Fukushima trio show thanks with 13,000-km Paris-Tokyo marathon

Kyodo

Three men from Fukushima Prefecture arrived in Tokyo from Paris on Thursday, completing a yearlong transcontinental marathon to thank people around the world for helping Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

The three, who ended their run of thanks at Tokyo International Forum, are Kenichi Hatori, 71, his son, Akihito, 28, and Takenobu Sugama, 50, all from the city of Sukagawa.

“The marathon was to show our gratitude for the support our country received after the big disaster, but people from around the world instead gave us cheers,” Hatori, chairman of used car dealer Gulliver International Co., said after reaching their goal.

The trio left Paris on June 25 last year for the roughly 13,300-km run, which took them through 14 countries, including Japan. They were accompanied by a support vehicle bearing a banner in English and French thanking people for supporting Japan.

They ran an average of 40 km per day and rested one day a week. After traversing Europe and most of Asia, they arrived in Beijing on July 6 and crossed over to Japan. Leaving Sapporo on July 10, they hopped from Hokkaido to Honshu by ferry and headed south for Tokyo, passing through Fukushima.