Normally feel a bit peckish during an ultra-marathon? Then stop for some udon noodles, six times!

The origins of the modern marathon allegedly come from the run made by the messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians, after which he is supposed to have died. Had he thought to stop for noodles en route to top up on delicious energy, maybe it might have been otherwise. Presumably that’s the thinking behind the 60.7-kilometre (37.7-mile) ultra-udon marathon held in the city of Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture, which bills itself as “the udon prefecture”.

The event, which was held on March 4 this year, is officially called the Ultra-Udon Maranic, merging marathon and picnic. The runners seemed altogether lacking in wicker hampers and tartan blankets though so they obviously didn’t have the leisurely type of picnic in mind as they raced from restaurant to restaurant. 35 runners, men and women from near and far, attempted the brutal blend of slippery carbohydrates in the form of the local speciality, Sanuki udon, and running about for knee and willpower-punishing hours. The goal was to complete the course, slurping down at least a half-size portion of the noodles at each of the six restaurants, with the finishing order unimportant. The marathon wasn’t looking to set any high-speed records either with a suitably lax time limit of ten hours in which to finish the course.

▼ Ready, lunch set, go!

Some Japanese netizens speculated about the danger of udon noodles coming back up and out, and also wondered whether the finishing line was a giant udon noodle stretched out for the occasion.

While bananas might be more usual energy-boosting marathon fare, clearly there must be something in the udon in Kagawa Prefecture, especially seeing the effect they seemed to have had on the local Kagawa mascot, Udon Brain, at a different event.

While this was the first Ultra-Udon Maranic, let’s hope its not the last. The requirements for participation are that runners are over 18 years old, in relatively good health, and have a love for udon. While everyone here at SoraNews24 qualifies, we’re more of the sitting-on-the-sidelines-shouting-support-while-tucking-into-our-second-lunch-type of guys and girls, so we’ll just have to cheer you on. And if the event becomes a little bit better known, maybe so will roving gangs of Friezas. It wouldn’t be a race in Japan if there wasn’t at least someone cosplaying.

Source: Ultraudon via dqnplus
Top image: Gahag
Insert image: Wikipedia/Opponent