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General Running • March 10, 2023

Tokyo Marathon Recap: A Journey Across The World

tokyo marathon medal

What You Need To Know

Full Recap

Tokyo Marathon recap, from pre-race to post-race and everything in-between


March 1-7, 2023

Race Day Shoes

Asics Superblast & Metaspeed Edge+

As a major partner of the Tokyo Marathon, Asics invited the Believe in the Run team and other run media to experience the 2023 Tokyo Marathon and provide coverage of the event. This is our recap of the race and our time spent in Japan.

Days 1 & 2

Wednesday, March 1-Thursday, March 2

To say we’d been waiting for this moment for months would be both accurate and an understatement. The reality that we would be running Tokyo– a major race on the other side of the world– was finally here and it was real. Packing was certainly something– a couple shakeout runs, a race, and temperatures ranging from 35-60F required some creativity. We just about filled up our heavy-duty Ortlieb 110L Duffle RS and Metrosphere Daypack, which is a feat in itself. (Side note: we loved the bags, which were sent to us for this trip: incredible craftsmanship and durability and storage for days.)

man pulling two large black ortlieb duffel bags into an airport

Thomas pulling the Ortlieb 110L Duffle RS

asics x81 shoe

Traveling in the Asics Jogger X81 Shigen

But first, we had to get there. Early Wednesday morning, we headed out of Dulles airport on a non-stop, 14-hour flight to Tokyo. Since we were traveling from East Coast time, we went forward 14 hours as well, so while we left at noon on Wednesday, we arrived at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Shout-out to the Nippon Airways flight attendants who fed us continually, like we were being plumped up for a witches’ feast in a Brothers Grimm tale. After another hour and a half to get through customs, and an hour taxi ride from Narita Airport to the hotel, we finally arrived at our final destination. 

Obviously, our brains and bodies  were fried from the travel and lack of sleep and time zone change, but we needed food in our stomachs. After dropping our luggage off in our hotel, we walked a few blocks to get ramen at Ichiran, a very popular noodle chain in Japan.

For those who haven’t been there, here’s how it works: a vending machine sits inside the front door and features photos of options for your ramen. You make your selection, pay, and it spits out a ticket. A host will then seat you in a room with tiny booths lining both sides, which are essentially individual cubicles for each person, with dividers in between. A small window is in front of you, and you place your ticket there, along with a slip of paper denoting your flavor preferences for the broth. A pair of hands appears and takes your ticket.

Five minutes later, the pair of hands places your bowl in front of you. The hands close a bamboo blind, and it’s just you and your soup. You slurp the noodles, loudly because they are delicious and deserve to be heard. You also have your own personal water tap. The whole process is more efficient than an assembly line and the 2’x2’ square booth is an introvert’s paradise. While the umami flavors come in waves, a unique melody plays in the background whenever an order is placed, a throwback to ramen street cart vendors announcing their arrival, similar to an ice cream truck here in the West. You’re not sure when it becomes a part of you, but it does.

ichiran ramen booth

An introvert’s dream at Ichiran

bowl of ramen soup with chopsticks in it

Ramen: it warms the soul

After Ichiran, we headed to bed and got some sleep, or whatever it’s called when you fall asleep for 4 hours and wake up in the middle of the night, eyes popped open like a pair of high-beam headlights.

Day 3

Friday, March 3

All of us woke up somewhere around 4 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. So we got breakfast at 8 a.m., which was where we’d fuel up each morning during out stay. While there were traditional Japanese breakfast items like smoked salmon, rice, and fried chicken, we kind of stuck to the basics (toast, fruit, cereal), as we of course were trying to carb up before race day. The espresso machine was also a nice touch.

After breakfast, we headed to the Asics FrontRunners shakeout run at Shinjuku Central Park, which is where we’d also be hosting our shakeout run with Kofuzi on Saturday. Don’t let the park name fool you, it’s quite smaller than our Central Park in New York City, so we had to take several laps around the perimeter to get in 3 miles. Nevertheless, it was a good group run, and we got to meet and hang out with other runners who were just as excited to run Tokyo.

We should probably cover first impressions of Japan at this point. Right off the bat, a few things stood out to us. First, when people say it’s clean, they’re not lying. You will rarely, if ever, see a piece of trash of any kind, anywhere. It seems almost impossible, especially since there are no trash cans anywhere in the city. Everyone just takes their own trash home with them. Even the few homeless individuals have super tidy spots that look almost welcoming in a way.

Second, the city is so quiet. I think we heard a car horn twice in the entire time we were there, and it was almost a relief to hear it, like it tethered us back to home. Police sirens? Never heard them once, just an ambulance a couple times. Accidentally find yourself in the way of a cyclist on the sidewalk? They just stop and go around without saying a word. The internalized rage must be off the charts.

Third, everyone there was exceedingly kind and welcoming. Thomas got to practice his Japanese that he’s been learning the past couple months, and they seemed to really appreciate it whenever he used it (it also proved to be really helpful in a few situations).

Also, bidets everywhere, even in dive bars. And bathroom stalls that actually extend to the floor and the sides. It was a real shocker coming back to the restrooms at Dulles airport at the end of the week.

Okay, moving onward. 

For lunch, we went to an udon noodle place (obviously it was great), then we were off to the Tokyo Marathon Expo to pick up our bibs.

The expo was not close to where we were staying (we were at the start line), so it took about 45 minutes to get there. When we arrived, it was another very long walk to get to the actual expo space. Once inside, we had to check-in our health apps.

Side note: the Covid protocols were another hurdle in the Tokyo trip. We had to check in our temperatures every day for 10 days leading up to the race. Then you had to present the app at the expo where it would give you a screen that showed you were good to go. They also gave you two Covid tests that you also had to take and record. Once all that was registered, you had to take your phone to the start line of the race and show race personnel that you had a green check on your app before entering your corral.

Anyway, we got our bibs, checked out the Asics area at the expo, picked up a bottle of sake with Tokyo Marathon branding, and headed to our next adventure.

Course map of the Tokyo Marathon

Asics S4 (race day shoe only released in Japan)

We arrived at TeamLab Planets Tokyo with no expectations of what we were going to experience. Turns out it’s essentially an immersive art installation with about 8 different rooms that provide a unique sensory experience. For those who like to experiment in psilocybins, there could be no better playground. Of course, we were there as upstanding and sober individuals, but it was mind-expanding nonetheless. The experience was very cool, and featured a barefoot walk through rooms of synchronized LED lights, wading through water with koi projections, laying in a planetarium with trippy flowers floating into space, and much more. If you’re in Japan and get to experience it before it closes at the end of 2023, you really should do it.

Dinner that night was at the Asics house, where we got to hang out with the global Asics team and meet some old and new friends from around the globe.

Day 4

Saturday, March 4

Sleep, again, was fleeting. Most of us woke up around 4 a.m., while I woke up at 1 a.m. with three hours of sleep under my belt. It proved to be an interesting night full of deep dives into the /japanlife subreddit. 

After breakfast, we headed to Shinjuku Central Park for our own shakeout run with Asics, Kofuzi, and Ashley Mateo. To say we were blown away by the crowd that showed up would be an understatement. Over 160 runners from across the globe showed up to hang out and go on a 3-mile run with us around the perimeter of the park. It looked like a huge parade, and was surely a sight for the locals, where group runs are virtually nonexistent. 

Afterwards, we talked with as many people as possible, and were truly honored to meet everyone from a range of locations, from Singapore to Malaysia, from Europe to Australia, and of course– Japan.

group of runners posing for a photo in a park

Y’all showed up

Asics Tokyo Shakeout Run

Following the group run, we attempted to grab a quick lunch but found ourselves in the throes of a truly foreign experience. In searching for a certain restaurant for lunch, we ended up in an eight-story department store complex that was part of the Shinjuku train station. It was a Saturday and it was madness and there wasn’t a lick of English to be found. After navigating to the top of the place, we found the lines to be too long and made our way back down to the first floor, consisting of endless food purveyors with every kind of Japanese food you could dream of, especially if your dreams consisted of lots of rice and fish and meats across the spectrum. Short on time, we opted for dumplings (can’t miss on those) and bento boxes. It was more than satisfactory.

Attempting to make a decision

From there, we headed to a traditional Japanese indigo dyeing experience, also known as Aizome. It was a small shop that specialized in dyeing apparel ranging from blankets to t-shirts to denim. The staff was exceptional, and walked us through the history of Aizome, as well as the process of dyeing. During our time there, we were able to get a hands-on experience dyeing our own t-shirts, which was way harder work than we expected because we’re weak individuals outside of anything but running. Even so, we thought the final product turned out pretty cool for us bunch of amateurs. 

Afterwards, we headed to dinner at Seirinkan, a Neopolitan pizza place that’s been featured in David Chang’s “Ugly Delicious.” It sat in a quiet and unassuming side street, and was a cozy respite after a long day. The restaurant is unique in that it features an endless array of Beatles memorabilia, much of it specific to Japan. Of course, the only music playing in the shop was The Beatles, but much to my dismay, no deep cuts from the White Album. Nothing like a little Revolution #9 to get you stoked for race day.

The pizzas were sublime, featuring a rich tomato sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, all contained within the borders of a sea-salt crust, because runners can always use an extra sodium boost the night before a race. In short, it was the perfect pre-game for the big game.

Day 5 (Race Day)

Sunday, March 5

Everything led up to this morning: the past three months of training, the long runs in the dark, the navigation of injury pop-ups, the pilgrimage to the other side of the world to run a race that so few are lucky enough to experience. It was our moment to hold and harness. In Japan running culture, the common refrain heard from spectators is “ganbatte,” translated as “do your best.” We were ready to do just that on the streets of Tokyo.

As is the custom before any race, sleep was staccato, coming in spurts even with the aid of melatonin and an early turn-in. For some of us, five hours would have to suffice. Breakfast opened at 5 a.m., and since the start is a late one (9:15), we were able to enjoy a full meal and a nice latte or two before getting ready for the race.

Everyone knows that “look good, feel good” is a real thing on race day and nothing could look better than our custom kits, featuring an Asics elite singlet designed by Greg “The Professor” Itahara. The muted pistachio colorway popped amongst the crowds and featured a birds-eye graphic illustration of the team traversing Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crosswalk in Tokyo.

asics singlets at tokyo marathon

Ready to go on race day

As far as footwear, Thomas, Meaghan, and Brandon went with the Asics Superblast, while I went with the Asics Metaspeed Edge+.

Race morning was a cool 40F degrees, warming up to the mid-50s– a runner’s dream. The start line was a few hundred meters from our hotel; nevertheless, an hour outside with periods of whipping winds was a bit chilly as we navigated our way to our respective corrals. Thomas, Brandon, and Meaghan were in the same corral; as such, they were able to huddle together and harness each other’s body warmth. I could only edge closer to the stranger next to me, fully creeping them out but providing them a reason to run faster once the race started.

Race Day Shoes

ASICS Metaspeed edge+-unisex
Robbe's Pick Asics Metaspeed Edge+
Read The Review
ASICS Superblast-unisex shop
Thomas's Pick Asics Superblast
Read The Review
ASICS Superblast-unisex shop
Meg's Pick Asics Superblast
Read The Review
ASICS Superblast-unisex shop
Brandon's Pick Asics Superblast
Read The Review

As with any large race, the energy was palpable. Surrounded by a global community with hopes and dreams coming true in real time was a moment that can only be replicated by one sport and one distance– the marathon. Selfies were taken, watches were primed, layers were discarded, and feet moved forward. And then we were off. 

For the first few miles, pace was determined not by effort, but by the symbiotic nature of the mass. We moved how we all moved, like a bed of kelp amongst the waves. Dodge if you will, but it was a fool’s errand. Better to save the energy for when it mattered. For awhile, a slight downhill made the miles seem effortless, even more than usual. Of course, those are the miles when the race day angel whispers in your ear: “This could be your day.” The angel can sometimes be the cruelest devil.

Thomas, Meg, and Brandon all went out together, with different goals. Thomas just wanted to run a solid race while Brandon, on the back end of a bad hamstring pull a couple weeks ago, would run alongside him. Meaghan was pacing our friend Mack, but as he was in a corral behind, she was keeping on the brakes until he could catch up. I was in the last corral, looking to go for a solid long run as part of a training extension into Boston. 

The race itself is extraordinary as a course. Flat and fast are often tossed around as selling points, but never was a course more deserving of the description. Coupled with the fact that Tokyo streets are pristine and void of any potholes, it was a runner’s dream course. The route did feature a few out-and-back sections, but they served as a morale boost. Seeing the lead pack come past at a blazing pace, keeping an eye out for friends who started ahead– it was a perfect way to keep the mind away from the accumulation of miles under the feet.

Unlike majors in the United States, the crowds in Tokyo were somewhat subdued in their support, but spectators lined the course for the majority of the race. Polite golf claps mixed with the ongoing cheers of “ganbatte,” and because the race is a showcase for Japan, it was invigorating to see the crowd’s attachment to its national runners.  

And then there were the sights– the bright and blazing billboards, the towering skyscrapers, the occasional shrine and even a drive-by of the Imperial Palace. It was a lot to take in, but we tried to do the best we could between our search of hydration stations and mile markers.

For the most part, the race went as planned. Thomas held onto a comfortable-yet-hard pace and Meg finally found Mack, while I tried to play catch-up to Thomas and Brandon. At mile 10 I was 5 minutes behind, at mile 14 I was 3:30 behind. It became my goal to catch them, and I was feeling pretty strong as I found a steady pace around 8:15 for much of the race. I caught a glimpse of Brandon around mile 22 before the lights began to dim.

It may have been the 15 hours of total sleep over the last few days, it may have been the Pocari Sweat sports drink that made me nauseous every time I took it, it may have been the Maurten gel I dropped on the ground, having to spread out my nutrition a little more. But it was probably a lack of long runs in the last month of training. Either way, everything went sour and I eventually just pulled off and stopped for about 30 seconds. I surely hit the wall. I knew I’d finish, but damn was it going to be a long journey of just a short distance to the finish line. 

The goalposts had surely moved and seemed to just keep moving. It’s never a good sign when you’re looking at your watch every tenth of a mile and wondering how time could possibly be moving as slow as your legs. 

Up ahead, Meg finished strong, and while Mack missed his goal time, he still netted a PR. Thomas also pulled through looking and feeling good. For him and Brandon, it was a special moment, two members of our team going stride by stride for twenty-six-point-two. The smiles were as wide as their embrace.

Probably having too much fun

Finish line wrecking crew

Finally, I reached the long and narrow street leading to the finish line. It seemed like it would never end, a cobblestoned treadmill keeping me on course for longer than I could ever want. But eventually, the tunnel turned 45 degrees and the finish line was there. 

And then it was over.

Tokyo Marathon 2023 medal

tokyo marathon 2023 medal

Same medal, different place

For myself, it was a few hugs and high fives with strangers, a slow and disoriented walk to the medal givers, and an attempt to meet the rest of the group at a pub, which proved to be almost as impossible as finishing the race itself. Cold was setting in, I couldn’t stop shivering, and I could not figure out how to get across the course to the meeting point. My mind was just weary and unable to navigate my way out of the place. Eventually I asked someone for help, and a kind local told me I could go beneath the street into the subway and out the other side. 

Luckily for us, there were showers at the Asics store, so Thomas and Brandon took advantage of that while waiting for me. The restaurant itself was packed, so we headed back to the hotel, sharing our war stories in the van. For some of the group it was a monumental day with strong performances and PR’s and six-star medals. For others, it was a “why the hell am I doing this” moment. Of course, those moments will pass and have passed as I’m writing this.

man looking tired in a parking garage

How did I end up here

But back to the question: why do we do this? We do it because of the chance of being able to ask ourselves why we do it. Of coming to that wall and on a good day being able to push through, for that moment to tell ourselves that we did that.

Look at that map, the route we just ran.

The one that spreads across Tokyo like a veined leaf. Look how far it went, past shrines honoring emperors of centuries past and glowing adverts that show us the potential of the future. Past wide-eyed children observing tens of thousands of athletes for the first time in their lives and old men and women seeing it for the last time. We did that. With our own bodies and everything inside them, the legs that betray us on bad days and the hearts that surprise us on the best ones. 

The marathon is unique in that it’s far enough that you can’t cheat it, you must prepare for it. But not so far that it breaks you fully, past the point of return. It’s enough to give your all while leaving you with a desire to become a better version of yourself.

After experiencing the highs and lows the marathon has to offer, it was time to celebrate the accomplishment of doing it.

Back at the hotel, Thomas, Meg, and Brandon headed to the lobby restaurant for food and drinks. I still couldn’t stop shivering so I headed straight for the shower and just blasted hot water for a half hour before getting under the bed covers and burning through some episodes on Netflix. Eventually I was able to nibble on some granola and take a Salt Stick electrolyte tablet which turned things around.

That evening, we headed to The Knot at the Asics house, where the global Asics family gathered again for an exceptional dinner hosted by Asics CEO Hirota-san. Over glasses of sake and plates of food, we relived the day and made new memories. It was an honor to be there as part of the media group, and it was the perfect wrap-up to the day.

But let’s be real– it was only 9 p.m. And we were in Tokyo. The day was over, but the night was surely not.

tokyo street at night with tall buildings and bright lights

Tokyo at night

After Party

Afterwards, we headed over to Golden Gai, a bar district in Shinjuku that’s right off the major shopping district, but seems like a totally different world entirely. Thimble-sized open-air bars lined narrow alleyways, a diorama of nightlife that appeared to be lifted straight out of a Harry Potter subplot. Cigarette smoke swirled with the aromas of yakitori meats sizzling over palms of charcoal. The bars themselves seated no more than ten persons with their backs almost touching the wall behind them, all patrons engaging in animated conversation with themselves and the lone bartender/cook/host. It was nightlife in its purest and most intimate form. In short, it was a traveler’s dream. 

Despite the diminutive space, we were able to find an upstairs that would’ve redlined the hell out of any United States fire code enforcement. Jammed like a gambler’s Yen into a pachinko machine, we sat on top of each other, the end of our serpentine line flush against a pair of Japanese businessmen who may or may not have been pleased to have our company.

Drinks were served and hardcore hip-hop and country music played on the speakers, because why not? Over the course of the evening, clove cigarette smoke from the floor below sunk into our skin and almost brought back a nostalgia for late nights in the early-aughts. Old fashioneds and Moscow mules made their way into and out of our glasses, perhaps a couple times over as we shared this unique lot in life. Close to midnight, we called in our tab, shuffled our way out the door into a light rain, and dragged our weary-yet-somehow-still-charged bodies back to the hotel.

Day 5

Monday, March 6

Finally, an “off” day. Turns out that sleep comes a little more easily the night after a marathon, and while some of us had trouble bending our legs and going down stairs of any kind, we had places to go and things to see. Pop some ibuprofen and get going.

My own personal goal was to get to a Pokémon store to secure some souvenirs for my kids back home, so I set us on a path to Shibuya, a major shopping district about three miles from our hotel.

Along the way, we walked through Yoyogi Park to the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deity of Emperor Meiji. The shrine was built over 100 years ago and the surrounding area is a tranquil forest featuring 100,000 trees from all over Japan, planted by youth volunteers. It was a peaceful break after a busy last few days. While there, we were able to make a traditional offering which involves bowing twice, clapping hands twice, and bowing once again. They also offered fortunes, amulets, and charms for a monetary contribution, because every place of worship needs multiple revenue streams of passive income.

We exited the park into the main area of Shibuya, which is comparable to the Times Square/Fifth Avenue section of New York City. High-end shops line the streets, from Kith to Burberry to Arc’teryx Veilance and all the brand houses of major running brands.

colorful sign in harajuku japan

That mouse is probably a felon

We were a bit early (most stuff opens at 11 a.m.), so we took a detour down Takeshita Dori, an alley in Harajuku that is ground zero for youth culture and fashion in Tokyo. It was a Monday morning, but was already swarming with teenagers, many lining up for the delectable treats synonymous with the area. Sweet crepes, long spiral potatoes on a stick (known as a tornado potato), and something called strawberry fetish (essentially a candied strawberry stick) were insanely popular. Signage in front of the shops featured teen idols devouring the treats, with phrases like “Long! Longer! Longest!” used as selling points. Take these kids to a fireman’s carnival here in the U.S. and their eyes would be spinning faster than a Scrambler ride at full throttle. 

Additional curiosities included a place to play with a bunch of otters, as well as a cat cafe and shiba inu cafe. I’m sure we missed a lot more, but had to continue on our way.

alley in harajuku japan

Takeshita Street in Harajuku

sign in japan

No one’s really sure what’s happening here

Cute, but illegal in 50 states

From there, we hit up a bunch of stores (mostly to peruse), before most of the group got lunch at a noodle spot (can you really ever have enough noodles?). Prone to meandering, I had kind of split off from the group and made my way to the Pokémon store which was an absolute madhouse. It resided at the top floor of a shopping center that also featured a Nintendo and Bandai and anime store, all of which were equally congested. So yeah, that trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

Eventually, I was starving so I took a recommendation from a friend and hit up Uobei, a robot sushi place that churns out an unbelievable amount of sushi– and fast. Much like Ichiran, you’re led to your own little cubicle (I’d estimate there were about 150 of them in the space), where you’ll find an ordering tablet. 

three plates of nigiri sushi at a robot sushi place in japan

From there, you select your pieces (I went with an assortment of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail nigiri), and in a few minutes your tiny plates come zooming down a belt before stopping at arms-length before you. Add your own wasabi and soy sauce, enjoy, and order more if you’d like (which I did). The fish was incredibly fresh and the slices were akin to miniature steaks– some twice as big as you’d get in the United States. Sixteen pieces of sushi and 15 minutes later, I was recharged and ready to go. My total bill was $8, less than a value meal at McDonald’s (taxes are included and tips aren’t traditional in Japan, so your total is your total).

Most of the group took the train back to the hotel, which is an adventure in itself. However, some of the group had practice with that mode of transporation earlier in the week, so it was generally seamless. I personally walked back through Yoyogi Park; at the end of the day, we all had accumulated another 20,000 steps post-marathon.

From there, we had happy hour drinks at one of the more intimate and elegant bars we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. On the second floor of an unassuming office building, Bar B&F featured dark wood details and sat only ten persons around the bar itself. We were there fairly early and were able to secure the lone nook of low-slung couches with a live edge table between us. The background music could best be described as fife and whistle in the tradition of Zelda; it felt like we were in an 8-bit existence, waiting to give someone the next clue for their journey, along with a pouch of gold coins. Typed speech bubbles may have appeared above our heads at some point. The drinks were on point, and definitely the best we had during our stay in Tokyo.

Afterwards, dinner was calling, so most of the group went to a sushi spot that also doubled as a smoking lounge. The interesting thing about Tokyo is that smoking outside is relegated to cordoned-off areas, but it seems to be free game whenever you’re inside, at each establishment’s discretion. Not sure that nic and fish is the best combo, but it turned out okay.

After dinner, most of us turned in for the night, but seeing as it was our last night in Tokyo, Kofuzi and I headed out in search of karaoke. We found a bar nearby, and walked into a dark upstairs room devoid of all life save for a lone bartender who looked surprised and thrilled to see a pair of humans walk through the door.

He set us up with a tablet and microphone, we ordered a couple beers and got to entertaining ourselves. Eventually a group of Japanese locals came in (three men and a lady), and immediately started crushing drinks and taking turns on karaoke. We did our best to communicate with them between songs, and I was eventually invited to do a duet with one of them, where we traded verses back and forth on Eric Clapton’s “If I Saw You in Heaven.” We hugged at one point. It wasn’t terribly awkward.

After a couple hours, we finally called it a night and said our arigato gozaimasus to our new-found friends before finally heading to bed.

Always good to try the authentic cuisine in a foreign country

DAY 6 (Final Day)

Tuesday, March 7

We didn’t have to leave for the airport until 1 p.m., so we took some time to do a bit more exploring around Shinjuku. While walking, Thomas pointed out a pachinko parlor, which I had been trying to experience since I arrived in Tokyo.

Pachinko is essentially the Japanese version of a slot machine, except it’s more a combination of the Crossfire table game, pinball, and Plinko. Instead of a progressive winning or losing structure, it’s an all-or-nothing jackpot game, which– in our case– was nothing. Nevertheless, the rows of whirring, glowing, and beeping machines were like an American casino on psychedelics and the users were plentiful, even at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

We walked a few more blocks before stepping into Japan’s version of the Dollar General, known as Don Quijote. Except this one had a whole floor devoted to sex toys. As tempting as it was, we didn’t want anything confiscated by customs, so we abstained from picking up any souvenirs.

While in the store, I checked for my wallet in the side zip pocket on my pants, which was half open. There wasn’t anything in that pocket. Or my other pants pockets. Or my jacket pockets. I didn’t have a wallet on me at all. Except I did, just 10 minutes ago, which was 120 minutes before we left for the airport.

Cue sudden freakout. I rushed out of the store, frantically scanning the busy sidewalks and intersections for a leather rectangle card holder, knowing exactly how Uncle Billy felt in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I got back to the casino and approached the attendant who helped us earlier, using Google Translate for “did you find a wallet?” His face sort of lit up and he made a shape with his hands that seemed to be the same as my wallet and told me to follow him. After accessing some sort of square box in the middle of the casino and pulling what seemed to be a magic trick, he turned around and handed me my wallet. I could’ve married that man right there and then. Unfortunately I had zero Yen left on me or I would’ve given him everything I had. Major crisis averted.

After that, we headed to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a beautiful landscape with wide paths that meandered through blossoming cherry trees and manicured lawns. The sun was shining and blue skies hung overhead. Families walked in the open air while bento boxes were opened on benches around the onset of lunch. Spring was not quite here in its full form, but everything indicated its arrival was near. It was the perfect final brushstroke on a mural of memories over the past week.

One more quick udon stop for lunch, and then it was onto the airport.

Things were relatively seamless from there on out, and the flight home seemed a bit more comfortable and quick than our origin journey. 

Six days and thousands of miles later, by flight and by feet, we were home.

five people in robes sitting on a bed

You’re welcome, world

Final Thank Yous

We can’t extend enough thanks to Asics for hosting us as part of the media group for the Tokyo Marathon. The planning and execution was on point, and allowed us to enjoy and cover the race and the weekend to the best of our abilities.

Thank you to everyone who showed up to our shakeout run. It was truly incredible seeing the love from all around the world and finally putting faces to names (if we forget those names, please don’t hate us). 

Thank you to the city of Tokyo and the race organizers for putting on such an incredible race. After the long years of the pandemic, they truly knocked it out of the park, providing one of the most memorable race experiences we’ve ever had.

And finally, if anyone’s made it this far–  thanks to you, for reading this and following us. We couldn’t do it without you.

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Tokyo Marathon Recap


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Chris Walbert says:

    Loved this story, Robbe. Beautifully told.

    1. Robbe says:

      Thanks dude!

  2. Jerry W says:

    This was just an excellent piece of writing. Really enjoyed it.

    1. Robbe says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read!

  3. Jacque Hartley says:

    This was a great recap! I thought Don Quixiote was hilarious too. I really enjoyed the shakeout run that y’all did Saturday, thank you for doing that! I fell in love with Japan too, and had a great race. What an amazing experience.

    1. Robbe says:

      Thanks for reading!

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Robbe Reddinger
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

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