Monday, 23 May 2011

Fuji Clear Up Weekend

Sarah and I decided to go up and help with the 'trash pick up' event that was planned instead of the UTMF.

It was a long way and we didn't get there until 10:00 pm, the hotel was great for a business hotel the rooms were big, the shower powerful and, with a bit of peering, Fuji was to be seen from the balcony.

We studied the route maps and elevation profile and decided that we would do the final section of the 3 suggested routes.

This began with a steep 3km climb, that just got steeper and steeper. There was no running this section at all. We climbed steadily getting occasional views of Fuji from between the trees.
Eventually we climbed out and joined the main trail traversing the ridge. We thought that we would have a fairly easy time of it from this point on. The scenery was brilliant, the trails outstanding (for the most part) and the weather glorious. There were however some challenges to be overcome.

Steep and loose downhills were not infrequent in those first few km of the traverse. There were also very steep and loose climbs which caused a few problems and trembly knees. Then when we were sure it was all over and the traverse could begin in earnest we came to the ladder.
We climbed it, though not without a few moments hesitation. The exposure was really quite spectacular as it led to a two foot wide ridge trail of loose, pea sized gravel. Thankfully that was the last of the real 'hardships'.
Sarah was more than a little concerned during this section but she handled it superbly and shortly afterwards we caught a few other 'runners'.

The rest of the run went by with that usual mix of run, jog, eat, drink until we began to get a little concerned about water running out. It was then that Mr Kaburaki ran up to us, shook our hands, thanked us for coming and disappeared over the next small climb without seemingly breaking sweat.

The trail down towards Oishi Park was mostly tight steep switchbacks.

And there at the bottom were several of the North Face sponsored athletes and some others, like us, who'd just been out for a great day collecting trash in the mountains.
Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (center in white) and Yuki Tanaka (right in pink) 
Apparently over the 2 days and 5 or 6 stages that the runners were out, 40kg of trash was taken off the trails.

The reception in the evening was fun, there were toasts, speeches, beer and food. 5 of Japan's top runners were there doing a group chat which I'm sure was interesting but sadly incomprehensible. However I did find out that Yuki was not only an accomplished trail runner but she is one of the few women and the only Japanese woman to have ever completed the Paris Dakar race on a motorcycle.
I had a great time at the reception many people made the effort to talk to us and to make us feel welcome.

With a long train journey and some difficult connections to make we opted out of running and collecting trash on the Sunday instead we had a leisurely walk around the lake and made our way home. A great weekend, a beautiful place, outstanding scenery and some terrific people. What more can you ask for?

 Apart from an odd looking fellow in a parker sitting on a floating chair fishing, obviously.

Oh and a supersize stretch limo, who said Japanese cars are small?

No comments:

Post a Comment