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  • Tokyo 2016 ambassador sails into Los Angeles on Earth Marathon


    03/11/09

    Tokyo, 11 March - Tokyo 2016 Bid Ambassador Kanpei Hazama - Japan’s most famous comedian - sailed into Los Angeles today after completing a 70-day, 12,710-km journey across the Pacific Ocean. The crossing formed the second leg of Hazama’s historic Earth Marathon, a 36,000-km (23,000-mile) test of endurance in support of Tokyo’s Bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the heart of Japan’s vibrant capital city.

    Following his arrival in the US, Kanpei and his crewman, Keisuke Hiki, met the media in Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach today for a press conference broadcast to millions of Japanese viewers by Nippon Network Television (NTV).

    Earth Marathon began on 17 December 2008 and passed through the heart of Tokyo on 28 December.  Hazama set sail from Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture, on 1 January to begin the second stage of his epic journey on foot and by water. After undergoing a medical check-up and recovering his “land legs”, he will begin the third leg - a superhuman 4,800-km run across North America from Los Angeles to New York City which includes a stop in Chicago. Hazama will then set sail for Europe in June.

    Reflecting Tokyo 2016’s emphasis on the Olympic spirit of friendship and respect, Hazama’s route – which will see him cover 50km per day on land and a total of 16,000km on water - is taking him through the 2016 Candidate Cities of Chicago and Madrid. He will also visit Copenhagen on 2 October 2009 to demonstrate his support for Tokyo 2016 as the host city for the 2016 Games is chosen at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session and Olympic Congress.

    Kanpei Hazama, Tokyo 2016 Bid Ambassador, said: "I have finally arrived in Los Angeles after 70 days of sailing! I will never forget this city because of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games and the excitement they generated. As a Tokyo 2016 Bid Ambassador, I would like to use this Earth Marathon to inspire everyone to help bring the 2016 Games to Tokyo."
     
    Hazama's arrival in Los Angeles also marks the launch of the 'Run With Kanpei! Project'. He will be passing through countless cities, towns and communities as he makes his way to New York and encourages everyone to join him for a stretch of the trip. From running club and school athletics team members to seasoned marathoners, wheelchair athletes and enthusiastic amateurs - all are welcome.

    Kanpei Hazama added: "I will shortly be running 4,800 km across America to get to New York City, and I am looking forward to meeting people from all over the country on this stage of my journey. Why don't we run together?"
     
    Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO, Tokyo 2016, said: "Tokyo 2016 and all of Japan is wholeheartedly supporting Kanpei Hazama on his incredible journey. He is an inspiration to us all, persevering under the most gruelling conditions without ever losing his trademark positivity and sense of humour.  We are exceptionally proud that he is a Tokyo 2016 Bid Ambassador.
     
    "By promoting international goodwill and inspiring people in Japan and around the world to engage with sport and healthy living, Kanpei embodies the values at the heart of the Olympic Movement and Tokyo's Bid to set the stage for heroes in 2016."
     
    Hazama's exact time of arrival in each town on the third leg of Earth Marathon will not be determined until he approaches each city. Those interested in joining him are asked to check the online event schedule for details: http://earthmarathon.ning.com/events. The website offers real-time updates on Hazama's progress, links to his location on Google Earth, regular photo updates and an English-language blog. More information about the 'Run With Kanpei! Project' can be found at http://earthmarathon.ning.com/page/run-with-kanpei

    Thousands of people around the world are following Hazama on his fantastic, globe-spanning test of endurance. 'KANPEI Earth Marathon Supporters Club' -  http://earthmarathon.ning.com/ - is a social networking service launched in February for anyone wishing to offer him encouragement.
     
    Kanpei Hazama's Earth Marathon itinerary:
     
    17 December 2008                Depart from Osaka
     
    28 December 2008                Run through the heart of Tokyo
     
    31 December 2008                Arrive at Kamogawa, Chiba (Japanese city on the Pacific Coast)
     
    1 January 2009                     Leave for US by yacht to cross the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles
     
    March 2009                           Arrive in Los Angeles, USA
     
    March 2009 - June 2009        Run from Los Angeles to New York City, via Chicago
     
    July 2009                               Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal having sailed from North America
     
    July 2009                               Run across Europe, via Madrid
     
    Before 2 October 2009          Arrive in Copenhagen ahead of the IOC Congress
     
    After 2 October 2009             Depart Copenhagen for the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China
     
    February 2011                       Arrive at Qingdao, China
     
    February 2011                        Sail to Kagoshima, Japan
     
    March 2011                            Complete the Earth Marathon in Japan
     
    An experienced runner and sailor, Hazama has participated in more than 70 marathons and ultra marathons including the renowned Hawaii Honolulu Marathon, the Greece Spartathrone 246km race and the 560km Tokyo-Osaka event.
     
    Earth Marathon URL
     
    http://www.earth-marathon.com/en/about/index_en.html
     
    Throughout the challenge, blog updates and approx. 2-3 minutes of video footage are being uploaded to the website every day.


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