This is one of the closest races to Yokota Air Base since it is only a stone's throw away from the Aeon Mall out the east gate. There is a big park with playing fields and wide open spaces that the race is run in. We started out the day meeting in the TLF parking lot on the east side and it was really nice getting to sleep in a little longer and not having to leave at the normal before 0600 leave time. After carpooling to the race, where there was plenty of parking, we were helped and greeted by a member of the Yokota/Musashi-Murayama Friendship Association. This race was sponsored by JAA which means strict guidelines such as two bibs that must be on the front and back and lining up in numerical order. All of this would have been fine except it was such a small race with less than 100 runners in the 5k. Even being a small race there were 5 runners running under 16:00 for the 5k and one running under 15:00.
The course is as flat as can be with no hills and is on an out and back course that you do twice. You run out 1.25km to a giant cone then turn around and head back to the starting line and then turn and do the same course again. The first 1.25km went by so quickly but the downfall to the wide open spaces is that you can see the finish line on the way back and it looks so far away. The saving grace was that being an out and back course you could look for all the other Striders to cheer on and help you along. Couple this with our sister running club Sui So Kai running as well and it felt more like a base 5k then a off base run. The kids race ran the same course doing only one loop instead of two.
Overall we had a great time at this race. While it was a small race everyone was friendly and we even had a few Stirders get awards in their divisions. It was nice to do a race and still get home before lunch time. Running with our neighbors may not always make the most scenic races (especially since we see the area all the time) but it is always nice to share in their joy of running and proudly represent the club and base. I think this is a race we will be back for.