Early spring is said to be the best time to visit Tanegashima, one of the Osumi Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The subtropical island is mostly flat, with the highest elevation only at 282 metres, making it an ideal first race for marathon novices, or for seasoned runners to improve their personal best timings.

Sign up for the 29th Tanegashima Rocket Marathon which will take place on Sunday, 20 March 2016. The event features a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10 km Race, 3 km Race, and a 2 km Family Run.

Starting from the Green Corridor Park in Nishinoomote, full marathoners will head southeast through the elongated island. They will run through the starting point of the half marathon, Nakatane, a town featured in the Japanese animated feature film, 5 Centimetres Per Second directed by Makoto Shinkai. The suburban town has a laidback, nostalgic charm to it, offering runners a simple but refreshing difference compared to other road races.

Take a look for yourself in this marathon course video.

After passing through countryside and Japanese town roads, both full and half marathons will finish at Tanegashima Space Centre, a space development facility established in 1969. This will be the main site and starting point for the shorter distance categories. Fun fact: Pokémon fans may find this place familiar—that’s because the fictional Mossdeep Space Centre in some versions of the game is actually based on this location.

Before or after the race, why not visit the other islands around Tanegashima? A world heritage site, neighbouring Yakushima island is perhaps geographically best known as the largest nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. Nature lovers will also enjoy the lush vegetation which is home to indigenous animals like the red-bottomed macaques and sika deer.

Sign Up Today!

Register online before the application period closes on 29 January 2016.

Entry fees are JPY 4,000 for adults in the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10 km and 3 km run categories, while students aged 18 years and below can sign up for JPY 2,000. Do note that the minimum age eligibility differs across these categories.

Families in teams of three can sign up for the 2 km Family Run for JPY 5,000 and JPY 1,000 per additional team member.

Visit the official Tanegashima Rocket Marathon website for more information and to register online.

Yuyi Lim

Yuyi is pursuing her studies in communications and communities. Now she relishes in the blend of both entities: communicating ideas to this magazine's community. As the lead news writer, her passion lies in helping people find interesting and timely news through the writing she provides.

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