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Time to Register for 2000 Okinawa Marathon

By: Julio Barthson

Date Posted: 1999-12-10

The Year 2000 version of the Okinawa Marathon, which many former international participants are predicting will be the biggest ever, is scheduled for Saturday, February 19th 2000 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. All interested in participating must take time to register as soon as possible. The event, which annually registers as many as 15,000 participants, including thousands from mainland Japan and about 500 foreigners, is expected to attract even more enthusiasts in its first New Millennium gathering. Organizers are limiting participation this time to 15,000 for security reasons.

The Okinawa Marathon offers a singular opportunity “to do real good sightseeing,” according to Yukiko Taba of the Okinawa Marathon Executive Office’s international section. Unlike other marathons on the island, this is the only one that covers a wide portion of Okinawa City, offering runners the options of either completing the full marathon length (42.195 km or approx. 26.4 miles) or covering just the quarter length (10 km or approx. 6.25 miles).

“The Okinawa Marathon also has the advantage of being the only one that actually takes runners across military bases,” Ms. Taba added. “The marathon course will go into Gate 2 Kadena at one point and out at Gate 5, before continuing towards other parts of Okinawa. Besides, there will be many American and Japanese volunteers on hand to assist the runners all along the course.”

Security will be assured by the police units of all local governments and villages that fall within the perimeter of the marathon, in collaboration with special detachments working under the direct responsibility of the organizers.

Anyone above 16 years of age, that is interested in running with thousands of others through the streets of Okinawa, can register to take part in this big race. Registration has already been going since the month of October. The deadline for foreign participants has been set for Sunday, December 19th of 1999. Registration fee for adults is ¥3,500 for the full course and ¥2,000 for the 10 km run. Participants under 18 will pay just the ¥2,500 required for the full race. The entry fees indicated above include insurance and a commemorative T-shirt.

To apply, just fill out an official application form and send it with the registration fee by registered mail. If mailing is not the best option for anyone, try dropping the form directly at the Okinawa Marathon Executive Office, located on the 2nd floor of the Okinawa City Athletic Stadium in the Koza Play Field Park by Route 85.

The Marathon will be conducted under the sponsorship of the Local Government Association of Central Okinawa, the Field Athletic Society, Okinawa Parks and Sports Development Society, the Ryuku Shimpo Press and Okinawa Television Broadcasting corporation. It is also supported by the Marine Corps Community Services, Kadena Air Base and more than 60 other organizations.

Registration information can be obtained on-base at the following locations: Camps Foster, Courtney and Kinser (Marine Corps Semper Fi issue rooms); Kadena Air Base (Reach Center and Falcon Gym); MWR gymnasiums and fitness centers for the Navy and Army. For more information on any aspects of the Okinawa Marathon, contact Yukiko Taba of the Okinawa Marathon Executive Office, preferably before the December 19th deadline @ (098) 930-0088.

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