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More than 17,000 visitors including 7,700 runners attended the Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race.

More than 17,000 visitors including 7,700 runners attended the Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

More than 17,000 visitors including 7,700 runners attended the Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race.

More than 17,000 visitors including 7,700 runners attended the Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

Some of the runners wore costumes during the race.

Some of the runners wore costumes during the race. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

This year Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race had the largest crowd ever in the race’s 27-year history.

This year Yokota Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race had the largest crowd ever in the race’s 27-year history. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

Tanaka Kouji crosses the finish line, winning the 2008 Frostbite Footrace Half Marathon. He finished with a time of 1:09:08.

Tanaka Kouji crosses the finish line, winning the 2008 Frostbite Footrace Half Marathon. He finished with a time of 1:09:08. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

Mike Raney crosses the finish line finishing first among SOFA status runners in the 2008 Frostbite Footrace Half Marathon.

Mike Raney crosses the finish line finishing first among SOFA status runners in the 2008 Frostbite Footrace Half Marathon. (Bryce S. Dubee / S&S)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Even though cold weather made sure the race lived up to its name, it didn’t stop thousands of people from descending upon Yokota for the Frostbite Footrace Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race.

More than 17,000 visitors — including 7,700 runners — came out for the races, the largest crowd in the event’s 27-year history, according to Master Sgt. Thomas Petterson.

“It’s always a pleasure to do this race,” said Petterson, president of the Yokota Striders, the organization which coordinates the event. “It’s organized chaos at its best.”

Planning for the Frostbite began roughly six months ago and involved more than 550 volunteers, said Capt. Yvonne Pacheco, the Striders’ secretary and public affairs representative for the race.

Setup for the course began two days prior, she explained, adding that volunteers were out at 4 a.m. on race day, “getting ready for the gates to open and the crowds to descend.”

New base commander Col. Jeff Newell took in the race for the first time.

“I was surprised by the size of the event,” he said. “Despite that we’re one week out from a [unit compliance inspection], we’ve still got hundreds of volunteers who gave up a part of their weekend to help out.”

The morning began with a 2-kilometer “fun run” for children followed by the 5-kilometer road race and finally the half-marathon.

“It was a good, fast course, with perfect weather, except for the cold,” said James Campbell, a dependent from Yokosuka Naval Base, who ran the half-marathon for the first time.

Campbell was one of 75 Status of Forces Agreement runners who participated in the Frostbite. And while many of the SOFA runners came from Yokota, the race’s popularity has grown so much that runners travel from other bases to participate.

“It’s a great feeling just to be here,” said Airman 1st Class Kristoffer Chacon, who drove with some friends from Misawa Air Base.

“I heard that people were coming from Okinawa to be here, so I figured why not?” he said.

Chacon said that he heard about the Frostbite online and thought it would be a good warm-up for next month’s Tokyo Marathon, which he plans to run.

And how did he feel about the weather, coming from snowy northern Japan?

“Some people kept saying how cold it is,” he laughed. “But no, it’s really warm here.”

Top timesTimes for the 2008 Yokota Striders Half Marathon and 5K Road Race

5K Male (Overall)

Negishi Jun 15:32Sasaki Akio 16:04Nakamura Fumihiko 16:095K Male (SOFA)

Erik Odom 26:12Alex Beard 29:02Jeff Beard 29:04Half-Marathon Male (Overall)

Tanaka Kouji 1:09:09Kouno Youichi 1:09:44Hirasawa Kenichi 1:12:18Half-Marathon Male (SOFA)

Mike Raney 1:15:21Matt Thomas 1:17:37Bradley Cordts 1:23:535K Female (Overall)

Tsuchida Yuu 19:12Namiki Mai 19:33Miyano Mari 19:365K Female (SOFA)

Marisa Quinones 24:43Aiko Breamer 26:06Miranda Beard 26:32Half-Marathon Female (Overall)

1. Hashimoto Chikaru 1:25:002. Sasaki Hisako 1:25:353. Takeda Midori 1:25:50Half-Marathon Female (SOFA)


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