In the first blog where we catch up with runners taking part in any of the six World Majors, we hear from Mike who is making the trek out to Tokyo later this month.
Which World Major are you taking part in?
Tokyo, February 25th, 2018
Running in any world major is a fantastic opportunity and something of an ambition. As is common amongst many runners, I enter all the ballots in hope rather than expectation. I usually forget I even entered until the email lands in the inbox. On the day I received the Tokyo email, I had been up early and was at the airport heading to Isle of Man for work. I scanned the email, expecting to see the usual 'unlucky message'. I couldn't believe it when my place was confirmed! My initial reaction was one of disbelief and shock. Then it hit me......this will be expensive!
There are plenty of opportunities to run a marathon near my house, without the travel expense! I also thought long and hard about how best to approach this with my long-suffering, yet supportive wife. We have a toddler and my wife is pregnant with our second. There was no way I could afford for 3 of us to travel and the flight wouldn't be fun with a 2 year-old, but the selfish runner in me wanted to go! it would also mean being away from my wife on my birthday and for one of our baby scans! This wasn't going to go down well. Thankfully, as she always does, she encouraged me to go and is behind me 100%, she knows what running means to me and how important it is to me. In her absence, my mate is coming as he loves to travel and has never been to Japan. He's not a runner, but I signed him up for the International Friendship 5k the day before. Mainly because instead of a medal, we receive a face cloth for our efforts :)
How easy did you find it getting a space?
350,000 people enter the ballot, 35,000 get a place! It was an opportunity of a lifetime and one not to be missed, I couldn't turn it down. This is the first time I entered the Tokyo ballot, so I feel very privileged.
How has your training gone so far?
Training was going great until I picked up a grade 1 calf/achilles tear in early January. This should only really be a two week set-back, but it's come at a crucial time for getting the long runs in and now I'm convinced I'm feeling all kinds of phantom injuries!
What are your expectations for the race? How are you feeling in the build up to it?
I've heard that there is a great atmosphere throughout the course. Locals come out in their thousands and make a lot of noise. it will be surreal seeing one of the world's busiest cities closed off to traffic. I just want to enjoy the race, a PB would be nice but training hasn't gone fully to plan.
The build up will be nice as we explore Tokyo and discover some of the local culture. we land on the 21st (my birthday), so will have a few days to soak up the atmosphere and get over the long flight. After the race, we head to Kyoto and Nara for a few days.
Are you aiming to complete the full set of World Majors?
Tokyo will be my first major. It is an ambition to complete them all. I'm not setting a deadline, as gaining entry can be the hardest challenge and I would like to try and do as many via ballot or GFA as possible.
We hope to follow someone running all of the World Marathon Majors this year so if you're running one of them then get in touch on email@example.com. We'll find out how Michael gets on in Tokyo once complete. Good luck Mike!