Day 3 in the life of a Japanese mountain runner and I sense the quads are neither a match for the terrain nor my enthusiasm to explore the area. 0-5km was a repeat of run #1 on Friday. No surprise that this time, it felt 20% harder.
Tourists can take the rope-way up to Owakudani peak (1050m elevation) or drive. Sadly the peak is off limits this season due to volcanic activity and ‘dangerous SO2 levels’ (rotten egg gas). This makes sense as there is lots of venting smoke and a putrid odour that gets worse at higher elevation.
So I jumped the fence and proceeded up the 1.2km road. Up top is a ghost town: cable car station (not active), an empty car park and 3 abandoned cafes. Very creepy.
If SO2 runs at lethal levels, it knocks your sense of smell out (which is a red flag). Luckily, the odour was still there after 10 min of exploration. Caution got the better of me and I slowly descended back to Gora. A few more mini out-and-backs saw the distance climb over 16km. Right now, I’d say descending is as hard as climbing.
16.5km at 5:40s with 760m elevation. A very enjoyable albeit reckless adventure.
Tonight, the London marathon is on – good luck to those running it. It’s a fast course but the conditions will be very cold. My race predictions:
– Tom 2:29:00, Barts 2:30:30, Macca 2:40
– Male winner Kipsang to go sub 2:06. Don’t know the female field but sub 2:23 feels right