After meeting in Korea on placements as models, Dean Newcombe from the UK and Dario Nanni from Italy, wrote a concept they called runAway: Sole of Japan. They would combine their love for travel and physical challenge, with their experience as performers, to create a TV show, filmed in Japan, to be shown around the world.
Their first great challenge would be from Tokyo, Japan’s capital, to Mt. Fuji, the countries highest peak. They would run, cycle and even skate on their way to reach the top!
Tokyo, Kanagawa and Shizuoka Prefecture
Points of Interest
Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Yokohama Landmark Tower, Tsurugaokahachimangu Shrine, Kotoku-In Great Buddha, Kamakura, Hakone, Mt. Fuji
Skating Through Tokyo
August 2014, Dean and Dario meet at Tokyo Station. They walk over to Tokyo’s Imperial Palace where Dean surprises Dario with rollerblades and bright pink shorts! After an unsteady start on the skates, the boys move quickly to the popular sight seeing point, the Tokyo Tower. From here they skate on another 20km further south to reach the Tamagawa River, which means the end of Tokyo and the start of Kanagawa Prefecture. Their feet hurt, their backs ache and they sweat in the summer sun, but soon enough they stand at the base of the Landmark Tower, the goal for their first day.
Running to the Old Capital
In Yokohama, Dean and Dario start a new day and discover that there is a Pokemon event being held in the area. After meeting Pikachu, they ditch their skates and begin running instead, making their way around the Minato Mirai Harbor, past the historical Red Brick Warehouse and finally heading south inland, in order to reach the Kanagawa southern coastline. On their way they discover a man playing a traditional Japanese instrument called a ‘Shakuhachi’ and stop for food in a Japanese fast food restaurant called ‘Sukiya’. Lunch is Unagi (eel) and Gyudon (beef on rice bowl) for an energy boost! As they continue today’s challenge, they meet endurance runner, Jun, who accompanies them to their goal in Kamakura! Once they reach Japan’s old capital, they stop by at a shrine called ‘Tsurugaokahachimangu’ and receive their fortunes on strips of paper known as ‘Omikuji’. As the sun sets, they struggle on to the shoreline, where they strip off and dive into the water ending the day and marking a total of 30km run.
Up Hill Climbing
On Dean and Dario’s 2nd to last day, they must use bikes to cover over 100km to reach their goal on the top of Mt. Fuji. Before setting off, they visit the 13m high Great Buddha statue at the Kotoku-In Temple and pray for a safe journey. They begin riding with Dario leading the way on a pro racing bike and Dean keeping up on a fixed gear bike borrowed from a friend – which is pink! Reaching the castle town of Odawara is easy, but soon enough they must ride through the mountain town of Hakone, where the hills force Dean to retire from the fixed gear bike and instead to use a borrowed mountain bike which is too small for him and in bad condition. Dean struggles on but is not able to keep pace with Dario and the difficulty of the ride sees the duo arguing. Even after Hakone they still have to reach 2,400m in altitude on their bikes, as they begin their accent of Mt. Fuji. The ride is hard, even for Dario, and forces Dean to run the final stage, pushing his bike. Against all the odds they arrive at the ‘Gotemba Trail’ of Mt. Fuji.
They can sleep only one hour in the carpark of Mt. Fuji before beginning the final stage of their challenge, in the dark! Their end point is over 3,700m high and despite it being summer they must endure temperature levels below 0 degrees! Slowly they climb in the dark as hours pass by. Dario suffers badly from sleep deprivation, cold, and exhaustion, but stopping would be dangerous, and Dean helps him to continue! Just before the peak, the sun begins to rise beautifully behind them. They have covered now 178km, and embrace each other, having reached their final goal on the top of the famous Mt. Fuji.