Gate, there was no shortage of landmarks and other memorable sights to grab the attention of even the most focused marathoner.
Unfortunately, I didn’t run as well as I had hoped, finishing at 3:59:25 (unofficial), but as I’ve said all along, this race was about much more than my watch time. This is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life, as I was wowed by the hospitality of the people of Tokyo and the surrounding areas. The race was fantastic, and the city is even greater. As the Tokyo Marathon positions itself to join the list of the world’s elite races, any marathoner has to put Tokyo on their to-do list.