photos by Brian Vernor
A few months back we screened Brian Vernor's film Finding Strong. You can click on that link to watch it in its entirety on the Runner's World site. There is a section within the film where a team of six runners climb and then descent Mt. Fuji on what looks to be some sort of scree scramble of a race. The loose gravel combined with the steepness of the grades make for an exciting looking thrash down the mountain. The feeling, upon watching the film was enough to turn to Brian as the film was out and say "we need to do this."
Here we are, a few months later and the Mt. Fuji Ekiden is a day away. Tomorrow we will head to the team presentations and hopefully (or maybe not) view some of what the course has to offer. In the time between seeing the film and heading over to Japan I have heard many stories about what is to come in the next day or so — the altitude, extremely steep grades, fierceness of the other competitors — so we shall see what lies in store for our small band of merry men.
We pulled together some uniforms, and this should serve as your official sneak peek at what will hopefully evolve into The Athletic running apparel. The socks will be available on the site ASAP and the rest of the kit should follow closely.
We took the opportunity to shoot photos with the light spilling over the Yatsugatake Mountains this afternoon. We scrambled over some log piles and through the tall grass surrounding the home of our host and dear friend Daisuke Yano. His shop — Yatsugatake Bicycle Studio - is nestled neatly under the watchful eye of the mountains and served as the perfect backdrop to showcase our bicycle tanlines. The other runner in the photos is Hiro (Brian was shooting) and together the three of us will make up our Ekiden team. Brian will take the first segment, hand off to myself and wait, I will make my way to Hiro who will then run the sash up the final ascent — get the stamp from the monk at the top before turning around and coming back down. That is where things get weird.
Stay tuned as we visit the glorious Mt. Fuji and participate in the Ekiden.