Only 14 days passed by since my last competitive trail race in Ibaraki Prefecture. Excited about my latest results that have been positive to my taste, I was ready to toe the line again this week-end!
A 42-kilometer trail running race, part of the OSJ Trail Running Race Series sponsored by Power Sports, was waiting for me. Honestly, the race profile looked quite scary, with two big climbs and descents around Mount Ontake, as I prepared my race plan during the week. Quick parenthesis: the area is called the “Japanese Alps”, which made the prospect of running well even more attracting.
Going really sore into this event, mainly because I have not been able to sit around and rest for the last two weeks, I still managed to finish the race in 03:36:38. Overall, I ranked 17th among the 273 runners; but more importantly I ranked 2nd of the Sub-30 age category!
It all started with a 600m D+ climb where I decided to go slowly as my legs where definitely not in race mode. I was passed by quite a few runners that I was sure to catch up later in the race. On this dirt mountain road, the podium headed off like crazy bullets. I lost sight of those three pro-runners after probably 3 kilometers into the race.
As the sun was slowly burning us, I arrived on top fresh and ready to hammer down to Ontake Lake. Having improved my downhills since I arrived in Japan, I managed to catch up two runners – i.e. among them an ex-Olympic triathlete if I understood well the opening ceremony.
Going up again for a bit and finally making the final descent to the lake, we passed near the finish line! Honestly, I have to admit that it is really hard to be halfway into a race and see the finish line just there.
Quite tired at this point in time, I ran the 2-kilometer flat section slowly, which enabled the two guys that I passed earlier to start the most difficult climb of the race with me. We ran together for most of the ascent, but got separated at one of the aid stations.
Finally, we finished the race with a big descent that destroyed my feet. However, I could pass three guys in the process, so I am not going to complain about it. As I reached the line, I decided to head directly to the bus eager to go and shower!
Next race is actually quite far (i.e. on October 19th.) I’ll be running a 34-kilometer trail race sponsored by Raidlight. In the meantime, I’ll be resting as my parents are making their way to Japan next week.