More than 1,000 runners gathered at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture for the 46th annual Kintai Marathon last April 14. The event brings together American and Japanese running enthusiasts and gives the non-military personnel a rare glimpse into how it’s like to live in an American military base in Japan. The race course travels around the entire base so it’s like a running tour as well.
Yoichi Kohno and Hiromi Saito were the first male and female to cross the finish line in the full marathon, clocking in at 2:32:15 and 3:24:41 respectively. For the half-marathon, the top finishers were Hideki Ishizu with 1:13:03 and Leah Daugherty with 1:21:03. Ishizu, who regularly runs marathons, said it was quite an experience to run around the base and see the jets while doing so. He said he is planning to come back next year to beat his record.
Mai Tajima, Marine Corps Community Services SemperFit recreation specialist and one of the organizers of the race said that more than just a race, this is an opportunity for the locals to interact with the Americans in the base and vice versa. It also serves as a break for the hardworking marines, in a competitive but relaxed atmosphere. Tajima said, “This is one of my dreams, to be a bridge between Americans and Japanese and I’m proud of what I do.”
[ via Dvids ]