It’s been a little while, but I participated in the Yokohama Marathon on March 13, 2016, and finished it successfully.
The previous day at the trade show
The reception venue is Pacifico Yokohama, which is about a 5-minute walk from Minatomirai Station on the Toyoko Line.
Incidentally, this is also the place to check in your luggage on the day of the marathon. Bring the documents that were sent to you about a month ago, and your driver’s license as your ID to the venue.
The registration process is exactly the same as for any other race. After checking your bib and ID at the dedicated booth for runners, you will go to the designated booth to receive your bib after seeing your bib number.
You will need to pick up a bag to leave your luggage on the day, a race pamphlet, and a commemorative entry T-shirt at a location a little far from where you pick up your bib. Of course, they are located on the same grounds and you will be guided to them.
After that, we went to the Messe. There were a lot of events and local specialties. I thought it was the second largest marathon after Tokyo Marathon. The fact that I had recently participated in many marathons in provincial areas such as Nara and Kanazawa made this trade show seem even bigger. However, although I enjoyed it, I didn’t buy anything in particular, and I left the place early.
You go home, get ready to put your number on your running outfit, and go to bed early the day before. Even though it’s close, you will of course need to get up early on the day.
Yokohama Marathon starts a little earlier than other events.
The Yokohama Marathon starts at 8:30am, which is earlier than usual. Because of this, the deadline for baggage check-in and the time to assemble at the starting block are also 30 minutes earlier than other events. It was relatively close to my house, but I left my house at 6:30am. Even so, I think I was able to relax. Leaving at this time from home without staying overnight is the most ideal.
The train (Toyoko Line) was not so crowded as I expected. Maybe it was because Toyoko Line had prepared a temporary schedule for this event. Maybe there were more JR trains. In any case, we reached Minato Mirai Station smoothly.
Minatomirai Station was crowded as expected. However, thanks to the guidance of many staff members, we were able to arrive at Pacifico Yokohama, the luggage deposit area, without any particular confusion.
It might be good that the luggage deposit area is the same at both the start and finish line.
Now, the way to check in your luggage is exactly the same as any other event. One thing that I appreciate is that the finish line and the start line are the same, so you can pick up your checked luggage at the same place. Of course, the window is also the same.
However, please note that the cut-off time for luggage storage is 7:30am.
Note that it is a long way from the venue to the starting block.
The deadline for lining up was 8:00, but I don’t think any of the blocks probably made it. Maybe they are loose in that area.
We didn’t get to the start line until more than 20 minutes after it started.
Then, at 8:30, the starting gun sounds.
However, it was very crowded. In the end, I could stand on the starting line more than 20 minutes after the start.
Is it a campaign girl or something? Also, there seemed to be a celebrity, but I didn’t understand well.
First half of the course situation
Finally, we pass the starting line and start running. You can run on the road with three lanes each way, but it is very narrow when there are 20,000 people. The time limit for the Yokohama Marathon is not so long, but I wanted to run the first 21km before I reached the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway area, so I ran a little harder right after the start.
I had been suffering from rhinitis for a few days, but I was able to prepare more carefully for the race than I did in Kanazawa, so I was able to start running at a good pace. Especially the road from 9km to 13km was flat and wide, so it was very easy to run and I think I could run the best time among all the sections.
Roadside events, etc.
This is the case in all citizen’s marathons, but Yokohama seemed to have a particularly high percentage of dancers, brass bands, and big bands. There are also Japanese drummers as usual.
Personally, I don’t like Japanese drumming. I don’t like rhythm-only music because it breaks the pace and makes the gaps more obvious.
About water supply
There were so many of them that I didn’t have to worry at all. In addition, since Coca-Cola is the sponsor of the race, Aquarius was available at every water stop, and I was grateful for the sports drink. I think the water supply was more abundant than in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Kanazawa, where I have participated so far.
About School Lunch
There were candy, bananas, etc. as needed, but other than that, there were no other notable items. I can say that the frequency and quality of the supplies are average. It’s nothing compared to the Medoc Marathon, though (laughs).
By the way, as for the school lunches, I always bring caramels with me when I run because they are often not available until after 20km. Because of the early morning, I’m often hungry after 10km.
turnaround point (e.g. in a race)
Around the 20km turnaround point is the Nanbu Market in Yokohama.
Mr. Sakana-kun was here, cheering the runners on. The next week, on March 20th, Orchestra Bals was going to perform, and I had actually worked with them before in this concert. So, I wanted to say, « I’m going to be in Bals next week! I wanted to say, « I’ll be in the Vals next week! » but unfortunately, I was surrounded by so many runners that I didn’t have time to talk to them, so I just passed by.
The photo above was taken from a short distance away, just after the turnaround.
Near the halfway point I was passed by a 5 hour pace runner. He had been on a sub-5 hour pace until then.
Tokyo Metropolitan Highway Stage
One of the features of the Yokohama Marathon is the « Metropolitan Highway Stage ». Although the view was nice, the weather was not so good and the course was monotonous, so I got bored early on. I also felt that the ground was harder on the highway than on the regular road. 20km was very smooth, but perhaps because I had worked too hard in the first half, my pace suddenly slowed down on this highway stage. Even so, it looks like we’ll make the time limit.
The detour-like course from about 32km to 38km was surprisingly bad.
I got off the Metropolitan Expressway at Honmoku-futo and headed back to Yokohama Symbol Tower (I couldn’t see it when I was running), but the course layout was not interesting. But the layout of the course was not interesting, partly because I was tired. I personally didn’t like the scenery because it looked like an industrial area of a port or a warehouse area. The layout itself was flat and easy to run.
From after 38km to the finish line, you will run through the city of Yokohama.
Especially after 39km, there were many people back in Yamashita-cho and the town itself became more lively, so I really enjoyed running. My concentration started to wane around this point, and I had enough time to spare that I didn’t have to worry about the time limit, so I mostly walked the rest of the way, occasionally jogging lightly.
Goal, Pacifico Yokohama, a spectacular finale
After 40km, the big buildings of Minato Mirai spread out in front of you, and as you get closer to the finish line, it gradually gets closer and closer, giving you a very gorgeous and grand feeling. Around this point, I suddenly started to get hungry, and besides, there were many restaurants around…. I’ve completely lost my concentration (laughs). But it’s not too late to walk.
No matter how many times I go out, when I see the « 1km to go » sign, I suddenly feel energized.
The goal point was Pacifico Yokohama, which was also the meeting place.
I was able to complete the race again without any trouble. The net time was 5 hours and 20 minutes. In the pace of the first half, I thought that I might be able to break 5 hours, but in the second half, especially at the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, the burden came to my legs more than I thought, and it was a mediocre time when I finished, but it was still well within the time limit. It was my 7th time to finish the race.
The only prizes we have are medals and towels, but this could work.
Now, after finishing the race, there is a presentation ceremony. Basically, there were only two things: a commemorative medal and a finisher’s towel. There were no special souvenirs. Compared to other events, the commemorative medal was a little heavier, and the towel was a little smaller.
We’ve already received a lot of stuff at conventions here and there, so this is enough for us. We also have a lot more finisher towels.
This is my first time running the Yokohama Marathon, and although it may be redundant at the end, I’ll try to summarize my overall impressions.
The course is generally flat and easy to run, and it is a good layout to show the charm of Yokohama. The roads are wide except for a few sections, so it is a comfortable course for both fast and slow runners. The time limit is also loose, which is good for beginners.
Operation of the day
I think it was very smooth with a lot of staff. It was hard to believe it was the 2nd edition. It was very comfortable to participate. All the tournaments I’ve participated in have been smooth and I’ve only had good experiences.
The water supply was much better than other competitions, but the lunches were average.
I think there were many places, but I thought that the number of toilets per one place might be small for the number of participants. By the way, I was fortunate enough to finish the race without going to the toilet even once.
convenience store situation
This is a topic that is surprisingly important for a less conscious runner like me. It seemed to me that there were surprisingly few convenience stores along the course. But there are some. Convenience stores are surprisingly important to have because you can use the restroom and shop when you’re hungry (bring your credit card or electronic money).
Because it was in Yokohama, I felt it was more glamorous than Kanazawa and Nara, where I recently participated. Still, there were many common booths and I didn’t feel anything new. It was neither good nor bad, I guess.
Want to join us next time?
Of course!!! I’d like to say so, but to my surprise, it looks like it will be held at the end of October in 2017. I want to say yes, but it seems to be held at the end of October in 2017.