MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station residents and Japanese competed together in the 2012 Heat the Streets Duathlon here Dec. 2, 2012.
Takuya Miki won the overall male division with a time of 1:14:51, while Miho Sakane won the overall female division, coming in at 1:29:31. For Americans who placed in the top rankings, Zully Pasindo-Rubio came in third place in the 29 years and under division, running a 1:38:30 and Holly Stroschine placed first in the 30 to 49 years division with a 1:36:27. All three teams who placed, Beegees, MJ’s Parents and The Honey Badgers, consisted solely of station residents.
The duathlon consisted of a 4.5 kilometer run, using the roads around the parade field and Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic, then a 28-kilometer biking portion, which spanned from IronWorks Gym to the station harbor, ending with one final 4.5 kilometer run using the previous course.
The Heat the Streets Duathlon is an annual event sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services Iwakuni to strengthen bonds between station residents and Japanese.
As one of the rare events aboard station that allows a large group of Japanese to participate, the duathlon has proven to be a prime opportunity to create connections between Japanese and American cultures.
“This duathlon is an annual event and a lot of people from out in town really enjoy being on the base and running the event,” said Mai Tajima, MCCS Semper Fit recreation specialist. “They love the American atmosphere and the chance to experience a different culture.”
Ninety Japanese and 32 station personnel participated in this year’s duathlon competition.
While the race takes the majority of the event's time and planning, a bouncy house for children and meal tickets for participants provided ample opportunities for all in attendance to share experiences and make new friends.
“I hear it afterwards, I receive a lot of emails about how there are a lot of events out in town, but this is so much more different, with a lot of the American people talking to the Japanese and taking pictures with them,” said Tajima. “The Japanese do the same thing too. They are so willing to see American people and compete with them in these events.”
With more than 100 competitors and many more who cheered on family and friends, the duathlon has proven to be effective in bringing Japanese on base for the opportunity to build strong cultural ties between the station and surrounding community.