On 18 October 2015 (7 years ago today!), I participated in a trail run from Atsuta Town to Gokibiru Town and back—30 kilometers. I didn't do it particularly quickly, but I did it, and I think that at the time (as now) I'm more proud of it than I am of the Okhotsk Marathon, which I'd run a couple weeks earlier.
I know that, with time, I'm going to forget the details—so I'm writing them down now to hold on to as long as I can.
It started reasonably early in the morning; we all gathered at the starting line. I’d filled my Camelbak with Aquarius instead of water, and my backpack was full of SoyJoys. I was wearing my green Brooks Cascadia 10s, which I’d gotten especially for this occasion, and which, 800 km later, I still wear sometimes; and my red Salomon backpack, which I still use for bike riding and other light-backpack applications.
I don’t remember feeling outclassed the way that I do nowadays whenever I’ve done a trail running event (Causey Pike, etc). We first ran up a hill, then down the back; then back up the hill and down the front, before a long run along the seafront.
A little while in we came to a layby, where the Gokibiru Sandou started: a steep climb up into the forest and then a long run along a trail heavy with leaves; I guess we were getting on for fall and the leaves were turning.
I don’t remember a lot about the run out to Gokibiru; at one point I had to cross a stream and for some reason it didn’t occur to me that I could put my feet in the water and I faltered while the marshal told me to just run through it. A little ways further on it occurred to me that we were using the trails that maintenance crews use to access power lines.
Further on still I saw the leaders coming back the way they’d gone; I had the presence of mind at least to get out of their way as they came racing down the hill—they had more claim to the trail than I did, by virtue of their raw pace, I figured.
The long descent into Gokibiru was rough on the knees, being made up of rounded-off stones; and then a little loop through the town where, at a set of fold-out tables erected by the elderly of Gokibiru itself, I drank probably more than my fare share of lukewarm Ribbon Napolin before continuing. The glucose would have been really good for me but the carbonation not so much.
The climb back up into the hills was rough and I lost some ground to a guy who’d stuck nearby throughout most of the run; it turns out that he was a photographer from Yubetsu, whose services I’d use a few months later when renewing my passport.
I don’t remember much of the run back. The weather started to turn just as I was nearing Atsuta Town—a light bit of rain. Coming back down off the hill was awful on my ankles, which were just about shot by then. I remember running along the seafront mostly on my own—everyone ahead had taken off, and everyone behind had fallen back. There were surfers out on the sea, I remember: people coming in off the waves and peeling wetsuits off next to Toyota Hiaces with the doors wide open, parked alongside the road.
When I finished—I don’t remember the finish itself—I went into a gymnasium to record my arrival. It took me only 2 minutes less to run the 30 km than it took me to run the 42 km of the Okhotsk Marathon a few weeks earlier. Afterwards I drove back to Asahikawa to be with Sam.
Posts Stream Books Walks • Clear filters
Climbing Naei-zan in Kami-Furano by snowshoe with Sam and a couple of buddies.
My first real trip out to Shiretoko, touring of the Five Lakes district in the late fall.
Climbing Kogane-yama out west with Jordan, padding out the post with a bunch of rubbish about steep dropoffs
Running 10 kilometres in Okoppe.
Random stuff I overheard on The Bus in Honolulu.
Driving over Ukishima-toge on the way back from Asahikawa to Takinoue
Climbing Tokachi-dake with Emma and Oliver.
Climbing Teshio-dake with Tony and Oliver, visiting an abandoned school on the outskirts of Monbetsu.
Driving north from Asahikawa with the windows down.
A brief interlude at the top of the Nissho Pass, driving with Tony down to some event in the southwest.
Skiing at Kurodake and my first visit to the Sounkyo Ice Festival.
A trip on the icebreaking ship Aurora to see the sea ice on the Sea of Okhotsk.
Back to Yamabiko-no-taki in wintertime to see the frozen waterfall.
In Iwamizawa, I experience my first (and thus far only) earthquake, and we drive home through thick snow.
The winter is starting to settle in. I celebrate American Thanksgiving with friends in Monbetsu.
In which the author rambles a little bit.
A belated Halloween party, home from which we took the low roads over the mountain passes.
More urbex at the Kampo-no-yado Sounkyo, a semi-destroyed hotel by the side of the road just outside of Kamikawa.
Konomai, the first time I explored some abandoned infrastructure that marks so much of the face of Hokkaido.
The first abortive trip up Shari-dake, accompanied by a quartet of Kiwis, ending in a mad rush down the mountainside after hours of beating through the wilderness.
Yamabiko-no-taki, my first encounter with a higuma, a drive on a forest road, and karaoke with the Monbetsu folks.
A trip to Nitori, a night in Asahikawa, and a trip to Tenninkyo
Hauling Renyu on a mikoshi through Kamiyubetsu.
Arriving in Japan, Tokyo Orientation, the train up to Yubetsu, and my first days at work.