Since several WOOT members have now had the opportunity to run the Women’s Nagoya Marathon, I thought it would be a good idea to ask some of them to assist me in writing a review with travel information:
There’s a couple of options, the first being to fly directly there via ANA. Or, if you enjoy a little adventure, you can do what Misty Cassidy and Summer Van Pelt did, and fly to Osaka on Peach Airlines then catch the bullet train to Nagoya. The cost of the flight to Osaka was around $45 (there are price levels, depending on how much or how little luggage you plan on taking), and from the airport you need to take the Limited Express to the Shin-Osaka station to board the bullet train (bullet train from Osaka to Nagoya was $70). Misty and Summer took the bullet train back to Osaka, and returned to Okinawa on a JetStar flight. The total cost of their travel was approximately $230.
One of the nice things about the Nagoya Marathon, is that race participants receive detailed instructions that specifically address accommodation options. The Race Directors provide a list of four or five hotels, with descriptions of package prices as well as location in terms of getting to and from the race. If you choose to select one of the hotels on their list, they will take care of all the booking requirements for you. The main thing is to make a decision quickly and to not procrastinate, as rooms are reserved on a first-come first-serve basis. Misty and Summer stayed in one of the contracted hotels for three nights, at a cost of $180.
Overall impression was great! I will do it again. They were extremely organized, especially the day of the race! They shuffled you in through to the bag-drop zone, then to the porta-pottie line, and even to a last minute line-up for potty runs. The same excellent organization was seen at the end of the race too; when you cross the finish line everything is lined up nicely and bag pick-up is right there. You have no choice but to go by it.
The expo wasn’t real big or as nice as some I have been too, but they did have a Nike store for those who like Nike. They also had a small variety of different drinks and fuels to try.
The course itself was pretty flat and kind of dull because it is a city marathon, however you will see the Nagoya Castle and two temples. There were plenty of aid stations along the way, some with just water and others further along the course with Aquarius. At the half- way point is where the food stations start with bananas, bread and candies. The women’s marathon coincides with the city marathon, which is actually not a marathon but a 10k and half marathon. So at some point, unless you are super speedy, you may have a city marathoner in a lane next to you. They have their own lane! And those guys were fast. But after the half way mark, it goes back to just the women’s marathon.
I was nervous about traveling to the race, although we received an email with all the information necessary to make our travel easy, including instructions on how to take the trains. It was great to see the runners that finished ahead of us cheer us on as we entered the dome. Even after five and a half hours, there were still crowds of people along the streets cheering us on. The best part was running it with someone who went through all the training ups, downs, and “oh hell” moments with me!
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon was really well organized, with good crowd support and some nice “goodies.” It was a nice and flat course, BUT, they did make us run an extra half mile (according to Joyce’s garmin – 26.8 miles).
The race is held in March each year, and temperatures are typically cold but not always. Tamara Webb and Takako Sakugawa participated in the 2014 race and experienced cold racing conditions. Tamara ran in long sleeves and gloves and said she never really warmed up. This year’s runners experienced warm weather conditions and did not need long sleeves at all. According to various weather sites however, the average temperature in Nagoya during March is 46 F.
Take good shoes to walk in, especially if you are going to explore. We went to the castle, the zoo, the sky tower, and a temple. We just kind of winged it. We did a lot of walking and climbed a lot of stairs! If you plan on doing the bullet train from Osaka, pack light; there were a couple of flights of stairs that we had to carry our bags up. It was nice to have a rolly-bag when walking, but no fun carrying it up stairs. The subway is very easy to navigate and most had English directions.
Registration for the Nagoya Women’s Marathon begins in early September, but you’ll have to keep checking the website for updates. The timeline for registrations is not as long as other races, so it’s best not to delay once race registration opens. Race registrations are also not guaranteed; selections are by lottery, and successful applicants will be notified by November.
Finally, if you’re interested in traveling to the race as part of a group, check out the Events on our WOOT Facebook page.
[Photos by Sada Sheldon]