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New cross country course opens in northern forest

Date Posted: 2009-08-27

The Hokuzan High School students’ marathon club have been the first to run a new cross country course winding its way through the northern part of Kunigami Village and the Hentona area, and the 650-meter circuit course gets a positive nod of approval.

“Okinawa Prefecture marathon teams have always had a problem practicing in the summer,” says Masami Hamazato. Hamazato, the Hokuzan High School marathon club coach, says “now we can practice here. We don’t have to go outside of Okinawa anymore.” The 650-meter-long circuit course is three meters wide, built in the deep forest area of northern Okinawa.

“Oh, this is a very good course,” said one student running the course for the first time. Soft wood chips are laid along the entire course, softening the blow of anyone with knee problems. Designers say the clean air and scented birch trees and other trees create a therapeutic course. The course is shaded by the trees, reducing direct sunlight and lowering temperatures by 4 degrees. The course was constructed by a volunteer group of local marathon club members’ parents. The project took a month to complete.

The course is free, and open to students, business organizations and marathon teams. It can be used both as a walking course and a cross country track. The Kunigami Village office asks that individuals wanting to use the circuit course first contact the village office at (098)041-2101.

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