|Mt Kongo, south of Osaka - seen from Katsuragi-san|
35km, 2,000m of climb and descent on fast runnable paths (22 miles / 6,000ft) 2012 winning times: men 3.14.45 (439 finishers), women: 4.44.18 (83 finishers), veteran men over 45: 3.59.12 (307 finishers). Total finishers: 829 (1016 starters).
|One of the last groups of 50 to start|
|Full of people on race day - keep to the sides|
|Mt Katsuragi 968.9m - good views from the top but not much to look at|
Having checked the course makes it seem to pass more quickly in the race. It also taught me that on the uphill stepped sections it was often quicker and easier to find trods through the trees to one side. One way or another I was passing people all the way, and feeling good in the fresh sunny conditions.
|A concrete and dirt road leads up this valley towards Mt Kongo, 1,125m|
|Steep stone steps around half-way - tricky when full of nervous joggers and walkers|
|Gentle joggle checking the second half of the course, with bear bamboo|
|Run me, run me...|
|The final ridge SW from Mt Kongo|
|Most of the course seen from the East|
Later the results and an unusually tasteful race shirt arrived (no sponsor's logos, hooray!). I finished in 4.31.18 for 13th in the V45 race from 371 starters (7th V50 if they had that category), which overall was 60th from 912 men starters.
The Mt Kongo Climbing Challenge Race takes place in early April - enter in advance through Sportsentry. For race organiser's website click here (Japanese)