On Sunday 18 June 2017, 12 keen Narukami taiko players got up before sunrise to support Wellington’s running community in the Wellington Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and kids mile/fun run. Our goal was to provide the runners with motivation to keep going. The Wellington Marathon became the sister marathon of the Senshuu International Marathon in Sakai in 2016. We performed for the marathon for the first time in 2016 too and loved it so much that we got out to support the runners again.
We were positioned in two spots this year, 2 kilometres from the start/finish line near the TSB Arena on Queens Wharf and close to the turn around point for the half marathon in Evans Bay. The team at Queens Wharf started our first lot of drumming at 7:30am for the marathon, then again an hour later for the half marathon and then it was drumming for 4 hours straight as each subsequent race came through.
We played a mixture of drills and songs to encourage the runners. Many of them showed their support for us as well. Some danced as they came past us. Others clapped for us. Most got a smile on their face and boosted their pace as they came around the corner to where we were set up.
There were Japanese runners in the races who smiled and gave us the thumbs up as they came past too, including a guest runner from Wellington’s Sister City, Sakai, and the Deputy Head of Mission for the Japanese Embassy.
This performance is a fun performance for us to do as it doesn’t need us to do anything more than play beats. The drums can be heard from a long way off, according to the runners, and are apparently good motivation. It makes us feel good to get good feedback from participants even if it does require us to consume several coffees throughout the day. It’s a really inspiring opportunity for us all.
Drumming for the marathon may also be inspiring one of our drummers to think about taking up running… watch this space.