So thanks to Koji and Megumi; Sarah, Linda and I got the opportunity to run the Hirodai Trail Race. In my case that meant 40km and 2600m of vertical ascent (though Garmin as ever reads somewhat shorter and significantly less elevation)
The weekend was a huge success. We ate giyoza,
Then in my case I was tucked up in bed by 8:30 pm. The alarm went off at 3:15am and before long we were on the bus to take us to the trail. There were 5 of us running in all. Megumi and Sarah were doing their first ever trail races of this kind. They were doing 17km and 1200m ascent, what a way to start!
We set off at 7:00 and after a few km of jogging through the park we hit the trail proper, and as warned, all of a sudden there were a lot of people stepping off the trail to take photos. It was beautiful.
|20c and Linda is still wearing fleece|
I made it to the lake and the half way point in about 2 and a half hours, it was beautiful down there by the lake. The cherry blossom was just beginning to fall but the trees were just gorgeous, sadly the photos I have do not do it justice.
The last aid station before the big climbing started was hugely entertaining. It was on the edge of the lake under the cherry trees and the aid consisted of lemonade, water, and mochi, which was being pounded on site. I stopped to watch the mochi pounding, some racers took time out of the running to join in. Then I collected some mochi for Megumi who had been disappointed that there was no mochi aid station on the 17 k run.
The rest of the 'run' was a blur of uphill slog and downhill jog. I had originally thought that I would be at least 6:30 hrs but when I entered the park in 5:30 I thought I'd better phone Sarah to let her know I was nearly back. She was almost as surprised as I was. I crossed the line at 5:40, hot, tired and happy. Brilliant day out and while I finished in good shape I have the sun burn to attest to the fact that it was not entirely pain free.
Sarah and Megumi finished their races in 24th and 26th places respectively in a little over 2:20, which is damned impressive. We then sat about chatting eating, chatting drinking, cheering in the last competitors and inviting Mr Ishikawa-san to come visit us in Scotland. He will be there in June for the West Highland Way Race.
It was a great day and after another good meal in an Izakaya in Kita Kyushu we headed for the Shinkansen and home, finally arriving home about 9:00pm. Making it 1 race, two islands, 18 hours awake, 40km of trail, 2400m vertical, a good few beers and a good many laughs all in one day.
Hard to beat.
Hirodai Trail it would seem Garmin have 'updated' their software somehow, I have started getting readings well under, in this case 3 km in distance and nearly 1000m vertical which is astonishingly inaccurate and the second time in a few weeks the vertical has been well out. Maybe it's time for a shiny new Suunto toy.
217/398 men in 5:40 - reassuringly mediocre (sorry mid table), no age grouping which is a shame. I've just entered the over 50's and there weren't that many older men there, I might have made it into the top 50 at least ;-)