I went to the Northern Territories Nosappu Cape Half Marathon over the weekend. I took a micro-bus there loaded with other runners from the Obihiro area. When I say micro, I mean micro. I had to sit in the guide's seat beside the driver because the area between seats was so small that I couldn't sit there. My knees were pressed up hard against the back of the seat in front of me. I thought I was lucky to be able to sit in the front seat until the ride home when, sun burned and tired, I had to ride for hours into the setting sun with no shade or protection of any kind.
The people on the bus were a good natured and jolly sort that loved to drink and razz each other on. I was surprised again, which I shouldn't have been, but they drank all the way to Nemuro, where the race was being held, drank before, during and after dinner, and then opened up cans of beer the moment they crossed the finish line after the race. They kept opening them for a few hours on the way home until the bus started to quite down as they finally dozed off into drunken slumber. But they weren't too bad as far as the drink goes. Even though it seemed they were drinking the whole time and that the race was only an excuse to drink, none of them got out of hand or overly boisterous.
After breakfast we all loaded into our micro-bus which took us to the Nemuro City Hall. There we got on much larger buses that carried us off to Cape Nosappu. Reception and the opening ceremony was held at the cape and then we were able to get back on to the buses which carried us to the starting line. One for the Half and one for the 10k. It was a straight course to the Nemuro City Hall. The course was full of hills and we were running into a headwind. It was hot. 76 degrees. Doesn't sound too hot but it was too hot for me running in the sun. I got a half body sunburn. Most course are out-and-back or loop courses so you get baked on both sides.
All along the way there were people watching and cheering us on. Especially, when we entered Nemuro, the numbers of people cheering us on increased as we made it down the last 4k to the killer hill at the end before entering the round about at city hall.
After finishing you were able to get a drink, some crab soup and some rice balls if you handed in your meal ticket. Inside city hall they were printing out certificates of completion?? with your time on it. There was a closing ceremony, awards ceremony and a lottery. Every year they give a prize to the person who came farthest for the race. Next year, if I go, I'm writing America instead of the town I'm living in. Since I can't place, that's about all I can do to take something home.