Where do you fit on the sibling order within your family? Are you the first, eldest, achievement-oriented kid? Perhaps you’re the second born wannabe who tends to be more relaxed and mellow because your older sibling has already established dominance.
Then, there’s the third; the child who must fight for parental attention already claimed by those who came before. In fact, by the time a third offspring meets the world, parents have “been there and done that,” having already been engaged in two earlier science experiments.
We cite this reference because it’s easy to compare marathons to child rearing for myriad reasons. A first year’s run is an exercise in newness, experimentation, hope and even naiveté. By year two, there’s a heritage in place, snafus have been addressed and organisers likely feel confident.
When year three rolls around, everyone is comfortable enough to power through - and in fact, make improvements — which is exactly where organisers of the Miyajima Marathon find themselves in 2017 when this event flags off on 2nd April at one of Japan’s most romantic spots: Miyajima.
That’s where Charlotte and Oliver are heading. Why not join them?
When Charlotte met Oliver
Charlotte and Oliver first ran into each other on a Singapore park connector trail a few years ago. When we say “ran into each other,” you can take that literally. Immersed in music (Charlotte) and a spellbinding book (Oliver) blasting from headsets, a collision was portended by the gods because she carried plasters in her pack and he cut his knee when he hit the ground. It was a romance made in heaven. The two are ambitious, funny and sensible. Oliver’s mum has been waiting patiently for her third child to meet someone special.
Had his mum read “Birth Order Effect for Couples” written by Brit Cliff Isaacson, she needn’t have been worried. Isaacson’s careful, pioneering research resulted in this conclusion: “Two third-borns make the best couples” because “they relate without conflict, there’s a lot of humour and they make a protective environment for their children.”
Neither Oliver nor his mum knew it, but Charlotte was a third-born, too. So when Oliver noticed that the Miyajima Marathon would take place in Japan as spring arrived, he knew it was serendipity. A romantic place. A third year. Oliver put into play a scheme to propose marriage!
You might spot his proposal
You may or may not run into Oliver and/or Charlotte at the Miyajima if you sign up for the 15km (there’s a 5km, too, but our romantic couple intends to make it a real race), but if you happen to notice a guy with a bent knee sliding something onto a girl’s finger during that event, a little privacy, please. That said, if you run with a camera, how can you resist?
It’s anybody’s guess where Oliver plans to propose. He considered doing it at the race entry pack collection site on 1st April between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., but we have it on good authority that he was warned by his running mates not to propose on April Fool’s Day!
But since there's a second collection time on the morning of the race between 7:30 and 10 a.m., that could work out. On the other hand he may find a quiet corner of the Miyajima Junior High School to ask Charlotte to marry him, since that’s where this popular race begins and ends.
What to expect (in addition to love in bloom)
Sign up for Miyajima Marathon 2017 using the convenient Spacebib sports marketplace and then head for an airline consolidator to compare direct flight rates available to either the Hiroshima or Iwakuni Kintakyo Airport. Both China Eastern and Air China offer flights, though you will be required to make at least one stop before you get to Japan.
Buses, trains, taxis and private limos can be booked to get you to your accommodation, so whether you want to get your race over before relaxing, or touring this beautiful area of Japan is just what the doctor ordered to keep you calm beforehand, fill your itinerary with everything time allows, including wonderfully-preserved shrines, monuments, parks and temples. Don't miss seeing this UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Itsukushima Shrine.
Claim your entitlements — a race bib, e-certificate, commemorative towel (it’s a hand towel for the 5 km) and timing chip — and get to Miyajima Jr. High School early enough to shake off your pre-race jitters. The opening ceremony will be held at 9:45 a.m. and the 15km Nordic Run kicks off at 10:30 a.m.
For those seeking a slower pace, the 5km Nordic Run starts ten minutes later at 10:40 a.m. An award ceremony will be held at 12:10 p.m., but if you’re still finishing up, you’ve got another 50 minutes to cross that finish line.
Why you should run the Miyajima
If being in Japan - where spring and love are in the air - isn’t inspiration enough, perhaps this event's pedigree may impel you to participate. The Miyajima Marathon is sponsored by an organising committee with the support of the area’s Municipal Board of Education, which is how the venue came to be a school track. And everything is conducted under the auspices of the Japan Amateur Athletic Federation, which is why the age range of runners is expansive, including elementary students whose guardians permit participation.
Only 1,000 runners can sign up for the 15km, at which point the participant limit will be capped, thus waiting until the last day of registration (17th March) may not be the wisest move, since all of the slots may be filled by then.
The same is true for the 5km participant cap, but you won’t have to worry about that if you make your arrangements immediately at Spacebib.com. And feel free to bring the love of your life to the Miyajima to cheer you on!
Do you believe that people have soulmates? Care to share your tale about meeting "The One" when your running passion plays matchmaker?