After last year Kobe city Marathon as a first running experience I did set my 2019 running challenge to participate to the “Hakodate City Marathon” in Hokkaido (北海道).
The race being held in the coolest part of Japan, it felt wise to run it in summer despite the heat and humidity that hit the other Japanese islands at this period of the year.
The modest size of Hakodate city makes it easy to get to and around the city by walk or by tramway, and to the race start included.
My preparation for this marathon was specifically focused on hydration pre-race, during and post-race.
To ensure I get the best experience of the race I selected my best running socks (the ones that have no holes on the big toes), I brought my best shoes; the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo which are recommended for Sub-4 runners ^^, I did cut my toes nails and polished them to avoid any cuts due to rubbing nails and toes.
I drank 500ml of Maurten 320 Drink Mix the eve of the race, then again 500ml prior the race, loaded the pockets of my North Face trail running short pockets with two Maurten Gel 100 and two Medalist Energy Gel as “My survival Boosters to get to the Finish line”. A cycling cap on the head and sunnies on the nose.
After this thorough checklist I had a “What the…!?” moment as I walked out of the room with my hotel’s sleepers instead of running shoes!
To ensure I don’t get too high cardio rate at the sudden start I did run the 3km from my hotel to the race start line as a warm up. I felt it was wise as I could keep my cardio within 155bpm during the whole race despite plenty of hills and a higher pace average compared with my two previous long runs.
Oh well, I wish I had those 3 kilometers of freshness at the end of the race as my legs couldn’t take it anymore the remaining long climbs in the last 10km.
While I started to aim for a 4h30 time when I crossed the “4h30 Runners” with their balloon at a couple of U-turns, I did end up at 4h52min which is now my best time to beat.
With this new experience I feel like I can challenge a sub-4.5 time in a future marathon. The Maurten drinks and gels did help me noticeably especially in maintaining energy and hydration to sufficient level.
Note the fact that I am not paid by Maurten nor affiliated to promote their products and I pay the products their full retail prices to use it so I have no special benefits to write this.
My recovery phase has been particularly faster than previous races. Obviously I am gaining a little bit more experience as I stock up mileage over but as I tried to describe: I am impressed on how good I felt physically after this race.
Overall, I liked the Hakodate Marathon.
It was the best organization of all the running events I participated so far based on my very limited personal running career and the smaller format of the city and numbers of participant helps to keep the everything in walking distance.
A great ambience with local people cheering along most of the course, the beautiful historic city, tasty food and cool temperature (17.7℃!). Hakodate is really a cool place!