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Kumejima Marathon
The Kumejima Marathon is probably the most highly evaluated marathon in Okinawa--and with good reason. The course is the flatest in the prefecture; water stops are offered every three kilometers (spectators also often offer water); and the scenery is stunning. In addition, all participants receive a t-shirt (or two), a bottle of awamori (a strong Okinawan liquor), and discount tickets to Bade Haus (the local spa, which is a great place to visit AFTER the race). Participants from outside the prefecture receive an additional gift. Awards are given to the top three finishers in each age group, and with fewer than ten runners in some groups, even average runners stand a good chance of winning. Click on any of the photos below to start the slideshow.

With only 364 runners, you can run at your own pace. The 7:30 a.m. start means no heat.


The best scenery starts at the 20K point. The course goes past the ocean for a 10K loop, then joins the half course.


This is as close as I'll ever get to winning! Even so, it was nice to pretend.


Sightseeing after the race


A shot of the island from the plane on the way home


My 3:28:46 time was a PR and my first time under 3:30. I was strong up until 35K, but then I crashed.