Department of Tourism
Grand Rivers Marathon Attracts Japanese "Ecomarathoner"
GRAND RIVERS, Ky. – An internationally known Japanese “eco-marathoner” is among more than 340 runners who have registered to compete in the fourth annual Land Between the Lakes/Grand Rivers Marathon, set for Saturday, March 10, starting at 6 a.m.
Hajime Nishi, 58, of Tokyo, has been traveling around the globe to raise environmental, humanitarian and peace awareness through his unique style of participation in marathons. The Kentucky race will be his 511th marathon.
The event includes simultaneous 23K, marathon, 60K ultra marathon and 50 mile trail runs. The races will start and finish in Grand Rivers with the bulk of the running on the Canal Loop Trail in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
Runners from more than 20 states are among the field for this year’s event. About 100 runners competed in the inaugural race in 2004. Last year’s races attracted 200 runners from 14 states. The event is sponsored by the West Kentucky Runners Club and the Grand Rivers Chamber of Commerce.
Nishi is the author of Ecomarathon Data Book, an international marathon guidebook that rates each event for environmental and runner-friendliness, among other criteria. Nishi’s unorthodox approach to marathoning includes stopping to take pictures, interacting with the crowd and savoring the ecological experience of the run. His goal is not to complete the race in the fastest time.
Nishi has run seven marathons in each of the seven continents in 168 days in 1997, prompting the Guinness Book of World Records to create a new record for him: the fastest time to run marathons on each of the seven continents. In 2000, he became the first non-North American to complete marathons in all 50 U.S. states. He aims to run 1,000 marathons in 250 countries.
The chair of the race is Steve Durbin of the West Kentucky Runners Club, email email@example.com. Photos are available at www.wkrc.com.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.