Miura City produced its 30th Half Marathon today. In conjunction with the 21 Kilometer Race they also hosted a 10K and 5K Run. The temperature sat at 5.4 degrees Celsius and the winds blowing off the Pacific chilled runners lining up twenty minutes for each event. Most contestants dressed for the weather with full coverage. Elite runners were easy to spot in their light racing gear as they flew by the crowds.
Parking and basic facilities are limited at the Beach Side Starting Line and the weather for the Miura Event is historically terrible. (Some locals feel the event might even be demonized.) In spite of these disturbing facts, the Miura Marathon Entry quotas fill quickly every year. Tent Camps on Miura Beach that resemble Refugee Stations make up for limited facilities and people come ready to battle the weather, crowded field and race course elevations. This was my third run at Miura and we will line up for the 10 K again next year.
Here are a few reasons to join the fun:
-Penguins: the Kanagawa Hakejima Sea Park brought a few of the little ones to attract attention to their booth. What a great photo opportunity. Try not to smile when you see a living Penguin up close?
-Racing: the Miura Course runs thru narrow streets. Passing runners and achieving targeted times is a challenge. It’s not just a run or time trial; it’s a race. Come ready to compete.
-Q-Chan (Naoko Takahashi): Q-Chan, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Gold Medal Winner was today’s Marathon MC. She grabbed the microphone, leaned out from the VIP Tower and screamed greetings and wishes of good luck and other motivational phrases at all runners as we started the event. Later she posted on the side of the road and gave high fives to thousands of runners as they headed into the final 2K of the run. She has a Great smile and contagious energy. Q-Chan is an Excellent Celebrity Guest.
-Costumes: my favorite this year was the human daikon (Giant White Radish)
-Souvenirs: this year we received a performance shirt, a fresh daikon, a detailed finisher’s certificate and an embroidered neck muffler. (The muffler is puzzling. We all agreed that it would be useful for skiing but certainly not running. Maybe some runners used it immediately to battle frostbite after today’s run.)
-Scenery and Challenges: Four kilometers of the ten kilometer race are run up & down steep inclines. Views along the way include country houses, the beautiful Miura Beach and the ships, wind surfers and other crafts enjoying the waters next to the Peninsula. It’s a great place to visit and an Excellent location for a run. The Half Marathon offers scenic and panoramic views of farms, bamboo forests, Japanese Shrines, Temples, Cemeteries in addition to the Ocean on the way out and upon return to the finish line.
-Community Support and Regional Specialties: food stalls are manned by locals serving Wakame Soup (seaweed broth), Oden (Japanese Hot Pot) and Barbecued Maguro (Tuna). (All specialties of Miura).