Amateur runner-up Fraser Morrison who traveled from Singapore to take in the race, said it was “absolutely fantastic, technical , interesting, and fun. You couldn’t get a better environment than this. It’s exactly how you’d imagine Japan to be, exactly, the clouds and the trees, the friendly people and the fantastic food.”
Beyond the race itself foreigners and locals alike were treated to amazing hospitality, stunning scenery, and phenomenal meals.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to see – traditional Japan, this was it,” said Kelsay. “Eating whole fish head-to\-tail and everything. The resort is amazing, the culture is fascinating, and the people are friendly and inviting.”
The field was also stacked with the best Japanese amateurs in the country, including former age-group Xterra World Champions Kimiko Matsuda and Keiji Matsuba, former Xterra Warrior award winner Tae Yoong Kim, Saipan Pro Mieko Carey who won the women’s elite race for the third straight year, and a host of others.
After the race participants were treated to a feast of noodles and curry, succulent beef and pork, and specialties like tomato soup prepared by the property manager “Mr. Kawata-san.” The nighttime awards ceremony was filled with joy and big prizes , and the slideshow at the end featured some brilliant photography showcasing the beauty of the host environment. A taiko-drum band and their dancers kept everyone’s heart rate beating high through the night and got the crowd swinging their arms and legs to the beat.
1 Conrad Stoltz RSA 2:18:25
2 Will Kelsay USA 2:19:41
3 Takahiro Ogasawara JPN 2:27:43
4 Michael Hiscott GBR 2:29:51
5 Paul Davies GBR 2:49:47
1 Mieko Carey JPN 3:00:25
Race recap provided by Xterra.