Have you ever wondered how sake, the aromatic Japanese rice wine, was made? Pay homage to the beverage’s origin, Takayama, a place abundant with water from melting snow that flows to the Toyama and Niigata prefectures, known for rice harvesting. In its golden age, there were as many as 56 unique prospering sake breweries, but now seven traditional breweries are still proudly producing their signature drinks today. This unique Japanese location is also home to the Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon, a fascinating trail run overlooking spectacular sceneries.
Kicking off on Sunday, 7 June 2015, the ultramarathon’s 4th edition will be held in where else but the city of Takayama, in Giju prefecture, Japan. Having assembled at the Hida Takayama Big Arena, 2,000 stoked 100km runners are expected to set out in two waves at 4:45 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. while the remaining thousand 71km runners will flag off 15min later.
The course will be lined with kilometre markers every 2.5km, arrows indicating when to turn and message boards and, depending on the length of the race, will be equipped with three to four first aid stations. Runners can also pace themselves using the water stations set up every 4-5km as a gauge.
At the outset, runners will wend by quaint old towns at the 3.5km mark, before bracing the uphill run for over 30km. Upon reaching the highest point along the ultrarun route at 1,345m, the exhausted athletes will be rewarded with the best view of the Hida mountains, or Northern Alps, a Japanese mountain range which spans across Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures. Colloquially known as the “Japanese roof”, the breathtaking view is best in clear weather, making the summer run an excellent choice.
Runners will then face a long descent and test their endurance through smaller elevation deviances before victoriously crossing the finish line and earning their well-deserved finishers’ medals and certificates. The top 6 finishers in each race will be presented with overall awards, and the top 6 in each age category will also receive age-group awards. While the awards ceremony are ongoing, enjoy the hospitality of the Takayama community in the finishers’ festival rife with Japanese food and drinks stall.
Registration Is Open!
Entry fees are priced at 18,000 JPY for the 100km event and 14,000 JPY for the 71km course. You’ll get an original marathon T-shirt too. Race packets will be sent 2 weeks in advance to participants residing in Japan, but international participants can pick up theirs the day before the ultramarathon at the Hida Takayama Big Arena.
To qualify, participants must be 18 years of age or older on race day and must have entered a qualifying marathon prior to this ultramarathon.
The registration period is open from 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015, or till the capacity is full—which appears to be soon!
Time is ticking, so don’t wait! Register online today at the Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon official website! Do also check out what else to see and do in Hida Takayama for a running holiday you won’t forget!