Every nation has a distinct dance style that shines a light on the society’s culture. In Japan, Kabuki dance-dramas have been performed since the 1600s. America was the original home of rock and roll. If you’re a student of Singapore dance, you’ll recognise the word “Tokyurisha” as part of our region’s history.
But the world stage has shrunk to bring cultures together in so many ways, it may not surprise you that the Tango, Argentina’s national dance, has had an expanded reference since 2000: The Tango is also a 100km Ultramarathon staged annually in Japan where the secret to success has nothing to do with the sultry, slow and romantic South American dance.
In fact, in Kyoto, Japan, it’s all about seeing who makes it to the finish line after either a gruelling 100km slog or an equally daunting 60km event. Sound like your kind of dance? Keep reading!
Registration is open
It’s easy to keep track of the anniversary of the International Friendship Tango 100km Ultra because this event has been held in Kyoto since the year 2000.
But if you’re a believer in double-digit luck, this year’s race — staged on September 17/17—may be the one that celebrates your landmark victory over mental and physical exhaustion.
Registration is currently on pace with previous years, so if this early fall event appeals to your sensibilities, you’ve only got until July 24th to register at Spacebib.
A word to the wise: Don’t put off registering. Tango participation in the 100km is capped at just 2,600 competitors and only 1,400 people can run the 60km before capacity is reached.
Reasons to make September in Japan your goal
If bragging rights don’t impress you enough to join the Tango competition, perhaps these incentives will convince you that missing this ultra is going to hand you big regrets. Here’s why:
- You’ll have just 14 hours (9.5 for the 60km) to finish your run so the chance to test your stamina won’t come along again any time soon.
- Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to compete at this beautifully organised race and you will be in excellent company as other ultra-athletes show up to challenge you.
- You’ll be flagged off at either Amity Tango (100km) or Kumihama Hama Park (60km) before travelling a legendary route that offers few terrain challenges yet exposes you to breathtaking scenery.
- Attend the ultra’s high-profile opening ceremony on the day before the race to celebrate your participation and absorb all of the excitement that has preceded this event for 16 years.
- Receive a North Face Tango t-shirt to show the world you participated in this daunting ultra.
- Attend the post-race award ceremony as an enthusiastic finisher. Run your heart out and you could be one of the top 6 finishers in your division!
Getting (and staying) there is half the fun
Travelling to Kyoto is a breeze and takes less than 7 hours by plane from Singapore, so you can arrive in Japan in plenty of time to get settled, see the city and take your usual conditioning run to get the lay of the land.
Need navigation help? Spacebib fills you in on how to get to start lines by shuttle bus or train and there’s even information on car parks.
Your route will take you north of Kyoto where mountain passes and a variety of terrains offer just enough diversion to keep you going with a full head of steam. And since this annual event is a bronze label IAU-certified ultra, you can count on competing against some of the most skilled long-range runners on the planet.
On average, at least 10 nations are represented at the Tango every year because athletes know that Kyoto does a super job of organising things. With each year, more competitive long-distance runners join the party, and with each year that passes, the Tango’s reputation attracts more international competitors.
Make it a Runcation
Travelling to Japan for this event is just the excuse you need to take a runcation in this lush city where the hospitality, people and sites are sure to charm you. Taste the food. Plunge into a hot springs bath. Run the historic friendship route that’s seen so many runners overcome personal obstacles to endure from start to finish.
Race organisers are mindful of the fact that not everyone can get to Kyoto to pick up their race packs on the 16th, so there will be two early morning check-ins at Amity Tango and Kumihama Park for your convenience on race day.
Chances are, your September calendar has yet to be fleshed out, so do yourself a favour and claim that weekend for yourself. Since you’ve lots of time to condition properly over the summer, you can turn your wish into action and find out for yourself why athletes keep returning to the Tango where memories and personal bests are made!
What is there about running an ultramarathon that intrigues, challenges and attracts you? Is it the endurance factor or are you out to prove something to yourself that’s beyond the physicality of these daunting races?