by Gregg Yarborough
Reader Gregg Yarborough recently visited Japan on business, running the 6th Kyoto Isshu Trail Run while he was here. This is his account of the race.
When I was informed by my company that I would be traveling to Japan for 3 weeks on business I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to find a trail race in Japan to run during my visit. Not knowing anything about races in Japan I enlisted the help of Brett Larner who got me registered for the Kyoto Trail Run, a 32 km trail run across the mountains in the north of Kyoto, Japan. Although I never received my race packet I took the bullet train to Kyoto with the assurance that just telling them my name would be enough to get my number and be able to line up on the starting line, and so it was. When I arrived at the check-in area I could only hope that someone there would be able to speak English since I know almost no Japanese. As it turns out the first volunteer I approached spoke enough English to understand and I soon had my race number and packet.
With clear skies and temperatures from 14 C at the start of the race to 21 C for the high one could not ask for a better day for a run. 597 runners showed up to start the race: 1 American, 2 Canadians, 1 British, and 593 Japanese. Beginning at 8:30 am we are sent off in waves of 100 every 5 minutes.
Even so with the views of Kyoto from above, the blooming springtime flowers throughout the mountains, the shrines and temples that were all along the way, the tall cedar forests, the many people that I encountered throughout the run always yelling encouragement to us all or even just simply saying hello, it is one experience that I shall never forget. This will always rank as one of my favorite races of all time. The scenery alone could have accomplished that but combined with a group of runners and volunteers such as those at this race makes this one truly epic.
text and photos (c) 2014 Gregg Yarborough
all rights reserved