A head start in Tokyo race

Yesterday's Tokyo Marathon was more than a test of stamina and speed. It was also a fun opportunity to spot the wackiest headgear among the sea of 36,000 competitors from around the world.

In the spirit of Japan's love for all things "kawaii" (cute), Japanese cartoon characters such as Pikachu and Super Mario Brothers were a popular pick for a cap mascot.

Also spotted on the heads of runners as they traversed through prominent parts of the city such as Ginza, Asakusa and Shinagawa were a variety of animals - from frogs to bunnies, to a duck in a ballerina's tutu.

It wasn't just fancy caps. Some runners turned up in full-body costumes and body paint, turning the annual event into a bright parade of colour in contrast with the grey skyscrapers of Shinjuku, where the race was flagged off.

Kenya's Dickson Chumba won the men's race in a time of 2hr 5min 30sec, and the women's race was won by Ethiopia's Birhane Dibaba, who clocked in at 2hr 19min 51sec.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline 'A head start in Tokyo race'. Print Edition | Subscribe