Forget the Internet (for a moment): Running to communicate across cultures

We are unified by many things.  Through the Internet, of course, which provides freedom of access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  We need only look to the daily news for stories about global communication through digital means.  However, we shouldn’t forget how common passion is another great unifier and cause for communication.  The power of global communication through a shared love of the same activities and events, as well as the opportunity to forge longstanding relationships over continents and oceans, is hard to beat.

A photo of Ohme 10&30K Road Race, as covered by local media

A great example of this: a couple of weeks ago the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) sent over representatives to Japan for the Ohme 10K & 30K Road Race.  This is a big deal.  The road race (held just outside Tokyo) is part of a longstanding exchange program between the BAA and the Ohme Road Race, which is sponsored by the Hochi Shimbun, a major Japanese daily sports newspaper.  The program dates back to 1976.  This spring, the BAA will host a Japanese delegation here in Boston as part of the exchange.

Entertainment at the 2011 Ohme Road Race's opening ceremony

Along with Olympic hopeful Jason Lehmkuhle, our fearless leader Peter Morrissey represented the BAA this year as part of his service on the BAA’s Board of Governors, (they ran the 30K and 10Ks respectively).  Lehmkuhle ended up winning the 30K in a sprint finish, the first American to do so since Greg Meyer in 1983 – the year Meyer also won the Boston Marathon, the last American to do so. During the Race’s opening ceremony, Peter spoke on behalf of the BAA to approximately 1,000 people about the exchange, the oldest in the BAA and running community’s history, as well as the result – mutual friendship and international experiences shared by both parties.  (Special mention is due to Yoshibumi Honda, of the Race’s organizing committee and Masuru Otake, of the Hochi Shimbun for their exceptional hosting job this February.  Both have been to Boston as well).

Ohme Road Race runners, including the BAA sponsored Lehmkuhle (front left), 2011's 30K event

According to Article II of its 1890 Yearbook Constitution, the B.A.A.’s objective was to “encourage all manly sports and promote physical culture.”  While slightly modified, the BAA is still dedicated to “promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running.”

While largely known for its organization of the Boston Marathon each year (aside: there are 47 days until the race), it’s worth pointing out that the Ohme exchange program further communicates the BAA’s mission on a global level.  Moreover, it creates partnerships and goodwill around the same passions: running and healthy competition.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Peter’s 10K performance– he did his #1 bib proud by running admirably.  ブラボー (bravo).

Our very own Peter Morrissey (in yellow) at the 10K starting line

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