Japanese marathon exchange team return home

Joy Love, from sister city Bellingham in Washington, USA, and Port Stephens runners Wesley Mail and Kevin Atkins with Tateyama high school students.

TWO local runners are back from Japan after participating in the international Wakashio Marathon in Tateyama, a Port Stephens sister city, on 28 January.

It was the first sister cities sporting exchange following a three-year suspension due to COVID-19.

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Wesley Mail, 21, of Corlette, completed the full 42km marathon in four hours, while Kevin Atkins, 75, of Shoal Bay, ran the ten kilometres leg in 71 minutes.

The runners, who had not been to Japan before, were home-hosted for five days and looked after by the City of Tateyama and the Tateyama International Exchange Society, the counterpart of Port Stephens’ Sister City Committee.

The Port Stephens team were joined by Joy Love, a participant from sister city Bellingham, USA and together they took part in a program of cultural activities and events.

“This was a tremendously successful event and we hope to organise it again next year,” Nigel Dique from the Port Stephens Sister City Committee said.

Interested parties can contact the committee on 0423 024 819.

By Simon EKINS

Kevin Atkins crosses the Wakashio ten kilometre finish line.

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