Yokota runners warming up for 25th annual ‘Frostbite’ races
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The field is taking shape for the 25th annual Yokota Striders Frostbite Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race, which unfolds Jan. 15 at the Yokota High School gymnasium parking lot.
Organizers say more than 10,000 runners and guests are expected at this year’s event, considered one of Japan’s most prestigious races. The race entry deadline is Dec. 31.
A 2K Children’s Fun Run for ages 5-12 is set for 9 a.m., followed by the adult 5K at 9:30 a.m. and half-marathon at 10:30 a.m.
“This race is special,” said Senior Master Sgt. Teresa Holmes, the public affairs chairwoman for the 2006 Frostbite Race. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the military member’s fitness level alongside international runners, with the convenience of being on a military installation.”
Each year, participants come from as far away as Okinawa to compete in the Frostbite, she said. A Japanese magazine called “Runners” named it one of the “Top 100 races in Japan.”
Sixty individual awards are up for grabs in 20 divisions. Door prizes also will be handed out in special categories such as craziest costume, oldest and youngest runners, and longest distance traveled to compete in the race.
All competitors receive a free sweatshirt for entering the Frostbite. Officials said the event would not be canceled by rain or inclement weather.
The course layout will require several detours and road closures around Airlift Avenue, Yokota High School and the Par 3 golf course from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on race day.
According to its Web site, the Yokota Striders Running Club has interacted with the Japanese community for more than 24 years. It was founded by running enthusiasts who enjoy racing, an occasional beer and seeing the country.
The private organization, which also hosts the Ekiden Run on base each June, donated more than $35,000 to Yokota schools, scholarships and other base activities last year, Holmes said. Most of that comes from proceeds generated by the Frostbite Race.
“Our intent is to give back 100 percent of the proceeds minus our yearlong operating costs,” she said. “I believe we give a significant amount back to the community.”
An application and information about the Frostbite Road Race can be found on the running club’s Web site, www.yokotastriders.com.
Schedule of events
Gates open/close: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Registration: 6-9 a.m.
Opening ceremonies: 9 a.m.
2K Fun Run: 9:10 a.m.
5K Road Race, Male: 9:30 a.m.
5K Road Race, Female: 9:35 a.m.
Half Marathon Road Race, Male: 10:30 a.m.
Half Marathon Road Race, Female: 10:35 a.m.
60 individual awards in 20 categories.
Specially engraved trophies and commemorative embroidered Strider merchandise.
Award ceremonies will be held as follows: 2K at 9:30 a.m., 5K at 11 a.m. and half-marathon at 12:30 p.m.
Awards not claimed on race day will not be mailed.
5K Road Race and Half-Marathon: 4,000 yen ($25 for SOFA-status participants).
2K Children’s Fun Run: 2,000 yen (free for SOFA children ages 5-12).