Reflecting on the Event! 22km Edition Part 2

From the Suwai Aid Station, about 7km further, we reached the Hosue Aid Station. We regret to inform you that we don’t have photos for the Suwai-Hosue section due to the mountainous terrain.

The Hosse settlement is characterized by numerous slopes both within and around the village. The uphill journey continues from just before the aid station.
At this point, we’ve reached the 11km mark, roughly halfway through the race.

This settlement boasts an astonishing aging rate exceeding 70%, yet everyone here is full of vitality! Consequently, the aid station operation is mainly led by junior high school students. Initially, these modest students hesitated a bit to offer water or suggest beverages, but by the latter part of the event, they seemed more accustomed to the role. Perhaps we’ll see some of these students running here when they become high schoolers! The local residents cheering along the route expressed joy at the lively atmosphere.

Even beyond the aid station, the route continued with more slopes. One of the most challenging sections for runners this time was the last-minute route change due to construction. Adding to the steep incline, there was also no shade!

Nevertheless, many runners posed for the camera, and some even ran while I was capturing moments, making the photography experience extremely enjoyable. A big thank you to everyone!!

As a token of appreciation, I stood at the top of this steep slope, offering words of encouragement like, “It gets a bit easier from here – keep going!” for a moment.

Despite the difficulty, everyone smiled when the camera was pointed their way. As the runners dwindled, I dashed towards the next aid station, Aramachi.

Aramachi Aid Station is located at the 18km mark, leaving just 4km to go. Despite being situated far from the village, there were plenty of people – local women welcomed runners, Oguni junior high students provided support, and it was a lively scene.

And at this aid station, there were pickles and tomatoes!! Surely, this was appreciated by the runners?

Beyond the aid station, at the exit from the mountain path, an enthusiastic group of men cheered.

Further inside, the ladies were cheering too! Truly, Shinmachi is the largest settlement in Oguni Town.

The ladies at the very back would say, “Watch your step!” every time a runner passed. It was heartwarming, just like mothers.

We managed to capture some trail running-esque photos! Thank you to all the runners for your cooperation!

From here to the finish line, only 4km left. The final sprint begins.

Once past Aramachi Aid Station, the course turns into a road, making it easy to spot runners while driving alongside them.

Many seemed quite fatigued, with some even experiencing leg cramps. However, when encouraged, they responded with a confident “I’m okay!” Everyone persevered until the end!

The plan was a straight shot to the finish after Aramachi Aid Station, but on the way, we spotted people cheering, so we took a detour.

First, Oguni Junior High School. Does the route pass through the school grounds?

Next is the Narasawa settlement. The tent had “Tokyo Narasawa-kai” written on it… Looks like many people went to Tokyo. Will they be coming back soon?

Lastly, we visited the Taro Maru & Kamiiwata settlements. This is right near the entrance to the forest park!

It turns out there were many more cheering points than I was aware of, so I was a bit surprised. Everyone cheering seemed to be enjoying themselves.

In the next installment, we’ll finally reach the forest park.

To be continued…

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