Marathon runners take over roads Sunday in central Okinawa
The 24th Okinawa Marathon this Sunday is the second largest road race on the island after Naha Marathon that attracted more than 11,000 runners last year to the starting line at Okinawa Comprehensive Park.
The Okinawa Marathon is best known for its full-marathon course that takes runners through central Okinawa and, at one part, through the Kadena Air Base. The Association of Okinawa Central Local Governments expects the event to be an inter-cultural exchange as well as an international road race. The Japan Association of Athletics Federations officially certifies the race. Besides the marathon, a 10km road race kicks off after the 9:00 marathon start, at 9:40.
The weather on Sunday is expected to be cloudy with 40 percent possibility of rain. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-60’s (18C~19C).
From the starting line in the Comprehensive Athletic Park, the course works its way to Katsuren. From there, it continues to Chibana, through Kadena Air Base entering through Gate 2 and exiting through Gate 5, and then back towards the Comprehensive Park. KAB gates 2 and 5 will be closed to vehicles from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Time limit to enter the base through Gate 2 is set at 13:25.
Drivers should expect delays along the route, as marathon runners will have priority.
Running a marathon takes a lot of energy, and some people claim that even watching the road race takes almost as much. A gourmet event named Chubu Kuwacchi Festa is held at the Comprehensive Park main entrance on Saturday and Sunday.
‘Kuwacchi’ is Okinawan dialect meaning ‘fancy meal’ or ‘delicious food’ and the event is aimed at Okinawa Marathon runners, supporters and visitors to the park. At the event nine popular restaurants will offer tasty meals costing about ¥500. The food includes hamburgers, curry, Okinawa soba, ramen, taco rice and more. Drinks are also available.
The festival runs from 10:00 to 17:00 on both days. Admission to Kuwacchi Festa is free.