A “Japan Times” article by writer Masami Ito tackled the sensitive topic of Japan’s treatment of women over time, citing 21st October 1970 as the birth of the women’s liberation movement (ūman libu). According to Ito’s article, Japanese women worked hard to overcome centuries of stereotyping by men. But once women took their rightful places in Japanese society, there was no turning back.
The prime minister even introduced a law encouraging an increase in “the percentage of corporate female executives to 30-percent by 2020.”
It’s about time, says Japanese Sociologist Chizuko Ueno! She even uses a running term to describe her wish for the future: “One day,” she declared, “I hope to hand over the baton of feminism to the next generation.”
Hand over the baton? How appropriate — because running has become a major equaliser of the sexes in Japan, and a super reason to travel here to compete in the 7th annual Shibuya-Omotesando Women’s Run!
This race is both fun and fashion-forward
It’s a delicate dance these days. Women want to be seen as strong, smart and equal, but they also want to be perceived as feminine, which is why it’s so fitting that the Shibuya-Omotesando Women’s Run takes place in the centre of “Tokyo’s fashionable Shibuya district.”
The name Shibuya originated with the Shibuya Station, the buzzing hub of activity associated with one of Tokyo’s most highly-trafficked railway stops.
The Shibuya-Omotesando Women’s Race will celebrate its seventh year in 2017. To mark the occasion, vehicle traffic will be diverted so around 5,000 avid female athletes, showing up at the start line dressed in their most fashionable attire, can show off their strength and personal bests on the morning of the 26th.
Organised by a consortium of entities that include the Omotesando Women’s Run Executive Committee, Shibuya Ward Athletics Association, Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai, Jingumae District Town Council Alliance and R-bies Inc., this race is no ordinary event and you can find out why by visiting and registering at Spacebib.
Women everywhere are invited to show off their talent
The Shibuya-Omotesando Women’s Run is open to every 18+ year old woman on the planet. But no matter where they come from, each one is invited to bring her attitude, ambition and trendiest wardrobe separates to this 10km marathon, where the first wave of runners will set off in style at 9 a.m.
There will be several cut-off points, as contestants race through this very fashionable community in hopes of medaling.
Even the scenery is exceptional. The run starts at the Yoyogi Park Amphitheater, continues through the Shibuya and Omotesando neighbourhoods and then competitors run past the Meiji Shrine, Nishisando and Yoyogi Park West Gate, before returning to the Amphitheater.
For an extra measure of luck, this happens to be the 7th year this race is staged, so if you’re superstitious, this race could bring you glory!
Because only 5,000 women can sign up — and because there is a finite number of slots for Japanese citizens and women from abroad — it’s incumbent upon anyone eager to be in the company of so many fierce women to register early so they are given a lucky bib number and race t-shirt at the pickup location beforehand.
Awards are given to the first six finishers as well as the top six runners in each five-year age group.
7 reasons to put the Shibuya-Omotesando Women's Run on your 2017 run list!
- Because the Shibuya/Omotesando route is vehicle-free; there’s no traffic to dodge as you strive for a personal best!
- Because 26th March is the only day of the year that runners are given access to the Meiji Shrine, situated in a breathtaking park in the midst of Tokyo’s city centre. You’ll experience the bliss of running through this power spot in the fresh morning air, a special privilege Meiji Shrine grants only to this important race.
- Because you want to meet women runners from around the world at the 7 a.m. meet-up and then share opening ceremony festivities with them.
- Because you can use Tokyo’s futuristic transport system to get you to JR Harajuku Station and then walk to the venue in less than 15 minutes, where changing facilities and lockers are available to stow your stuff.
- Because proper hydration is a priority for race organisers, thus water and sports drinks will be available before, during and after the event.
- Because you can bring your cheering squad; designated areas for friends and supporters will be set aside just for your crew.
- Because you’ve never seen Tokyo (or Japan for that matter!) so what better way to experience this magical city than by being part of a magical gathering of women?
Do you believe that gender-specific races are beneficial or do you prefer to compete in gender-neutral events where both sexes are divided into categories, yet there’s plenty of socialising in-between races?