Sunday 11 November, the first Okumusashi Speed Trail Championship, organized by Tokyo Trail Running (TTR) took place in...Okumusashi.
There were two distances available: 21k and 42k, plus relays. The course is a ~10k loop and each member of the relay do one loop.
Yuki and I did the 21k. Yuki finished 2d/12 women in 2:32 and I finished 2d/43 men in 1:56, far behind the inaccessible Gary Wilberforce (1:39) from Namban Rengo too.
I enjoyed that race a lot. One of the shorter trail race I ever did, so I could run fast, which is fun, especially if you are in a good day, and I think I was.
I tried to keep a reasonable pace at the start and during the first loop. There where few fast starters that I passed after one or two km, then only Gary and Brian were left ahead of me. Actually I met Gary and Brian for the first time the previous Saturday at a training organized by Tom Moss (Yama yama yama) at Mitake. I also met there Luigi who finished 5 or 6 I think.
Gary was of course out of reach. Brian maybe. He started fast too, but I still could see him sometimes. I kept my "reasonable" pace which was not so easy pace and I could get closer and closer to Brian until I reach him before the last steep climbing of the first loop. He told me to pass as I walk fast on steep climbing, but actually he was walking even faster so I didn't pass. I kept the same pace (I think) and he gradually went away again. Especially on the road section just before the end of the loop, he was faster than me.
Then started the second loop. Again I could get closer and closer to him and finally after about 2km in the second loop I passed him for good. A nice thing with this course is that there are 3 U turns where you can check the distance between you and the other runners and of course you can cheer mutually. The distance was gradually increasing. I kept pushing hoping he could not see me anymore and lose hope ;)
I was feeling good and it was very pleasant. However what I was worrying about finally happened. After drinking at the aid station before the longest downhill, my stomach started to hurt. As there were only 3km left, I tried not to slow down too much, but it was painful. Finally I could keep my advance and arrived in second place, very happy with the result :)
Brian was third and Shinichi Fukumori (福森慎一), that I first met years ago at Nokogiriyama trail, who came all the way from Chiba, was 4th despite a strained calf.
Congratulation to Jerome MisterPain Dpiss for winning the 42k race. It looked very tough and I was happy to have chosen the 21k because I think it would have been a little boring to run 4 times the same loop and mentally difficult to go back for the last loop while most of the other runners have already finished. Moreover the three top guys were very close to each other, so there was no rest until the end!
The race is small scale, very well organized, with convenient shuttle buses, and optional bath and BBQ after the race. The course is not technical, mostly runable (90% for me, maybe 99% for Gary). There is some music at the start/goal place which is quite good. And they take and share nice photos for free.
Thank you very much to the organization and the volunteers. It was a great job. If, hopefully, you do it again next year, I should participate again.
Photos from me, Yukiko Kanazawa and the organization here:
GPS trace here:
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