Extinct theropods take over Unesco World Heritage Site for a race like no other.

A lot of trends from America have caught on in Japan, and one of the most recent is the T-Rex race. Since it first appeared here in April 2022 about 40 events have taken place, and as more and more people discover the sense of fun and stress-relief that comes from donning a bright T-Rex costume, the event has been steadily growing in popularity and regularity.

Our reporter K. Masami has long been wanting to take part in a race herself, and she got the opportunity to do that recently in her home prefecture of Nara, when an event took place at Heijo Palace, an ancient imperial palace that is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

▼ The only thing she needed to prepare before the event was the 1,800-yen (US$11.89) participation fee and the all-important costume.

Event participants are able to rent a T-Rex costume when they take part, but Masami wanted to own hers, so she bought one on Amazon Japan for 4,399 yen. It came complete with an air pump for inflation, so when it arrived on her doorstep, she took it out to the venue a few days before the event and stepped inside it for a practice run.

▼ A literal practice run.

The outfit was easier to get into than she thought it would be — all she had to do was step into it, zip it up, and attach the pump to the hole under the left armpit, essentially blowing herself up to dinosauric proportions.

She’d never worn a costume like this in her life, and she was happy to find that it was light and easy to move around in. She could see clearly through the plastic window in front of her face, and although her stride length was slightly shortened by the outfit, she was able to walk in pretty much the same way as usual.

After her practice run, she felt more confident about participating, but when the day of the race arrived, it was pouring with rain. Though the organisers had announced that the event would be cancelled in the event of heavy rain, the downpour was deemed to be dino-safe, so she gathered her spirits, grabbed her costume, and her photographer friend to take photos, and headed down to the venue.

The day may have been gloomy, but the atmosphere certainly wasn’t, because when she took her place in line with the other colourful dinosaurs, she could sense the excitement in the air. They were even enthusiastic about the rain too, as she overheard comments along the lines of, “This’ll make for an even better memory!” and “This’ll be a great experience.”

▼ This was one happy bunch of dinos.

There were dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and abilities present, and it soon became clear to Masami that the goal of the get-together wasn’t necessarily to win but to simply participate and have fun. This realisation lifted a weight off Masami’s shoulders, and she really began to get into the spirit of things, even laughing loudly at herself in the costume as she snapped photos from inside it and walked with her dino friends to the race venue at Suzakumon Square.

It was really pelting down now, but Masami was nice and dry in the T-Rex costume, which acted like the best raincoat she’d ever worn.

▼ Life would be seriously brighter if everybody wore these in the rain.

Masami’s friend snapped the following photos and videos of Masami, whose bright orange costume blended into the crowd of dinos. One of the biggest laughs from both participants and onlookers came when the dinosaurs took part in a spot of Radio Taiso to limber up in preparation for the run.

▼ Scroll through to see more photos and videos of the T-Rex gathering!

After the warm-up, the competition began, with races split up into categories like adult males, adult females, older adults over 60 years old, and children. Masami, who describes herself as someone with zero athletic ability, lost her race, but she was able to cross the finish line without falling in the rain, and had plenty of laughs doing it, so in the end she felt like a winner.

After two hours of races in the increasingly heavy rain, the top T-Rexes were eventually declared and awarded with prizes at a fun ceremony. Then it was time for everyone to strip off their dino suits and return to their human forms.

After it was all over, Masami felt strangely happy and basked in the afterglow of her dino experience for the rest of the day. It was a lot more fun than she’d anticipated, and, as it turns out, highly addictive, so she’s glad she bought the dino suit instead of renting it, because now she’s stepped into the word of T-Rex racing, she’ll be returning to race again another day!

Related: T-Rex Race
Photos © SoraNews24
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