Virtual Tokyo Marathon

As the pandemic began, live events around the world were canceled and marathons were no exception. Luckily for them, the virus landed under their “acts of god” clause in their contracts, so they didn’t need to issue any refunds. But they had to adapt to the situation, just like everyone else and all other companies in order to stay in business.

In lieu of being able to do physical marathons, many organizations began to host Virtual marathons, and many of these virtual marathons were free or significantly cheaper than doing them in person. To run them, you needed to download a GPS tracking running app, like Strava, and record a run with the same length as the race within the correct time period.

These virtual marathons became so frequent and so cheap that throughout 2021 I was running one nearly every weekend. In 2018, I set a new personal record in distance having run a total of 367km in official races over the entire year. I spent nearly $1000 doing this, too. In 2021, I ran 365.6km in all of my races combined, only spending $200. This was an absolute godsend, even though my race times weren’t nearly as good.

The Tokyo Marathon was a race that had been on my bucket list ever since I started running in Japan. Every year I applied, but every year, I was unable to win the entry lottery for general entry. Much like all other marathons, it had been canceled in 2020 and pushed to 2021. Then canceled again and pushed to 2022.

Finally, this year, the Tokyo Marathon was finally held again, but only for the elite and career marathon runners. There was no general entry. To make up for this, they added an online component. Anyone who had general entry in the race could participate online for free. Additionally, the general entry became open to everyone for 5000. This was finally my chance! Not only that, I only had to run a half marathon rather than a full.

On March 5th, in the yet still snowy country-side, I ran my half marathon and completed the race. The app was very cumbersome, and I wasn’t really sure if my time actually registered. But today! I got my medal in the mail.

Perhaps it is not a legitimate Tokyo Marathon medal, but it is good enough for me! Now it can join the club with all of my other marathon medals.

Thanks to Virtual marathoning, I could continue having motivation to run and exercise during lockdown. Running in the fields and the forests of the countryside have been an excellent break from being online 24/7.

In addition to the Tokyo Marathon medal, I've gotten a few more medals from Virtual races. Now I have so many that my medals have outgrown the box that I was keeping them in. It took some searching as I drove around to various antique stores, but I think I found the perfect box as my marathon medal collection's forever home.