YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — It takes a special type of person to willingly don running garb and race 13.1 miles in the middle of winter.

But that’s exactly what more than 7,000 runners did Sunday, braving the blustery cold weather of near freezing temperatures to take part in the annual Frostbite Road Races at Yokota. Roughly 3,000 people had come to watch.

Kouno Youichi placed first in the half marathon, the main event of the day, with a run time of 1:08:37.

In what looked like a scene from an outdoor music festival, hundreds of tents and blankets were spread out over the immediate area as families geared up for the day's events and did their best to stay warm on a windy day with temperatures in the 30s.

The hosts helped keep the mood festive and went so far as to have a dance group lead the runners in Latin-inspired dance moves to reggaeton music to get them warmed up.

The race began with the 2K Road Races and was followed up by the 5K and half marathon races.

The top three male and female finishers in each age group received medals, and the top three male and female finishers of each race received trophies.

As is the tradition at the Frostbite, many participants wore costumes, including a man decked out as a lobster and running with a belt pack of speakers playing music.

First-time Frostbite runners Tim Bickerton and Chris Dunn, first class petty officers stationed aboard the USS George Washington at Yokosuka Naval Base, enjoyed the costumes.

“One guy was running in a full plastic samurai suit,” Bickerton said. “It was amazing, I don’t know how he did it.”

The two sailors said they began training for the event months earlier while their ship was on deployment .

“It definitely lived up to the Frostbite,” said Dunn. “The flight line (portion) was brutal... It was really rough.”

Dunn said that he and Bickerton did lots of aerobic cross training, and were proud to achieve their goal of finishing.

“It’s definitely not a race as far as I’m concerned,” said Bickerton. “It’s something to say, ’Yes, I did it. I finished.’”

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