The Yamathon is a fundraising challenge where teams of three or four people compete to walk or run through Tokyo visiting all 29 stations of the famous JR Yamanote train line in under 12 hours.
They say that charity begins at home, and if your home is in or around Tokyo, then the Tokyo Yamathon is an excellent place to start. The Yamathon, organized by the International Volunteer Group working in conjunction with Oxfam Japan, is a 12-hour race beginning and ending in Yurakucho by way of every station along the Yamanote train loop, all to raise money for charity.
Unlike a marathon, there will be no road closures along the 50km route, so for safety reasons, teams are limited to a maximum of four people and will have to rely on cunning and craft as they navigate the Tokyo city streets. Also unlike a marathon, there is no fixed course, with the only stipulation being that you must hit every one of the 29 stations along the way to avoid disqualification.
Think you know Tokyo? Put your knowledge to the test. New to the area? Take this opportunity to discover parts of the city you are unlikely to otherwise stumble upon whilst helping a good cause.
The inaugural Yamathon was in 2010. Over the past years, it has seen over 1000 people take part, raising millions of yen for Oxfam Japan causes including relief efforts for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Tohuko earthquake and the East Africa Appeal.
First, you need to find two or three accomplices willing to put their bodies on the line for charity before heading to the Yamathon website. You should pay the initial fee and you can then begin collecting your donations. This can be done in the old fashioned way of collecting cash in the workplace or using an online collection form such as Justgiving.
Yamathon is a race, but many people will be there for a day out, with all ages from children to the elderly taking part. So whether you run, walk or saunter, as long as you are well prepared for weather eventualities and wear sensible footwear, it should be a fun challenge that assists in international efforts to reduce poverty.
By Mark Guthrie
Photo: www.tokyo-yamathon.com – modified