Chill in Tokyo

In 2 days. This aging body is expected to cope with sub 10 degrees Celsius for 5 consecutive days. And on race day, the temperature is predicted to fall between 2-6 degrees with a chance of rain too. Some would think nothing of it. Some would even welcome this. But for me, with a certain ill contempt, I am SO not looking forward to the chill....

Between 1999-2001, I spent 2 years of my paediatrics training in Dundee, Scotland. Most would naturally think of Lochness, Kilts and Scottish bagpipes....But I recall only the penetrating chill that greeted me every morning. It was not until late 1999 that I realized that I had Hashimoto Thyroiditis and the resultant hypothyroidism. It finally dawned on me that my intolerance to cold had a medical basis.

I was started on thyroxine and have been on it since. Yet my fear of cold had never quite left me. Somehow, one would think that in a state of euthyroid, the symptoms would have disappeared. With constantly humid and hot weather in Malaysia, this theory could not be properly tested. But I found out about this (the hard way) when I was in Korea a few years ago, the winter proved too much for me to bear....

Anyway, the race is still on. Whether I like it or not. It is so easy writing about it now in my air conditioned room with a temperature of 20 degrees...I just hope I can cope when it really matters.

And to compound the matter, I have just read that the flu epidemic in Tokyo is at it's peak at the moment. That could complicate matters especially when we have a race on 26 Feb. With most of us arriving on 23 or 24 Feb, there is enough time for any virus to incubate. I could only hope that with all the warm outfit that I am bringing along, coupled with loads of vitamin C, I could evade the dreaded influenza. Well, there is a clear scientific basis to this. Your immune system is at it's weakest when you are hypothermic. That leaves you very prone to communicable diseases like influenza. So, zip up that coat, glove the hands, cover up the head and scarf up the neck, (and if you are even more paranoid, wear a surgical mask), you're going to have to make sure you stay healthy until race day!

Anyway, the Tokyo Marathon is one of my favourite races. It's no surprise that I naturally sign on for this year's race when I found out that SCHKM would be 3 weeks earlier. Plenty of time to recover, compared to last year's experience when they were just a week apart.

The route is the same as last year's. With very few elevations. It promises to be a fast, flat and fun course. With 35000 strong FM participants, the sheer number could only be matched by thousands of spectators lined through out the whole 42km stretch. All cheering you on! And this is not even including countless performances, drums and dances along the way. It is nothing short of a celebration in the heart of Tokyo. All in all, it's an experience, no doubt, that would leave many runners coming back for more. At least for me, it did.

As for target time, it would be unrealistic to attempt sub 3 this time. Not physically fit enough to even contemplate it. But I would be very very happy to produce a sub 3:15. It will be icing on the cake as it should qualify me for next year's Boston. (They have raised the par to sub 3:15 qualifier for my age category in 2013)...All this, provided that I am well enough and able to cope with the cold on race day!

We will just have to brave the weather, literally. And find out what manner of men or women we are, when it matters.

Will update the event soon after.....


  1. I have the utmost confidence that you'll ace the sub 3:15 :-) All the best Francis, looking forward to reading about your run when you get back.

    Happy Feet

    1. Haha! Thanks Nick for the vote of confidence. But I am at the mercy of many other factors on race day. But no pressure! Will try my best! :)

  2. I can't imagine running with my body fully covered with clothes as well as wearing surgical mask. Whatever it is, I hope you would get your 3:15 target and have a lots of stories to tell. All the best!

  3. The mask is for public places. Not for races.
    Thanks! Will do my best!


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