Tokyo Marathon is an annual 42 km marathon sponsored by Tokyo Metro. This year, Tokyo Marathon took place on February 24th, 2013.
Tokyo Marathon is wildly popular; this year over 350,000 runners signed up for the race, competing for the 30,000 spots. My fiancé signed up to run in the Tokyo Marathon (for the 2014 race), but didn’t get a spot. Contestants are decided by lottery since they cap the number of participants at 30,000. I’ve heard you can pay a hefty fee later to enter, which is what celebrities often choose to do.
The entry fee itself is 10,000 yen (about $120) for participants living inside Japan and 12,000 yen ($140) for participants living outside of Japan.
For the pictures of funny costumes in original size and ranked by quality, click here.
If you want information about registering for the 2014 Tokyo Marathon or 2015 Tokyo Marathon, click here.
I still don’t understand why someone would pay good money to run in a race they have no intention of winning, but I respect their decision And I got to watch them run in funny costumes.
Before today, I had never actually watched a marathon before, not in real life at least. I meant to only drop by for about half an hour, but ended up staying for over two hours watching, cheering, and taking pictures of all the runners.
Why? Because they were in costumes. And some of those costumes were downright crazy. I was warned that people might be in costumes. I expected silly hats and maybe a cape or too. I didn’t except to see the genie from Aladdin.
Or a man carrying a shrine on top of his head.
So I whipped out my camera and began taking pictures.
I wasn’t there at the beginning of the race, I work in the morning. By the time I actually got to Tsukiji, the winner had already finished the race.
I ended up choosing Tsukiji to watch the marathon because it sits around the 35 km mark, far enough along the race that there would still be plenty of runners, but not far enough that people would be “dead.” I say “dead,” because that’s really what it looks like. I ran long-distance track in middle school and, the thing I hated the most was the last 10% of the race. I would be exhausted and there would be all these happy, refreshed people on the sidelines shouting “Good Luck!” or “You can do it!” or “Almost there!” when all I really wanted to do was go home and sleep.
I didn’t want to be “that guy.” So I chose around the 35-km mark, Tsukiji.
It was a good decision because the runners were still pretty energetic. At my first spot, I managed to get a place next to the fence and watched for about half an hour, before giving it to an older Japanese lady who was looking for her daughter among the runners (I hope she found her).
My second and third spots weren’t very good.
Eventually I found a great spot balancing on top of the rail and leaning on a nearby tree for support. Underneath me were a group of people passing out sliced and peeled oranges, chocolate, cherry tomatoes, and bananas on toothpicks.
I was hard to pick a favorite costume, but I think mine had to be this middle-aged Japanese guy who duct-taped a stick to the front of his white baseball cap. Then, danging on a string on the stick, right in front of him, was a golden can of Yebisu beer.
I couldn’t help laughing. It reminded me of the old “donkey and a carrot” metaphor. I was laughing so hard I almost fell off the fence, and wasn’t able to get a good picture. I think that is my biggest regret of today. In any case, props to him for creativity.
I was planning on writing a “Worst Costumes” section… I really was. However, while most things are a hit or miss, costumes are not. Even if a costume is poorly done, it’s still hilarious. This race was a mix of excellent costumes and things that were just thrown together at the last minute. It reminded me of a American college Halloween Party. Later on, I went to a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Harajuku. And believe it or not, the costumes were equally awesome. Go Japan!
The only “Worst” costume category I could think of would be the people who didn’t actually dress up. But… they just ran a 42 km marathon. It seems like bad form to criticize them for not wearing a funny costume just because I wanted them to. Some people just aren’t into that kind of thing.
So I’m going to be like a 5th grade sports fair and say “Everyone’s a Winner!”
Towards the end, of the staff yelled at me for standing on the fence taking pictures (in my defense, I had been standing on that green metal fence for nearly an hour by the time he notice). It was a legitimate “Hey. You. Get down!” not a typical Japanese polite “Excuse me, can you please not stand on the fence?” which is why I found it unnerving.
I apologized and got down, mingling in with the people on the street giving out chocolate and tomatoes. He stayed right behind me, watching to make sure I didn’t get back on the fence for another half an hour before I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get anymore pictures, and went home.
Final thoughts about Tokyo Marathon:
I still would never want to run it, but I am planning on watching it again next year, February 2014.
Next time I am going to go early, just to make sure I get to see the best costumes. It was like a Halloween Parade.
For more about the 2013 Tokyo Marathon, check out:
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