Our group, Unit Souzou, was located at about the 5-mile mark, at Fremont and NE 7th Avenue. Once the race started, we eagerly awaited the first runner. We heard the crowd down the street before we saw him, and we made sure we had already started to play when the leader came sprinting into view.It was fun to see all kinds of runners come by. Some of them seemed happier to see us than others. (Not that I blame the runners who just breezed by us. I’m not sure I would have managed more than a thumbs-up myself!) As we reached the mid-pack runners, there were more waving and cameras pointed at us. We were supposed to be the ones there to encourage the runners, but we also felt encouraged by the runners to keep playing strong.
If you’ve ever played or seen taiko, you’d know that it is an incredibly physical art form that requires stamina and energy. I used my runner’s math to estimate that we would be playing for about an hour and a half, possibly longer due to the nature of this race. That is a very long time to be playing taiko with minimal breaks. I took a quick break to peel off some layers and get a sip of water, but that was it. I definitely drew on my long-distance running endurance to keep myself going!
As we got toward the back of the pack, after over an hour of performing, our energy was starting to drain too. Afraid that my body would betray me, I started yelling even louder to try to compensate. The nice thing about fewer runners is that we could give more individual support. I made an effort to look at individuals, directing my energy. We did drum rolls, crescendoing as runners came by us, doing our best to see through this to the end. We played until the very last runner was past us, followed by an efficient train of event vehicles.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this race! I hope that you enjoyed our encouragement, energy, and entertainment. It was an honor to be a part of this event.
Are you interested in trying out taiko?
It’s great for runners! Do you never get around to cross-training, even though you know it’s good for you? Here’s a fun way to do it! Obviously, it is a good upper body workout, but if you are doing it right, there is also a great focus on using your core. And since you probably already know something about perseverance and pushing yourself, you’re already ahead in some ways.
Join us for the Intro to Taiko Workshop on Monday, June 1st, 6:308:00 pm! This workshop is designed to accommodate absolute beginners; no experience is necessary! Visit the Unit Souzou website for more information and to sign up on-line.
Are you interested in having Unit Souzou perform at your event?
You can visit the Unit Souzou website to learn more about the group, or email unitsouzou [at] gmail.com for booking inquiries.