Mino Fukube Hill Climb: Report

This morning I took part in my first cycling race. I’ve done a couple of triathlons before, but was apprehensive about a cycling-only race. After all, I’m not a cyclist, I’m a runner with a bike! The forecast wasn’t good and, sure enough, it was pouring with rain when I arrived at the foot of Mt. Fukube in Mino City, Gifu prefecture. I expected the race to be called off, but was surprised to see […]

Coming Soon: Kakamigahara Alps Trail Run Project

Update: This project is now live. Join the Facebook group here: 各務原アルプストレイルランプロジェクト. After the eye-opening experience of the Utsukushigahara 70K trail run that I didn’t finish last week, my thoughts have been filled with ways to best train for future races. There are plenty of mountains over 1,000m north of where I live in Gifu prefecture, but as we head towards winter, most of them will be covered with snow and not particularly easy to […]

Report: Utsukushigahara 70K Trail Run

You’ve probably already heard that I pulled out of the Utsukushigahara 70K trail race at the 38km point, but a lot happened before that. Restless nights The day we were to drive up to Nagano coincided with my once-a-year duty to set up the crates for our neighborhood “unburnable rubbish” day. With the race on my mind, and knowing I had to get up at 5am to set up those crates, I rolled around in […]

Preview: Utsukushigahara 70K

In a little over a week I’ll be on my way to Nagano prefecture for the biggest race of my life, a 70 kilometer trail run across the Utsukushigahara highlands. Since my disappointing performance in April’s Kakegawa Marathon, I’ve been nursing myself back to running health. The Norikura Marathon in June came too soon, but by running slowly and enjoying the experience I was able to finish it without any further injuries. By July, I […]

The Nine-Headed Dragon Long Run

On Saturday, August 3rd, I headed north again to Shirotori. Last week I hiked over the mountains, this week the plan was to run around them. Why?! Four weeks from now I’ll be taking part in the Utsukushigahara 70km trail race in Nagano prefecture. I’ve been wondering how best to prepare for that given that my longest run was 46km, and the heat of the summer makes any serious attempt at running long-distance very hard […]

Training for Utsukushigahara: Hakusan National Park

With five weeks to go before I take part in my first trail running race – a 70K run across the Utsukushigahara Highlands – I headed north on the expressway to Hakusan National Park. Mt. Haku is one of Japan’s three “holy mountains”, along with Mt. Tate and of course, Mt. Fuji. To get there from Gifu, there’s a long range of mountains to conquer first. My mission was to climb up Mt. Choushigamine (1810m) […]

Imizu Triathlon 2013: Report

This was my second trip to Imizu City in Toyama prefecture to take part in the annual triathlon there. Last year I wrote an entertaining story about my first visit there, titled “The Road To Ebie“, which you might like to read if you’re considering your first triathlon. Instead of a story this time, I’m going to step through each stage of the event, comparing this year with last. The event Last year I entered […]

Great Mount Norikura Marathon: Report

I’ve just got back from a weekend away in Japan’s Nagano prefecture, where one of the country’s highest and most magnificent mountains, Mount Norikura (3,026m) played host to two races: a 12km trail run through the forests and a 30km road race up the mountain. Day One – The 12K Trail Run Yoshio and I left Gifu early on Saturday morning and with only a brief stop at a hot spring, we arrived well in […]