Friday, May 18, 2012

STY 2012 Day 4: UTMF

A chalk board facing the entrance of the ryokan.

Information on the transport to Ohike Park and back and the time to deposit our bag drops.

The course map for us to bring along during the race.

Breakfast was at 8:00am.

More volunteers for Avid Adventures had arrived yesterday evening. This was Hiromi chatting with Tony.

Meanwhile, Harry and his helpers were busy packing the drop bags into the boxes for the respective locations. They needed to ensure nobody's drop bag got left behind.

Meticulously marking the packs of each individual runner. These ladies were wonderful!

This was the headquarters for the Avid Adventures people. A small room just beside the entrance to the ryokan.

We took the 10:00am transport to Ohike Park. The race expo would be open today! Lets see if they had some good stuff. :)

The white dome in the background was the booth for TNF.

Participants had arrived earlier to do the racer check-in and the gear check. Majority of the participants were locals. Most of them arrived carrying their suitcases along.

More oversea runners arrived today. The lady was Pauline.

This was the start line as well as finish line. In the background was Mount Fuji.

First, lets have a look at TNF.

There was also Scott running shoes ..

.. and a C3fit compression tights.

Petzl headlights.

Sports taping seems to be the "in" thing among Japanese runners.

A booth selling food stuff for the hungry runners before the race.

Look closely at this flag. Could you see it?

tadah .. !! .. :)


The runners who came early took the chance to relax for the challenging run ahead. In the background was the Kawaguchiko Bridge which the UTMFers would need to cross the moment they turn out from Ohike Park. Spreading across the horizon were the mountain ranges which they would need to overcome.

4 hours to race start.

This year I came for the STY. One day, I would toe THIS start line!

Fey speaking with Tsuyashi Kaburaki, the man behind UTMF.

Before taking this photo, I shook his hand firmly and thanked him for making all this possible.

We went back at the ryokan taking the 1115am van. By that time, things at the ryokan were heating up. Time was ticking away.

Everybody had their stuff brought to the hall. Packed and good to go.

The ladies were still accounting through the drop bags of the runners.

These were the drop bags for the last couple of aid stations. The bags for the earlier aid stations were already accounted for.


The wonderful folks from Avid Adventures. Without them, the race would not have been so fun.

It was really tough to coordinate the support for 20 to 30 runners over so many different locations for over 2 days .. it was a job well done!

Squating (L - R):
Yarimizu Rena, Miki Yamaguchi

Standing (L - R):
Junko Suzuki, Toshiya Nishiumi, Hisanori Harry Ohara, Naoko Mogami, Sayaka Tsukada

Not in Photo:
Pauline Kitamura, Hiromi Motohashi, Yuji Suzuki

All of them were friends of Pauline and Harry. Only some of them runs. All had taken their own time out of their busy schedule to travel all the way from Tokyo to be our support crew. A big thank you to all of them again.

Lunch was promptly settled at the Sakura Cafe. There was no feast compared to previous meals but it was more than enough. I just took what I needed and left the rest for the UTMFers. They needed the food more.

Ohike Park was crowded with people.

Bag deposits for UTMFers.

Official bag drop deposits to be transported to A7 Kodomono-Kuni at the 77km mark.


1hr 45min to race start. Runners were still getting ready.

I managed to meet him. Mr Yuichiro Miura, honorary race director.

Fantastic drum performance from the school kids. Now I understand why in the olden days they always beat the drums when going to war. It really could boost your fighting spirit.

Participants trying to get as much rest as they could.

The brave ones. Check out the confident smiles. :)


Lets get some rest too. It's going to be a long long day.


The opening ceremony started.

Participants, friends and supporters filled up the whole Ohike Park.

Yuichiro Miura giving his speech ..

followed by Tsuyashi Kaburaki.

Everybody was getting anxious. It was about to begin!


18 mins to race start. They were now introducing the elite runners from around the world who flew in to take part in this race.


The first ever 100M race in Japan had began!

This was Seow Kong. When the race registration period started, I had asked him whether should I go for the 100M as I really wished to try it. He told me since I was still new into ultras, he advised me to go for the STY first to gain more experience. I still have a lot of time to go for 100M in the future. He was correct as I really lacked of experience in ultras, especially mountains running. So I signed up for the STY instead.

He wore Vibram FiveFingers for the whole UTMF. *Respect*

This guy was dressed for Hawaii!!?

Seeing them run off made me want to start my race immediately! The running fever was contagious! :)

May good light shine upon the path of the men and women of UTMF and STY. Run well. Run safe.

The sky was clear on that day and Mount Fuji was able to display its magnificence.

We could see the tip of the mountain!

It was really quiet back at the ryokan without the UTMFers around. I was alone in my room. Both Tony and Barefoot Ted were out in the trails. I checked through my gear again, again and again. I tried to visualise myself running the next day. Everything was set. I learnt through all the trainings that no matter how well you had prepared, there were some things that you could not predict would happen nor control. I just need to take it as they come. This was one of the valuable lessons we learnt in running.

These were the stickers given by Avid Adventures for our bag drops for A8 and A9.

I bought these three cans of coke yesterday at the mall. One for A8, one for A9. One would be for the finish line to reward myself for finishing the race, IF I could finish it. :p

The stuff all laid out. From the left:

- race gear and pre-race items
- Finish line items
- A8 bag drop
- A9 bag drop

I deposited the bag drops at the hall together with the rest of the A8 and A9 bags.

Notice for us at the hall. Our transport would leave the ryokan for the start line at 6:30am tomorrow. We need to clear our rooms and place our luggage at the common room.

This was dinner! Yummy yummy!

I need to calm myself down if not I would not be able to sleep tonight. I kept thinking of our friends out on the trail now. I wonder how were they doing. There was an online website that allowed friends and supporters to keep track of the runner's progress. I logged onto Facebook and saw that even friends and Singapore and Malaysia were following the race.

At around 9pm plus, I heard some small commotions at the hall and went out to the corridor and looked down. Zigor was back. He had slipped and hurt his right leg somewhere near A3 Yamanakako. Other also came out to have a look. We looked at each other but none of us said anything.

Lets hope all those still out there would be safe.

Calm down. Do not think of anything. Go and sleep.

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