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Goto: 12004-10-22 12004-10-24 1Japan

Distance today: 0.0 km (Accumulated: 13189.0 km)
Country: Japan

2004-10-23.<1.wait-day for airplane to Sydney, Australia>.

- Marathon Picnic, Japan style!

On my first "waiting day" for the airplane to Sydney the 29.October, I was
invited to a very Japanese running thing: The mara-nic !

Early morning about 25 long-distance & ultra runners from different clubs
gathered at a riverside sports centre outside a small village. The program
was: running & eating! Combined in strange ways :-)

And I soon learned that it was no novices at running; pb. lay around
2:30/2:35 on marathon, so I could guess that perhaps it was not exactly a
rest-day jog that was awaiting me...

Many of the runners was curious of this world runner from the other side
of the globe. And as I soon learned; also curious of a little test of this
runner ;-) :-)

The first kilometres went by quite easy though. All group together and in
reasonably relaxed pace of about 5:30 min/km. Soon we approached a service
station with all a long distance runner (from Japan) could dream of in the
area of rice-balls, sushi and exotic candy!

Quickly the runners grabbed their favourite food and professionally ate
most of it on the run until the next station.

After about 21km we reached the turning point. I had before told Kazuka,
that I was a bit exhausted of the nerving running & navigation days in
Japan, so I would prefer to run the proposed middle distance of 30km. No
problem; I could just turn around earlier - but no one seemed to be in the
mood to head home just that soon. So I felt the honourable thing was to
hang on !

As said; turning we did. At about 20 - 21km, with the same distance
remaining of the course. We had approx. 1:45hours at halfway so it had
been no madness pace so far.

But that soon changed! Direct after the next rice-ball station a fierce
pace was set and soon we were only 5 runners left in front. From then on
it developed in a kind of selection race, where runners would drop from
the group one by one.

The scenic riverside course I had no longer eyes for; the only task at
hand being to hold on as best I could. The rice-ball revenge was severe
for my part, as they didn?t really go nice together with negative-split
running ;-) Not by a long shot. But I managed to hold my grip and finally
we were only two runners approaching the finish place.

The total time was just over 3:00hours so the last part had gone quite
fast... at lest considering having about 13 000km hanging heavy in the
legs ;-)

Afterwards, though, all were smiles as we visited the nearby hot springs
for a relaxing bath.

More important, I felt that this little event helped me get better contact
with the Japanese runners. Afterwards I learned that I have now got the
name "Danish Monster" instead of my old name.. :-)

Together with my fellow Japanese monsters, I had a good running and
life-in-general conversation following bath and relaxation.

In the evening I was guest at a luxury banquet held on a fashionable hotel
in Kurashi, Kazukas hometown.

Yes; it seems that now, after the Japanese part of the world run itself is
completed, that things suddenly becomes more friendly. I guess it takes
time to get inside the circles in Japan!

- Tomorrow awaits yet another invitation which I received after the
mara-nic, this time for an evening dinner and running of course :-)



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