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Goto: 12004-10-21 12004-10-23 1Japan

Distance today: 33.0 km (Accumulated: 13189.0 km)
Country: Japan

2004.10.22. Route Report: - Harbour, "American Park", Kobe>.

33km, 3:06:01h (J.). Excl. food, water, toilet etc. stops.
Total 13148km. (J.).

Start 9:25am (all).
Finish 14:20pm (J.).
Time GMT + 8 hours.

+15c, clear and light wind at start.
18c and same wind at finish.

- Finish of the Japan stages !

Early afternoon I reached the Kobe Harbour and has thus run in Japan from
West Coast to East Coast. It could have been made longer, by choosing a
more northern start point on the West Coast and a more sourthern point on
the East Coast, but as things turned out, I very quickly realized that it
was a question of running the shortest way to awoid more danger than
absolutely needed.

Acutally the finish day was parhaps the best and most safe of all the
running days here in Japan, with seperated running path and road for large
parts of the stage. Good; as the stage was a 100% city/urban stage with
very heavy and bristling traffic in multiple lanes - and floors !

Also I enjoyed excellent support from Kazuka now that we have re-found
eachother after the last days road-chaos !

The finish point was at the memorial park of one of Japans worst
earthquakes, which virtually made rubble of major parts of the city, its
extensive roadnetwork and large industrial harbour (japans 2.biggest

But it also means that all Kobe citycenter appears newly build and very
prosperous. Through my mountain-running parts of the japanese stages I
have been surprised by how many old small villages there still can be
seen, once ways from the chaos of the main cities. Quiet momemts running
along mountainrivers, peasants harvesting rice - sometimes by hand on the
very small terrasses/mountain shelfs, the bamboo growing high at roadside
and actually few people.

Yet, the finish point is just like tv-impression we have of Japan in
Europe: extremely large areas of city growing into the next city,
creating huge urban landscapes stretching through valley after valley
With new glass & stell skyskrapers and officebuildings dominating the view
above a hectic and often quite chaotic traffic.

- And the traffic has been the main problem when running here. Running at
the roadside has a quite dangerous feel to it - whith the many narrow
mountain-valleys causing that often there is only one road avaliabe for
all long distance traffic - while the main roads themselves are mostly
one-lane. Sometimes there is room for other traffic like bicycles or
runners, but without notice this space dissapears for long periods leaving
no choice but to carry on and hope for the best.

Running with a 30kg babyjogger in these conditions; ..well, its exercise
for the adrenalin system for sure ;-)

Especially the many dark and narrow tunnels (about 200- 15000m of length
each) leading from one valley to the next, was points where you take a
deep breath and then push on. Usually requiring a "mental-stop" to get a
hold of things about every hour !

Navigating by japanese language maps, finding out that help or advice is
very seldom found here for a forrigner, added a not very much appreciated
spice to the experience. But; ITS OVER NOW !!

- And how I long for Australia and the help and support I have allready
enjoyed from them for the last half year or so :-))
Often in Siberia I would recieve a sms asking if things were ok and
encouraging to fight on. Often send by our main organizer/contact in
Australia, Phil Essam, which has done a remarkable work allready. Just
hope it hasnt done too much harm to his own ultrarunning !!

Another highpoint which I look forward to Down Under is running one of
longer stages with our financial sponsor. The maneager of the German main
office of Pepper Technologies (computer share-maneagement software),
Olliver Niedermaier, has taken on the challenge of during the last half
year build up to run the more than 60km long stage into Melbourne.

- Not easy even though he is a marathonrunner with a respectable time to
his name, as the temperature probably will be high due to the Australian
I like people that takes on a challenge like that ! :-)

As for Japan, the first avaliabe flight to Sydney departs the 29.October.
The next days wont be spent with rest, though. To keep the run continious,
I will take do some controlled daily runs of 20-50km; in compagny of
japanese runners and on some days by compagny of Kazuka on bycycle.

- Tomorrow I am invited to a "Mara-Nik": a japanese special where
marathonrunning is combined with picknick. How that is going to
happen...well that I will just have to run my way to find out :-)



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