I did it!
The Tokyo Marathon was a fantastic experience. Without question, the most unique and exciting way to tour the fabulous city of Tokyo Japan.
My unofficial time was 5:10:09 under very extreme cold and wet conditions. In fact the hardest part of the race was standing in the rain for one and a-half hours before the race started; the sun appeared about mile 16. Getting 32,500 runners organized and to the start required a massive organization and logistical effort.
My Garmin GPS watch displayed an average pace of 11:50/mile, just 20 seconds off my race plan. My fastest mile was #1 (9:34 – I was so cold I ran very fast to get warm!). The slowest mile was #12 (13:00); the final mile pace was 12:14. I believe better conditions would have yielded better results … I really wanted to break 5 hours … but I have no regrets. At mile 21 I decided to alter my race plan (I actually walked very little of the time this race, all in just about 3 miles) and be sure I finished the race in good health with a still respectable time. I had crossed the start line about 18 minutes after the gun and passed the 5:30:00 pace setters at mile 21, so I knew I was within range of my personal goal. I sprinted the last kilometer. Keiko found the Marathon’s web site video of my finish and it was fun to watch the morning after.
The event itself, despite the weather, was an unbelievable experience. The number of people and their support was beyond imagination, cheering crowds, bands and other musical performers every step of the way. The marathon volunteers and support staff were fantastic.
Keiko and her family were there at four stops along the way to cheer me on. The most memorable image I have of the race was the long approach to the “Thunder Gate,” an iconic Tokyo landmark in the Asakusa district (mile 18), with Japanese drums providing a mystical cadence as we ran. As I turned the corner at the gate there was Keiko and her family with signs, UMaine pom-poms and a hugh American flag to send me on my way to the finish.
A sincere thank you to everyone who wished me well and supported my quest. I carried photos of my family on the journey. The thoughts and confidence of my daughters Jodi, Jessica and Alissa were a very special part of this extraordinary experience.