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NAHA Marathon
With over 20,000 runners, the NAHA Marathon is the largest marathon in Japan. The route is lined with supporters, many of whom generously offer water, sports drinks, and various kinds of food--including Okinawa specialities. Drummers, Eisa dancers, and other performers create a festival atmosphere, making the NAHA Marathon one of the most enjoyable marathons in Okinawa. I especially recommend this marathon for first-time runners. As with many large marathons, the start of the NAHA marathon is a bit hectic. Slower runners, who want to be with their friends, often line up towards the front, which makes matters worse. For first-time marathoners, however, this can be a blessing in disguise, as one of the most common mistakes is to start too quickly. It's best to enjoy the festive run down Kokusai Street at a leisurely pace. After the five-kilometer mark, you can pretty much run at your own pace. The course itself is not so easy. From the ten-kilometer mark, there is a steady uphill climb and a couple of steep hills. After the 20K-mark, just before the Peace Park, the course is mostly downhill--with just a slight hill towards the end. If you can make it to the halfway point in decent shape, you should be able to achieve your goal.
NahaStart

The hectic start.

NahaMarathon2

Entering the stadium at the end of the race.

NahaMarathon1

What a great feeling it is to finish your first marathon! A big thanks to all the supporters! I hope to run many, many more NAHA marathons in the future.

NahaKansoushou

Here is my Certificate of Completion. My conservative goal was to finish in under four hours, and my "dream goal" was to finish in three and a half hours. I finished in 3:33:39 (chip time), so I was quite happy.