Sunday was a rare day. I ran a marathon. I didn't mean to. I applied on a whim last year knowing that less than 10% of people who apply get selected in the lottery for the Tokyo marathon. I was “lucky”. I bought some running shoes, found a training schedule and started running last year.
I ran 42.195km in 5 hours. I ran down streets that I've staggered down drunk. I ran past buildings I’ve worked in. I ran past the station where I met my girlfriend. I ran on streets that nobody is allowed to run on apart from one day a year. I ran with all different races and nationalities and people. Men. Women. Old. Young. Dreadlocks. Hijabs. Spiderman. A tomato. Mount Fuji. A few Marios. A topless Cowboy. A guy dressed up as that fucker with his pen and his pineapple. I ran with people taking pictures and people taking selfies and people taking pictures of people taking selfies.
I ran past dancing troupes and cheerleaders and orchestras. I ran past sound systems loudly declaring that uptown was going to funk me up. Another sound system was playing the Village People. We all joined in to make a river of runners snaking through Tokyo doing the YMCA dance.
I ran past huge crowds cheering and waving and supporting. Past men dressed as cats meowing whenever any runner high fived them as we went by. Past waving kids and old ladies telling us to go faster. I ran past homemade signs. One read, “If Trump can run and win, so can you,” which is an interesting motivation technique. Another, around the 25km mark, claimed, “Your feet are hurting because you’re kicking so much ass.” Nice idea but my feet strongly disagreed.
Actually, all of me disagreed. Things started hurting with about 10km left. Muscles that I didn’t know I had appeared for the first time and instantly hated me. I was a sweaty mess from that point to the finish. Yes, it was a rare day. So rare that I can say it’ll never happen again. I’m very happy I did it, but I’m not sure I ever want to run again. Anywhere. Not even for a bus or to escape a house fire. I think I’ll go back to using my Sundays for occasionally cycling or hiking or wandering around or reading books. But thank you Tokyo for putting on a show, making me feel a part of something and for making me like you even more.