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Marathon run for tsunami survivors

Nobuya Fujiwara, Remi Hamamoto, Shota Izumi, Soma Miura and Taito Miura.
Nobuya Fujiwara, Remi Hamamoto, Shota Izumi, Soma Miura and Taito Miura.

Three young Japanese men will put the drama and tragedy of the Japanese tsunami behind them to compete in this weekend's Gold Coast Marathon.

Brothers Taito and Soma Miura and friend Shota Izumi are from one of the areas worst hit by the Japanese tsunami this year.

Taito said he narrowly escaped tragedy.

“The rattling of the earthquake was like nothing I had ever experienced,” Taito said.

“And then came the tsunami.

“I saw a five-metre wave coming towards me and just managed to get to safety. More than half of the town went under.”

Unfortunately his relatives and many of his school friends were not as lucky.

They are still missing.

And Shota does not know exactly what happened to his grandfather.

The three boys, from Minami Sanriku, also lost their homes.

Shortly after the disaster Nobuya Fujiwara, who lives near Tokyo, said he saw the devastation on television and felt he wanted to do something.

“I saw people's lives in the city return to normal, doing their own thing, and I thought, ‘this isn't good'.”

So he rode his bike to Minami Sanriku – a distance of 350km – over a week and slept in a tent along the way.

Mr Fujiwara met the three boys in early April at an evacuation centre and encouraged them to run in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon with the hope a lofty challenge would keep them occupied.

Taito said there was confusion about daily life and whether school would open.

“There was no word from school,” Taito said.

“We didn't know what to do and Mr Fujiwara said, ‘let's do the marathon'.”

They raised money by selling T-shirts on the internet and faced many difficulties training among the devastation.

“We ran in the mountains and ran every day unless it was raining really hard,” he said.

Mr Fujiwara and the three boys arrived in Australia on Thursday and return home next Thursday.

Soma will compete in the Southern Cross University 10km run today while his brother and Shota will run the half marathon tomorrow.

Topics:  japan, marathon, survivors, tsunami, tweed heads



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