translated by Brett Larner
If you think about cold season sports, the marathon immediately comes to mind. These days the number of amateur marathons run through the closed-off streets of big cities keeps going up. Chief among these amateur races is of course February's Tokyo Marathon which sees hundreds of thousands of people applying every year. What do the nation's teens think about this hugely popular event? We asked 428 JOL teen readers, "Are you interested in the Tokyo Marathon?"
Are you interested in the Tokyo Marathon?
#1 - No, I'm not interested: 325 people (75.9%)
#2 - Yes, I'll go to watch and cheer: 17 people (4.0%)
#3 - Yes, friends or family members are running: 13 people (3.0%)
#4 - No, it's irritating because the roads are blocked: 12 people (2.8%)
#5 - Yes, I'm running: 8 people (1.9%)
#5 - Yes, I wanted to run but didn't get in: 8 people: (1.9%)
In #1, 325 people answered, "No, I'm not interested." 3 out of 4 JOL teen readers said they did not care about the Tokyo Marathon. It's pretty common to run in school, so maybe a lot of them feel like they don't really want to go and do another race outside of that. When asked whether they have any special memories related to the Tokyo Marathon many answered like one 10th grader from Hokkaido who said, "I've watched it with my family." Others, like a 10th grader from Tokyo who said, "I volunteered with my Girl Scout troop and saw a celebrity!" and another from Saitama who said, "I did yosakoi dance on the Tokyo Marathon festival stage," said that they had taken part by cheering or volunteering instead of running. Through their school and club affiliations it's clear that many got the message that it's OK to participate even if you aren't a runner.
In #2, 17 people answered, "Yes, I'll go to watch and cheer." Although not running, some people indicated that they would go to support the runners. Some said that they usually go to cheer for friends and family members, and others like a Saitama 10th grader who said, "Last year I took part in dance cheerleading at the Tokyo Marathon" said that they would go this year to take part in official courseside cheering events.
In #3, 13 people said, "Yes, friends or family members are running." Some people who don't run take part by cheering for friends or family members who won places in the Tokyo field. "My parents ran about 2 years ago," said one Kanagawa 10th grader. "My mom has run it," said a 12th grader in Tokyo. "5 of my junior high school teachers run it together every year," said a Saitama 11th grader. Like them, many others said that their parents or teachers are running. It's no surprise that school teachers are more interested in the marathon than any other group of adults.
In #4, 12 people replied, "No, it's irritating because the roads are blocked." Because an event like this takes place downtown, on race day the roads are closed to car traffic. This causes some inconvenience to people who plan to out that day. There's also the problem of noise for those whose homes are along the course. It's a tough situation for people not interested in the Tokyo Marathon like one Tokyo 12th grader who complained, "I can't use the streets near my house."
In #5, 8 people said, "Yes, I'm running." Running and finishing gives people a tremendous "sense of accomplishment," said one 11th grader from Aichi. Others enjoy the feeling of taking part in a big festival atmosphere. It's easy to feel a jealous of them!
Tying for #5, 8 people said, "Yes, I wanted to run but didn't get in." In 2014 more than 300,000 people applied for the 36,000 places in the field, meaning that only about 10% got in. Needless to say, with those kinds of numbers there are a lot of people who wanted to run but can't. Among them are also some like a Tokyo 11th-grader who said, "I really wanted to run! Bu I didn't apply!" If you're one of them, please still come down and take part this year by cheering!
Along with being an amateur event, the Tokyo Marathon is also a serious race where gold medalists run. Other events surrounding the marathon are also increasing every year, giving it more and more of a festival feeling. It's fun to take part in those events too, not just running the race. Your friends who don't care about the Tokyo Marathon might like checking them out.
But no matter what, since it's a Tokyo event there will always be people like one Osaka 10th grader who said, "I'm from Osaka. Screw Tokyo. It's got nothing to do with us." But even Osaka has a mass participation marathon, the Osaka Marathon that has been held since 2011. Wherever you are, definitely check out your local amateur marathon!