Who are you and why are you in Japan?
I’m a Kiwi plumber with a penchant for long-distance running. I started on April 1 from the southern tip of Okinawa and I’ve been working my way north, about 50km each day. Hopefully I will reach my goal in Hokkaido on July 8.
Have you ever done such a crazy thing before?
Actually, yes. Last year I wanted to go back home to New Zealand after travelling around for five years, and I decided to literally run home. I then met Nick who’d had a stroke. We joined up and decided to run for charity for the New Zealand Stroke foundation. I ended up running 2,937km over 67 days—60 days of running with only 7 days off. In the end we raised NZ$20,295.
Why did you decide to tackle Japan next?
I have a deep connection with this country. I love the people and I always feel at home here. I have regularly travelled to Japan over the last 18 years, to work on ski fields building mogul courses for stops on the World Cup circuit. I also translate for the athletes when they arrive. I’ve often been to Tohoku, a place I love, so I thought I could run for the tsunami-affected areas and help them somehow.
Are you planning to do something in particular when you reach Tohoku in early June?
I plan to stay for about five days, volunteering along the way. I don’t know any details yet as I’m still learning about where and what is still needed. If anyone knows of how I can help, please let me know via my site below.
Do you have a team assisting you?
No, I have no team. That’s why I’m pushing my trusty buggy along. Everything I need is in there. I’ve had lots of help to get the word out about my run, but I have done all the organizing myself. Right now it is just me and my buggy running up the road. I hope I can find a driver for my van that is waiting for me in Hiroshima. Maybe your readers might want to come along for a few days and help out. It would help make it more fun for me and everyone watching, too.
Was it difficult to put the project together, find the sponsors, etc.?
My idea for the project is to get people to come and join me, so I just tell everyone I meet every day about it and ask them to tell their friends, too. I will stop to say hi to anyone and would love for people to walk, ride a bike or run with me at any time. Fun and smiles every day are very important to me. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. I need people and their support to make it all the way. For sponsors, I just talked to friends, got ideas of what I would need and who could help me, and then wrote hundreds of emails and talked to people. Luckily they believed in me and my idea.
More info: www.jupbrown.com