Okinawa Tourism Information:IshigakiIslandMarathon

Ishigaki Island Marathon

post : 2014.11.29 16:00

 The 12th Ishigaki Island Marathon was held on January 26th on Ishigaki Island which was entering the cherry blossom season.

4,666 people, the most in the history of the marathon, from all over Japan and overseas came to Ishigaki. There were even people from far away places like Spain and Russia. There was press from Taiwan and in January Ishigaki Island was selected by the New York Times as one of the “52 Places to Go in 2014”. Ishigaki Island is getting more popular overseas.

At 9 in the morning the fashion model Angelica Michibata shot off the starter pistol and in a flash the anxious runners all started at once. Whether they were visitors or locals they became one when they left the start gate at Ishigaki Central Sports Park Athletic Field.

There are 3 courses: the full marathon, 23km course and 10km court. The finish gate is at the track of the same Athletic Field.

At the start of the marathon the temperature was 21℃, which is a bit hotter than Okinawa Island and completely shows the power of the tropics.

When there was a short rain, the runners aimed to get to the first view point of Nakura Anparu which was 12km away. There is a bridge that goes through a thick mangrove that is between the tidal flatland and the sea, which the runners have to cross.

If the weather is fine on the horizon to the left you can see Kohama Island and Iriomote Island and to the right there is an important wetland that is registered under the Ramsar Convention. The vibrant wilderness and the gentle breeze give the runners a push.   

The next spot with a view is Banna Park (23km course), you can see girls giving out brown cane sugar and island people playing the sanshin. One of the charms of the Ishigashi Marathon is the homey feeling because whether they are running or not or the island people are watching over the runners.

The final stretch is a straight stretch of road that you can look at the sea and you can run down a gentle sloping hill. You get an impressive panoramic view while you run on this road for 2km.
When they get to this point, the runners mutter happy words to themselves and smile and there are also runner who stop to take pictures. All the clouds for the morning that hung over this amazing area cleared during the day and now there is nothing but blue sky.

 Everyone who finishes the race gets a metal from the members of the track and field team of the local Yaeyama High School.
Also one by one by their number and name is called, which is also auspicious.
The expression of all the runners when they cross the finish line is that of exhilaration after that long distance and it is very moving!

 Their comrades who made it to the goal first give them hugs or tears run, and there are people who cross the finish line while holding the hand of a child. They all look like the final scene in a drama.  

 2 women who came from Osaka to participate
It is will soon be 1 year since Painushima Ishigaki Airport opened on Ishigaki Island, which you can’t keep you eye off of. So how about participating in Japan southernmost citizen marathon?

 You cannot only enjoy the Ishigaki Island Marathon by running but you can enjoy it cheering. So those who are not so hot on running but want to see the wonderful scenery around the course, you can do the cheering tour!

12th Ishigaki Island Marathon
Sponsor: Ishigaki City, Ishigaki City Board of Education, Ishigaki City Sports Association
Venue:  Ishigaki Central Sports Park Athletic Field
Options: Full Marathon/23 km/10km
Date: Sunday, 26 January 2014
Participation Fee: Full Marathon
General Public 5,000 yen
High School Students:  3,000 yen 
23km Course
General Public 4,000 yen
High School Students: 3,000 yen
10km Course
General Public 4,000 yen
High School Students: 3,000 yen 
 *Everyone who completes the marathon will get a complete certificate and medal
Application Period: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 – Saturday, 30 November 2013

Okinawa Clip Photowriter Aya Asakura