With anticipation growing for the 2016 Tokyo Marathon on February 28, ONE TOKYO is hosting a sporting event to lead up to the big day for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls alike.

For those who might cringe at the idea of running for a gratuitous amount of time, those competing in the marathon and looking for a warm-up, or recreational runners who don’t plan to participate in the Tokyo Marathon this year, the Friendship Run is a good option. Participants can have a taste of “going the distance” without enduring the difficulties that marathon runners experience.

This easier and low-key 5km run is suitable for runners from 6 (if accompanied by someone older than 16 years of age) and up. Foreign athletes of all walks and types, and those hesitant to use that title at all, are able to apply directly through the website. ONE TOKYO encourages people to bring their friends and family, and bond with other participants and make new work-out buddies along the way. The 27th Friendship Run is a more relaxed and care-free event sans the intensity of the Marathon, but has all of the booths, good food, and live entertainment.

Eligible runners will pick up their numbers at the Panasonic Center on February 27 from 9:00 to 9:30 am; the opening ceremony begins at 10:15 near the Symbol Promenade Park, and the starting gun fires at 10:30 am. Runners will reach the finish line (on their own time) at Tokyo Big Sight. Wrapping around Odaiba, the waterfront route will be scenic with Tokyo’s cityscape across the bay – though the ocean breezes may make for a chilly event. “Rain or shine,” the Friendship Run will be carry on as scheduled, for the first 1500 people who apply to join the competition. There is an emphasis on the fun at the Friendship Run, with no clock for checking the time – it’s not a race!

Those looking to take in the festivities and cheer on the runners are welcomed, but please leave the car at home, as parking will not be available.

You will have to race to get your name on the list prior to 5:00 pm January 30, as spots are filling up fast.

Tokyo Marathon Friendship Run

When: Saturday, February 27, 9:00 am

How much: ¥3,000

More info: https://onetokyo.org/static/index/pageid/friendshiprun_entry2016en

Tokyo Marathon HP: www.marathon.tokyo/en/info/outline/

–Natalie Jacobsen