Tokyo Marathon 2012

With 36,000 participants, Tokyo Marathon is one of the biggest marathon events in the world. I was among a few lucky to get a slot where there were 9.5 times over subscription. That means every 10 applications only one person gets the slot. The marathon was on 26th February but I went there 3 days earlier to pick up race bib, visit the expo, acclimatization and take part in International Friendship Run a day before the marathon.

Marathon Expo
The expo was awesome, I never been to an expo as big as Tokyo Marathon Expo in Tokyo Big Sight. The marathon check-in was smooth and the reception was very warm manned by kawaii Japanese girls. Many freebies were given away to the runners & visitors. I bought a T-shirt and cap with Tokyo Marathon logo on it and took lots of photos.
Tokyo Marathon Expo 2012

International Friendship Run
On 25th February, a day before the marathon I took part in International Friendship Run in conjunction with Tokyo Marathon 2012. It was heavy rain and very cold. The run was only 2km around Meiji-Jinggu not enough to warm up my body. Met many Malaysian runners and made many new friends during the event.
International Friendship Run

Tokyo Marathon 2012
The Marathon day!! I woke up very early in the morning but not as early as in Malaysia because of the weather the race start at 9:10am and very nice timing to body shake myself before the run unlike in Malaysia or Singapore we start very early in the morning to avoid the heat. I ran to the start line which is only 3km away from my hostel. On the way to the venue I chatted with an uncle from Hong Kong running in pagoda t-shirt and shorts. I guess he has tick skin or invisible body hair to trap heat.
At the venue, I immediately changed to my running gear. One layer of dry fit sweater, running short with one layer inside, 2XU compression sock, Brooks Green Silence running shoes, a pair of gloves, snow cap to cover my ears and a rain poncho to prevent my body from cold wind. Temperature was freezing cold around 5 degrees Celcius.
I was very impressed at how smooth they organize the event with such magnitude! They paid attention everything to detail and it was brilliantly organized. They even had 10,000 volunteers to serve 36,000 runners. That means one volunteer for every 36 runners. I never run the five world major marathons (Berlin, New York, London, Boston and Chicago Marathon), but according to seasoned runners Tokyo Marathon is almost on par with those.
Before start race
The waiting was the tough part. I entered starting block/pane one and half hour early before the race start. I could not find other Malaysians in my starting block, but lucky there were two ladies a French woman Kate & a Japanese lady Yumi who didn't mind chatting with me while the rest of the runners look very focus, anxious and shivering from the cold.
36,000 runners!!!
First half of the race
The race started at 9:10am but I crossed start line 15 mins later. I was overwhelming by the atmosphere at start line. It did give me goose bump because never in my life, I'm in the middle of such huge crowd where people applauded and giving warmth cheering. I think I've heard more than 1000 times the word of "Gambare! Gambatte!"  shouted by the spectators along the route. And the volunteers - they always smiles and cheerful, enough to give me spirit to last till finish.

Second half of the race
I didn't feel the run was that long because there's always interesting people, scenery and entertainment to look around. The weather was nice, the temperature just about right, the support from volunteer was amazing, and the most important is cheering from the spectators. Because of them I feel bad if I walk, so I keep on running although my both feet hurt like hell. Imagine they standing all the way from start to finish line which I never had that kind of experience in any other races. And kawaii Japanese kids standing by the road side offering all sort of delicacy to the runners really made my day. I love to see them smiled when I did a favour by grabbing some delicacies from them.
Completed my 13th Marathon and clocked my PB 4:57:29.
At KM40 mark, the time already 4:43. I knew it I have less than 16 mins to clock sub 5 hours. I have to run faster because now 8min/km pace is almost impossible when I'm in excruciating pain and dead tired. With emotion running high, I keep pounding the road and that very moment the adrenalin rushing through my body to finish strong. In less than 14mins later I saw the arch written "last 195m". I sprinted passing other runners toward the finish line with my eyes closed and lifted my both hands, I swear I can feel the finish ribbon hit my chest and feel like I just won a medal for my country. Without I realize it, my eyes welled with tears. I did it in sub 5 hours for the first time! やった!
My hard earned medal

Marathon Timing
5km - 0:37 (split) 
10km - 1:08 (0:31) 
15km - 1:46 (0:32) 
20km - 2:20 (0:34) 
21km - 2:28 (0:08) 
25km - 2:56 (0:28) 
30km - 3:31 (0:35) 
35km - 4:06 (0:35) 
40km - 4:43 (0:37) 
42km - 4:57 (0:14) 
Average speed 7:03 min/km

I would like to thank SCYE Global Education for sponsoring my trip. It did help release some financial burden off me. Thanks to my friends who trained with me, inspired me to race outside Malaysia and those wished me luck. どもありがとうございました。


Anonymous said…
congratz!no kawaii japanese guys pics?;)
Kam Kasturie said…
Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't have their photos because I'm not interested in guys :P
June Malik said…
Congrats ..i have to try this one day :)
Kam Kasturie said…
Thanks Kak June! You should try next year.
RaYzeef said…
Congrats Kam, good report, felt i was there running with you...sub 5 lagi! *high 5 bro*
Kam Kasturie said…
Hi 5 back bro!!! Thanks!
Try la next year.
Tak nak comment lah (sebab jeles).
Kam Kasturie said…
Are you jeles because of the sub 5 Kash?? hehehe. You register la for next year.
@xiM said…
congrats bro!!

ramainya runners!!


I came accross your blog by accident. You inspired me to keep running and stick to my dream of being a marathoner. I was actually looking for malaysian runners who is going to New York Marathon as I will be running my first marathon in New York this november.
Kam Kasturie said…
A'salam whitelighter,

Some of my friends ran NYC Marathon last year but I do not know who will be running this year. I'm planning to run Berlin Marathon next year.

Good luck with your NYC marathon. The first one always the toughest, but with enough training you will be enjoying it.
deemenrunner said…
hello! came across your blog while surfing the net. i'm running the 2013 Tokyo Marathon so your story really helped build up my excitement for the race. thank you for sharing your experience!
Kam Kasturie said…
Good luck deemenrunner! It was awesome race last year. I'm sure you gonna enjoy it this year.

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