Well, just as I was suspecting, I found out a couple days ago that they finally decided to cancel the 2011 Nagano Marathon. It is understandable given the disaster Japan is still in the early stages of recovering from — many other types of large gathering events are being canceled or toned down out of respect of the suffering people of northern Japan. The Nagano Marathon posted the following notice as to why they planned to cancel the event:
…Many citizens from Nagano City as well as Nagano Prefecture are participating in the rescue activities in the disaster area. Thus we cannot secure enough people who are indispensable in supporting the operation of the race such as security, medical support, and volunteers. As the organizing committee, we decide that even if we held the race, we would not be able to carry out a safe and effortless operation…
I thought it was a pretty good explanation and who could fault them. Also, not all was lost as the entry fees for the race were donated to the victims of the disaster.
…We will also donate the total entry fee of 76,270,500 yen – almost US$1 million – (from 8,973 runners) as a contribution to the disaster area. As stated in the participation rules, we cannot reimburse the entry fee to each participant, however, we will send the T-shirt and number card to everyone in the end of April. The finisher towel, staff uniform, and staff cap will be sent to the disaster areas as relief supplies…
As you can imagine, there are probably a lot of disappointed runners who have been training for months to run this event. Also, in Japan, you need to register for these races many months ahead of time, so it is not like the runners will be able to easily find another marathon to run. I looked for other potential marathons in Asia as a possible substitute race, but couldn’t find anything reasonable. There seems to be a number of marathons in Korea, but very few of the races had web sites in English and it appeared the registration had already closed on the races I would be interested in. I thought maybe I could run a half marathon in Yokohama that was scheduled on the same date, but when I called, it was also canceled.
So, the next question is what to do. The Nagano Marathon was less than a month away and my training was going well and I felt I was in good enough shape to legitimately put together my “A” race and qualify for Boston. After exhausting all viable options, I don’t think I have any choice but to downshift one gear and begin focusing on running some shorter races. Since there is no marathon in site and it will begin getting warmer, there is no need to continue to put my body through the ringer and risk injury.
I’ll probably run a fall/winter marathon, with my eyes set on either the New York Marathon (if I get in by the lottery) or Kobe Marathon in November. In the meantime, I’ll look for some half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks to run to keep the running sharp over the next few months. In a future post, I will outline my training plan that I intend to do until my fall marathon training cycle. The key is to stay motivated, healthy and sharp during the next few months so when the fall marathon training cycle does begin, I will be able to build upon my current base fitness.
As disappointed as I am that all this training will be for not, I can certainly understand why the decision to cancel the race was made. I’m old enough to know that life is unpredictable and we just need to accept it and move on — it’s all part of the good Lord’s plan!