With George Chapman, France Ngu, Lester Lim, Jerome Lee, Alex Liew, Fionara Jong.
The Osaka 2014 Marathon was never planned in my run calendar for 2014. It was more like a last minute over drinks with your buddies kind off decision. (The ones that you make wrong choices and can’t remember anything in the morning. *Reminds me of Hang Over movie). Hahaha. We have all signed up and since the marathon slots where ballot, we were just trying our luck. Trust me when I say, that we where surprise to have been selected. We all booked our flight via AirAsia X, as they had a promotion of flight + free 25kg checked-in luggage + free meal return + AirAsia running Tee.
We all flew and landed in Kansai Airport. Once you clear immigration, you may want to get a pocket WIFI device for your visit duration in Japan. I got mine from (http://www.pupuru.com/en/) (thanks Fionara for helping to book mine). It was really handy, especially when looking for directions and face-time your love ones.
We bought a 5 days visitor pass. This allows you to commute via subway and train from Kansai Airport to Osaka-shi, for a flat rate. (I strongly recommend this, as this is cheaper). George and I have booked our accommodation as Shinsaibashi district. Not at the Comfort Inn, but rather at a branch of Best Western Hotel Fino Shinsaibashi (http://osaka.bwhotels.jp/ ). The location was superb and price was value for money. 6 mins from Shinsaibashi subway station, close to all eating shops, shopping, night life and coined laundry service available.
After we unpacked and settled in, it was time for some Japanese food experience, while we make our way to the Osaka Marathon Expo center. Japanese food in Japan is 100X more tasteful and cheaper compared to our local Japanese outlets (that’s a no brainer). We started our Carbo loding session early.
The marathon expo was medium sized. I have see larger at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon Expo and Gold Coast Marathon Expo. Nevertheless, there was still plenty to see tempt the wallet. Their main apparel was Mizuno. But of course, most of the items were in Japanese. Personally, I like the Japanese gels. Not too much of a fan for the electrolyte.
On race day, the weather was reasonable (27deg C). We started the race at 9am. All participants were required to be at each designated starting pen, following our estimated race complete time during registration.
The crowd was huge and you get to see many costume runners. I managed to snap a few photos. You even see Donald duck going to use the lavatory, Hahaha.
The route was pretty nice. You had many things to see. There were many on lookers and
supporters filling both side of the road. They were handing out candies, sushi and giving Hi-5 to the runners. This was good morale support, especially when you hit the 30km mark. Any support from supporters will cheerful faces and energy, will give you the adrenaline you need to push on. I personally found this very helpful when I hit 35km.
The route was slightly hilly but still manageable. It was not as flat as Gold Coast Airport Marathon route. Along the course, you could see many entertainments such as, Japanese Drum performances, cheerleading by schools students, traditional dances and many more. One thing that caught my attention was the medical staff. They had medical staff runners that ran the full course and aid any runners in need. This was amazing. They had clear red vest that said “DOCTOR”. There were more than 100 medical runners that caught my attention.
The drink stations where ample, they had Pocari and water. No gels where handed out, but they had bananas. We all enjoyed our run, as you can see from the photos. Honestly speaking, I will go back and run the 2015 Osaka Marathon. The course was nice, the experience was different, and value for money. But, the decision maker for me was the energy from the spectators.
Report by:- Shannon Francis Lee