30th Annual Frostbite Road Race runs well

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Christopher Love
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Nearly 7,000 runners and another 3,000 spectators braved the brisk winter air for the 30th Annual Frostbite Road Race here Jan. 16.

The race affords a unique opportunity to develop the friendship between Yokota Air Base Airmen and its Japanese hosts, while the proceeds support a number of private organizations at Yokota AB.

Though most of the runners are Japanese, the Frostbite's acclaim has grown such that this year it also drew runners from England, New Zealand and Switzerland, along with about 150 from U.S. military bases throughout Japan.

Beau Veazey, the president of the Yokota Striders Running Club and the host of the annual event, commented on what gives the race such widespread appeal.

"The Frostbite is ranked among the top 100 races in Japan for many reasons," he said. "First, it's very flat. In a country where most of the races are going up and down mountains, the Frostbite is a very fast course that enables many people to run their best time. Second, the race takes place on a military base, which is a huge draw for our host nation. And third, the race is surrounded by a fun, friendly atmosphere."

The day's activities included a number of different races: a 5K, two different 2Ks, one for children and the other families, and a half marathon.

The time and effort required to host any race on scale with the Frostbite is immense, Mr. Veazey said. 

"Being on a military base doubles that amount, since one not only has to plan for normal race items but also to coordinate with many different groups around the base," he said. 

Mr. Veazey called this year's race a huge success and attributed the results to the support that came from on- and off-base groups, coupled with the combined effort of some 350 volunteers who staffed various jobs on the day of the race.

Despite these months of preparation and the more than 13 miles involved in the final course, the race was over in a flash -- at least for some. Kouno Youichi, the first place finisher in this year's half marathon, completed the course with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 37 seconds, averaging around 5:12 per mile.