Will You Join the First-Ever Nikko 100km Ultramarathon in Japan?
If you decide to travel to Japan to take part in the nation’s first Nikko 100km ultra, your brain will benefit as much as your body. Why? Because novel, new experiences change the way your brain works. Show up on 2nd July 2017 and see what happens to your mind and body.
What’s your first reaction when you move to a new apartment or find the soul mate of your dreams? How about your feelings when you snag the perfect job or buy the latest electronic running device?
Probably euphoria. Human minds are wired to react dramatically and instantaneously to everything new, and once those brain chemicals are released, memories improve and one’s capacity for learning skyrockets.
How does a sharper brain relate to your interest in running either the premier Nikko 100km or sister event, the 61km? All you have to do is show up in Nikko where new sights, sounds and stimulation are enough to get your brain doing mental gymnastics.
As a result, there’s a good chance you’ll perform at a much higher level physically as well as mentally. Could the PB that has eluded you be possible at this premier ultramarathon? What do you think?
How does this work? A region in the mid-brain called the Substantia Nigra/Ventral Segmental Area (SN/VTA) lights up like the Singapore skyline repeatedly with the introduction of each new sight, sound and aroma.
Just about everything will spark a reaction: surroundings, people, colours, music… even food. This chain reaction is a powerful motivator — and who doesn’t want to be powerfully motivated when a chance to perform above and beyond expectations presents itself?
The Nikko 100km is no ordinary run for myriad reasons
When a recent Tokyo press conference announced Japan’s new Ultra-Marathon World Heritage and Geopark athletic initiatives, officials proposed an ambitious series of ultramarathons that marry Japan’s heritage with the nation’s health and fitness movements.
Few nations have tried so ambitious an undertaking, but organisers believe that their ideas are novel enough to attract international runners curious about this corner of the world and a new athletic challenge.
Among the 2017 ultramarathons proclaimed by Ultra-Marathon World Heritage and Geopark committee members are the Challenge Fuji 5 Lakes, Hidatakayama Ultramaran, Hakusan Shirakawago 100km, Hakusan Shirakawago 100 km, Tango 100 km and Nikko 100 km.
The Nikko has the potential to be the most high-profile and fascinating of all because runners encounter an uncommon number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, temples, shrines and cultural attractions along the race route.
According to event organisers, competitors from all corners of the earth will sprint through majestic mountain passes, lush forests, past sacred and ancient temples and buildings that have attracted visitors for centuries.
“Seeing is believing,” say officials intent upon sharing this Japanese-style religious space with the runners of the world. In fact, one of the objectives of this run is to create a sacred space just for athletes.
What to expect from the Nikko 100km
In addition to the newness and sacred nature of the Nikko 100km, expect plenty of familiar aspects associated with this ultra: Multiple receptions are scheduled for 1st July and 2nd July so travellers aren’t inconvenienced, and competitors will have up to 14 hours to complete the 100km route and collect their rewards.
If you’re not quite ready to commit to a 100km you can still participate by signing up for the 62.195km category that gives competitors 9.5 hours to complete the course and claim an equal number of rewards.
The epicentre of this competition—receptions, start and finish lines--is the Imaichi Motion Park located at 1659 Imaichi, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. Elegant race t-shirts compliments of The North Face will be given to all contestants to commemorate the day.
Those running the 100km will begin at 4:30 a.m. followed by 62.195km racers at 6 a.m. The top three finishers in all divisions will be Nikko stars at the post-race award ceremony guaranteed to pay homage to everyone who undertook this daunting challenge.
10 reasons your brain and body want you to sign up now!
- Japan’s reputation for staging well-organised marathons has grown substantially in the past few years.
- You may never again have an opportunity to see sacred sites on perpetual display along the run route.
- Being part of a first marathon is a wonderful experience because everything is new!
- Your brain will push you forward and motivate you, so your chances for a PB are excellent.
- Meet new people at this unique event, collect e-mail addresses, take selfies and expand your world.
- Only 1500 runners can register for the 100km; once all slots are filled, you’re out of luck.
- Only 500 runners can compete in the 62.195km event; once that number is reached, you can’t get in.
- You still have time to start a respectable conditioning program so you run like the wind in Nikko.
- Race entry pack collection is scheduled for both 1st and 2nd July, so no rush to get your stuff.
- Be the first among a very limited number of participants to step foot in Nikko UNESCO World heritage sites.
What do you think about the scientific theory that new experiences and sensory stimulation are enough to excite the brain enough to improve both thinking and running performance? Are you a believer? A sceptic — or somewhere in-between?