Friday, November 1, 2013

Kumejima Marathon, part 1: Getting there

With this being our last year in Oki, it's time to make my wish list into a bucket list.  One thing I've wanted to do since arriving here was an off island race.  I thought about doing Iheya's Moonlight Marathon but the lodging situation didn't sound fun with toddlers (I read that most runners end up camping out in the school's gym because there's not enough hotel rooms).  Instead we settled on Kumejima (beautiful pics like this one floating around Pinterest certainly helped the decision!)

The logistics of the Kume trip stressed me out (fly or ferry? how to get tickets? hotel or camping? where to eat?).  I didn't hesitate when I heard IACE travel has a package specifically for the marathon.  With Isaac still considered an infant at 2 years old (no airplane seat, no meals, no bed), we paid about $250 per person.

Landing at Kumejima

We flew from Naha to Kumejima Saturday morning.  Our hotel, the Cypress Resort, was a quick shuttle bus trip from the airport.  I originally wanted to stay at the Eef Beach hotel because it's within walking distance of the start but using the island's bus line was very easy.

View from our hotel room

The bus schedule was mailed with the number card.  Unfortunately, it was all in Japanese but not too difficult to figure out.  (Here's a copy of the schedule to Google translate.) The left column was the pick up location, the departure times were listed in the middle columns (the bus ran about once an hour), and the final column was the fare.  For us, a trip from the Cypress hotel to the packet pick up was 370 yen each and the kids were free.  Although I wasn't entirely sure which stop was packet pick up, I just followed the people in running shoes off the bus  lol

Bus ride along the marathon route

Race morning, there was a free shuttle bus at our hotel.  After we finished the half, the regular bus wasn't schedule to arrive for another 40 minutes so we decided to splurge on taking a taxi back to the hotel (about $25)

Taking our duallie BOB was interesting but not too hard.  We checked it with our bags at the airport and the staff wrapped the stroller in plastic bags before loading it on the plane.  Although the shuttle bus was a little small, Chris was able to bring the BOB on board.  Race day we were able to fit the stroller in the bus's bottom cargo area and it fit into the back of the taxi.  (And we didn't actually ask if strollers were allowed in the race but no one stopped us from running either.)

Sugar cane fields at sunset

Typhoon Francisco cancelled the rest of our island plans, like snorkeling at Hate-no-Hama.  And to make it easy on the kids, we only ate at the hotel's restaurants (both Japanese and American breakfast foods, amazing shabu-shabu!).  I'd love to go back again next spring or summer for a proper sightseeing trip!

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